Who Is This Guy?

Wright Thompson does his best to profile Ernie Adams, the unknown commodity in the New England Patriots braintrust. He's referred to as the NFL's equivalent to James Bond's "Q," "Belichick's Belichick," and "asocial." Nobody's quite sure precisely what his job entails -- including the players -- but he's helped build the framework for one of the greatest teams of all time. Teachers, friends, coworkers and classmates share their insight on Adams, but he remains such an enigma that Thompson closes his column by simply asking Adams to contact him.

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22 comments, Last at 02 Feb 2008, 8:48am

2 Re: Who Is This Guy?

Credit where due , I read this because blair wendel pointed to it in the quote thread.
Guy seems a little bit rain man ( ernie not blair).

3 Re: Who Is This Guy?

Is this enough to collect on Modell's "$10,000 for anybody who can tell me what exactly Ernie Adams does" PK mentioned in MMQB a while back? Also, did Modell employ Adams when Belichick was his coach? That's not clear to me from the article one way or the other.

4 Re: Who Is This Guy?

With the quote about him calculating stats & percentages up in the booth... anyone else think perhaps he may be a one-man version of the FO team? Play scouting like Mike, stats like Aaron, etc... just a guess....

Cool article.

6 Re: Who Is This Guy?

Massie's book on Peter the Great is fantastic. One of my favorites.

7 Re: Who Is This Guy?

Nice piece.

Cjfarls, if this article is any kind of indication of the man, you can bet he's taken the FO stats to pieces anyway. If there's anything useful (and I'm betting there is *wink*) Belichick will have it. I wouldn't be at all suprised if some of the bespoke stuff Aaron and the guys do for franchises was commissioned by this guy.

Say what you will about New England, but if there's any way to improve what they do, they'll do it.

8 Re: Who Is This Guy?

Really, really liked this article. One of the better bits of journalism I've seen, and I wasn't really expecting anything too interesting during Super Bowl Week.

9 Re: Who Is This Guy?

3: Ernie Adams was on Modell's payroll when he offered the 10K to find out what the guy did, and it was when Bellichick was the head coach of Cleveland.

10 Re: Who Is This Guy?

oh how it pains me to know that ray perkins is responsible for all of this.

11 Re: Who Is This Guy?

Did you notice the bit about teams punting too often on 4th down?

12 Re: Who Is This Guy?

Fascinating article. It reminds me that Belichik also had a friendship with the reclusive Joel Buschbaum of Pro Football Weekly, who was also an obsessive about football.

13 Re: Who Is This Guy?

why would the Pats compartmentalize as mentioned in the article? Seems to be anti-synergistic - takes away the learning process from the scouts, input from the coaches, on drafting, etc.

14 Re: Who Is This Guy?

Re 13:

My guess is that is removes preconceptions. The scouts don't develop their own opinions on current players, so they scout fairly. For instance maybe one scout takes a real liking to
Deon Branch, and subconsciously downgrades wide receivers who don't play like he does. Well, that's my guess.

It seems that it's working, however strange it may seem.

15 Re: Who Is This Guy?

re 11-
yes, the study on punting on 4th down was written by a Cal economist named david romer around 2002. there's also an interesting article on the web by greg garber,who asked coaches to respond to the findings. belichick commented extensively-it's good stuff and worth looking up.

16 Re: Who Is This Guy?

One of the great quotes from "Patriot Reign" is Belichick putting his arm around Ernie Adams after the Super Bowl win over the St. Louis Rams and saying, "Can you believe we just won the SuperBowl with THIS team?"

I think Adams does a lot of statistical stuff, not only scouting opponents, but self-scouting the Patriots tendencies. I also strongly suspect the biggest part of his job description is identifying big picture conceptual trends in the pro game. Where is the game headed over the next five to ten years?

17 Re: Who Is This Guy?

Adams looks ... like an investment banker

Dood. That photo is from 2005. Adams might look like a freemason, or a high school chemistry teacher or tow truck driver from Pittsburgh on his way to his daughter's wedding, but the absolute last thing he looks like is an investment banker.

If you're a sports writer, stick to writing about sports.

18 Re: Who Is This Guy?

Garber article link in my name.

19 Re: Who Is This Guy?

If Adams is so smart, why didn't he go to Modell and explain what he did? That's $10,000 in free money he let go by.

20 Re: Who Is This Guy?

Anyone else think, maybe the reason the Patriots are successful is that they're run by "insiders" who are more like "Football Outsiders" than "insiders", and that's what makes them so smart? Not to kiss ass or anything.

21 Re: Who Is This Guy?

#19 - I dunno. Given his wealth, I'd say $10,000 is a pretty good price to see Art Modell squirm.

22 Re: Who Is This Guy?

funnily enough, when some of y'alls' favourite whipping boy, the tastily named gregg, reviewed this fourth down study quite some time ago, it better suited some to dismiss his lack of knowledge on whatever was his non-football segments of the week. just saying.

cheers, mark