Surprised that the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams made it to Super Bowl LVI? If you were watching what I was watching all season, probably not. I was watching the NFL’s Next Gen Stats feed. As the Official On-Field Player Tracking Provider for the NFL, Zebra generates the data that fuels Next Gen Stats. You may see this data appear during games in the stadium and on TV.
What does it say?
Here are some examples:
Offense: LA Rams Quarterback Matthew Stafford finished the year with +89.1 pass Expected Points Added (EPA) against the blitz, the highest ever in the Next Gen Stats era! And Cincinnati Bengals Quarterback Joe Burrows had a positive Completion Percentage Over Expected (CPOE) in 18 games this season, the most in the NFL! In other words, they are both impact players who deliver results. But the Rams will be coming after “Joe Cool,” who was sacked the most times during the regular season.
Defense: The Bengals’ Jessie Bates leads the NFL in Ball Hawk Rate among defenders with 80+ targets in coverage at 25.3%. (Ball Hawk Rate is the percentage of targets in which the nearest defender made a play on the football, such as an interception or defended pass.) His teammate, Trey Hendrickson leads the NFL in career pressure rate on 3rd down at 22.7%.
Special Teams: The Rams’ Mat Gay has the second-best field goal percentage at 94.1%.
Of course, these season stats don’t even begin to sum up what we witnessed these two teams accomplish during the NFL playoffs. But I suspect Sunday’s Super Bowl game is going to be just as exciting and memorable. These two teams are sure to leave it all on the field!
My colleagues Adam Petrus and Hale Hentges agreed during their Chalk Talk session yesterday: