By Ken Crippen
Pro Football Researchers' Association


The season is over and the New York Giants are Super Bowl Champions. Overall, it was a good game. For the most part, the referees let the players play. Few penalties were called (four for the Giants and five for the Patriots), but the ones that were called proved to be costly. The first was intentional grounding against Tom Brady on their first offensive play of the game. That resulted in a safety.
 
But, let’s focus on the running game. New York Giant offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride stated that the Patriots spent the bulk of the first half strictly in a cover-2 defense. That lent itself to running the football. And the Giants ran the football 28 times for 114 yards and a touchdown. That one touchdown came a little too early for the Giants' comfort. With about a minute left in the game, the Giants were looking to kill the clock. The Patriots gambled and told their defense to allow a score. That would give Brady maximum time to try to score and win the game. Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw got the call, but mistakenly fell into the endzone, instead of falling down at the one yard line. That gave Brady an opportunity to win the game. However, his Hail Mary pass was knocked down to preserve the Giant victory.
 
New England Patriots Attempts Yards Yards per Attempt TD Fumbles Rusher Rating
BenJarvus Green-Ellis 10 44 4.40 0 0 76.92
Wes Welker 2 21 10.50 0 0 105.56
Danny Woodhead 7 18 2.57 0 0 66.89
Total: 19 83 4.37 0 0 76.75
 
New York Giants Attempts Yards Yards per Attempt TD Fumbles Rusher Rating
Ahmad Bradshaw 17 72 4.24 1 1 99.55
Brandon Jacobs 9 37 4.11 0 0 75.34
D.J. Ware 1 6 6.00 0 0 85.70
Eli Manning 1 -1 -1.00 0 0 52.78
Total: 28 114 4.07 1 1 89.40
 
The leading rusher of the day was Bradshaw, based on the number of carries and yards gained. His 17 carries for 72 yards and a touchdown was good for a Rusher Rating of 99.55. BenJarvus Green-Ellis was the leading rusher for the Patriots with 10 carries for 44 yards.

During the playoffs, New England coach Bill Belichick usedtight end Aaron Hernandez as a running back. Hernandez did not get a carry in this game. Due to the injury to Rob Gronkowski, that limited New England’s flexibility in having their tight end in the backfield. He did line up there for a few plays, but he did not run the ball, but did catch a pass out of the backfield.
 
 
Situational Statistics
 
An 89.40 Offensive Rusher Rating is hardly impressive, but the Giants were able to use a combination of pass and run to keep the ball out of the Patriots’ hands. They had a total time of possession of 37:05, and the Patriots only ran one play in the first 11.5 minutes of the game. Giant quarterback Eli Manning threw 80 percent of his passes under 15 yards. That was effective as he completed 87.5 percent of those passes. They also had over 100 yards after initial contact. Effectively running the ball, effectively passing the ball and getting yards after contact. That is how you win championships.
 
Now, let’s start to dig into the situational statistics.
 
Rusher Rating Attempts Yards Yards per Attempt TD Fumbles Rusher Rating
New York Giants 28 114 4.07 1 1 89.40
 
  Attempts Yards Yards per Attempt TD Fumbles Rusher Rating
Running Lane            
Left End 1 6 6.00 0 0 85.70
Left Tackle 4 28 7.00 0 0 91.19
Left Guard 1 2 2.00 0 0 64.75
Center 14 50 3.57 1 0 125.15
Right Guard 4 11 2.75 0 0 67.87
Right Tackle 2 11 5.50 0 0 82.96
Right End 2 6 3.00 0 1 16.46
 
Attempts            
1 through 10 10 54 5.40 0 0 82.41
11 through 20 10 36 3.60 0 0 72.53
21 through 30 8 25 3.13 1 1 69.92
 
Field Position            
Own 1-20 2 16 8.00 0 1 43.90
Own 21-50 13 53 4.08 0 0 75.15
Opponent 49-20 7 24 3.43 0 0 71.59
Redzone 6 21 3.50 1 0 124.76
 
Half            
1st 17 69 4.06 0 0 75.05
2nd 11 45 4.09 1 1 84.57
 
Quarter            
1st 8 39 4.88 0 0 79.53
2nd 9 30 3.33 0 0 71.07
3rd 7 25 3.57 0 0 72.37
4th 4 20 5.00 1 1 80.21
 
The Giants decided to run the bulk of their plays straight up the middle, gaining 3.57 yards-per-carry. They were not as efficient through the tackles, but improved as they went toward the outside of the line.
 
