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Important Combine Metric - The "flying 20"

This is a metric that the 49ers study (per Paraag Marathe), and value over the 40 yard dash. It measures the time of the last 20 yards in a 40 yard dash, and according to the niners, is the metric that really measures separation speed. Jerry Rice, while running a sub-par 40, actually had one of the fastest recorded flying 20s. Just some combine drill facts, and perhaps some insight into who will impress the niners in the next few days.
  • buck
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Originally posted by RollinWith21n52:
This is a metric that the 49ers study (per Paraag Marathe), and value over the 40 yard dash. It measures the time of the last 20 yards in a 40 yard dash, and according to the niners, is the metric that really measures separation speed. Jerry Rice, while running a sub-par 40, actually had one of the fastest recorded flying 20s. Just some combine drill facts, and perhaps some insight into who will impress the niners in the next few days.

Do you have a source or link?
  • sfout
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Originally posted by buck:
Originally posted by RollinWith21n52:
This is a metric that the 49ers study (per Paraag Marathe), and value over the 40 yard dash. It measures the time of the last 20 yards in a 40 yard dash, and according to the niners, is the metric that really measures separation speed. Jerry Rice, while running a sub-par 40, actually had one of the fastest recorded flying 20s. Just some combine drill facts, and perhaps some insight into who will impress the niners in the next few days.

Do you have a source or link?

http://www.nfldataconsultants.com/2012/12/29/the-flying-20-on-trial/

At the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in 2012, an executive for the 49ers, Parag Marathe, brought up a metric called the Flying-20. This is the last 20 yards of a 40 yard dash. He exclaimed that it is a metric that can be used to predict success, citing Jerry Rice as the example. Whether Jerry Rice had a fantastic Flying-20 or not is irrelevant in this study. What is on trial is the validity of the Flying-20 by looking at some of the best Flying-20 scores over the last few years.

They have a list of generally terrible players who reported recorded the fast flying 20 times, only 2 of them are of note. I think the article is bias in nature as there are players like Mike Wallace who likely had a freaskish flying 20 that aren't on the list.

from ESPN with specific quotes from Marathe and Scott Pioli

http://espn.go.com/blog/boston/new-england-patriots/post/_/id/4740420/football-analytics-more-from-sloan

3. Introducing the 'flying 20' and the challenge in measuring reactive quickness for receivers. Building off Pioli's point on the combine, and the measurement like a 40-yard dash, Marathe introduced those in the audience to the "flying 20." "We always talk about Jerry Rice, for example. Jerry Rice had a very average 40 time, but what we found, something that really helps correlate to performance is what we call the 'flying 20' -- the time between the 20 and the 40, intuitively that's separation speed. ... Jerry Rice has one of the fastest 'flying 20s' of all time. Everyone still looks at the 40-yard dash as the measurement of a wide receiver's speed when there is some hidden value there in different places."

That sparked a thought from Pioli about how challenging it is to project receivers from college to the NFL because of press coverage. "I love the 'flying 20' too, which is something we looked at. And also the first 10 [yards]. But there are other elements that come into it that can blow both of those things up, unfortunately, which is certain receivers who have never faced press coverage. It doesn't matter how fast they run, their playing speed, they can't get off the line of scrimmage. So there is this other element that comes in. The other thing is that a big part of separation has to do with just close-space quickness and/or strength. ... The Wes Welkers, the Troy Browns, the Wayne Chrebets, the smaller, undersized guys who have some short-area quickness where they're covered like a blanket but, 'boom!' - all of a sudden they can create separation. Trying to piece all that together, that's the fun part."

A very good counter point by Pioli.
[ Edited by sfout on Feb 19, 2014 at 1:22 PM ]
Originally posted by sfout:
Originally posted by buck:
Originally posted by RollinWith21n52:
This is a metric that the 49ers study (per Paraag Marathe), and value over the 40 yard dash. It measures the time of the last 20 yards in a 40 yard dash, and according to the niners, is the metric that really measures separation speed. Jerry Rice, while running a sub-par 40, actually had one of the fastest recorded flying 20s. Just some combine drill facts, and perhaps some insight into who will impress the niners in the next few days.

