Buffalo Bills to start advanced analytics department


It's not exactly a Moneyball wave, but more NFL teams are openly talking about embracing analytics in football.

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New Buffalo Bills president Russ Brandon spoke Tuesday about establishing an analytics department to support his traditional football operations. Brandon used to work in baseball, where sabermetrics are a more established part of the game after the last decade.

"We've seen it in the NBA. We've seen it more in baseball. It's starting to spruce its head a little bit in football, and I feel we're missing the target if we don't invest in that area of our operation, and we will," Brandon said, via The Buffalo News.

The Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens announced similar directions before the 2012 season.

NFL teams have long crunched numbers behind the scenes. Whereas the media and analysts in many ways dragged baseball teams into the modern era, in the NFL, teams have quietly done work that exceeds what the public knows about.

Now teams like the Bills are going public more. Chicago Bears general manager Phil Emery even gave advanced stats site Pro Football Focus a shoutout during his Monday news conference.

More traditional GMs, like the Bills' Buddy Nix, don't know what to make of it.

"You know, obviously, I'm old-school in more ways than one," Nix said, laughing. "It'll be something I'll have to get used to because I go a lot on feel and what I see."

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