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Tempo in the NFL

Gronkowski and Hernandez can rest after they score

Gronkowski and Hernandez can rest after they score.

It’s no secret that Bill Belichick’s Patriots ran an up-tempo offense last year: Tom Brady and crew ran 1,191 offensive plays in 2012, just eight shy of tying the record set by the Drew Bledsoe Patriots in 1994. With versatile players like Aaron Hernandez, Rob Gronkowski, and Danny Woodhead, New England was capable of running out of multiple formations without changing personnel and uses that flexibility to prevent defenses from substituting players based on down and distance. As a result, New England ran 31 more plays than any other team and 101 more plays than any other team that had a positive Game Scripts average. We would expect some teams with negative Game Scripts — especially when they have Matthew Stafford and Andrew Luck — to run a lot of plays late in games as they play catch up, which makes the Patriots’ offensive play numbers even more impressive.

New England ran an offensive play every 24.9 seconds, the highest rate in the league. The Saints were second at 26.1, which makes sense: New Orleans also has an MVP quarterback and versatile weapons at tight end (Jimmy Graham) and running back (Darren Sproles). You might be a little surprised to see Joe Flacco’s Ravens come in at #3 in play tempo, but the Ravens finished in the bottom five last year in time of possession. The Eagles will be running a high-octane offense under Chip Kelly in 2013, but Philadelphia already ranked fourth in tempo last year.

Here’s how to read the table below. In 2012, the Patriots ranked 1st in tempo (i.e., seconds per play). New England had an average Time of Possession of 30:56 and ran 1,191 offensive plays, an average of one play every 24.9 seconds. The Patriots Game Script average was 7.7, and New England ran 21.3% of their plays in the 1st quarter, 24.9% in the 2nd quarter, 27% in the 3rd quarter, 25.8% in the 4th quarter, and 0.9% in overtime.

RkYearTeamTOPPlaysSec/PlGame ScriptQ1Q2Q3Q4OT
12012New England Patriots30:56119124.97.721.3%24.9%27%25.8%0.9%
22012New Orleans Saints28:59106726.10.322.5%27.2%23.6%25.8%0.8%
32012Baltimore Ravens28:40104226.41.923.2%26.8%24.8%23.2%2%
42012Philadelphia Eagles29:44107926.5-5.323.9%26.3%20.9%28.5%0.3%
52012Detroit Lions32:05116026.6-2.623.3%25.3%19%30.2%2.2%
62012Indianapolis Colts30:46110926.6-1.118.6%29.6%23.4%27.5%0.8%
72012Jacksonville Jaguars28:0399427.1-4.524.8%25.4%18.9%28.8%2.1%
82012Cleveland Browns28:1499827.2-1.923.9%26%24.8%24.9%0.3%
92012Oakland Raiders29:30103227.4-6.720.8%26%23.9%29.2%0.1%
102012Denver Broncos31:16109027.5424.6%25.3%22.1%28%0%
112012Minnesota Vikings28:44100127.62.922.9%26.8%21.4%28.2%0.7%
122012Arizona Cardinals29:19101827.6-424.3%25.7%23.3%25.5%1.2%
132012Tennessee Titans27:4195727.8-4.223.1%26.8%21.2%27.6%1.3%
142012Green Bay Packers30:26104228322.8%25.8%25.1%26.2%0%
152012New York Jets30:26103428.3-322.1%28.7%21.8%25.6%1.7%
162012Miami Dolphins28:6098128.4-0.923.1%25.5%22.3%27.8%1.2%
172012Dallas Cowboys31:01104928.4-321.4%24.7%25.1%27.1%1.8%
182012St. Louis Rams29:47100228.5-2.318.8%26.6%22%29.3%3.3%
192012Kansas City Chiefs30:20101528.7-7.323.6%24.5%23.9%25.9%2%
202012Cincinnati Bengals30:26101628.83.523.4%27.2%22.6%26.8%0%
212012Tampa Bay Buccaneers30:19100828.90.122.5%21.6%26.3%28.8%0.8%
222012New York Giants29:1096828.91.924.4%29.2%21.9%24.5%0%
232012Carolina Panthers29:51988291.322.6%29.2%21.6%26.7%0%
242012Atlanta Falcons30:521021293.624.3%26.2%21.1%28.4%0%
252012Buffalo Bills30:1198329.5-2.122%27.7%22.3%27.2%0.8%
262012Houston Texans33:46109029.72.724.2%25.9%22.9%23.8%3.1%
272012Washington Redskins31:1299430.11.920.5%24.1%25.3%29.9%0.2%
282012Pittsburgh Steelers32:11102330.20.120.8%29.1%23%26.9%0.2%
292012Chicago Bears31:4899930.6322.8%25.9%24.5%26.7%0%
302012San Diego Chargers31:3798830.72.321.6%27.6%23.3%26.4%1.1%
312012Seattle Seahawks31:5097431.45.521.5%26%22.3%28.9%1.2%
322012San Francisco 49ers31:4696931.53.623.8%25.9%21.7%26.4%2.2%

It’s no surprise to see Seattle and San Francisco at the bottom of the table in seconds per play. Both teams had run-heavy offenses last year, were often playing with the lead, and had high-completion percentages when they did pass. Seeing the Chargers at #30 is a bit surprising, however. While San Diego was playing with the lead more often than you might expect, it sure felt like Philip Rivers and the offense was simply going through the motions. New head coach in Mike McCoy might instill a greater sense of urgency in the Chargers in 2013. McCoy’s old team, the Denver Broncos, ranked just 10th in tempo, which is what happens when you mix John Fox with Peyton Manning; it will be interesting to see whether the addition of Wes Welker will increase the Broncos’ offensive tempo in 2013.

I have time of possession data going back to 1991. Where does New England’s average of one play every 24.9 seconds rank over the last 22 years? Fourth, behind two Jim Kelly/K-Gun Buffalo Bills teams and a different Drew Bledsoe/Bill Parcells Patriots squad. The table below shows the tempo for each team going back to 1991.

