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Steelers Defensive ANY/A Number Must Improve In Second Half Of Season

As many of you already know, I am a big fan of ANY/A stats (Adjusted Net Yards Per Attempt) as well as the differential between a team’s offensive and defensive ANY/A numbers. Why? Well, I think it’s obvious when you closely examine those stats over the course of the last 20 years that you can build pretty solid power rankings off of them on a week-to-week basis because of how the game now revolves mostly around passing.

Today, I wanted to look at the history of the defensive ANY/A stat as it relates to teams making the Super Bowl. The results are really revealing.

First, here are the stats that make up an ANY/A number, which is an advanced statistic that quantifies the contributions of a quarterbacks passing game by including five key passing statistics;
– passing yards
– passing touchdowns
– interceptions thrown
– times sacked
– yards lost to being sacked.

Below is the formula used to calculate ANY/A on both sides of the football:

ANY/A = (pass yards + 20*(pass TD) – 45*(interceptions thrown) – sack yards)/(passing attempts + sacks)

Now that we have that recap out of the way, below you will see a list of the last 40 teams to make it to the Super Bowl and the defensive passing stats for each. The final column is that team’s final regular-season defensive ANY/A stat and the teams are ranked from worst to best.

Now for a few observations of those numbers:

For starters, only two teams have managed to make it to the Super Bowl over the course of the last 20 years with a defensive ANY/A greater than 5.94. Strangely enough, the 2008 Arizona Cardinals are one of those two teams to pull that off and they of course lost that year to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII. That 2008 Steelers team also boasted the third lowest regular-season defensive ANY/A stat of all 40 teams that have made it to the Super Bowl over the course of the last 20 years.

Now, about that 5.94 number I mentioned above. Through the first 8 weeks of the 2015 season, only 12 teams currently own a defensive ANY/A stat of 5.94 or less. The Steelers are not one of those teams, however, as they enter Week 9 with a defensive ANY/A number of 6.38, which is just slightly higher than the current league average.

When you consider that only 7 teams have managed to make it to the Super Bowl with a defensive ANY/A greater than 5.42, you can clearly see that the Steelers 2015 defense has to get better against the opposition’s passing game during the second half of the season.

Here’s one final observation for you.

The 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers currently own the best regular season defensive ANY/A number of any team that has made it to the Super Bowl over the course of the last 20 years. Curiously enough, their defensive backs coach that year was current Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.

In a future post, we will look at offensive ANY/A numbers and see if we can draw any conclusions from Super bowl teams using that stat.

Regular Season Defensive ANY/A Stats Of Super Bowl Teams (1995-2014)

TEAM YEAR W/L CMP ATT CMP% YDS TD INT SK SKYDS SK% ANY/A
Cardinals 2008 L 323 517 62.5 3731 36 13 31 191 5.7 6.71
Patriots 2011 L 386 619 62.4 4977 26 23 40 274 6.1 6.36
Broncos 2013 L 357 613 58.2 4360 29 17 41 290 6.3 5.94
Giants 2011 W 361 589 61.3 4417 28 20 48 335 7.5 5.87
Patriots 2014 W 342 574 59.6 4119 24 16 40 282 6.5 5.86
Titans 1999 L 312 557 56.0 4000 26 16 54 305 8.8 5.72
Ravens 2012 W 335 557 60.1 3900 15 13 37 250 6.2 5.66
Giants 2007 W 306 523 58.5 3666 24 15 53 349 9.2 5.42
Falcons 1998 L 311 551 56.4 3806 22 19 38 275 6.5 5.29
Broncos 1998 W 345 596 57.9 3983 28 19 47 335 7.3 5.21
Seahawks 2005 L 331 571 58.0 3861 18 16 50 302 8.1 5.15
Seahawks 2014 L 313 507 61.7 3204 17 13 37 234 6.8 5.01
Colts 2006 W 266 415 64.1 2705 16 15 25 157 5.7 4.98
Colts 2009 L 372 583 63.8 3631 19 16 34 228 5.5 4.96
Patriots 1996 L 322 596 54.0 4055 17 23 33 252 5.2 4.94
Cowboys 1995 W 293 523 56.0 3491 17 19 36 219 6.4 4.93
Patriots 2004 W 315 538 58.6 3711 18 20 45 311 7.7 4.91
Raiders 2002 L 346 570 60.7 3787 21 21 43 261 7.0 4.90
49ers 2012 L 337 567 59.4 3473 19 14 38 270 6.3 4.88
Patriots 2001 W 299 546 54.8 3731 15 22 41 234 7.0 4.78
Saints 2009 W 330 574 57.5 3961 15 26 35 192 5.7 4.76
Steelers 1995 L 314 531 59.1 3512 24 22 42 272 7.3 4.76
Panthers 2003 L 299 522 57.3 3215 19 16 40 212 7.1 4.74
Steelers 2005 W 315 549 57.4 3480 15 15 47 312 7.9 4.69
Giants 2000 L 327 585 55.9 3669 23 20 44 279 7.0 4.69
Eagles 2004 L 334 550 60.7 3475 16 17 47 263 7.9 4.63
Patriots 2007 L 314 526 59.7 3381 23 19 47 340 8.2 4.62
Steelers 2010 L 363 593 61.2 3744 15 21 48 319 7.5 4.34
Broncos 1997 W 290 526 55.1 3166 20 18 44 298 7.7 4.31
Rams 2001 L 314 541 58.0 3348 16 21 45 251 7.7 4.22
Packers 2010 W 296 527 56.2 3440 16 24 47 333 8.2 4.09
Rams 1999 W 319 596 53.5 3867 19 29 57 358 8.7 3.96
Ravens 2000 W 295 528 55.9 3175 11 23 35 178 6.2 3.88
Bears 2006 L 328 581 56.5 3388 18 24 40 272 6.4 3.86
Packers 1997 L 288 563 51.2 3225 10 21 41 274 6.8 3.65
Patriots 2003 W 328 618 53.1 3485 11 29 41 253 6.2 3.26
Seahawks 2013 W 309 524 59.0 3050 16 28 44 298 7.7 3.19
Steelers 2008 W 301 533 56.5 2861 12 20 51 350 8.7 3.17
Packers 1996 W 283 544 52.0 2942 12 26 37 202 6.4 3.12
Buccaneers 2002 W 259 510 50.8 2785 10 31 43 295 7.8 2.34
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