December 14, 2010 13:01 ET

Innovative 'New York Life Protection Index' Measures Pro Football Pass Protection Like Never Before

New Weekly Index Created by Sports Information Leader STATS Highlights Offensive Line; Indianapolis Debuts in Top Spot

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - December 14, 2010) - With the pro football playoff picture beginning to come into focus, New York Life Insurance Company today announced a partnership with STATS, the world's leading sports technology, data and content company, to introduce a quarterback protection index. By analyzing a myriad of statistics from sacks to passing yards, the "New York Life Protection Index," which has proven to have a strong correlation with a team's overall success, determines how well an offensive line protects its signal-caller.

While there are currently a plethora of statistical categories for offense and defense, the New York Life Protection Index is the first team ranking index to incorporate STATS' proprietary data including quarterback knockdowns and hurries as it focuses solely on each team's offensive line. The index, updated weekly throughout the regular season on Tuesdays, will be available at

"New York Life is pleased to partner with STATS to create this innovative index that demonstrates the importance of being protected on the football field and bring more attention to the often unsung heroes that battle in the trenches -- the offensive line," said Mark W. Pfaff, executive vice president, New York Life. "Just as an offensive line is designed to protect its quarterback's blind side, New York Life offers life insurance products that protect individuals, families and businesses from unforeseen circumstances."

The New York Life Protection Index is comprised of two basic elements -- the percentage of times a team successfully protects its quarterback and how often and effectively the team passes the football. Within these elements there are many factors applied to calculating the index, such as passing attempts and yards (excluding yards after the catch), sacks, quarterback knockdowns, hurries and penalties, including holding and false starts. After these statistics are inputted into the proprietary algorithm, a numerical index is assigned to each team. 

"STATS is proud to team with the football enthusiasts at New York Life to introduce this intriguing new statistic," said STATS Senior Vice President of Sales, Greg Kirkorsky. "STATS has a long-held mission to revolutionize the way sports are viewed, understood and enjoyed -- and the New York Life Protection Index accomplishes just that. The New York Life Protection Index not only gauges each team's ability to protect the quarterback, but it has proven that pass blocking is a key attribute to winning games and making a championship run." 

Through Week 14, Indianapolis (90.6) and New Orleans (81.4) -- the last teams standing in the 2009 season and playoff contenders again this year -- lead the team standings, followed by New York's "Big Blue" offensive line (79.9), Atlanta (78.3) and New England (74.4). Rounding out the top 10 is Houston (sixth, 71.5), Denver (seventh, 71.1) Dallas (eighth, 71.0) and Detroit (ninth, 68.1). San Diego and Cincinnati share the 10th position with a 68.0 index rating. 

Conversely, Chicago's offensive line (29.6) holds the unenviable distinction as the league's worst quarterback protector, with Oakland (39.0), Carolina (42.6), Pittsburgh (44.9) and San Francisco (45.1) completing the bottom five.

Historically, there is a strong connection between a club's ability to protect their quarterback and the number of wins they tally. In the last four years (2006-2009), teams that finished in the top 12 of the New York Life Protection Index have made the playoffs more than 60 percent of the time (30 of 48) and have averaged 10.3 wins. During this same period, only 20 percent of teams registering a below-average index have qualified for postseason play.

Additional New York Life Protection Index highlights between the 2006 and 2009 seasons include:

  • In 2009, Indianapolis and New Orleans finished first and third respectively, en route to meeting in the season finale; Indianapolis, which has averaged 12.8 wins over the past four previous seasons, hasn't finished outside the top five in the index
  • Average index rating of the eight teams who have held home field advantage throughout the playoffs was 74.3
  • Of the eight teams that played in the league's championship, only Pittsburgh in 2008 finished outside the top 12 in the index
  • During regular and post-season games between 2006 and 2009, the average index rating of the winning team was 62.3 compared to 51.0 for the losing team
  • Oakland has not finished above 31st in the New York Life Protection Index since 2006, averaging a mere four victories a season

STATS is the world's leading sports technology, data and content company. The company passionately abides by a mission to revolutionize the way sports contests are viewed, understood and enjoyed. STATS' calling card consists of real-time scores, historical sports information, Associated Press editorial content, a turnkey fantasy sports operation and SportVU technology. Today, STATS' worldwide client network of media companies and professional sports leagues and teams utilize a broad spectrum of dynamic in-game broadcast presentations and virtual images, multimedia enhancements and game analysis and tactical coaching tools. STATS is owned jointly by the Associated Press and News Corporation, with corporate offices across the globe. For a complete tour of STATS' sports content portfolio and solutions, visit

About New York Life Protection Index
The New York Life Protection Index is the authoritative measure of a team's aptitude in pass protection. In today's football, the 'golden age' of passing, a pro football team's ability to protect the quarterback is a key attribute to winning games. The New York Life Protection Index was created by sports information leader STATS to provide a composite gauge for this undervalued component of the game. While the New York Life Protection Index is calculated using a proprietary formula, the fundamentals are comprised of the length of a team's pass attempts combined with penalties by offensive lineman, sacks allowed and quarterback hurries and knockdowns. The New York Life Protection Index is updated weekly throughout the regular season and available at

About New York Life Insurance Company
New York Life Insurance Company, a Fortune 100 company founded in 1845, is the largest mutual life insurance company in the United States* and one of the largest life insurers in the world. New York Life has the highest possible financial strength ratings from all four of the major credit rating agencies. Headquartered in New York City, New York Life's family of companies offers life insurance, retirement income, investments and long-term care insurance. New York Life Investments** provides institutional asset management and retirement plan services. Other New York Life affiliates provide an array of securities products and services, as well as institutional and retail mutual funds.

Please visit New York Life's Web site at for more information.

*New York Life is the largest mutual life insurance company based on the Fortune 500, ranked within industries, Insurance: Life, Health (Mutual), Fortune magazine, May 3, 2010. 

**New York Life Investments is a service mark used by New York Life Investment Management Holdings LLC and its subsidiary, New York Life Investment Management LLC.

Contact Information