Question about roughing the passer

Discussion in ' - Patriots Fan Forum' started by Bill B., Dec 28, 2010.

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  1. Bill B.

    Bill B. Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    Can anyone tell me where I can find the statitics for roughing the passer calls. Specifically what teams get the most calls in their favor and what teams get the most calls against them. I have been having a discussion at work with fans of other teams and they keep telling me the NFL protects QBs like Manning and Brady. I have seen every single Patriot game since Brady started and I just don't see it. He takes a lot of hits. This year I think I have only seen it called a couple of times in favor of Brady. I don't think they protect Brady any more or less than other QBs but would like some stats to back me up.

    This all goes back to the Ravens game last year when Suggs tried to take out Brady's knee and got called for it. He and Lewis started whining about it as they usually do when they lose. It's amazing that people can look at one play and say Brady gets over protected.
  2. Timbo717

    Timbo717 On the Game Day Roster

    Well, I haven't found any good source on definitive stats on this.

    Advanced NFL Stats: 'Touching' the Passer and Belichick on 4th Down

    That is just one story, but doesn't include 2009 where I believe I had read that Brady had the most roughing the passer calls, but not by a lot. The numbers in this story show reasonable fairness, although I'm not sure of their source.

    On another note, it's tough to just look at these stats and judge if the perceived favoritism exists as other fanbases think it does. For one, you would have to go back and include calls such as the one against Wright in that game that was called for unneccessary roughness and not roughing the passer even though it was because his hand brushed Flacco's mask.(IIRC)

    A more subjective issue is the quality of the hits that are drawing the calls and how the OL play affects the number of calls. If you have a crappy OL and you get hit 15 times a game, in theory you are more likely to get a higher QUANTITY of roughing the passer calls than the guy who has a phenomenal offensive line and only gets hit three or four times a game. Having more calls doesn't necessarily mean the refs favor you, it might just mean that there are more opportunities for these penalties to happen.

    Think of it in terms of comparing offensive penalties between two teams in a game. If your team holds the ball for 3/4 of the game, your team (on average) MAY have a higher QUANTITY of penalties, but it doesn't mean they weren't deserved.

    I think the whole favoritism theory is a little overblown because veteran guys like Manning and Brady are shown on TV as being more vocal in talking to the refs than a young QB like Matt Ryan or Colt McCoy might be. It's almost impossible to prove unless you see refs come out and confirm it.
  3. jmt57

    jmt57 Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    I did a quick search and could not find anything. My suggestion would be to ask Mike Reiss or someone else like him that does a weekly mailbag of questions. The reason I suggest Reiss is that he works for espn, and that organization probably has better resources than any other for researching those kind of statistics.

    I'm assuming your co-workers are concluding that Brady gets favoritism based on (a) the often replayed penalties from the Ravens game in early 2009, (b) the relatively low number of sacks he has taken, and (c) they are jealous fans of other teams trying to get under your skin. Until you get those stats, a few ideas for you to respond with; basically, I would challenge them to show a correlation between the raw number of roughing the passer penalties and favoritism from referees (and their implying that equates to favoritism from the NFL.)

    First, let's remove Brady from the conversation for a moment. Joe Montana was a great NFL quarterback. He took very few sacks; does that mean the refs were favoring him by not calling holding on his offensive line? No, of course not; what it means is that his offensive line was adept at pass blocking, Montana made good reads, he slid in the pocket well to avoid the pass rush, and he had a quick release. You can't jump to the conclusion that refs favored Montana; similarly you can't jump to the conclusion that refs favor Brady.

    Second, let's talk about pocket presence and how that relates to getting hit. The best NFL quarterbacks have much better awareness in the pocket; that in turn results in them getting rid of the ball in a more timely manner than quarterbacks that don't have that sense, that end up taking huge hits. Those big hits are more likely going to draw a flag, so QBs like Jason Campbell and Chad Henne and Joey Harrington are probably going to draw more RTP flags, and have a higher percentage of RTP penalties.

    If you look at year by year fumble leaders you see a correlation between guys who either have poor pocket presence or make poor decisions with the ball most often leading the league in fumbles; those same guys are going to get hit more often, and draw more RTP flags.

    There is this study from a couple years ago that was done right after opposing fans were convinced Brady was the beneficiary of favoritism after that Ravens game. The conclusion was that marquee quarterbacks do not receive favoritism; Brady was among the top five in receiving RTP flags only once in five years.
    Smarter Stats: The Brady Rule Effect - The League at

    Also, if you are debating the topic with a Ravens fan, the follow up column shows the Ravens were not among the most penalized for RTP penalties over the five years of that study:
    Smarter Stats: QB Protection Nothing New - The League at

    Now if somebody says something about percentage of RTP flags per sack, I would respond that there is no correlation between the two that would lead to concluding favoritism. Again, the better quarterbacks avoid sacks and big hits; the ones that are not as smart take too many sacks, lots of big hits - and more big hits equals more RTP flags.