RkYearTeamTOPPlaysPl/SecGame Script
11991Buffalo Bills26:15105623.94.5
21995New England Patriots29:45118724.1-2.9
31993Buffalo Bills27:46107824.71.8
42012New England Patriots30:56119124.97.7
51992Buffalo Bills28:161087253.5
62009Seattle Seahawks27:31104525.3-4.3
71999Chicago Bears29:44111825.5-2.7
81995Buffalo Bills28:10105925.51.5
92011New England Patriots28:47108225.54.3
102005Miami Dolphins27:25102625.7-2.2
111994New England Patriots32:16119925.8-0.6
121996San Diego Chargers27:35102225.9-0.1
131996Buffalo Bills29:34109425.90.6
141996Baltimore Ravens27:46102426-1.9
152012New Orleans Saints28:59106726.10.3
162000Cincinnati Bengals27:13100126.1-6.1
171999Arizona Cardinals27:1099926.1-5.6
181999Cleveland Browns23:3886526.2-6.6
191996New York Jets29:26107726.2-3.5
202002Detroit Lions26:0895526.3-3.7
212002Cincinnati Bengals28:54105426.3-6.6
222001Baltimore Ravens29:39108026.40.3
232009Kansas City Chiefs27:59101926.4-5
242010Indianapolis Colts29:55108826.42.3
252012Baltimore Ravens28:40104226.41.9
262007Chicago Bears28:29103526.40.4
271994Buffalo Bills29:21106626.41.6
282012Philadelphia Eagles29:44107926.5-5.3
291997Arizona Cardinals29:38107526.5-2.7
302011Indianapolis Colts26:1395126.5-7.2
312003New York Giants28:53104726.5-4.7
322010Denver Broncos28:09101826.5-4.1
332012Detroit Lions32:05116026.6-2.6
341994Cincinnati Bengals27:2599026.6-5.3
352000Kansas City Chiefs27:4199926.6-1.7
362004Miami Dolphins28:20102226.6-2.4
372012Indianapolis Colts30:46110926.6-1.1
381996Detroit Lions27:0697626.7-2.4
392001Cincinnati Bengals29:46107126.7-3.5
401998Washington Redskins28:34102726.7-3
412011St. Louis Rams28:11101326.7-6.4
421996Arizona Cardinals29:14105026.7-4.2
432001Detroit Lions28:34102626.7-6
441998Oakland Raiders28:51103526.8-3
451997Cincinnati Bengals27:56100226.80
461997Detroit Lions28:40102826.8-0.9
471996New England Patriots30:16108526.82.9
481995Cincinnati Bengals27:1297526.8-1.3
491997Baltimore Ravens29:06104326.8-1.2
501998New York Giants28:21101626.8-0.4
512009Detroit Lions28:57103726.8-6.3
521994Washington Redskins27:1297426.8-3.1
531995Seattle Seahawks28:51103326.8-1.3
542005Philadelphia Eagles28:41102726.8-3.7
551998Arizona Cardinals29:23105226.8-1.4
561993New England Patriots30:30109126.8-1.9
571997Buffalo Bills28:22101426.9-5.6
582010Detroit Lions29:48106426.9-0.2
591997Oakland Raiders26:3694727-2.1
602002Seattle Seahawks29:32105027-0.5
612004Seattle Seahawks29:061034270.5
621995Detroit Lions28:501024274.5
632008Denver Broncos28:44101927.1-1.3
642005Oakland Raiders28:0799727.1-3.1
652012Jacksonville Jaguars28:0399427.1-4.5
662009Indianapolis Colts27:4098027.13.6
671993Indianapolis Colts27:5598827.1-7.4
681993Miami Dolphins29:07103027.10.5
692012Cleveland Browns28:1499827.2-1.9
702011Seattle Seahawks28:23100327.2-0.4
711994Denver Broncos31:29111227.2-2.1
722003Seattle Seahawks28:48101727.24.5
732010Arizona Cardinals26:2393127.2-4.8
742006Green Bay Packers30:45108527.2-0.9
752011Tennessee Titans27:5498427.20.2
761995San Diego Chargers29:48105127.2-1.6
771995Washington Redskins29:07102627.2-1.2
782007Seattle Seahawks29:59105627.33.1
792000New York Jets30:33107527.3-1.1
801994Houston Oilers29:27103627.3-4.3
811995Denver Broncos30:09106027.32.6
821993San Diego Chargers29:52105027.3-0.1
831999Green Bay Packers29:13102727.30.2
841994Seattle Seahawks28:58101827.3-0.9
852000New England Patriots29:31103727.3-0.8
861997Philadelphia Eagles31:46111627.3-2.5
872000Arizona Cardinals26:3293227.3-9.2
881998Indianapolis Colts27:5898227.3-2.5
892010Carolina Panthers27:2496227.3-6.7
902002Washington Redskins29:36103927.3-1.5
912011Detroit Lions30:09105827.40.7
922002New England Patriots29:23103127.40.4
932003Oakland Raiders28:0898727.4-3.1
941994Kansas City Chiefs31:18109827.41.2
951999New York Giants30:39107527.4-2.6
962001New Orleans Saints29:24103127.4-4
972006Seattle Seahawks29:48104527.40.6
982011Minnesota Vikings28:43100727.4-2.8
992004Oakland Raiders26:4793927.4-3
1002009Atlanta Falcons29:54104827.41.1
1011999Baltimore Ravens29:29103327.42
1022004San Francisco 49ers29:18102627.4-5.6
1032011Cleveland Browns29:15102427.4-3.9
1042010Seattle Seahawks27:3396427.4-4.4
1052012Oakland Raiders29:30103227.4-6.7
1062010Houston Texans29:26102927.5-2.5
1071999New England Patriots29:13102127.5-0.5
1082011New Orleans Saints31:59111727.55.6
1091997San Diego Chargers29:22102527.5-4.8
1102012Denver Broncos31:16109027.54
1112011New York Giants29:30102827.5-1
1122000Chicago Bears28:3099327.6-3.7
1132010Tennessee Titans26:0290727.6-0.2
1141993Seattle Seahawks29:15101927.6-1.3
