Scoring a Game: Why the Patriots Win!

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Watching the Super Bowl this year was one of the most amazing games, in any sport, I have seen in many years.  Yes, the Patriots won, much to my chagrin, however anyone that appreciates sports and competition would have to bow their heads at the incredible feat the Patriots put on in coming from behind to win 34-28.  After the win, we were at our favorite pub reviewing the day’s activities and the scoreboard results.  What struck me as odd when seeing the results posted, is that it did not reflect the nature and brilliance of what just happened.  In fact, anyone who missed the game and relied on seeing the results posted would most likely have thought it was close, but nothing particularly special.  What I really would like to have showed them was a scorecard that clearly showed the epic nature of the game. Something like a balanced scorecard for business clients.

This got me thinking about the results we choose to show when we build analytics for companies and the metrics we show for a balanced scorecard.  Unlike the sports scorecard, we have evolved our balanced scorecard to show a much different understanding of current and future states.  I wondered, how can we take this knowledge and apply it to the sports arena?  Why do we have to look at the same visual descriptions of the game, when in fact it does not “Tell the Story”?

Balanced Scorecard.png According to the Balanced Scorecard Institute, there are four pillars to address when developing a visual that gives the reader a good attack plan and marching orders to act on them. Its main purpose is for the reader to interpret the results to clarify their vision and strategy.  This leads to an innovative action plan to work with your customer that you would not have otherwise thought of. Those pillars are:

  1. The Learning and Growth Perspective: Corporate culture and self-improvement. What areas can we highlight where this has made a significant impact on the results of the game?  Who are the needle movers on the field and why? Do we have a Learning and Growth Meter for the team?
  2. The Business Perspective: How is the business running? Why are the Patriots so successful off the field?  Do we have a metric we can look at that gives us a “definition of the team as a Business”? 
  3. The Customer Perspective: Customer focus and satisfaction.  Is there a metric that we can look at that shows us why the Patriots never lose at home? Does the fan base have something to do with that?  What do the customers (fans) bring to the game that influences the results?  Do they cheer louder than at other stadiums?  Do the Patriots feel more inspired by Boston fans?
  4. The Financial Perspective:   Why do the Patriot’s continue to attract top talent and pay them less than other teams?  What factor does money have on the team?  Does the customer perspective influence the financial perspective in such a way that money funnels in from other sources, like sponsorship.  If so, is this what makes them greater than the other team and thus more top players go to New England, salaries are lower, and more money is available under the salary cap?

These pillars can help us understand why the game was something of a legend, that will go down in history and the epic comeback might begin to make sense.  How did they do it?  Along with these elements, a balanced scorecard for this game could have included the amazing game day statistics to help us put it visually in perspective. 

(Excerpt: 15 crazy statistics from the Super Bowl (Jeva Lange):

  1. The Patriots came back from a record 25-point deficit to win the Super Bowl. Before that, the largest comeback in Super Bowl history was 10 points. [ESPN]
  2. When the Patriots were down 28-3, they had less than a 1 percent chance of winning. [FiveThirtyEight]
  3. Atlanta had a 19-point lead (28-9) heading into the fourth quarter. In the history of the NFL playoffs before Super Bowl 51, 93 teams had a lead of 19 or more points heading into the fourth quarter. Their record was 93-0. [CBS]
  4. The Patriots ran 93 offensive plays. The Falcons ran a mere 46. [The Chicago Tribune]
  5. At halftime, the Falcons had more points (21) than plays (19). [The Philadelphia Inquirer]
  6. In the first half, the Falcons averaged 9.6 yards per rush. In the second half, they averaged 2.3. [CBS]
  7. A full one hour and 8 minutes elapsed between the Atlanta offense last touching the ball in the second quarter and their first possession of the third quarter. [The Washington Post]
  8. The Patriots and Falcons combined to have the most first downs in a single Super Bowl: 54. The Patriots had the most in a single Super Bowl by one team, with 37. [Fox]
  9. Since 2001, eight regular season MVPs have made it to the Super Bowl, including Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan. All eight have lost. [ESPN]
  10. The Patriots' James White broke a Super Bowl record with 14 receptions. [The Washington Post]
  11. White also scored the most points in a single Super Bowl: 20. (That's three touchdowns and a two-point conversion.) [Fox]
  12. Atlanta's Grady Jarrett became the only player ever to sack Tom Brady three times in a single Super Bowl. [ESPN]
  13. Tom Brady set a new Super Bowl record with 466 passing yards. [CBS]
  14. Brady also had the most passing attempts in a single Super Bowl, with 62, and completions, with 43. [Fox]
  15. Brady now has more Super Bowl rings (five) than any other quarterback, and the most Super Bowl MVPs (four) of any NFL player in history. [The Huffington Post]

So taking into account the four pillars and some crazy statistics, we might come up with a visual like this.  (Thanks to Kelly Schlittler for the graphic!).New Balanced Scorecard.png  I am not saying this is for everyone, but it would be great to see sports teams (if you are a fan like me) show us a balanced score card the same way we do for our business clients. According to Gartner, 50% of all US firms are adopting the balanced scorecard approach to give managers and executives a more 'balanced' view of organizational performance.  Anyone who knows sports will tell you that a sports team is an organization and can benefit from the same kinds of things as a manufacturing or retail chain company. 

Make your balanced scorecard the centerpiece of who you are.

DATUM’s Information Value Management® Data Quality Homepage takes all the information available to an organization and turns that information into visuals that make sense around the businesses goals, objectives and rules.  It is able to capture:

  • Scores generated from the data quality tool against a rule defined in the product
  • Aggregate scores for sets of rules
  • Trending of scores against set of rules
  • Gives insight into what is really going on with the implementation of the rules

Data Quality Score.png


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