Schooled with The Professor: An education in analytics with Pro Football Focus’ Steve Palazzolo
In this week’s edition of Schooled with The Professor, we get into pro football analytics with Steve Palazzolo of Pro Football Focus.
Thirty NFL teams use the analytical data of Pro Football Focus, and PFF also has analytical data available to football fans and media. Palazzolo starts the podcast by setting up how the information is gathered. He discusses how many different sets of eyes go over the tapes of game, first to determine the playing time and position of players. Then he discusses how former coaches and other analysts study the routes, formations, defensive schemes and other strategic things that happen in games.
Pro Football Focus is able to provide almost instant ratings on player and team performances. Palazzolo discusses how that happens and how other things are broken down during the week. In relation to the Seahawks, Steve discusses how PFF studies the Seahawks’ defensive scheme, breaking down how it looks at the Cover One and Cover Three defensive pass-coverage schemes. He talks in depth on how offensive line blocking is graded. He spends some time talking about why Michael Bennett is one of the best defensive players in the game, where Russell Wilson ranks among the tops quarterbacks in the league and puts the Seahawks defensive line in perspective.
Teams are increasing their use of analytics and this podcast gives you an education on why. One interesting note on Palazzolo is that he was a professional baseball pitcher, with one of his last stops was with the Tacoma Rainiers in 2010.