CFL partners with Pro Football Focus to create player grades and analysis

Photo: CFL

The Canadian Football League (CFL) has partnered with Pro Football Focus (PFF) for the 2023 to provide new player analysis tools for teams, coaches, personnel experts, members of the media, and fans.

PFF reviews game footage to break down every game, player, and play to provide over data regarding how team personnel can improve efficiency and make more informed decisions. The PFF grading system translates these data points into a grade for each player at their specific position and compares them to their peers across the league.

“We’ve looked forward to working with the CFL for many years and are happy to finally make that a reality beginning with the 2023 season,” said PFF general manager of football Rick Drummond in a statement. “Tailoring PFF’s data systems and tools to the intricacies of Canadian football created an opportunity for us to expand our efforts to include a very different, nuanced and exciting form of our game. We can’t wait to work with all nine teams and the league to see this work put into action.

“We are so thrilled for PFF to become a part of the CFL’s story as they add to their long and successful tradition in the coming years.”

PFF takes into account the contextual contributing factors regarding how game statistics are achieved. In the case of a quarterback, for example, passing yards alone can be indicative of performance, but they fail to account for the effectiveness of the offensive line. PFF breaks down the play of the passer alongside each offensive lineman and accounts for the defence field position, weather conditions, and a multitude of additional factors.

“Partnering with Pro Football Focus allows our league to better understand its drivers of play,” said Greg Dick, the CFL’s chief football operations officer and head of Grey Cup and events. “We’re removing the microfocus on the individual and taking a long view to look at the bigger picture. We’re quantifying how each role and every action contributes to an overall outcome being achieved.

“This partnership is about providing our teams and coaching staffs with a powerful tool that will revolutionize how they operate and prepare, ultimately leading to a stronger CFL product and more incredible performances on the field.”

PFF was launched in 2007 and is headquartered in Cincinnati. It claims to have to have the world’s most comprehensive football database, which covers every player on every play of every game for the NFL, FBS, and FCS. Its tools are used by teams in the NFL, FBS, FCS, CFL, USFL, and XFL as well as TV networks, player agencies, sports betting, and video game companies.

“Technological advancements and state-of-the-art analyses provide more information and enable deeper understanding,” said Dick. “As we continue to grow the CFL and Canadian football, it is incumbent on us to work with the best organizations, like Pro Football Focus, to push the boundaries of our game and celebrate our tremendous players.”