Big Data Visualization of the Week: NFL Passing

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I became fascinated with the big data of sports after reading Nate Silver’s Signal and the Noise bestseller. So I’m excited to report this week’s top visualization comes from a vast data store of the NFL – passing history for quarterbacks. The visualization below is part of an interesting report from the online sports magazine Grantland. It shows that so-called Hail Mary passes are extremely rare.


The visualization, based on an extensive database of NFL passing data, shows how often quarterbacks pass to each region on the field, as well as how frequently passes to each area are actually caught. Variations also show which quarterbacks have the most completions in a given region, as well as the raw data of individual pass locations; as expected, many of the league’s superstar quarterbacks are represented, having staked out a particular territory for their throws.

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