When we hear that Barcelona passes 89.5% as a team we have a sense that this is a good thing, but we also have no context: you would want to account for the difficulty of the pass (length, forwards, backwards, defensive pressure, attacking third, own half, etc.) to get a true understanding of a team's passing success. Presenting such an advanced metric to the general public - assuming one even exists - would be problematic. If most people don't know how to interpret something as simple as Successful Passes divided by Total Passes then how can we expect them to understand a complex algorithm? There must be a simpler solution.
Below are six stylistically different teams (Barcelona, Liverpool, Portland Timbers, QPR, FC Dallas, Stoke) ranked according to Passing % (out of 117 teams from Big 5 UEFA leagues + MLS).
There are some big differences, but it is likely hard for the average fan to comprehend the vastness of the disparity. That is because the chart looks something like this in your head:
But what if we took the same metric (passing %) and presented it in a different manner. What if instead of looking at Successful Passes / Total Passes we made it a ratio instead: Successful Passes to Unsuccessful Passes. And let's rename it something more digestible and intuitive: Passes Per Turnover.
As more soccer statistics become available it is imperative that the community of soccer analysts (some professional, many amateur) continue to think of new ways to present the data that the average fan can understand and appreciate.