Part two of our 2016 season penalty recap (for part one, on most penalized players click here)

We ran analysis on penalty trends between the 2015 and 2016 NFL seasons by pulling data on total flags and total penalty yards per team during each season. Comparing these numbers, we were able to see trends in what teams improved their penalty performance, and see what teams got worse.

Key findings:

  • The Oakland Raiders led the league in 2016, with 181 flags.
  • The Cincinnati Bengals were the least flagged team in 2016, with 104.
  • The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the most improved, going from 165 flags in 2015, to 110 in 2016
  • The Pittsburgh Steelers worsened the most, with only 110 flags in 2015, to 152 flags in 2016.
  • The Buffalo Bills went from the most penalized team in 2015, with 168 flags, to 14th most penalized team in 2016 with 127 flags.
  • The New York Jets remain consistently great in the penalty department, as the 2nd least penalized team in 2015, and the 4th least penalized team in 2016.
  • The Miami Dolphins remain one of the consistently most penalized teams, as the 4th most penalized teams in 2015, and the 2nd most penalized team in 2016.
  • The New Orleans Saints drastically improved their penalty performance.

So what about yards?

Below you will find a breakdown comparing total penalty yards per team between the 2015 and 2016 seasons.

  • The Oakland Raiders gave up 1310 yards in penalties in 2016, the most in the league.
  • The Cincinnati Bengals gave up 726 yards in penalties in 2016, the least in the league.
  • The Houston Texans averaged 8.33 penalty yards per flag, the highest by team in the 2016 season
  • The San Diego Chargers averaged 6 penalty yards per flag, the lowest by team in the 2016 season.
  • The New York Giants saw the biggest jump in average penalty yards per flag, going from 6.31 yards per flag in 2015, to 8.32 yards per flag in 2016.
  • The Denver Broncos saw the biggest drop in average penalty yards per flag, going from 8.24 yards per flag in 2015, to 6.65 yards per flag in 2016.
  • The Cleveland Browns saw the biggest decrease between seasons, with 347 less penalty yards in 2016 compared to 2015.
  • The Pittsburgh Steelers saw the biggest increase between seasons, with 332 more penalty yards in 2016 compared to 2015.
  • The Detroit Lions saw the most consistent two seasons, with only 1 more penalty yard in 2016 compared to 2015.

Get the total penalty yards per team data below:

Sources: ESPN, NFL Penalties, referee image credit: Huffington Post