show. He has to “stay with the clock” and
input every single play on the NFL’s Game
Statistic and Information System (GSIS).
He and his team arrive three hours before
kickoff to input rosters, track weather
conditions, hook up laptops, and confirm
officials. Then, it’s time for kickoff.
“Right at the hike of the ball, I have to start
entering the play exactly as I see it,” DiLullo
says. “Keep in mind, I’m hearing the spotters
telling me what is going on as I’m watching.
Our defensive and offensive spotters have
binoculars, but I can’t use them because I’m
constantly entering information on the fly.”
DiLullo has at least 58 of the 67 NFL penalty
codes memorized since it’s his job to count
off the yardage in real time. Remember,
not all penalties are marked in tidy 15-yard
chunks. Some of those are tacked on to the
end of a play or backed up from a previous
The data DiLullo diligently enters into the
system is what goes into the official game
books that get shared with media members,
along with players, coaches, and NFL
officials. They distribute 300 copies and it’s
used in box scores and game recaps.
Times have changed, yet challenges persist.
Every member of the stats crew has a funny
story or unavoidable hiccup they like to
share. Remember, fantasy football owners
are relying on their careful calculations to
win their leagues.
For example, DiLullo recalls a play from 2006
when Donovan McNabb initially got credit
for a 55-yard pass but it was later changed
to a 30-yard pass with 25 receiving yards
because it bounced off another player. It
was deemed one continuous play after a
correction from the league office.
Sacks are a common point of contention.
Another is specifically deciding how to grant
an assist versus a solo tackle. If a player gets
tripped up and then proceeds to ramble for
another 10 yards, the NFL wants an assist to
be awarded to the defender who made the
32 2019 PHILADELPHIA EAGLES GAMEDAY MAGAZINE initial contact. It can get very confusing for
Nowhere was this more on display than on a
Houdini-like escape by Carson Wentz in 2017
against Washington. The Eagles’ quarterback
was dead to rights, enveloped by defenders
in the pocket, then he amazingly escaped
and ran for a first down.
“I was following the play very closely, just to
see who gets the sack,” says Cunningham,
“and then he just scoots out of nowhere and
I was like, ‘How could that possibly happen?
Holy cow, how did he do that?’”
Of course, there is one game that everyone
on the stats crew can agree was both the
hardest – and most fun to chart. It was
something out of a childhood dream. Eight
inches of snow covered the grass at Lincoln
Financial Field in the fabled “Snow Bowl”
when LeSean McCoy rushed for a franchiserecord
217 yards in a 34-20 Eagles victory.
You think playing in that game was hard? Try
eyeing up the powder-stained hashmarks.
“The stadium people were doing their best
to keep the snow off the yard lines, but only
the major yard lines, not the hashmarks,”
says DiLullo. “But I noticed each sideline
had these bright orange Gatorade jugs on
about the 40-yard line. I used the Gatorade
jug as my point of reference for where the
“The other thing was network TV could put
graphics over the grids on the field so we
could check the monitors,” says Einhorn.
“It was the toughest game but also the
least pressure. Because if we got something
wrong, nobody could see the field.”
And they hardly got anything wrong.
According to DiLullo, they were right on 90
percent of their calls. Cunningham calls the
game “stressful but comical.” The latter is
what the stats crew does best. While they
put in serious time and take immense pride
in their work, the guys in the booth like to
Sometimes Asch will “accidentally” call
out Wilbert Montgomery’s name on a
Sometimes Einhorn will bump his head on
the press box ceiling because he’s too tall.
Sometimes Cunningham will lose track of
an opposing player under a goal-
Sometimes Orazi will sneak a high-five under
the table after an Eagles’ first down.
All kidding aside, the stats crew puts
accuracy above everything else. They work
together to get it right. No excuses. No
“When we get our edits back from the NFL,
we don’t want to see any,” says Cunningham.
“We want to know that we did exactly what
we were paid to do.”
EAGLES STATS CREW
JEFF ASCH PRESS BOX PA
ERNIE DiLULLO STATS CREW
KENNY EINHORN STATS CREW
JOHN CUNNINGHAM STATS CREW
TONY ORAZI STATS CREW
JOE McPEAK, JR. STATS CREW
JON WEST STATS CREW
TRAVIS SIMMONS STATS CREW
JOE VENDITTI STATS CREW
BOB CHRISTIANSON STATS CREW