Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

29 Jan 2009

ESPN Numbers Crunching: Super Bowl XLIII

Here's the final ESPN Numbers Crunching of the season, featuring a bit of a preview of tomorrow's big FO preview -- plus a couple bits that probably won't fit into tomorrow's preview. Learn about the penalty split between Pittsburgh's offense and defense, the way the Steelers have matched the Panthers, and how Ike Taylor's strengths and weaknesses might match those of Larry Fitzgerald.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 29 Jan 2009

5 comments, Last at 01 Feb 2009, 9:42am by Larry Turner


by galactic_dev :: Fri, 01/30/2009 - 2:42am

I always enjoy these articles, thanks!

So are the Steelers so dominant on stopping the run that they'll put Polamalu back to help cover Fitzgerald?

Polamalu is the key. Last game he both vaulted over everyone to stuff a quarterback sneak and also intercepted a pass and returned it for a touchdown to ice the game.

Or will they just keep him doing his usual variety and count on their pass rush to limit the deep passes?

by ammek :: Fri, 01/30/2009 - 8:38am

Is DVOA-by-quarter consistent from game to game, or from season to season? Is it useful or statistically justifiable to talk about a first-quarter team or a second-half team?

Sounds more and more like the big change in Arizona after Week 16 took place in the coaches' room. Maybe the cataclysm in Foxborough forced a total rethink; I wondered the same thing about the Giants' game in Minnesota last year. It might be worth looking into how good teams respond to an extreme shellacking.

by Eddo :: Fri, 01/30/2009 - 1:17pm

I think you're correct. Another poster, within the past few weeks, remarked that the Cardinals have been playing a much more aggressive brand of football, increasing their chances of being blown out but also increasing their chances of winning. That's totally on Whisenhunt and his staff.

by El Nino Meon (not verified) :: Sat, 01/31/2009 - 12:10am

That's one of the better points I've read in the last while

by Larry Turner (not verified) :: Sun, 02/01/2009 - 9:42am

If the Cardinals win, there will be a lot of head scratching. However, looking at the numbers tells you that the Steelers defense numbers were built upon rather lousy opponents. The best team they beat was the Ravens. They lost against teams with good quarterbacks, the Colts, Giants, Titans and Eagles. Scheduling and injuries had them face several new quarterbacks or teams with quarterback issues. Look at the DVOA rankings and the Steelers wins were against teams low on the chart. Their losses were against teams in the top DVOA except the Ravens. Good quarterbacks are a problem for them and it may occur again in the Super Bowl.