An Independent Study of Mike Vick and Penalties

As Kevin Negandhi might say, a lot has been made about Michael Vick getting the opposite of special treatment when it comes to getting roughed up because he happens to be able to run forward more often than other quarterbacks. So I wanted to see if I could come up with a high level way of seeing if this is true. After watching Vick get shellacked by the Falcons a few weeks ago, I started making some graphs, because graphs are fun. Thanks to Brian Burke at Advanced NFL Stats, I looked at the play by play data from 2010 to compile some penalty data.

Now, for a few disclosures:
This is obviously a small sample size, 1 year, and some quarterbacks only drew one or two penalties.

For QB total hits I added Sacks + Runs + QB hits, because these are when quarterbacks can be hit, and I don’t know any great websites for QB slides data, so shut up.

QB hits represent a % of the total QB hits allowed by their offensive lines, based on the % of a team’s pass attempts the QB accounted for.

All the quarterbacks in the chart drew either a personal foul (which I then re-classified as Unneccessary Roughness or Roughing the Passer), an Unnecessary Roughness call, or Roughing the Passer. However, I removed Bruce Gradkowski, Tony Pike, Brian Hoyer, and Matt Stafford due to lack of snaps.

The data isn’t perfect. I had to make a judgement call on an unnecessary roughness penalty. When the penalty was called on a defensive lineman or linebacker that was not part of the tackle, I assumed that they committed the foul against the quarterback, the same did not go for cornerbacks/safeties.

So let’s get to it.

First up is Unneccessary Roughness. The problem with Unneccessary Roughness is that it is seemingly interchangeable with Roughing the Passer. However, since one can draw an Uneccessary Roughness penalty when one runs or passes, I’ve included rushing attempts for this graph, which could depress Vick’s rate a little, but he would still be below average. The difference between him and the average decreases from .72% to .63%.

Next is Roughing the Passer, so this includes only QB hits and Sacks to determine the percentage of penalties/times hit.


Vick got roughly the same number of Roughing the Passer calls, but as a percentage of the times he was hit, still below average.

Finally, the total number of 15 yard penalties drawn. Obviously based on the previous two graphs Vick is going to be below average, but here it is just for kicks.

So based on 2010 data, albeit a little subjective, it appears that Vick does have a case in his complaints to the league about not getting the calls. Not to mention, even without these graphs, it appears plainly obvious in watching Eagles’ games that he should be getting more calls, but that is coming from an Eagles fan’s perspective.

If people want to see the spreadsheet I used, let me know in the comments or an email.


6 Responses to An Independent Study of Mike Vick and Penalties

  1. Pingback: Iggles Blitz » Blog Archive » Vick and Hits

  2. Reeve says:

    Good stuff. Any chance I can see the spreadsheets?

  3. BrawnyTom says:

    Any reason why Ben Roethlisberger was omitted?

    • Franklin says:

      At least in the play by play data that I used, neither him nor Garrard were victims of a Roughing the Passer, Unnecessary Roughness, or Personal Foul. That was a little surprising to me as well, but it is also possible that they got lost in my interpreting of Unnecessary Roughness/Personal Foul calls. I’ll attempt to upload the spreadsheet so everyone can see.

      • BrawnyTom says:

        I do not think you can infer they were not victims by the lack of penalties called, but maybe they are not getting the same calls that Vick and co are getting.

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