What is Football Analytics/Blueprint for integrating Football Science into an NFL Franchise

by Max Mulitz

 

Analytics is the process of applying the scientific method to football. Scientific knowledge is knowledge that makes testable predictions and is hard to vary. All knowledge is conjectural and comes from within us through creativity to solve problems, not to summarize data. The scientific method is an endless iterative process of moving closer to the truth of the world, especially when studying complex systems such as NFL football.

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A successful Football Science department requires the following characteristics and priorities:

  1. Be centralized in such a way that the department can communicate with all areas of the franchise, because all areas of an NFL franchise overlap in their needs and uses for data.
  2. Integrate the football knowledge and theories of Scouts, General Management, and Coaches into testable theories that can enhance the total football knowledge of the organization. This framework can be used to create comprehensive theory of roster construction, projecting college players to the NFL, and understanding how different players contribute to winning games All models and knowledge created by the Football Science department should be rooted in the organizations’ foundational philosophy of football.
  3. Work with the coaches to create a system of game management that is agreed upon and understood by the Head Coach and play callers and can be continuously updated and improved as new situations are recognized and analyzed and more knowledge is created regarding the topics of game and clock management.
  4. Utilize the coaching staff’s knowledge of play calling and how coaches think to enhance pre-scouting opponents and game planning with the best, most relevant, and most useful data. The role of analytics in game preparation is to generate information that aids the coach in forming his gameplan, not to summarize the data as many ways as possible.
  5. Always be in the process of revising and building on foundational models and systems to continuously learn about each area of football the department interacts with. Perpetual growth and improvement in every area Football Science touches is a necessity.
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