1152012Minnesota Vikings28:44100127.62.9
1162001Carolina Panthers27:4296527.6-4.6
1171999Seattle Seahawks27:5397127.61.9
1182007Detroit Lions27:4396527.6-3.4
1191998New England Patriots28:4299927.6-0.2
1201996Seattle Seahawks27:5997427.6-1.8
1212008Seattle Seahawks26:3892727.6-3.2
1222000Philadelphia Eagles29:14101727.63.1
1232006Detroit Lions27:4196327.6-3.2
1242006Cincinnati Bengals28:3699427.62.5
1252010Washington Redskins28:50100227.6-3.2
1262000Seattle Seahawks27:3195627.6-3.3
1272012Arizona Cardinals29:19101827.6-4
1282007New York Jets29:07101127.6-1.5
1292000Indianapolis Colts29:33102627.62.8
1301998Seattle Seahawks27:0594027.72.8
1312004New Orleans Saints28:3098927.7-4.1
1321999Philadelphia Eagles27:1994727.7-3.8
1331996St. Louis Rams28:2798627.7-2.6
1341999Cincinnati Bengals29:59103927.7-6.6
1351997New York Jets30:06104327.73.7
1362008Chicago Bears28:3699127.72.6
1371993Washington Redskins27:5896927.7-4
1382000San Diego Chargers28:2398227.7-3.8
1392001Jacksonville Jaguars28:0196927.80.9
1402011Arizona Cardinals28:4399327.8-3.5
1412001Buffalo Bills29:11100927.8-5.1
1422011Kansas City Chiefs29:32102127.8-4
1432012Tennessee Titans27:4195727.8-4.2
1442004Green Bay Packers30:28105327.8-0.4
1452009Philadelphia Eagles28:1497527.84.9
1462002Chicago Bears28:0496927.8-2.6
1472001Kansas City Chiefs29:24101527.8-1
1481999Washington Redskins29:52103127.83.7
1492006Tennessee Titans27:2394527.8-3.2
1502009Tennessee Titans28:4299027.8-3.1
1512003San Diego Chargers28:0997127.8-5.3
1521997Washington Redskins29:57103327.81.5
1531995Carolina Panthers29:51102927.8-1.9
1541999Kansas City Chiefs30:26104927.92.1
1551999San Diego Chargers30:09103927.9-2.4
1562006Miami Dolphins30:01103427.9-0.8
1571995Cleveland Browns28:3698527.9-2.6
1581998Philadelphia Eagles29:32101727.9-4.8
1591998St. Louis Rams28:5999827.9-4.8
1601995New Orleans Saints28:3598427.9-2.6
1612007Carolina Panthers28:4498927.9-4.1
1622002New Orleans Saints29:06100127.91.3
1632005Baltimore Ravens30:42105627.9-1.1
1641994Minnesota Vikings32:39112327.92.6
1652003Detroit Lions28:2197527.9-5.9
1662002Arizona Cardinals29:10100327.9-7.1
1671995Minnesota Vikings32:26111527.92.3
1682007Atlanta Falcons28:4398727.9-5
1692008New Orleans Saints30:28104727.91.1
1701997Minnesota Vikings29:46102228-1.5
1712003Washington Redskins28:5299128-2.6
1722001New York Giants29:57102828-1.3
1732009Baltimore Ravens29:331014282.6
1742005Arizona Cardinals31:20107528-3.7
1751997Carolina Panthers29:43101928-2.4
1761997New York Giants29:571027282.2
1782007Cincinnati Bengals29:241008280.1
1771996Washington Redskins27:60960282.2
1791998Cincinnati Bengals28:3597928-7.8
1802002Philadelphia Eagles31:201073285.9
1812012Green Bay Packers30:261042283
1821995St. Louis Rams31:10106728-2.5
1831998New Orleans Saints28:1396628-2.3
1842006Indianapolis Colts29:321011282.9
1851996Cincinnati Bengals31:47108828-0.5
1862004Cincinnati Bengals29:20100428-0.1
1872011Denver Broncos29:43101728.1-3.7
1882009St. Louis Rams29:1099828.1-7.5
1891998San Francisco 49ers32:09110028.14
1901995San Francisco 49ers31:55109228.17.7
1911991Tampa Bay Buccaneers26:5792228.1-6.2
1922007Indianapolis Colts29:49102028.16.3
1932000San Francisco 49ers29:57102428.1-1.3
1942005Seattle Seahawks29:50102028.16.6
1952006Tampa Bay Buccaneers28:2697228.1-4.8
1962009Denver Broncos30:12103228.1-0.4
1971998Carolina Panthers28:1796628.1-3
1981992Cincinnati Bengals27:2193428.1-3.4
1992001Arizona Cardinals27:5895528.1-1.1
2001999New Orleans Saints30:54105528.1-4.2
2011995Philadelphia Eagles30:46105028.10.3
2021995Chicago Bears30:11103028.10.5
2031998Jacksonville Jaguars28:5998928.13.4
2042000Jacksonville Jaguars31:40108028.12.1
2052008Kansas City Chiefs28:0495728.2-3.3
2061996Kansas City Chiefs30:39104528.2-0.5
2072007San Francisco 49ers27:0892528.2-6.3
2082006Philadelphia Eagles28:5998828.21.6
2091994Green Bay Packers31:04105928.24.2
2102002Baltimore Ravens27:4794728.2-0.8
2111994San Diego Chargers30:19103328.21.8
2121995New York Jets29:23100128.2-4.5
2132007St. Louis Rams30:08102628.2-2.2
2141993Cincinnati Bengals28:5898628.2-3.2
2152007New Orleans Saints31:09106028.20.4
2162007Cleveland Browns29:31100428.20.5
2171997St. Louis Rams29:47101328.2-1.4
2182004Chicago Bears28:2696728.2-4.3
2192005New England Patriots30:19103128.20.9
2202011Washington Redskins30:21103228.2-1.9
2211998San Diego Chargers31:16106328.2-4.8
2222006St. Louis Rams31:20106528.2-0.2
2231992Tampa Bay Buccaneers29:1599428.2-2.2
2242009Miami Dolphins32:01108828.3-0.6
2251994Philadelphia Eagles30:47104628.30.6
