“We’re starting to see coaches really change. In some ways, PFF and what Doug Pederson did last year has made life tougher on coaches.” – Collinsworth
“The great wild card right now is probably what Frank Reich is doing with the Colts.” – Collinsworth on the NFL playoff picture
“All 32 teams are at very different levels. Every team’s got different ways of doing things.” – Palazzolo on NFL teams using PFF data
STAMFORD, Conn. – November 29, 2018 – Mike Tirico interviews Sunday Night Football analyst Cris Collinsworth and Pro Football Focus’ Steve Palazzolo on the latest episode of The Mike Tirico Podcast, available now across all podcast platforms.
In this week’s episode, Collinsworth discusses a typical week of prep for SNF, the influence of Pro Football Focus and analytics in football, the evolution of offense in the NFL, and his thoughts on the NFL playoff picture. Palazzolo, senior analyst and director of video content for Pro Football Focus, talks about how different teams use data to evaluate game plans and talent, a closer look at QB accuracy, and how weather can affect quarterbacks. Collinsworth is also a majority owner of Pro Football Focus.
This marks the seventh episode of The Mike Tirico Podcast. Click here to listen to prior episodes which include interviews with Notre Dame Football head coach Brian Kelly and Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers.
The Mike Tirico Podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, Stitcher and podcasting apps.
2:30 – Collinsworth on his typical week of SNF prep work
3:30 – Influence of Pro Football Focus and analytics on football
14:00 – How new tackling rules and defensive changes have led to higher scoring in the NFL
21:30 – Collinsworth weighs in on the NFL playoff picture and teams flying under the radar
28:30 – Palazzolo discusses how teams use PFF and data
32:00 – Palazzolo dives further into QB accuracy
Following are quotes from this week’s episode:
CRIS COLLINSWORTH WITH MIKE TIRICO
Collinsworth on influence of Pro Football Focus and analytics: “We’re starting to see coaches really change. In some ways, PFF and what Doug Pederson did last year has made life tougher on coaches. The math says they have been punting too much, not going for it in the red zone enough, and not going for it on fourth down enough.”
Tirico: “It feels like all of a sudden, in the last 18 months, all of that old school thinking is not getting thrown out the window, but examined very closely.”
Collinsworth: “We are talking about nuances and we are talking about degree here, as far as what puts the game away or what is the best strategy from a pure percentage standpoint. You can really narrow that down now. Sometimes it’s a 52-48 call. Now you’re really sitting there with your gut.”
Tirico: “What’s fascinating to me now is that old-school coaches are facing this challenge…do you understand the analytics, can you apply them because it’s counter to what you’ve always thought? It’s beyond the fourth-and-two…it’s going to get to personnel decisions that teams make as they’re in their offseason and examining what players did in each scenario. Football was never looked at in this way before.”
Collinsworth: “There’s a human factor to the whole thing too, and the human factor is the choke factor on fourth down. It’s not like it’s second-and-eight and if you drop a pass or throw a bad ball, you just go on to third down and try it again. This is fourth down, this is usually game on the line. Nerves play a part…there are other things that I think we will continue to discover.”
Collinsworth on high scoring and offensive innovation in the NFL: “I think it is fantastic for pro football…now you don’t have to have one of those eight (elite quarterbacks) to have a chance to win…now what’s happened is that we’ve got these guys that even if they don’t have a great arm, they can be great read option players because they’re smart, or they’re athletic, or they can really run or do something else. I think the idea that we’ve now moved from 6-8 quarterbacks that can win the Super Bowl every year into more of the 12-14 quarterbacks that might be able to because of these various styles makes the game more interesting.”
Collinsworth on NFL playoff picture: “Watch out for the defensive teams…teams like the Texans, the Ravens, the Cowboys, the Bears – some of those teams that can really play defense…it’s always the one that sneaks through…there are hot offenses, but there are also hot defenses, and those are the ones we tend to ignore…the great wild card right now is probably what Frank Reich is doing with the Colts…I tend to think this is a little more wide open than people think.”
STEVE PALAZZOLO WITH MIKE TIRICO
Palazzolo on how NFL teams use Pro Football Focus: “All 32 teams are at very different levels of – I don’t want to use the word competence – but they use things differently. They have different focuses. That’s the most eye-opening thing…every team’s got different ways of doing things. But there’s a lot of data going into weekly game planning…I think we’re helping to make teams more efficient.”
Palazzolo on offensive trends he’s seeing in the NFL: “We see offenses that are better at attacking the base coverages around the NFL, and I think it’s the eye candy in the running game…there’s jet motion, there’s orbit motion, all of these different things…essentially, offenses are getting good at winning the numbers advantage on defense. If you can move just one defender, all of a sudden, the run play or pass play opens up.”