Most mentioned NFL players on SportsCenter

Posted to Infographics  |  Tags: , ,  |  Nathan Yau

Like something from of a video game, this graphic from The New York Times shows the most mentioned NFL players and coaches this season. Players are scaled approximately by the number of mentions between August 1, 2011 to February 1, 2012 on ESPN's SportCenter and Sunday NFL Countdown. The giant on the left is Tim Tebow, with 1,450 mentions. Bar graphs on the bottom highlight mentions over time for players of interest.

[New York Times]

4 Comments

  • There’s a huge flaw in the graphic — Tim Tebow isn’t Tebowing…

  • This is cute, but wow, is it bad! We have all the greatest hits of bad graphing here: A meaningless third dimension, no meaningful sorting that I could discern, the use of volumes distorting the magnitudes of differences, and mixing wildy different scales (players and coaches, or quarterbacks and everyone else) in a way that makes useful comparisons within groups impossible. I mean yeah, the data are pointless and the topic is fluffy, so you might ask why bother getting it right? I’d be inclined to wonder for the same reasons why it was done at all.

  • The Tebow character is, by the data, supposed to be about 1.7x the Brady character. And this may be true of the heights, but visually it looks something like 4x larger because the eye is processing something in between area and volume, distorting one’s impression of the data. The problem is made worse by the fact that the characters are arrayed over a 3D plane. Is there perspective at work? Is Rodgers smaller than Peyton Manning because his is at the back, or because of the data? The Vick figure, by the data, should be smaller than the Rodgers figure but due to tricks of perspective, it looks larger to me.

  • Yep – while I like the graphic, I’ll jump on board with both Ted & Coyote to reemphasize that the use of area/volume to represent 1D data (number of mentions) is very misleading. Brady exceeds Peyton by about 40% on the metric, but if you were to ask an observer, “How much bigger is Brady than Manning?” I doubt that’s the answer that you would get.

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