2262012New York Jets30:26103428.3-3
2272003Jacksonville Jaguars30:09102428.3-2.7
2281999Jacksonville Jaguars31:57108528.34
2291994Atlanta Falcons29:2099628.3-0.4
2302002Denver Broncos31:08105728.31.2
2312010St. Louis Rams31:01105328.30.2
2322005Green Bay Packers30:58105128.3-1.5
2332009Chicago Bears28:3797128.3-3.2
2341999Miami Dolphins31:34107128.3-0.9
2352011Oakland Raiders29:55101528.3-1.7
2361999Pittsburgh Steelers31:28106728.3-1
2371996Chicago Bears30:51104628.3-0.9
2382003Kansas City Chiefs29:35100328.35.1
2391992Indianapolis Colts28:3596928.3-4.3
2402011Baltimore Ravens30:35103628.34.1
2411998Kansas City Chiefs29:53101228.3-1.6
2422005New York Jets26:4790728.3-4.7
2432009Carolina Panthers30:13102328.41.1
2442007Philadelphia Eagles30:56104728.40.9
2452002Minnesota Vikings31:55108028.4-1.7
2462008Detroit Lions26:5991328.4-8.5
2472012Miami Dolphins28:6098128.4-0.9
2482008Indianapolis Colts28:3996928.41.5
2492012Dallas Cowboys31:01104928.4-3
2501995Oakland Raiders30:50104228.4-0.1
2512004Kansas City Chiefs32:14108928.41.5
2522008New England Patriots32:25109528.43.1
2532002Indianapolis Colts31:02104828.4-1.8
2542003Chicago Bears29:39100128.4-2.3
2551994Cleveland Browns28:4497028.44.3
2561995Pittsburgh Steelers32:53111028.41.6
2571991Cincinnati Bengals29:2699328.5-5
2582007Washington Redskins31:11105228.52.1
2591994Los Angeles Rams27:5994428.5-1.7
2602001Philadelphia Eagles28:5397428.53.9
2612006New Orleans Saints31:53107528.52
2621995New York Giants29:45100328.5-1.4
2632005New York Giants31:18105528.53.3
2641997Chicago Bears33:28112828.5-4.5
2652002Houston Texans28:0694728.5-4.6
2661999Minnesota Vikings29:3299528.51.2
2672006Chicago Bears30:56104228.55.2
2682005St. Louis Rams30:26102528.5-2.9
2691996Minnesota Vikings30:35103028.5-0.6
2701993Los Angeles Rams28:1895328.5-4.7
2712004Indianapolis Colts28:4596828.55.4
2721997Dallas Cowboys30:09101528.5-0.5
2731997New England Patriots28:3196028.54.1
2741999Denver Broncos31:17105328.50.4
2752010Miami Dolphins30:54104028.5-1.7
2762002Oakland Raiders31:46106928.55.6
2772012St. Louis Rams29:47100228.5-2.3
2782002Buffalo Bills31:20105428.5-1.4
2791998Minnesota Vikings29:58100828.58.6
2802004Detroit Lions28:1394928.5-1.8
2812006Oakland Raiders28:1394928.5-3.6
2822008Philadelphia Eagles31:24105628.54.5
2832000New York Giants31:39106428.61.9
2841995Jacksonville Jaguars28:3796228.6-4.8
2851997Seattle Seahawks31:13104928.6-2.2
2862009Cleveland Browns28:5497128.6-3.2
2871992Minnesota Vikings29:3799528.63.3
2882010Kansas City Chiefs31:39106328.61.6
2892008Cincinnati Bengals29:1898428.6-2.3
2902007Miami Dolphins29:2798928.6-6.9
2912001Indianapolis Colts30:32102528.6-1.1
2922005Atlanta Falcons30:25102128.60.8
2931998Green Bay Packers31:37106128.62.5
2942004Arizona Cardinals31:12104728.6-2.4
2952010New England Patriots29:2498628.67.4
2961991Pittsburgh Steelers27:1791528.6-3.2
2972000Denver Broncos33:15111528.64.8
2981993Houston Oilers31:48106628.64.5
2992001Minnesota Vikings29:1197828.6-3.5
3001997Green Bay Packers30:05100828.75.2
3011996New Orleans Saints27:3392328.7-4.7
3022003Cincinnati Bengals30:59103828.7-0.1
3032005Cleveland Browns27:6093828.7-2.3
3042010Cincinnati Bengals31:14104628.7-2.5
3052006New York Giants29:57100328.70.5
3062011Cincinnati Bengals30:19101528.7-0.6
3071993Philadelphia Eagles31:29105428.7-1.5
3082003Atlanta Falcons27:4793028.7-2
3092002Jacksonville Jaguars28:3995928.7-0.1
3102010Atlanta Falcons32:47109728.73.8
3112012Kansas City Chiefs30:20101528.7-7.3
3121993Pittsburgh Steelers32:15107928.7-0.7
3131997Jacksonville Jaguars29:5099828.73.6
3142009Tampa Bay Buccaneers28:4496128.7-6.4
3151999Detroit Lions29:1597828.71.3
3162007Baltimore Ravens31:10104228.7-3.9
3172008Cleveland Browns27:3392128.7-3.1
3182004Philadelphia Eagles28:4396028.74.8
3192009Washington Redskins29:0197028.7-3.6
3202002St. Louis Rams30:38102428.7-2.9
3212011New York Jets30:49103028.7-0.8
3221999Carolina Panthers29:2398228.72.4
3231996Philadelphia Eagles32:12107628.70.8
3242006New England Patriots31:35105528.74.6
3252000Buffalo Bills32:20108028.70
3262000Green Bay Packers31:05103828.71
3272012Cincinnati Bengals30:26101628.83.5
3281994Miami Dolphins32:18107828.80.4
3292011Jacksonville Jaguars30:02100228.8-3.5
3302002Dallas Cowboys28:2594828.8-4.2
3312009Oakland Raiders28:1894428.8-6.8
3322010Buffalo Bills28:3695428.8-5.1
3331999San Francisco 49ers30:21101228.8-4.8
3342003Philadelphia Eagles28:1994428.83.1
3351998Pittsburgh Steelers30:25101428.8-0.1
3362002New York Giants31:46105928.83.4