    One last thing regarding the offensive line and protection: through the Bears game Brady has been sacked 21 times and has taken 41 hits this year. With that small a number of times of being hit, I seriously doubt the Pats have benefited from very many roughing the passer penalties this year.
    Brady Avoiding The Big Hits - Mike Reiss - espnBoston

    Of course if you mention that, your friends will simply move the goal posts and say that is "proof" the refs favor Brady by permitting the Pats o-line to hold.
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2010
  4. Timbo717

    Timbo717 On the Game Day Roster

    This is a great point and I've seen people try to point to the low numbers of sacks of Brady and Manning as proof when, as jmt57 points out, it's somewhat irrellevant.

    He also makes a good point that most of those people will just turn onto the lack of holding penalties and say that's why he doesn't take sacks, another favoritism theory that is virtually impossible to prove or disprove.
  5. sieglo

    sieglo In the Starting Line-Up

    I would love to see this analysis as well as the flip-side: teams most penalized for roughing the passer.

    I'd also like to see a similar statistical analysis of pass interference calls, so we can justify our belief that Manning and the Colts benefit more than any other team in the league. :)
  6. wy125

    wy125 Rookie

    #12 Jersey

    Bill B.,

    I asked myself the very same question about who gets the most calls (also after hearing Suggs and Lewis crying). It's taken me a while to find the raw data and then get it processed. I managed to find data here: Advanced NFL Stats: Play-by-Play Data. It's interesting that Suggs' favorite QB, Drew Brees, has the second most calls. If anyone is interested I'll work on the pass interference calls.

    Here are the results (sorry about the formatting) for the 2010 Season:

    Total # of Roughing the Passer Calls: 78

    Roughing the Passer by Team Penalized

    Rank Team ROP Count
    1 SF 5
    1 PIT 5
    2 CHI 4
    2 KC 4
    2 DAL 4
    2 NYG 4
    2 DET 4
    2 MIN 4
    3 STL 3
    3 PHI 3
    3 TEN 3
    3 CIN 3
    3 ARI 3
    3 CLE 3
    4 HOU 2
    4 MIA 2
    4 NYJ 2
    4 SEA 2
    4 OAK 2
    4 BAL 2
    4 TB 2
    4 ATL 2
    4 NE 2
    4 DEN 2
    5 NO 1
    5 WAS 1
    5 CAR 1
    5 SD 1
    5 IND 1
    5 GB 1
    6 BUF 0
    6 JAC 0
    Total: 78

    Roughing the Passer by QB

    Rank QB Team ROP Count
    1 Sam Bradford STL 6
    2 Carson Palmer CIN 4
    2 Drew Brees NO 4
    2 Jay Cutler CHI 4
    3 Michael Vick PHI 3
    3 Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF 3
    3 Kyle Orton DEN 3
    3 Jason Campbell OAK 3
    3 Donovan McNabb WAS 3
    3 Jimmy Clausen CAR 3
    3 Shaun Hill DET 3
    4 Matt Cassel KC 2
    4 Jon Kitna DAL 2
    4 Kerry Collins TEN 2
    4 Mark Sanchez NYJ 2
    4 Derek Anderson ARI 2
    4 Chad Henne MIA 2
    4 Matt Ryan ATL 2
    4 Aaron Rodgers GB 2
    4 Bruce Gradkowski OAK 2
    4 Jake Delhomme CLE 2
    4 Troy Smith SF 2
    5 Eli Manning NYG 1
    5 Brett Favre MIN 1
    5 Matt Schaub HOU 1
    5 Matt Hasselbeck SEA 1
    5 Alex Smith SF 1
    5 Philip Rivers SD 1
    5 Tom Brady NE 1
    5 Colt McCoy CLE 1
    5 Matt Stafford DET 1
    5 Matt Moore CAR 1
    5 Todd Collins CHI 1
    5 Tony Pike CAR 1
    5 Rex Grossman WAS 1
    5 Tavaris Jackson MIN 1
    5 Charlie Whitehurst SEA 1
    5 Joe Webb MIN 1
    5 Brian Hoyer NE 1
    6 Joe Flacco BAL 0
    6 Josh Freeman TB 0
    6 Ben Roethlisberger PIT 0
    6 Peyton Manning IND 0
    6 David Garrard JAC 0

