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Data Crunch: Sapp's Impact

Posted Nov 7, 2013

In the fifth of our weekly ventures into data visualization, we take you deeper into the numbers that reflect Hall of Fame DT Warren Sapp's enormous impact on the game.

Every week, we football fans consume the NFL through live game action, replays and highlight shows. And then we consume it again through the numbers. Whether it's via fantasy football, statistical analysis or simply the league standings, numbers help us understand and digest the game we love.

This season, Buccaneers.com wants to help you see what the numbers are saying.

Welcome back to Data Crunch, our weekly foray into data visualization that will help tell the story of Tampa Bay Buccaneers football and the 2013 NFL season as a whole. Here, we will not only dive deep into the statistics generated each week by the Buccaneers but we'll present it to you in graphical form to better convey what the numbers are telling us. These interactive graphs allow the user to identify trends, gaining a better understanding of how wins and losses are generated and where the team is headed.

Our fifth data visualization exercise of the season actually does not focus on the 2013 season or any current Buccaneer. Rather, we're taking a one-week detour into the team's past in honor of Warren Sapp's pending induction into the Buccaneers' Ring of Honor on Monday night. Sapp, who was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August as part of the Class of 2013, will become the fifth member of the Ring of Honor at Raymond James Stadium in a halftime ceremony during the Bucs' Monday Night Football matchup with the Miami Dolphins.

Those who supported Sapp's candidacy for the Hall of Fame and successfully made him the first-ever first-ballot inductee in Buccaneers history, claimed that he changed the way the defensive tackle position was played. He certainly got to the quarterback better than almost any other player at that position in NFL history. The visualization below will show you a timeline of the DT position in the NFL before, during and after Sapp's professional career. Noting that Sapp is represented by the red dot in each season on the timeline, note where he ranks in sacks at his position year-by-year, and which other defensive tackles came and went on that list. Also click on the tabs above the visualization to see Sapp's impact in some specific game situations.