What Does the NFL Teach Us About SPC Software?

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Referees Blow Call at End of Game

Rules and Mehtodology

Credit: Wikimedia Commons

We know this a place for discussion of quality and SPC software, but occasionally real-life provides a great metaphor for the importance of good SPC.  One thing that all sports or games have in common is that they are based on a set of rules which keeps the game moving and provides a fair and competitive framework. Rules and methodology are critical in SPC too, but back to our sports reference first.

Lack of knowledge of the rules generated a fury of controversy in a recent Monday Night Football game.  

Just before Calvin Johnson crossed the goal line, which would have given the Detroit Lions the lead with less than two minutes left, Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor punched the ball out. As the fumble was bouncing through the end zone, linebacker K.J. Wright batted the ball out of bounds. The back judge was right there looking down the line when it happened.

A penalty likely should have been called, and the Lions should have had the ball inside the 1-yard line with a chance to win. Instead, Detroit lost 13-10.

Former NFL official Gerry Austin said on ESPN’s postgame show that Wright should have been called for a penalty because it’s illegal to bat the ball out of the end zone like he did. NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino told ESPN that back judge Greg Wilson “felt it was not an intentional act, that it was inadvertent.” If Wright just went for the ball and happened to hit it out, that’s not a penalty. It’s only a penalty if it was intentional, and Blandino said when he watched the replay it looked intentional.

– Frank Schwab, Yahoo! Sports

But the rules state: You CANNOT intentionally bat the ball out of the end-zone.

The debate continued for hours after the game had ended but at the time the play happened, neither coaching staff knew nor did the referees!  The Lions took possession and won.  In fact, “rules nerds” on Twitter were among the first to even notice the oversight.


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So what would have happened if everyone knew this rule and it was enforced?  The scenarios are numerous but it’s safe to say the outcome of the game and the season could be affected.  In the fantasy league reality of 2015, millions of dollars could have changed hands. 

Don’t Blow the Call! Rules and Methodology are Critical in SPC Too

In the same way lack of awareness of rules in sports can hijack a season, poor application of rules and methodologies in SPC can set off a crescendo of negative consequences.  Superficially, all SPC or statistical software tools may seem like they are adherent and created equal.  This is not the case.  The fallout from non-compliant SPC software can be the difference between winning and losing; a champion or a contender.

The good news is that you can rest assured that the correct rules and methodology are already designed and built into Synergy SPC.  It’s in our DNA. Using our application, you’ll never have any doubt that it is already 100% compliant.

Take a look back at some of our other posts in this series on compliant SPC software.  We’ve covered topics including the importance of adhering to SPC methodolgy, compliant SPC software for six sigmachecking your SPC software’s background and the consequences of non-compliant SPC software.

The people that are the driving force here at Synergy SPC are your “rules nerds”.  Much like a seasoned referee who knows his rule book backward and forward, we are there to proved an objective presence. In order to adhere to the rules and methodology, you’ll need experience, good technology, and good support that you find with Synergy SPC.


This content is adapted from Zontec’s The Book of Statistical Process Control.  You can download a free copy here.

Link to video here. (NFL@YouTube)