Finding the Open Receiver: A Quantitative Geospatial Analysis of Quarterback Decision-Making

Jeremy Hochstedler, CEO and Co-Founder, Telemetry Sports

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Abstract: Within football and media organizations, significant resources are consumed through the analysis of player performance and decision-making, especially at the quarterback (QB) position. Since 2014, radio-frequency identification (RFID) tracking technology has been used to continuously monitor the on-field locations of NFL players. Using geospatial American football data, this research quantitatively evaluates receiver openness, player elusiveness, and QB decision-making. In addition to enhancing win probability, using NFL injury data, this research also uncovers how QB decisions and passing ability impact the likelihood of receiver concussions. By making better decisions and finding the open receiver, QBs can put their receivers and their teams in better positions to succeed. The NFL has lagged behind other major sports when it comes to analytical player and team analysis, however the geospatial tracking allows for significant opportunities as the data is analyzed both privately and publicly. This research displays the types of analysis possible with geospatial data available in the NFL. Once the data becomes available to teams and other media organizations, the development of insights into players, strategy, and decision-making will change how the game is evaluated and consumed.

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