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Bill Belichick doesn't think analytics are reliable


When it comes to "analytics" in football, there are coaches who detest its existence and there are coaches that say they use analytics so as not to appear behind the times when the team owner calls them in to ask them about analytics.

But Patriots head coach Bill Belichick might have given the best answer to the question of whether they are useful yet. Websites like Pro Football Focus, sometimes considered the "analytics" in question, broke onto the market almost a decade ago now and have changed the way we look at certain players. Myself, along with many colleagues, appreciate the painstaking analysis and it's often a great way to see if someone else independently agrees with you on a player or not.

That does not mean they changed Belichick's mind, though. It also doesn't mean he didn't check it out first to make sure he wasn't missing out on anything.

"With all due respect to those websites, I don't really know how some of that information is determined or evaluated," Belichick said on WEEI Tuesday, via CSN New England. "I know that in the past, we've looked at those websites -- not any one in particular -- but just in general we've looked at those websites and said, 'OK, here's their top rated guy. Where are we?' just to kind of gauge where we feel like the value of the websites are. If they're rating them the same as we are, maybe that's something we need to keep a close eye on so we can start to track a lot of guys. If there's some big discrepancy, is there really any value to that? I'd say a lot of that stuff is not real accurate, so take it with a grain of salt."

The Giants go way back with Pro Football Focus founder Neil Hornsby, and even cited him during their 2011 Super Bowl run. There are agents who cite PFF, and other great analytic sites like Football Outsiders during contract negotiations and there are general managers who use it too, depending on how it supports their argument. To say that the information is useless is simply wrong.

However, it's cool to hear someone like Belichick talk about the process. It would be fascinating to be behind the scenes and to hear some of his thoughts on certain players, especially some of the talent that has been elevated by sites like PFF over the last few years.

If nothing else, he'd have to agree on a few of their favorites, like Jamie Collins, Jabaal Sheard, Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski.


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