Makeover Monday week 35, 2017: Player Arrests in the NFL since 2000

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For this week’s makeover, Andy picked a dataset that looks at all the details around arrests of NFL players over the last 17 years.

The original viz is a selection of interactive charts and tables on, including an ‘Arrest-O-Meter’ at the top, which has a day counter since the most recent arrest:

week 35 original.png

What works well:

  • The interactivity is engaging and I like being able to change the filters and explore the dataset further
  • The top 5 lists below the bar chart are a familiar way to rank things when it comes to sporting data so the audience will quickly be able to understand it
  • a lot of information is communicated in the fairly compact space of a single screen
  • The Arrest-O-Meter is an impactful addition to communicate the message of crimes being committed by NFL players


What doesn’t work so well:

  • The colours. There are too many colours and with the stacked bars they are hard to differentiate
  • The team name abbreviation below each bar are meaningless for anyone who doesn’t know much about NFL
  • The filtering options by team are hidden at the bottom and result in scarily colourful donut charts that are not very useful for comprehending the information provided
  • Overall I’m not sure how bad these statistics are as I don’t have a lot of context or anything to compare it to, so other sports that could be used for reference would help, e.g. soccer, tennis, rugby, etc.
  • As the website is about player arrests I would also appreciate a more player-centric view of the data


What I did:

  • Having lived in New Zealand and Australia, football players’ behaviours were a constant topic in the media, so I was pretty interested in these statistics.
  • Due to a string of events including flight cancellations and a 500km trip home on Sunday evening with strangers in a rental car, I opted to create a summary viz that I could
    • build in the car (no super precise mouse actions required)
    • create with the battery power left in my laptop
    • get done quickly before it was my turn to drive
  • I wanted a player-centric summary view and to work with a BAN as well as a bit of context, so I created a simple mobile layout calling out the number of players that had been arrested due to a crime (because crimes committed in the dataset are only those that led to arrest, so I felt ‘number of crimes’ wouldn’t capture the situation accurately).
  • I also added a line chart with crimes over time to give context of how many crimes had actually led to arrests.
  • For my font I used Montserrat Light, SemiBold and Medium. It won’t render properly on Public, but it looks good in the picture
  • I chose a dark background for added drama
  • And that was it 🙂

Click on the image for the interactive version

week 35 makeover.jpg

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