Do you have a source or link?

http://www.nfldataconsultants.com/2012/12/29/the-flying-20-on-trial/

At the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in 2012, an executive for the 49ers, Parag Marathe, brought up a metric called the Flying-20. This is the last 20 yards of a 40 yard dash. He exclaimed that it is a metric that can be used to predict success, citing Jerry Rice as the example. Whether Jerry Rice had a fantastic Flying-20 or not is irrelevant in this study. What is on trial is the validity of the Flying-20 by looking at some of the best Flying-20 scores over the last few years.

They have a list of generally terrible players who reported recorded the fast flying 20 times, only 2 of them are of note. I think the article is bias in nature as there are players like Mike Wallace who likely had a freaskish flying 20 that aren't on the list.

from ESPN with specific quotes from Marathe and Scott Pioli

http://espn.go.com/blog/boston/new-england-patriots/post/_/id/4740420/football-analytics-more-from-sloan

3. Introducing the 'flying 20' and the challenge in measuring reactive quickness for receivers. Building off Pioli's point on the combine, and the measurement like a 40-yard dash, Marathe introduced those in the audience to the "flying 20." "We always talk about Jerry Rice, for example. Jerry Rice had a very average 40 time, but what we found, something that really helps correlate to performance is what we call the 'flying 20' -- the time between the 20 and the 40, intuitively that's separation speed. ... Jerry Rice has one of the fastest 'flying 20s' of all time. Everyone still looks at the 40-yard dash as the measurement of a wide receiver's speed when there is some hidden value there in different places."

That sparked a thought from Pioli about how challenging it is to project receivers from college to the NFL because of press coverage. "I love the 'flying 20' too, which is something we looked at. And also the first 10 [yards]. But there are other elements that come into it that can blow both of those things up, unfortunately, which is certain receivers who have never faced press coverage. It doesn't matter how fast they run, their playing speed, they can't get off the line of scrimmage. So there is this other element that comes in. The other thing is that a big part of separation has to do with just close-space quickness and/or strength. ... The Wes Welkers, the Troy Browns, the Wayne Chrebets, the smaller, undersized guys who have some short-area quickness where they're covered like a blanket but, 'boom!' - all of a sudden they can create separation. Trying to piece all that together, that's the fun part."

beat me to it. thanks!
Nice find. I would think the flying 20 is the speed to pull away after the catch, not separation speed. That is, this is why Rice was rarely caught from behind, because he had a great flying20. But for a WR to gain separation before the catch shouldn't he have a good 1-20 (in the 40 yard dash), or a great shuttle run (speed after change of direction)? I know there's more than just speed to gain separation. There's head fakes, body shakes, and hand fighting, but with regards to speed, I thought it would be more beneficial to have good speed in the 1-20 yard range since a WR only runs 21-40 when on vertical routes or when running towards the end zone with the ball in his hands.
  • sfout
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Originally posted by thl408:
Nice find. I would think the flying 20 is the speed to pull away after the catch, not separation speed. That is, this is why Rice was rarely caught from behind, because he had a great flying20. But for a WR to gain separation before the catch shouldn't he have a good 1-20 (in the 40 yard dash), or a great shuttle run (speed after change of direction)? I know there's more than just speed to gain separation. There's head fakes, body shakes, and hand fighting, but with regards to speed, I thought it would be more beneficial to have good speed in the 1-20 yard range since a WR only runs 21-40 when on vertical routes or when running towards the end zone with the ball in his hands.

Read the quote from Pioli that I posted. Best way to explain it. Really the best way to determine separation ability would be a combination of the 10 yard split, 20 yard split and the 20 yard shuttle.

The shuttle best simulates a cut or rounding of a player in the middle of a route, combining his perceived balance and time from that drill with the speed in the 10 yard and 20 yard splits would give you best idea regarding a players ability to create separation as a route develops.

However as Pioli adeptly states, throw in a few additional road blocks, for example press coverage and these concepts get blown out of the water.

However this is why sports teams have entire analytical departments as for every flying 20 time - time lost due to press coverage there is likely another factor if not many more that play into the equation.
Originally posted by sfout:
Originally posted by thl408:
Nice find. I would think the flying 20 is the speed to pull away after the catch, not separation speed. That is, this is why Rice was rarely caught from behind, because he had a great flying20. But for a WR to gain separation before the catch shouldn't he have a good 1-20 (in the 40 yard dash), or a great shuttle run (speed after change of direction)? I know there's more than just speed to gain separation. There's head fakes, body shakes, and hand fighting, but with regards to speed, I thought it would be more beneficial to have good speed in the 1-20 yard range since a WR only runs 21-40 when on vertical routes or when running towards the end zone with the ball in his hands.

