The Great Football Project Rides Again! (In Power BI)

Oh My Goodness Yes.  A Thousand Times Yes.
(Scroll Down for the Interactive Versions)

In a former life (circa 2006), I got tospend several hundred thousand dollars of Microsoft’s money on a football analytics project.  It used SSIS, old-school SSAS, and Excel Services.  We hired a consultant for two months to do the SSIS and SSAS work.  I had to teach him about the game of football.  It took forever to make small amounts of progress.  We were using traditional methodologies.  And we were getting traditional results.

As if that weren’t enough cost, we also paid six figures for access to the NFL statistics – the source data.  (Which was subsequently fed through SSIS and then SSAS by the consultant).

When we ran out of money, the consultant quit helping me and I was stuck with something that felt only half-baked.  Does this sound familiar?  It should if you’ve ever been part of a traditional BI project.

Then, in early 2010,I re-built that same project in Power Pivot.  This time, *I* did all of the SSAS work, because Power Pivot is/was essentially “SSAS made accessible to the VLOOKUP and Pivot crowd.”  The contrast between the new, agile DAX methodology (domain expert directly executing rather than “radioing” garbled instructions to someone else) knocked my socks off.  That “lightning bolt moment” of observation – one in which I realized the world was about to change DRAMATICALLY – launched this, my second career, and also launched this entire company we call PowerPivotPro.

But I cheated a bit, back in 2010, and re-used the results of the SSIS work done by the consultant, AND by using the old data.  My price tag of zero was incredible, and the results were better than anything I’d had using the expensive traditional methodologies, but it all still depended on six figures of spending done in the past.

image thumb 1 The Great Football Project Rides Again! (In Power BI)

“Thank You Sir, May I Have Another?”
(Yes. Yes in fact you may.)

Well, today we have Power Query, AND we have a more vibrant Internet providing us with much more freely-available information.  Put the two together, front them with some nifty Power BI visuals, and POW… a solution that’s more legit than anything I’ve ever done.  Up to date, current data, incredibly compelling and flexible visual canvas.

Check out the Power BI charts in action:

Power BI Football Passing Chart
Power BI Football Teaser

We’re not REMOTELY done with this, as we’re really just getting started.  Stay tuned for LOTS of improvements, as well as “how to” posts about how we did some of this.

Also, our stats are just a tad off for the moment – we’re not yet handling negative and zero-gain plays properly (back to the M lab!), but all of that will be getting sorted out quickly.

And oh yeah, we’re gonna load historical stats too wlEmoticon smile 1 The Great Football Project Rides Again! (In Power BI)

Stay tuned.

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