Finally, let’s break down rushing by down and distance:
 
Down and Distance Attempts Yards Yards per Attempt TD Fumbles Rusher Rating
1st Down            
To Go: 1-2 Yards - - - - - n/a
To Go: 3-7 Yards 1 4 4.00 0 0 74.73
To Go: 8-10 Yards 14 41 2.93 0 0 68.85
To Go: 11+ Yards - - - - - n/a
2nd Down            
To Go: 1-2 Yards 4 33 8.25 0 0 98.05
To Go: 3-7 Yards 3 17 5.67 1 0 136.65
To Go: 8-10 Yards 4 20 5.00 0 1 27.43
To Go: 11+ Yards 2 -1 -0.50 0 0 52.78
 
The Giants did not run on either third or fourth down.
 
 
Rusher Rating Differential
 
Earlier in the year, we introduced Rusher Rating Differential. This is the difference between the Offensive Rusher Rating and the Defensive Rusher Rating. As expected, the Giants won the Rusher Rating Differential battle in the Super Bowl. Their 89.40 Offensive Rusher Rating beat the Patriots’ 76.75 Rusher Rating, for a Differential of +12.65.
 
Offensive Rusher Rating Attempts Yards Yards per Attempt TD Fumbles Rusher Rating
New York Giants 28 114 4.07 1 1 89.40
New England Patriots 19 83 4.37 0 0 76.75
 
Defensive Rusher Rating Attempts Yards Yards per Attempt TD Fumbles Rusher Rating
New York Giants 19 83 4.37 0 0 76.75
New England Patriots 28 114 4.07 1 1 89.40
 
Rusher Rating Differential Rushing Attempts Offensive Rusher Rating Defensive Rushing Attempts Defensive Rusher Rating Rusher Rating Differential
New York Giants 28 89.40 19 76.75 +12.65
New England Patriots 19 76.75 28 89.40 -12.65
 
 
Now, if we factor in Passer Rating, we can create a Total Team Rating. First, we start with the Team Offensive Rating. The Giants again won with a 97.87 Team Offensive Rating, compared to New England’s 86.56 Offensive Team Rating.
 
Super Bowl Rushing Attempts Offensive Rusher Rating Offensive Passing Attempts Offensive Passer Rating Team Offensive Rating
New York Giants 28 89.40 40 103.8 97.87
New England Patriots 19 76.75 41 91.1 86.56
 
Then, we move to the Team Defensive Rating:
 
Super Bowl Rushing Attempts Defensive Rusher Rating Defensive Passing Attempts Defensive Passer Rating Team Defensive Rating
New York Giants 19 76.75 41 91.1 86.56
New England Patriots 28 89.40 40 103.8 97.87
 
This gave the Giants a +11.31 Total Team Differential for the Super Bowl.
 
Super Bowl Team Offensive Rating Team Defensive Rating Total Team Differential
New York Giants 97.87 86.56 +11.31
New England Patriots 86.56 97.87 -11.31
 
 
Now, we can look at the Total Team Ratings for both teams through the entire regular season and playoffs:
 
Season Rushing Attempts Offensive Rusher Rating Offensive Passing Attempts Offensive Passer Rating Team Offensive Rating
New York Giants 411 101.16 589 92.9 96.29
New England Patriots 438 107.68 612 105.7 106.53
 
Season Rushing Attempts Defensive Rusher Rating Defensive Passing Attempts Defensive Passer Rating Team Defensive Rating
New York Giants 435 96.53 589 86.1 90.53
New England Patriots 405 94.55 619 86.1 89.44
 
Season Team Offensive Rating Team Defensive Rating Total Team Differential
New York Giants 96.29 90.53 +5.76
New England Patriots 106.53 89.44 +17.08
 
 
Let’s put the 2011 New York Giants into historical perspective:
 
