What Is A PBU In Football?

what is a PBU in football

Nowadays, there are tons of stats in sports, especially in football. The more stats, the better to gauge how well players, defenses, offenses, or teams are performing. Plus, knowing these stats/acronyms helps you understand the sport better.

So, what is a PBU in football?

What Does PBU Stand For In Football?

“PBU” in football stands for “Pass Breakup” or “Pass Broken Up.” It is a statistical category used to quantify a defensive player’s effectiveness in disrupting passing plays. When a defender successfully gets a hand or body part in the way of a pass without intercepting it, thereby preventing a receiver from catching it, this action is recorded as a PBU.

Why Is A PBU Important?

In football, the PBU is an important measure of a defensive back or a linebacker’s performance in pass coverage. It shows their ability to defend and disrupt a pass, which can ultimately lead to an incomplete pass or even a turnover for their team.

And it’s especially relevant for cornerbacks and safeties, who are primarily responsible for defending against the pass in the secondary. The more PBUs a defensive back has, the better they are at their job of preventing opposing receivers from making big plays.

While an interception is a more impactful play since it results in a change of possession, a PBU is still highly valuable as it stops the offensive team from advancing the ball and can potentially prevent a scoring play.

Who Uses PBU?

  1. Coaching Staff and Teams: Coaches and team staff use PBU statistics to evaluate the performance of their defensive players, particularly those in the secondary (cornerbacks and safeties) and linebackers in coverage roles. This statistic helps in assessing a player’s effectiveness in pass defense and their ability to disrupt opposing passing games.
  2. Players and Agents: Players and their agents may use PBU stats to demonstrate the player’s skills and effectiveness in pass defense, especially during contract negotiations or when seeking opportunities with new teams. A high number of PBUs can be indicative of a player’s value to a defensive unit.
  3. Scouts and Recruiters: In college and professional football, scouts and recruiters monitor PBU statistics to identify talented defensive backs and linebackers. It helps them gauge a player’s ability to read the game, react quickly, and effectively disrupt passes.
  4. Media and Analysts: Sports journalists, analysts, and commentators use PBU statistics to provide insights into games and player performances.
  5. Statistical and Data Analysis Organizations: Companies and organizations that specialize in sports data analysis compile and use PBU stats. This data can be used for advanced statistical analysis, predictive modeling, and performance evaluation.

Impact of PBU

Recording a high number of PBUs can indicate a defender’s ability to consistently disrupt the passing game. However, it’s also worth noting that a high number of PBUs could suggest that the defender is being targeted frequently by opposing quarterbacks. Which might not always be a positive indicator of performance.


In summary, the PBU is a key defensive statistic. It reflects a player’s ability to effectively defend against the pass. Therefore, it’s a testament to a player’s speed, agility, and overall defensive acumen. And has become an essential part of evaluating defensive talent in the sport.

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