3371995Kansas City Chiefs31:46105928.83.3
3382007Kansas City Chiefs30:02100128.8-3.9
3392010New York Jets32:37108728.80.9
3402003San Francisco 49ers31:09103828.82.4
3411997Miami Dolphins30:51102828.80
3422003New Orleans Saints30:35101928.8-1
3432006Arizona Cardinals29:5999928.8-1.3
3441993Denver Broncos31:49106028.83.8
3452006Atlanta Falcons30:01100028.8-1.6
3462005New Orleans Saints30:32101728.8-4.9
3472010Oakland Raiders31:12103928.81.5
3481997New Orleans Saints27:4792528.8-4.2
3492000Detroit Lions30:10100428.8-1.3
3501996Carolina Panthers30:48102528.83
3512009Jacksonville Jaguars30:21101028.8-3.2
3521995Tampa Bay Buccaneers28:5396128.9-3.6
3531998Chicago Bears29:2697928.9-2.5
3542005Houston Texans28:4195428.9-3.7
3552010New Orleans Saints32:05106728.93.6
3561996Pittsburgh Steelers30:08100228.93.1
3572008St. Louis Rams29:3298228.9-6.7
3581997Kansas City Chiefs31:42105428.93.6
3592012Tampa Bay Buccaneers30:19100828.90.1
3602001Chicago Bears30:41102028.92.5
3611994New Orleans Saints29:0496628.9-2.4
3622000Carolina Panthers30:0299828.91.3
3631996New York Giants30:06100028.9-1.5
3642011Atlanta Falcons32:18107328.93.9
3652004Baltimore Ravens29:5099128.92
3662010Philadelphia Eagles31:15103828.92.9
3671994Detroit Lions26:5089128.9-1.2
3682008Tennessee Titans29:1997328.93.3
3692012New York Giants29:1096828.91.9
3702007New York Giants31:22104128.9-0.6
3712011Tampa Bay Buccaneers29:0796628.9-8.7
3722004Tennessee Titans31:461053290.1
3732004Atlanta Falcons29:14969291.3
3741993Tampa Bay Buccaneers28:3894929-5.1
3752002San Francisco 49ers32:391082293.4
3762007Arizona Cardinals30:40101629-0.7
3772004Houston Texans30:13100129-2.6
3781993San Francisco 49ers30:521022296.5
3792003Indianapolis Colts31:271041292.2
3802000New Orleans Saints31:271041290.6
3812003Pittsburgh Steelers30:49102029-0.5
3822012Carolina Panthers29:51988291.3
3831993Minnesota Vikings30:28100829-0.8
3842012Atlanta Falcons30:521021293.6
3852002San Diego Chargers31:05102829-1.2
3862002Kansas City Chiefs29:11965292.1
3872006Pittsburgh Steelers31:291041291.3
3882008Arizona Cardinals30:1199829-1.1
3891995Green Bay Packers31:201036294.2
3902011Philadelphia Eagles31:201036293.7
3911996Green Bay Packers31:511053296.5
3922000Cleveland Browns25:5985929-7
3932001San Diego Chargers30:34101029.10.7
3942004Carolina Panthers30:0099129.10
3951998Detroit Lions29:3197529.1-1.8
3962001Oakland Raiders31:11103029.13.8
3972011Carolina Panthers30:1699929.11.4
3982004New England Patriots31:22103529.16.1
3991998Baltimore Ravens28:0492629.1-3.4
4002003New England Patriots31:35104229.13.1
4012007Denver Broncos29:3597629.1-1.5
4022002Cleveland Browns30:0699329.1-0.3
4031991San Diego Chargers30:37101029.1-2.3
4042005Cincinnati Bengals30:52101829.12.9
4052009Arizona Cardinals29:5298529.11.9
4062004New York Giants28:5295129.1-1.3
4072010Dallas Cowboys31:25103529.1-2.2
4081991Green Bay Packers28:3294029.1-0.1
4092005Kansas City Chiefs32:09105929.13.4
4102005Indianapolis Colts30:22100029.26.1
4111993Kansas City Chiefs29:2897029.22.2
4122006Kansas City Chiefs30:30100429.20.3
4131991Houston Oilers31:03102229.22.5
4141996Oakland Raiders31:25103429.21.6
4152003Buffalo Bills29:4798029.2-1.3
4161991Miami Dolphins29:2997029.2-0.3
4172003New York Jets28:2793629.2-2.3
4182002Green Bay Packers32:10105829.21.5
4192005Dallas Cowboys32:34107129.2-0.5
4202011Buffalo Bills30:1199229.2-2.1
4212000Washington Redskins31:35103829.20.3
4222005Minnesota Vikings28:4694529.2-1.1
4232003St. Louis Rams32:06105429.23.3
4242010San Francisco 49ers28:4794529.2-0.6
4252000St. Louis Rams30:54101429.32.6
4261997Denver Broncos32:33106829.37.2
4271996Denver Broncos33:17109229.36
4282004Dallas Cowboys30:37100429.3-1.7
4291995Miami Dolphins31:32103429.32
4302004Denver Broncos32:38107029.32.4
4311994San Francisco 49ers31:38103729.36.9
4321996San Francisco 49ers31:55104629.35.1
4331993New Orleans Saints28:3293529.3-2
4341996Jacksonville Jaguars31:41103829.3-1.1
4352003Baltimore Ravens30:48100929.31.1
4362001Tampa Bay Buccaneers31:56104629.32.2
4372001Cleveland Browns28:3193429.3-0.1
4381994New York Jets30:0198329.3-1.5
4391999Oakland Raiders32:17105729.32.5
4402005Tennessee Titans31:13102229.3-3.9
4411995Atlanta Falcons30:0298329.31.2
4422002Carolina Panthers29:2096029.3-0.7
4432003Arizona Cardinals29:5998129.3-8.1
4442002Pittsburgh Steelers33:32109729.32.9
4451992Los Angeles Raiders29:0895329.3-0.5
4462006Dallas Cowboys31:02101529.40.8
4472010Cleveland Browns28:2192729.4-0.3
4482009Houston Texans31:54104329.42.1
4492004Washington Redskins31:19102329.4-0.2
