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ESPN Analytics Survey

Seth Walder from ESPN asked 26 different NFL analytics staffers to give their opinions, anonymously, on which teams are furthest ahead on analytics. No surprise, the top two teams are the Baltimore Ravens and the Cleveland Browns. Some of the teams further down are interesting. I would have expected Kansas City to come out higher. Washington and Tennessee are considered the least analytically advanced.

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7 comments, Last at 30 Sep 2020, 12:13am

1 Bill Belichick doesn't need…

Bill Belichick doesn't need some nate silvers nerd wannabe to reg y x and datamine to tell him how to run his football team because he knows football, has common sense, and isnt stupid.  Maybe if the Browns double their analytic department theyll lose to the ravens 24-6 instead of 38-6 next time, hahaha


In reply to by ImNewAroundThe…



Let's see how this season goes with more than a 2-game sample size, before we declare the current Browns approach a failure.

6 Um...

Have you ever heard of Ernie Adams? he;s a one man analytics staff who BB has trusted totally since day 1. belichick doesn't overlook any edges

2 It's interesting that Reid's…

It's interesting that Reid's Chiefs are not regarded as being particularly analytical, but many of this coaching tree are -- Harbaugh in Baltimore, Pederson in Philly, McDermott in Buffalo, Riverboat Ron. Even his grandcoach, Frank Reich in Indy.

I'm wondering if he's sufficiently savvy to do things off the cuff, or whether he lets his assistants handle the analytics. Reid, too, has seemed to become more aggressive of late, but that may be Mahomes-related.

There is definitely a whiff of bias in these responses, where it seems there's firmly one clique in much of the front offices who regard any presence not of their circle as not be in analytics. Orthodoxies sprout like weeds.

7 So it was a survey where…

So it was a survey where people were guessing what other teams were doing. I think this quote covers it well.

If you had to guess, how many teams are building and using metrics based on player-tracking data?

9-16 (14)
0-8 (9)
17-24 (2)
25-32 (1)

Does your team build and use metrics based on player-tracking data?

Yes (24)
No (1)

One voter abstained.

Nearly 90% of respondents said 16 or fewer teams built and used metrics for player-tracking data, yet all but one staffer said their own team did. That's quite the disconnect!

I didn't read the whole article closely just skimmed it but that told me most of what I needed to know about how things were ranked. Cleveland openly advertises they use analytics so of course other teams will think they are. Belichick reveals as little as he can about everything, so who knows, and how can you tell if he is or isn't? 

I work in the tech field, I work on databases and analytics specifically. I know people who have worked with the Packers installing physical infrastructure to help with player tracking data. I've talked with some of the people who worked on consultation with the team on reporting tools to help them work with the massive amounts of data. I'm confident they have the data, and they have it in usable actionable formats, even if I'm speaking 3rd hand. Can I speak with any confidence if they are using it all? No I can't. I know that point was touched on a bit in the article too.

Sadly it all adds up to this being a fairly fluff article, I was hoping it would have some good insights, but in skimming it that appears to not be the case.