Understanding The Pro Football Foucs Grading System

At Arrowhead Addict we often evaluate players using the very accurate Pro Football Focus statistics. Below you will find an explanation of how the player grades are given. Enjoy.

Pro Football Focus breaks down every single snap for every single player of every single game. They grade each and every play for each player and have received national recognition for the accuracy of their information. Their site is not free and really, given all the work they do, it shouldn’t be. The price is worth it if you want the most in depth and accurate view of how an NFL player or team is performing. I highly recommend them.

Here at Arrowhead Addict, we do have a subscription to PFF and we will now be bringing you the best statistical view of your Kansas City Chiefs.

After five weeks, I wanted to take a look at how well the Chiefs young corners are performing. After the jump, get the real numbers on Brandon Flowers, Javier Arenas and Brandon Carr.

First a quick and basic explanation of how Pro Football Focus grades players.

PFF grades every play of every game on a scale of -2 to +2.

First a quick and basic explanation of how Pro Football Focus grades players.

PFF grades every play of every game on a scale of -2 to +2.

2) What Do We Grade?
Throughout the course of the season (regular season and playoffs) we grade every single offensive, defensive and special teams snap. We log data such as the point of attack of a running play, the location a pass was thrown and hang time of kicks and punts before moving on to the player-performance analysis.

A typical line of analysis will describe an offensive and defensive player being graded for a one-on-one confrontation. This will include their names and grades as well as a comment describing the play. So for example, a match p between a right guard and left defensive tackle could result in the following comment:

“The RG drove the DLT down the line of scrimmage opening a wide hole off his outside hip for the running back (##) to pick up the first down on 3rd & 3.”

This type of notation serves a few purposes. First, it captures detail for grading, a concise comment that can be referenced back to individual players for further analysis at a later date. Also, due to each play having a unique ID, it also creates a clear and accessible audit trail for all analysis.

3) How Do We Grade?
Each grade given is between +2 and -2, with 0.5 increments and an average of 0. A positive intervention in the game rates a positive grading and vice-versa. Very (very) few performances draw a +/-2 rating. In fact, the distribution of non-zero grades is like this:

+2.0 0.01percent
+1.5 0.3percent
+1.0 16percent
+0.5 37percent (unbalanced because of the way WRs and HBs are rated)
-0.5 24percent
-1.0 22percent
-1.5 0.5percent
-2.0 0.01percent

To simplify, say Flowers played only 4 plays in a game. His grade for each play was -1, 0, +1, +1 then his grade for the game would be +1. If he received that same grad (+1) in all five games he has played in this year, his overall grade would be +5

To simplify, say Brandon Flowers played only 4 plays in a game. His grade for each play was -1, 0, +1, +1 then his grade for the game would be +1. If he received that same grad (+1) in all five games he has played in this year, his overall grade would be +5



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