4502005Washington Redskins31:45103729.42
4512009New Orleans Saints31:36103229.43
4522006Carolina Panthers30:2799429.41
4532001Denver Broncos31:41103429.40.5
4542006New York Jets31:03101329.41.3
4552001Seattle Seahawks30:0398029.4-0.4
4562007Houston Texans29:4196829.4-0.9
4571991Detroit Lions28:4693829.4-0.8
4582008Dallas Cowboys30:0297929.5-0.1
4592007San Diego Chargers30:0498029.55.7
4601998New York Jets32:26105729.54.1
4612007Minnesota Vikings29:3596429.51.6
4621993Green Bay Packers30:53100629.53.9
4632012Buffalo Bills30:1198329.5-2.1
4641994Los Angeles Raiders29:4096629.5-0.2
4652008San Francisco 49ers29:3196129.5-0.9
4662003Cleveland Browns29:3196129.5-2.4
4671991Indianapolis Colts28:2192329.5-7.8
4682008Washington Redskins31:31102629.5-1.9
4692006Houston Texans29:2195529.5-3.4
4702007New England Patriots32:31105829.510.3
4712004Minnesota Vikings30:1798529.5-0.8
4722007Tennessee Titans31:53103729.5-0.3
4732009New England Patriots33:05107629.56.6
4741996Atlanta Falcons29:5297129.5-6.1
4752004Cleveland Browns28:2092129.5-4.2
4762001Tennessee Titans31:34102629.5-0.3
4772007Green Bay Packers30:1998529.54.3
4782010Baltimore Ravens31:20101829.53.9
4791999New York Jets30:4599929.5-0.2
4801992Denver Broncos28:3492829.6-3
4812005Chicago Bears28:5293729.61.9
4821999Buffalo Bills32:38105929.62.1
4832008Atlanta Falcons31:10101129.64.4
4841992Miami Dolphins30:4699829.62.2
4852009San Diego Chargers29:5897229.64.6
4861997Pittsburgh Steelers32:38105829.60.3
4872008Tampa Bay Buccaneers32:14104529.60.9
4882011Green Bay Packers30:2998829.67.4
4892000Minnesota Vikings29:3495829.60.5
4901998Denver Broncos32:08104129.68.1
4912008Minnesota Vikings31:19101429.61.6
4922011Dallas Cowboys31:25101729.71.1
4931991New England Patriots30:1197729.7-3.5
4942000Dallas Cowboys29:0894329.7-1.8
4952006Washington Redskins30:1597929.7-2.4
4962005San Diego Chargers31:35102229.73.6
4972004Buffalo Bills30:2198229.72.9
4982011Miami Dolphins30:3799029.72.6
4992004Jacksonville Jaguars30:3999129.7-1.2
5002003Carolina Panthers31:11100829.71.5
5011999Atlanta Falcons28:4993129.7-3.5
5022009Buffalo Bills28:1291129.7-0.7
5032005Detroit Lions29:3495529.7-3.6
5042003Dallas Cowboys32:53106229.72.1
5052011San Diego Chargers32:27104829.71.2
5062010Minnesota Vikings30:2598229.7-2.3
5072012Houston Texans33:46109029.72.7
5081991Kansas City Chiefs31:39102129.80.8
5091995Houston Oilers32:26104629.80.3
5101991Minnesota Vikings30:0396929.80.9
5112008Oakland Raiders28:3191929.8-4.8
5121991Los Angeles Rams29:0393629.8-5.1
5131992Chicago Bears29:3195129.8-0.8
5141992New England Patriots28:5092829.8-4.5
5152001New England Patriots31:07100129.83.9
5162006Minnesota Vikings31:52102529.8-2.5
5172003Green Bay Packers31:0499929.94.9
5182011Chicago Bears30:2597829.91.9
5191995Dallas Cowboys31:20100729.95.2
5202001San Francisco 49ers32:24104129.92.3
5211996Miami Dolphins31:08100029.90.6
5221993Atlanta Falcons31:23100829.9-2.8
5232006San Diego Chargers31:39101629.94.5
5242003Minnesota Vikings32:52105529.92.3
5251993Cleveland Browns29:3294829.9-0.6
5262009New York Giants31:41101729.9-0.7
5272002Miami Dolphins31:28101029.94.5
5281999Tennessee Titans31:30101129.94
5292009Minnesota Vikings32:51105429.96
5301998Tennessee Oilers31:40101629.91.1
5312009New York Jets32:07103029.93.5
5322000Tampa Bay Buccaneers29:5896129.95
5331992Los Angeles Rams28:3191430-5
5342010Jacksonville Jaguars31:48101930-2.2
5352005Jacksonville Jaguars31:521021301.6
5362008Pittsburgh Steelers31:411015302.6
5371991Denver Broncos31:361012301.8
5382003Tampa Bay Buccaneers32:211036300.2
5392011Houston Texans32:401046305.4
5402007Tampa Bay Buccaneers30:27975303.8
5411994Pittsburgh Steelers32:441048301.8
5422008Green Bay Packers31:371012300.8
5432006Denver Broncos30:24973301.3
5441999Dallas Cowboys31:601024304.6
5451993Los Angeles Raiders30:34978301.3
5462005Buffalo Bills29:0493030-0.2
5472006Buffalo Bills28:0489830-0.4
5482008San Diego Chargers28:53924301.3
5492003Miami Dolphins30:17968302.4
5501993New York Jets32:161031302.3
5511991Cleveland Browns29:14934301.5
5522003Houston Texans28:0389630.1-3.2
5532004Tampa Bay Buccaneers29:4394930.1-0.3
5542000Pittsburgh Steelers31:36100930.11.1
5551993Chicago Bears28:3691330.10.1
5562008Jacksonville Jaguars31:29100530.1-2.4
5571992Washington Redskins31:0499130.12.6
5582007Dallas Cowboys30:3497530.12.5
5592001Green Bay Packers29:3294230.13.7
5601991Phoenix Cardinals29:0292630.1-5
5611992New York Giants29:2293630.1-2.4
5621996Indianapolis Colts31:23100030.1-1.2
5632012Washington Redskins31:1299430.11.9