    Total: 78
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2011
  7. wy125

    wy125 Rookie

    #12 Jersey

    Here's the pass interference summary for the 2010 season (note: I changed the ranking system so that ties count as a spot):

    By Passing QB

    Rank QB # PI
    1 Joe Flacco 13
    2 Matt Ryan 11
    3 Carson Palmer 10
    4 Kyle Orton 9
    4 Eli Manning 9
    4 Matt Schaub 9
    4 Josh Freeman 9
    8 Jay Cutler 8
    8 Peyton Manning 8
    10 Chad Henne 7
    10 Brett Favre 7
    10 Tom Brady 7
    13 Matt Cassel 6
    13 Mark Sanchez 6
    15 Drew Brees 5
    16 Sam Bradford 4
    16 Derek Anderson 4
    16 Alex Smith 4
    16 Philip Rivers 4
    20 Jason Campbell 3
    20 Donovan McNabb 3
    20 Jimmy Clausen 3
    20 Kerry Collins 3
    20 Aaron Rodgers 3
    20 Matt Hasselbeck 3
    20 Matt Moore 3
    20 Ben Roethlisberger 3
    20 David Garrard 3
    29 Michael Vick 2
    29 Ryan Fitzpatrick 2
    29 Bruce Gradkowski 2
    29 Troy Smith 2
    29 Joe Webb 2
    34 Jake Delhomme 1
    34 Colt McCoy 1
    34 Matt Stafford 1
    34 Rex Grossman 1
    34 Tavaris Jackson 1
    39 Shaun Hill 0
    39 Jon Kitna 0
    39 Todd Collins 0
    39 Tony Pike 0
    39 Charlie Whitehurst 0
    39 Brian Hoyer 0

    By Offending Team

    Rank Team # PI
    1 OAK 14
    2 DAL 11
    2 ARI 11
    2 CAR 11
    5 PIT 10
    5 NYJ 10
    5 NE 10
    8 DEN 9
    8 NO 9
    10 DET 8
    10 TEN 8
    12 PHI 7
    12 CIN 7
    12 SD 7
    12 GB 7
    12 BUF 7
    17 HOU 6
    17 ATL 6
    19 SF 5
    19 KC 5
    19 CLE 5
    19 BAL 5
    19 IND 5
    24 CHI 4
    24 STL 4
    24 SEA 4
    24 TB 4
    24 JAC 4
    29 NYG 3
    30 MIN 2
    30 MIA 2
    30 WAS 2
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2011

    PATSYLICIOUS Pro Bowl Player

    #12 Jersey

    Seriously I was just thinking of making this thread the other day. I could've sworn the only time I can remember ROP called for Brady were the 2 against Baltimore last year and wanted to see where we stacked up.

    I take it the #'s above are from this season since Bradford is on there... but yeah to see Brady and Manning both on the lower half should pretty much put an end to this BS myth that they are getting the special treatment here, it's all QB's. Thanks for posting the info.
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2011
  9. wy125

    wy125 Rookie

    #12 Jersey

    Yeah, the stats are from this season. It would be interesting to see what the numbers from last season look like. Also it might be worth throwing in a 'per passing attempt' column. I'll work on it tonight if I get some time.
  10. Koma

    Koma Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job

    wy125, Thanks for putting the effort on that. As Chris Russo would say, "That's a good job outta you."
  11. RodThePat

    RodThePat In the Starting Line-Up

    But I thought you couldn't even touch Brady or Manning without being arrestd on the spot! :rolleyes:
  12. Bill B.

    Bill B. Third String But Playing on Special Teams

    Thanks for the info. It backs up what I've been thinking. Surprised that Peyton did not have any.
  13. Sciz

    Sciz Supporter Supporter

    I think wy125 should get an award for "best first two posts"
  14. Mayday Malone

    Mayday Malone Practice Squad Player

    I think wy125 should get an award for "best first two posts"


    Needs to be a Sticky, if I might add.

    Good for reference when dealing with the less educated.
  15. lillloyd

    lillloyd On the Game Day Roster

    Wow that's great research. Kudos to wy125. :youtheman:

    I think a really good stat would be one that correlates the number of hits a QB takes vs. the number of roughing calls he receives. A "hits : roughing calls" ratio so to speak. The lower the ratio, the more favorable treatment the QB is receiving.

    There are certain QBs that make an effort to get the ball out quickly. If Peyton Manning ever led the league in receiving roughing calls, it might raise eyebrows simply because he typically gets the ball out too fast to ever accumulate many hits over a season.

