Former Bears QB Virgil Carter made the first serious attempt to statistically analyze NFL action in 1969. Carter, once a stats major at BYU, identified 53 variables for each play in a game, then fed 8,373 punch cards of data into an IBM 360. The mainframe needed nearly 20 minutes to analyze the information for each query Carter posed. Alas, the game hasn't gotten any simpler in the ensuing 41 years, but processing the info has certainly become faster.
2hDanny Knobler, Special to ESPN.com
16hPhotography by Joe Amon
2dDon Van Natta Jr.