5642007Buffalo Bills28:5191930.1-2.2
5651998Buffalo Bills32:26103330.14.1
5661999Indianapolis Colts30:4597930.24.1
5672008Carolina Panthers29:2893830.22.5
5682002Tampa Bay Buccaneers32:07102230.22.8
5691992Atlanta Falcons28:3691030.2-3.1
5702010New York Giants32:32103530.22.7
5711998Miami Dolphins32:19102830.22.2
5721994New York Giants30:4197630.20.3
5732007Jacksonville Jaguars32:08102230.23.2
5742007Oakland Raiders31:27100030.2-4.3
5752008Buffalo Bills30:0495630.2-2.2
5761995Arizona Cardinals31:31100230.2-5.3
5772004St. Louis Rams31:48101130.2-2.1
5782012Pittsburgh Steelers32:11102330.20.1
5791993Dallas Cowboys31:1799430.25.3
5801996Tampa Bay Buccaneers31:2199630.2-2.2
5811991Dallas Cowboys30:3497130.21.7
5821992San Diego Chargers32:03101830.22.6
5832001New York Jets29:1392830.21
5842008Houston Texans32:05101930.20.1
5851991Atlanta Falcons29:3694030.22.3
5862000Baltimore Ravens33:19105830.25.4
5872000Oakland Raiders32:13102330.25.3
5882002New York Jets28:5391730.21.6
5891994Dallas Cowboys32:04101830.26.2
5901994Tampa Bay Buccaneers29:5995130.3-4.8
5911992Seattle Seahawks29:4894530.3-5
5922010Chicago Bears29:3193630.30.9
5932008Baltimore Ravens33:22105830.33.3
5942006Cleveland Browns29:3593830.3-4
5952001Miami Dolphins30:0495330.30
5962001Washington Redskins30:1996030.3-2.1
5972006San Francisco 49ers29:0091830.3-5.5
5981994Chicago Bears32:05101430.4-2.5
5992009Dallas Cowboys32:17102030.43.6
6001994Arizona Cardinals33:18105230.4-2.8
6011996Dallas Cowboys31:0598130.41
6022005Tampa Bay Buccaneers31:1398530.40.6
6032009San Francisco 49ers29:4693930.40.3
6042008New York Jets31:0698130.42.8
6052004San Diego Chargers31:3599630.45.1
6062005Denver Broncos32:40103030.46.1
6072009Green Bay Packers33:03104230.46.3
6081994Indianapolis Colts28:3189930.52.1
6091993Detroit Lions29:4793730.5-0.5
6102001St. Louis Rams32:01100730.58.9
6112010San Diego Chargers33:03103930.52.3
6121997Indianapolis Colts32:56103530.5-2.4
6132000Atlanta Falcons29:2692530.5-6
6142012Chicago Bears31:4899930.63
6151992New York Jets30:3095830.6-2.6
6161993New York Giants32:40102430.63.6
6171993Phoenix Cardinals32:08100730.61
6182005San Francisco 49ers27:3786530.6-5.6
6192005Carolina Panthers30:4896430.73.4
6201998Tampa Bay Buccaneers31:58100030.70.1
6212001Dallas Cowboys30:2695230.7-3.5
6221997Tennessee Oilers31:4599330.71.1
6231992Philadelphia Eagles32:17100930.72.4
6242012San Diego Chargers31:3798830.72.3
6251991San Francisco 49ers31:3498630.74.5
6262010Green Bay Packers32:01100030.75.1
6271999St. Louis Rams31:5099430.79.1
6282011Pittsburgh Steelers32:33101530.84
6292002Tennessee Titans33:06103230.81.9
6302002Atlanta Falcons33:18103830.83.3
6311998Dallas Cowboys31:5099230.82.4
6321997Tampa Bay Buccaneers29:2291530.81.8
6332001Atlanta Falcons31:4398830.8-1
6341991Seattle Seahawks29:4092430.80
6351991Washington Redskins31:5999630.86.8
6361997Atlanta Falcons31:2998030.8-0.8
6372009Cincinnati Bengals32:29101130.80.8
6382008Miami Dolphins31:0396530.91.3
6392006Baltimore Ravens32:481017314.3
6402010Tampa Bay Buccaneers30:4995531-1
6412011San Francisco 49ers32:0899331.14.7
6422009Pittsburgh Steelers32:52101431.13.2
6431992Pittsburgh Steelers32:0598931.11.7
6442003Tennessee Titans32:52101331.14.9
6451999Tampa Bay Buccaneers32:1199131.2-0.4
6461997San Francisco 49ers32:2899931.25.4
6471992San Francisco 49ers32:1999431.26.1
6482003Denver Broncos34:04104731.24.4
6491992Houston Oilers31:1295831.33.3
6502006Jacksonville Jaguars32:1498931.32.9
6511991New York Jets34:32105931.32.4
6522001Pittsburgh Steelers34:44106531.34.4
6532004New York Jets32:2999631.32.2
6542010Pittsburgh Steelers32:2499331.34.9
6552008New York Giants33:19102131.34.4
6562012Seattle Seahawks31:5097431.45.5
6571992Phoenix Cardinals31:0194831.4-2.8
6582000Tennessee Titans33:54103631.45.2
6591992Kansas City Chiefs29:4190731.42
6602000Miami Dolphins30:5694531.44
6611992Detroit Lions27:3684331.4-1.6
6622012San Francisco 49ers31:4696931.53.6
6631991Chicago Bears33:40102531.50.5
6641991Los Angeles Raiders29:2789331.71.3
6652005Pittsburgh Steelers31:4496031.75.1
6661992Green Bay Packers32:5199031.9-0.5
6671996Houston Oilers32:1797231.92.6
6681991Philadelphia Eagles33:251004320.4
6691995Indianapolis Colts32:03961320.5
6701998Atlanta Falcons33:1099332.14.1
6711991New York Giants31:4795132.12.5
6721992Dallas Cowboys33:57101432.17.3
6732007Pittsburgh Steelers33:29100032.12.8
6742004Pittsburgh Steelers33:60101232.34.4
6751991New Orleans Saints34:26100832.84.9
6761992Cleveland Browns30:1388332.90
6771992New Orleans Saints31:1089533.44.6