Read the quote from Pioli that I posted. Best way to explain it. Really the best way to determine separation ability would be a combination of the 10 yard split, 20 yard split and the 20 yard shuttle.

The shuttle best simulates a cut or rounding of a player in the middle of a route, combining his perceived balance and time from that drill with the speed in the 10 yard and 20 yard splits would give you best idea regarding a players ability to create separation as a route develops.

However as Pioli adeptly states, throw in a few additional road blocks, for example press coverage and these concepts get blown out of the water.

However this is why sports teams have entire analytical departments as for every flying 20 time - time lost due to press coverage there is likely another factor if not many more that play into the equation.

Yeah I read what he said in your post. Just wanted to see what you guys think. Even the shuttle run is odd because it asks the player to reach down and touch a line on the ground, which is not what WRs do when running routes. This crouching down to touch the line actually helps a player explode out of a crouched position, again, not something a WR does when running a route.

Back to the flying20, my question was how the flying20 (21-40) is a measure of separation before the ball is caught. It just seems odd to me that the last 20 yards of a 40 yard dash is what is used to gauge separation speed. I suppose there are two categories of separation. One is how the WR gets open to catch the ball. The other kind of separation is once he has the ball in his hands, can he separate himself from the rest of the field and take it to the house.
?
[ Edited by 60sFan on Feb 19, 2014 at 1:54 PM ]
  • sfout
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Originally posted by thl408:
Yeah I read what he said in your post. Just wanted to see what you guys think. Even the shuttle run is odd because it asks the player to reach down and touch a line on the ground, which is not what WRs do when running routes. This crouching down to touch the line actually helps a player explode out of a crouched position, again, not something a WR does when running a route.

Back to the flying20, my question was how the flying20 (21-40) is a measure of separation before the ball is caught. It just seems odd to me that the last 20 yards of a 40 yard dash is what is used to gauge separation speed. I suppose there are two categories of separation. One is how the WR gets open to catch the ball. The other kind of separation is once he has the ball in his hands, can he separate himself from the rest of the field and take it to the house.

Yea the end points are negatives but I'm talking about the middle of the L shape of the cones. That corner they have to round off shows something, some NFL teams probably interpret the reaching for line as reacting to a stumble, misstep, or completely reversing direction and getting back up to speed.

Your question regarding it measuring after the catch is just someone making conjecture between Rice rarely being caught after the catch. It is common sense in a way but the flying 20 in no way has anything to do with the act of physically catching a pass.

You could argue that if a ball is caught in stride during that 21-40 yard mark then the player would run at that speed until he run out of gas or scored so I see where that connection is made.
---

Like Marathe states it relates to separation speed in the sense that a WR starts his route almost always facing the direction he will be running. A DB will have more adjusting to do, if a receiver hits that mark of full speed found during the final 20 yards prior to the DB hitting that point the WR will naturally create distance between himself and the DB.

This kind of crap gets really scientific, as you could argue that it is a difference between terminal velocities of 2 separate objects. If a WR runs a 4.5 and DB runs a 4.45 but the WR has a faster "Flying 20" by 0.25 the WR will likely outpace the DB because he will have reached his max speed quicker than the DB and covered more ground than the DB can hope to make up because his "Flying 20" is that much slower even if his 40 time is actually faster.
[ Edited by sfout on Feb 19, 2014 at 2:22 PM ]
  • buck
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Originally posted by RollinWith21n52:
Originally posted by sfout:
Originally posted by buck:
Originally posted by RollinWith21n52:
This is a metric that the 49ers study (per Paraag Marathe), and value over the 40 yard dash. It measures the time of the last 20 yards in a 40 yard dash, and according to the niners, is the metric that really measures separation speed. Jerry Rice, while running a sub-par 40, actually had one of the fastest recorded flying 20s. Just some combine drill facts, and perhaps some insight into who will impress the niners in the next few days.