    I'm a Steelers fan, and I've heard plenty of grumbling about Ben getting his nose broken or his legs twisted or whatever and not getting roughing calls. While there have been some missed calls, I'm definitely not in the "conspiracy theorist" camp; I just think players like Ben (or Mike Vick for that matter) play a style that lends to them getting hit more often. Because they extend plays consistently, they get hit more in situations where they're not acting like a classic QB (e.g. making a throw with defenders draped all over them, or cutting back inside on the sidelines when the defender thinks they're running out of bounds).

    This benefits them when they make plays, but potentially hurts them when looking for calls since they're acting more like an overall football player rather than a strict/classic QB. The cost of getting an extra second or two to make a play is more hits...and thus more opportunities for blown calls. In this sense, the missed Ngata broken nose call isn't too surprising; since Ben's playing style is sometimes more "human jungle gym" than QB, he accumulates a lot of hits over the season. I'm guessing that if Brady were hit as often as Ben or Vick, we'd probably see some high-profile roughing calls missed against him as well--it's just of the law of averages.

    So whaddya say wy125 -- are you up for one more round of data mining? You can copyright it, call it the "wy125 QB favoritism meter"'ll be rich. ;)
  16. The Scrizz

    The Scrizz 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    #11 Jersey

    Thanks for this! I was actually thinking about this a few weeks ago when one of the morning idiots on EEI (I know, I know) made the comment that he see's Brady complain to the official and then get the call "all the time" or words to that affect, and I found myself wondering, really when? Certainly not during any games I've watched.

    Considering he got one roughing the passer call, I'm glad to see that my memory is supported by the facts>
  17. Brady'sGOAT

    Brady'sGOAT On the Roster

    People always look to rationalize winning teams' success.
  18. The Scrizz

    The Scrizz 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

    #11 Jersey

    This is great analysis and one of my arguments about over-protecting the QB. If you're going to be trying to break 10 tackles or are running every chance you get then you should forfeit anything short of a helmet to the head. They should make you announce when you come in if you want to be protected, in which case in the grasp should come damn early, or if you are planning on running around, in which case you takes your chances.
  19. lillloyd

    lillloyd On the Game Day Roster

    Obviously the hope would be that they call it evenly and consistently--i.e. the Ngata hit wasn't intentional, but it surely should be a penalty, regardless of the style of the QB.

    My point was more that if you're going to play an unorthodox style that yields more hits on the QB, chances are that you're going to have a couple more roughing calls missed over the course of a season than you would if you're a classic dropback passer. This explanation makes a lot more sense to me than some sort of grand conspiracy to protect certain QBs and ignore hits on others.

    The playing style doesn't make the missed calls somehow "deserved" per se--a missed call is a missed call--but it does make the missed calls more understandable. It certainly should be enough to ground the "Goodell as grand conspirator/puppetmaster" factions of NFL fanbases.

    The weird thing is, in most every other major sport, elite veteran stars receive a "star" treatment whose practical in-game impact far exceeds what any equivalent star gets in the NFL. Even the roughing discrepancy were true, this would be a relatively minor issue, when compared to other sports (NBA, anyone?!)
  20. wy125

    wy125 Rookie

    #12 Jersey

    Okay I finally got through compiling the data from the last two seasons.


    1. The total number of pass interference calls in each season does not equal the sum of the PI calls for each QB. This is because not all QBs who attempted passes are in the list. However it does include all starters.

    2. I included 'per att' and 'att per' columns in the QB tables which represent the stat per attempt and the attempt per stat. So for example, if we're looking at roughing the passer, the 'ROP per Att' column tells you how many calls the QB got per passing attempt while the 'Att per ROP' tells you on average how many throws the QB makes for each ROP call he gets. There are also two ranking columns, one for overall and the other for the per-attempt stat. They are listed in order of the overall rank.

    3. I think the 'per attempt' stat makes more sense for pass interference than it does for roughing the passer since a QB could just be well protected while still making a lot of attempts. It would be more meaningful if we could look at the number of times a QB was hit rather than the number of attempts they made (as a poster has already pointed out). But all I have right now is play-by-play data which doesn't include this information. If anyone knows where I can find it please let me know.

    4. These stats aren't official, I compiled them using data I found at a random site and then used Excel to do the processing so there may be errors in the raw data or on my end.

    Results: There did seem (at least to me) to be a shift in ROP calls for some of the elite QBs from 2009 to 2010 but there aren't that many calls in the first place (the average is about 1.5 calls) so it's not too crazy to expect swings like this.

    Okay, I've been trying for a while now to get the data to format in a post but I can't figure it out. The QB tables are really messy since I added a few extra columns. So I decided to make one of those free web sites and put the results there. I'm also attaching an excel worksheet with the results so maybe someone else can figure out how to post it directly to the forum.

    Link to Results: Home - NFL Stats

    Attached Files:

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