At the bottom of the list were a couple of Saints teams, highlighted by the ’92 version of the Dome Patrol. That team went 12-4, ranked 1st in points allowed, passing yards allowed, and net yards per pass allowed, and sent four linebackers to the Pro Bowl. But the team’s offensive philosophy was to milk the clock, as the Saints ran just 895 plays that year.

{ 19 comments }
  • Shattenjager May 13, 2013, 11:55 am

    Adam Gase, the Denver offensive coordinator, has already been saying that he wants to up the tempo this season. He actually was saying that even before the Welker acquisition, though I’m sure adding Welker will help him realize that goal (assuming it’s not just talk, which is always possible).

    Reply
    • Chase Stuart May 13, 2013, 1:10 pm

      Yep – the less Foxy the offense, the better.

      Reply
      • Shattenjager May 13, 2013, 2:38 pm

        Definitely. Now if only he didn’t get to make 4th down and two-point decisions . . .

        Reply
      • Topher Doll May 13, 2013, 2:56 pm

        Was the 2012 Broncos tempo actually slower than Peyton’s time with Colts or were they similar? It’s not really like the Broncos ran a slow offense last season, a big part of it may be that the Broncos played with the lead for so long, (3rd highest) may factor into that as well.

        Fox is a very conservative coach, but I doubt he had much say in that offense once the game started, Peyton pretty much runs that show.

        Reply
      • Doug May 13, 2013, 4:26 pm

        Cheers to that sentiment

        Reply
  • Topher Doll May 13, 2013, 2:54 pm

    I enjoyed this but I wonder how useful it is. I wonder if we went back a significant number of years (5 or more) and we compared to tempo to record or points per game what the correlation would be. I really don’t think up tempo means more wins if we examine a large sample size, but I haven’t done the numbers yet.

    Reply
  • Richie May 13, 2013, 6:12 pm

    The idea of incomplete passes helping the tempo got me to wondering if that kind of tempo has any relevance.

    Generally, tempo tends to refer to an offense running play after play, which limits the defense’s ability to substitute and/or tires the defensive players out. For instance, a team that has back-to-back running plays that gain 10 yards each might have 40 seconds of clock time between them; but a team with a couple of short completions where the receiver runs out of bounds might only have 5 or 10 seconds between them. But those passes might have 40 or 50 seconds of real time between them due to clock stoppage.

    It would be cool, though I assume impossible, to see a tempo based on “real time”.

    Reply
    • Topher Doll May 13, 2013, 7:11 pm

      That’s a good point, and that leads to other thoughts, especially for certain offenses that rely on big play potential from their QB’s but who can also throw a lot of incompletions. A team could have a very high tempo score because they have an inaccurate QB who can make an occasional big play. The increased number of incompletions keeps the time per play down and the big plays helps compensate. We could apply this to teams lead by a QB like Warren Moon who could make those huge plays but also was known to be streaky in terms of accuracy. In more recent memory the Tim Tebow 2011 Broncos might also apply since they had also had a very high plays per minute (1017 plays and a 29:04 TOP).

      It is interesting to see some of the things that might go into affecting this metric.

      Reply
      • Chase Stuart May 13, 2013, 8:26 pm

        I think last year’s Ravens would meet that definition, too.

        I’m not sure about the old Oilers teams, though. Moon was very accurate and Houston had more of a horizontal passing attack.

        Reply
    • Chase Stuart May 13, 2013, 8:24 pm

      Yeah, it would be cool to see “real-time tempo” but that’s definitely a pipe dream for now. Easy to track if you have the resources and desire, but I don’t know if anyone on the planet meets those two criteria.

      Reply
  • Mike May 16, 2013, 2:49 pm

    9 of your top 10 tempo teams were also in the top 10 in the league as far as total incompletions . I don’t think it’s a coincidence. I don’t think this is a very valid statistic.

    Reply
    • Chase Stuart May 16, 2013, 3:26 pm

      It is definitely not a coincidence that teams that throw incomplete passes tend to have no time come off the clock between plays.

      Reply
  • Nick Bradley May 16, 2013, 5:07 pm

    This is a terrible statistic – it doesn’t tell you anything about tempo — it basically tells you about how often the clock stops due to an incomplete pass or an out of bounds play. Its silly.

    A true measure of tempo is average time remaining on the play clock per snap.

    Reply
  • Dan May 17, 2013, 8:13 am

    Chase,

    Read your blog all the time since you generally come up with interesting and robust analysis, but I have to agree this isn’t your finest.

    I think the right measure here isn’t “game time” or “real time” or “total plays” though; to do this analysis you would need to see how much play clock a team used on average which is likely not available. This would control for incompletions and length of play (which is clearly a secondary effect but would have an impact on your measure of tempo).

    Valiant effort though!

    Reply

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