Do you have a source or link?

http://www.nfldataconsultants.com/2012/12/29/the-flying-20-on-trial/

At the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in 2012, an executive for the 49ers, Parag Marathe, brought up a metric called the Flying-20. This is the last 20 yards of a 40 yard dash. He exclaimed that it is a metric that can be used to predict success, citing Jerry Rice as the example. Whether Jerry Rice had a fantastic Flying-20 or not is irrelevant in this study. What is on trial is the validity of the Flying-20 by looking at some of the best Flying-20 scores over the last few years.

They have a list of generally terrible players who reported recorded the fast flying 20 times, only 2 of them are of note. I think the article is bias in nature as there are players like Mike Wallace who likely had a freaskish flying 20 that aren't on the list.

from ESPN with specific quotes from Marathe and Scott Pioli

http://espn.go.com/blog/boston/new-england-patriots/post/_/id/4740420/football-analytics-more-from-sloan

3. Introducing the 'flying 20' and the challenge in measuring reactive quickness for receivers. Building off Pioli's point on the combine, and the measurement like a 40-yard dash, Marathe introduced those in the audience to the "flying 20." "We always talk about Jerry Rice, for example. Jerry Rice had a very average 40 time, but what we found, something that really helps correlate to performance is what we call the 'flying 20' -- the time between the 20 and the 40, intuitively that's separation speed. ... Jerry Rice has one of the fastest 'flying 20s' of all time. Everyone still looks at the 40-yard dash as the measurement of a wide receiver's speed when there is some hidden value there in different places."

That sparked a thought from Pioli about how challenging it is to project receivers from college to the NFL because of press coverage. "I love the 'flying 20' too, which is something we looked at. And also the first 10 [yards]. But there are other elements that come into it that can blow both of those things up, unfortunately, which is certain receivers who have never faced press coverage. It doesn't matter how fast they run, their playing speed, they can't get off the line of scrimmage. So there is this other element that comes in. The other thing is that a big part of separation has to do with just close-space quickness and/or strength. ... The Wes Welkers, the Troy Browns, the Wayne Chrebets, the smaller, undersized guys who have some short-area quickness where they're covered like a blanket but, 'boom!' - all of a sudden they can create separation. Trying to piece all that together, that's the fun part."

beat me to it. thanks!

Thanks to both of you. I will read the articles.
  • sfout
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Originally posted by buck:
Thanks to both of you. I will read the articles.

You're welcome. Google MIT Sports analytics summit for more info.
Or even the 20 yards before, shows there acceleration good to look for LBs, Rbs, and SS
Originally posted by sfout:
Originally posted by buck:
Thanks to both of you. I will read the articles.

You're welcome. Google MIT Sports analytics summit for more info.

So much time spent listening to every video...
flying 20 eh? lol sounds like a porn move
I keep a draft spreadsheet every year where I run a lot of metrics. The "Flying 20" is one I keep up. However, I personally think there's a similar metric that is more effective. It's called "Long Speed".....the ability to take the top off the defense. I have the combine / pro day metrics for 1,480 WRs dating back to 1999. Comparing the top 10 performers in my database:

Flying 20 (40 Time - 20 Yard Split)

1 A.J. Love
2 Eron Riley
3 Reggie Dunn
4 Trindon Holliday
5 Isaiah Jackson
6 Perry Baker
7 Louis Murphy
8 Darius Heyward-Bey
9 Ben Obamanu
10 D'Andre Goodwin

Long Speed (10 Yard Split - 40 Time) + 3

1 Reggie Dunn
2 Trindon Holliday
3 Marqise Goodwin
4 Travis Benjamin
5 Raymond Radway
6 Jerome Mathis
7 Jacoby Ford
8Travis Harvey
9 Taveon Rogers
10 Edmund Gates

I'll be running my yearly spreadsheet with a lot of metrics for the draft as well as a lot of other stuff.....Video Cutups, Scouting Reports, Full Games, etc....

The presentation isn't that good, but I think I've accumulated some decent info in one location. Here is the link....a Google Spreadsheet:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AotIVo4gpWF8dFZBTDhmM01WeU9CMzliOEZMNVByS1E&output=html

The 2013 version is linked there as well if you want to go back and look at past seasons.
[ Edited by gentry200meters on Feb 19, 2014 at 11:08 PM ]