NFL teams are always looking for a competitive advantage over the rest of the league. More and more teams are embracing statistical analysis.
The New England Patriots have had Ernie Adams conducting football research, including statistical evaluations, since 2000. Mike Eayrs has been the Green Bay Packers' Director of Research and Development, which includes statistical analysis, since 2001.
The Philadelphia Eagles employ Mike Frazier as a "Statistics Analysis Coordinator" as part of their coaching support staff. Today, the Baltimore Ravens announced that they're joining the statistical analysis revolution, hiring "math whiz" Sandy Weil to be their Director of Football Analytics.
Weil, who previously worked for the NBA's San Antonio Spurs, will assist the personnel and coaching department in producing and studying game trends, statistical analysis, scouting and player production/performance.
"We're always looking for confirmation on things we think we know and insights that could provide an edge for us in personnel and coaching," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome stated. "This is where Sandy will help us."
In the interest of full disclosure, I have been associated with Football Outsiders since 2006, writing for both footballoutsiders.com and contributing to the last two Football Outsiders Almanacs. So it's safe to say that I fully support NFL teams going beyond the "back of the bubble gum card" stats to incorporate advanced and innovative methods of statistical analysis into their operations.
Old-school coaching staffs and front offices probably regard such statistical analysis as hokum or gobbledygook, so it's very good for the movement that the Patriots, Eagles, Packers and Ravens, four of the more highly successful franchises since 2002, are leading the way. If the more successful teams are incorporating statistical analysis into how they construct their roster or approach game preparation, the teams watching the playoffs from home will have to either adapt or die.