Team Team Offensive Rating Team Defensive Rating Total Team Differential
1940 Bears 88.77 60.79 +27.98
1941 Bears 106.81 41.44 +65.37
1942 Redskins 72.67 45.07 +27.60
1943 Bears 84.56 55.93 +28.63
1944 Packers 77.58 59.18 +18.40
1945 Rams 88.63 54.90 +33.73
1946 Bears 82.51 57.74 +24.77
1947 Cardinals 79.82 67.04 +12.78
1948 Eagles 92.04 54.25 +37.79
1949 Eagles 94.39 48.93 +45.46
1950 Browns 89.32 51.31 +38.01
1951 Rams 95.77 79.99 +15.78
1952 Lions 77.52 51.31 +26.21
1953 Lions 71.17 59.25 +11.92
1954 Browns 88.58 50.31 +38.27
1955 Browns 92.63 60.36 +32.27
1956 Giants 84.95 68.50 +16.45
1957 Lions 72.76 71.99 +0.77
1958 Colts 100.97 58.48 +42.49
1959 Colts 91.31 75.85 +15.46
1960 Eagles 85.53 74.84 +8.69
1961 Packers 105.11 67.41 +37.70
1962 Packers 105.45 52.12 +53.33
1963 Bears 82.34 51.61 +30.73
1964 Browns 91.87 82.75 +9.12
1965 Packers 85.30 60.83 +24.47
1966 Packers 92.61 61.90 +30.71
1967 Packers 84.01 60.74 +23.27
1968 Jets 89.80 62.04 +27.76
1969 Chiefs 82.92 52.15 +30.77
1970 Colts 73.43 67.34 +6.09
1971 Cowboys 95.45 56.23 +39.22
1972 Dolphins 98.94 58.33 +40.61
1973 Dolphins 86.82 66.86 +19.96
1974 Steelers 73.56 54.73 +18.83
1975 Steelers 91.59 62.82 +28.77
1976 Raiders 93.53 84.26 +9.27
1977 Cowboys 92.14 65.46 +26.68
1978 Steelers 81.61 62.12 +19.49
1979 Steelers 86.51 64.80 +21.71
1980 Raiders 75.21 74.98 +0.23
1981 49ers 87.96 66.15 +21.81
1982 Redskins 83.01 72.14 +10.87
1983 Raiders 83.64 76.12 +7.52
1984 49ers 101.89 72.63 +29.26
1985 Bears 93.35 55.19 +38.16
1986 Giants 85.62 69.89 +15.73
1987 Redskins 85.09 74.93 +10.16
1988 49ers 91.00 71.71 +19.29
1989 49ers 100.26 70.63 +29.63
1990 Giants 92.09 70.11 +21.98
1991 Redskins 97.52 68.02 +29.50
1992 Cowboys 95.74 74.59 +21.15
1993 Cowboys 97.00 74.27 +22.73
1994 49ers 107.01 78.73 +28.28
1995 Cowboys 103.89 82.29 +21.60
1996 Packers 88.56 62.45 +26.11
1997 Broncos 93.27 77.37 +15.90
1998 Broncos 105.43 79.41 +26.02
1999 Rams 98.14 67.17 +30.97
2000 Ravens 79.04 55.50 +23.54
2001 Patriots 85.87 72.01 +13.86
2002 Buccaneers 80.87 63.61 +17.26
2003 Patriots 80.89 65.56 +15.33
2004 Patriots 90.37 73.91 +16.46
2005 Steelers 96.11 74.66 +21.45
2006 Colts 99.64 94.48 +5.16
2007 Giants 81.67 85.37 -3.70
2008 Steelers 87.22 68.54 +18.68
2009 Saints 103.47 82.78 +20.69
2010 Packers 93.44 73.53 +19.91
2011 New York Giants 96.29 90.53 +5.76
 
Of the 72 NFL Champions since 1940, we still only see one team that had a negative Total Team Differential: the 2007 New York Giants (-3.70). But, how does this year’s Giants team stack up historically? Of the 72 NFL Champions since 1940, only four had a worse Total Team Differential than the New York Giants: 2007 Giants (-3.70), 1980 Raiders (+0.23), 1957 Lions (+0.77) and the 2006 Colts (+5.16).
 
Statistically, this team was one of the weakest champions in history. However, what is not shown here is how the team improved as the season progressed. Injuries to key players during the middle of the season hampered the Giants’ ability to generate impressive stats. But, with the return of those key players, the Giants were able to get hot at the right time.
 
 
How the Rusher Rating is Calculated
 
Here is how each component is calculated:
 
Average Yards Gained per Attempt (YD) = [Total Yards/(4.05 * Rushing Attempts)]
 
Percentage of TDs per Carry (TD) = [(39.5*Touchdowns)/Rushing Attempts]
 
Percentage of Fumbles per Carry (F) = [2.375-((21.5*Fumbles)/Rushing Attempts)]
 
Adding these components together and adjusting to a scale of 158.3 (the same as the NFL Passer Rating System) yields:
 
Rusher Rating = [(YD) + (TD) + (F)] * (100/4.5)
 
 
 
 
Ken Crippen is the executive director of the Professional Football Researchers Association, a non-profit educational organization dedicated to preserving football history. You can follow him on Twitter: @KenCrippen.