NFL Geography: Where Were Professional Football Players Born?

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Demographics, Sports


Are states proportionally represented on the historical list of National Football League players? That’s the question I had four years ago when I posted two simple state-by-state maps summarizing players’ birth places.

That post has been surprisingly popular, so I decided to remix the visualization a bit — replacing the old choropleth maps with tile grids.

Charting Missed Field Goals

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Sports

Earlier today, Kansas City Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop missed a 27-yard field goal in the first quarter against the Cleveland Browns, prompting the announcer to say something to the effect of, “You don’t see many field goals missed from that distance.”

That’s true.

This histogram shows the nearly 500 field goals missed in the first quarter since the 2000 season. The misses are aggregated by distance, and, as you can see, the average miss length is about 42 yards. Only 16 missed field goals were shorter during that period. Sorry, Ryan:

Data source:

Charting First-Round NFL Draft Picks

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Sports

More than 1,600 players have been selected in the first round of the NFL draft since 1936, according to league statistics. These charts break down the choices made by NFL teams by school, position and position type.

First, by school:

And by position type:

And, finally, by position:

Data source: | Scraping script

Thanks, Chris Amico, for scraping help.

UPDATE: Here’s a new chart with position types grouped:

Mapping The NFL: Where Do Its Players Come From?

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Sports

I stumbled upon an interesting data set that lists the home states of more than 20,000 NFL players in history. I wondered: Do some states send a disproportionate amount of players to the pros?

This map shows which mainland states produced the most NFL players. As one might expect, it looks like a population map. Texas and California, the nation’s two most-populous states, produced the most players — more than 2,000 apiece. Vermont, which trails only the District of Columbia and Wyoming in population as of the 2010 Census, produced the fewest players:

But the map changes when state population is figured in. This map shows the rate of NFL players based on the 2010 population. Louisiana and Mississippi, which rank 25th and 31st in population, respectively, send more players per-person to the NFL than other states:

Of course, I should have used the male population, but there’s only so much time in my lunch break — and the maps wouldn’t look significantly different.

NFC vs. AFC: Charting Four Decades of ‘Pro Bowl’ Scores

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Sports

The two NFL conferences have split victories almost evenly in their annual Hawaii showdown/snoozefest known as the Pro Bowl, with the NFC holding a 21-20 record against the AFC. This chart, perhaps as interesting as the game itself, shows how the two sides have scored over the years: 

Larger version | Data source: Wikipedia

How Dallas Cowboys Penalties Compare to other NFL Teams

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Uncategorized

The Dallas Cowboys in recent years have been among the most-penalized teams in the NFL, a fact that may have contributed to their disappointing seasons.

This year, though, the team is averaging about 54 yards in penalties per game, roughly the same as the average NFL team (before tonight). Oakland, by the way, has been penalized the most: 89 yards per game. Green Bay has been penalized the least: 36 yards per game. 

Here’s a quick look at how the Cowboys compared with the NFL average in per-game penalty yards since 2003 (notice the numbers are down in 2010 and 2011 … because Flozell Adams left maybe??): 

Here’s how the Cowboys have ranked among the 32 teams in the league. They were 31st in 2006 and 2008, but more recently have ranked closer to the middle of the pack: 

I’m not sure how much these facts have contributed to the Cowboys’ win totals, but notice they were down in 2006 and 2008 (due to many other factors, I’m sure): 

Data source:

Dallas Cowboys History

By Matt Stiles | | Topics: Uncategorized

Let’s face it: This is a dreadful season for Dallas Cowboys fans. Romo went down, Uncle Wade got fired and the future remains uncertain. Still, historically speaking, the season hasn’t been that bad.

These interactive line charts, made with the Google Visualization API, track the team’s win-loss record since 1960, broken down by home and road games. You’ll notice that eight other seasons have been worse (1960, 1961, 1963, 1988, 1989, 2000, 2001, 2002). 

I’ve also created sortable table, which has ranking columns for all seasons by home and away games. Go Cowboys. 

Source: NFL | Data: CSV