Sometimes the method in which an offense attacks their opponent can deceive the average viewer into thinking that everything is clicking. Apparently, according to a proprietary formula created in a partnership between New York Life and Stats Inc. to measure how well each NFL team’s offensive line protects its quarterback, there’s more to protecting the passer than running the ball.
It’s called the New York Life Protection Index, and the Raiders haven’t ranked higher than 31st since 2005 — when they were ranked 13th. That was also the last time the Silver and Black had an index rating higher than 50.0.
According to New York Life and Stats Inc., “The New York Life Protection Index factors passing attempts and yards (not including yards gained after the catch), sacks, QB knockdowns and hurries, as well as holding and false start penalties to rank each team’s offensive line – utilizing a 0-100 scale.“
Oddly, the Raiders had their best 2010 index score in the 17-33 loss to the Miami Dolphins with a 67.9 index rating. Even more odd, the worst performance by the Silver and Black on the season was an index rating of 2.4 in a week 13 beating of San Diego, 28-13.
While it would appear that this measurement has many flaws, here are some of the stats to promote the index as a valid tool:
- In the last 4 years (2006 – 2009), teams that finished in the top 12 in the New York Life Protection Index have made the playoffs 63 percent of the time (30/48). Teams finishing in top 12 have averaged 10.3 wins.
- In the same time span, teams with an above average Protection Index (54 -60, depending on the year) have made the playoffs 55 percent of the time (35/64), whereas teams with a below average Protection Index have made the playoffs just 20 percent of the time (13/64).
- 62 teams have had an index of above 60 during this span. These teams have averaged 9.6 wins. Only 6 of them had fewer than 7 wins (10%).
- 66 teams have had an index lower than 60. These teams have averaged 6.5 wins and only 13 of them have made the playoffs (20%).
- The average Protection Index of the 8 teams who have had home-field advantage throughout the playoffs (best record in the conference) was 74.3.
- The average Protection Index of the 8 teams who have had the worst record in the conference between 2006-2009 was 49.3.
- During this span, Indianapolis has not finished outside the top 5 (1st twice, 2nd once, 5th once). They have averaged 12.8 wins.
- During this span, Oakland has not finished above 31st. They have averaged 4 wins.
- In 2009, Indianapolis finished 1st and New Orleans finished 3rd in Protection Index. They met in the Super Bowl.
- Of the 8 teams who have made the Super Bowl the last 4 years, only one finished outside the top 12 in Protection Index (2008 Steelers).
- Record-setting seasons in passing have been accompanied by solid protection: When Tom Brady (NE) passed for 50 TD in 2007, their Protection Index was 82.6 (2nd in NFL). When Drew Brees passed for over 5000 yards in 2008, their Protection Index was 83.7 (3rd in NFL).
- The average Protection Index of the winning team in a game is 62.3. Losers average 51.0.
- Teams with an index above 60 in a game win 60% of the time (673-457), whereas teams with an index lower than 60 win just 37% of the time (347-594).
- When a team scores above 100 in the index, their winning percentage jumps to 74% (49-17).
- The best performance in the 2010 season has been by Denver Broncos on November 14 against the Chiefs. Quarterback was not sacked once en route to a 49-29 victory (good for 108.7).
- On the flip side, when the Broncos lost to the Raiders 59-14 on October 24, they had an index of 47.2.
- The worst performance in 2010 has been by Chicago Bears against NY Giants (-54.5). In the game, Bears surrendered 10 sacks and the starting QB left the game due to a concussion.
You can find the Raiders’ rating from 1993 until the end of 2010 by following the link here.
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