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Super Bowl Marginal Gains

    You’ve probably seen the movie The Matrix. If you haven’t you should check it out, it’s an all time great. When the technical operators are watching what is happening in the program by looking at streams of code itself rather than the graphical render of it that you and I would need to see.

    Like this webpage, there is code underneath it that looks like this:

    Your web browser reads that code as instructions for how to make the website render into something normal humans can see and interact with. This is how the HeatCheck team looks at sports, we’re looking at the underlying information and not just what’s on the surface.

    When I watched the SuperBowl yesterday I immediately noticed one of the marginal gains we first introduced to Division I NCAA football teams some years ago. It’s one of those simple changes that makes pretty much everyone who hears it for the first time declare; “Why didn’t we think of that, it’s so simple!”. This is why we are always saying that marginal gains are hiding in plain sight.

    The Super Bowl Marginal Gain

    Both offensive lines were wearing gloves that were the same color as the defense’s jersey.

    Our data shows that this tiny, and basically free, adjustment results in a 3.5% to 7% decrease in holding calls on the offensive line. These days we see every high level football team using this cheat code whenever the jersey being worn by the defense allows.

    San Francisco offensive line wearing red gloves

    You can see here a red glove holding a red jersey is really difficult for a ref to catch at game speed.