Patriots use analytics, but Belichick dismisses analytics websites

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Patriots coach Bill Belichick was asked at his press conference on Friday about “advanced metric websites,” and Belichick, as he so often does, scoffed.

“You could take those advanced websites and metric them wherever you want,” Belichick said. “I don’t know. I have no idea. I’ve never looked at one. I don’t even care to look at one. I don’t care what they say. . . . . All the metric pages and all of that, I mean I have no idea. You’d need to ask that to a smarter coach than me.”

What Belichick did not say, however, is that the Patriots don’t use analytics. Belichick doesn’t talk about it publicly because he never gives any strategies away publicly, but he has long relied on analytics. One of his most trusted advisors is Ernie Adams, the Patriots’ football research director, who was a municipal bonds trader before he worked for Belichick, first in Cleveland and then in New England. Many of the methods that sports statistical analysts use are rooted in the same methods used to analyze economic data. Adams understands both, and that makes him valuable to Belichick.

Looking at Belichick’s strategies, it’s clear that he thinks along the same lines as the analytics people. In the NFL draft, Belichick prefers trading down to trading up, and he particularly likes to trade a pick this year for a higher pick next year. That suggests that he’s studied the economic phenomenon of hyperbolic discounting.

On the sideline, the most controversial call of Belichick’s career appeared to be influenced by analytics: When Belichick went for it on fourth-and-2 from his own 28-yard line in a 2009 game against the Colts, it was the analytics people who said he had made the mathematically correct decision, while most football fans and media members thought Belichick had lost his mind.

That approach to analytics goes to the very top of the organization. The Patriots’ official website wrote this year that “You may not find a bigger believer in data and analytics than New England Patriots Owner Robert Kraft.”

So if the Patriots use analytics, why is Belichick so insistent that he doesn’t give a damn about analytics websites? The first answer is obvious: Belichick never gives anything away. He doesn’t want other teams to know the types of data the Patriots track.

But the other answer may be more important: Belichick was specifically asked about websites that track how quickly a quarterback releases the football, and Belichick has always been particularly skeptical about anyone who tries to analyze the game on the field without knowing the play that was called. Belichick added in his answer that “As far as a quarterback goes, read the coverage, throw the ball to the open receiver and take the best matchup. . . . The quarterback’s got to read the coverage, make the right decision and make an accurate throw.” Belichick’s view is that if you don’t know what play the Patriots called, you can’t accurately assess whether Tom Brady correctly read through his progressions and threw to the receiver with the best matchup.

So Belichick does use analytics. He just has little use for websites that operate with less information than he has.

68 responses to “Patriots use analytics, but Belichick dismisses analytics websites

  1. Bill is old school. He prefers good, old-fashioned hard work, diligent preparation, and copious amounts of cheating.

  2. ReligionIsForIdiots says:
    Nov 19, 2016 7:34 AM
    I can tell he doesn’t look at analytics considering how garbage his defense has been the last five years!!

    ———————-

    Sure. Yet he won a Super Bowl two years ago and got his team to the AFC Championship a year ago….so he may have a clue what he’s doing. Assuming you love religion?

  3. Good coaches and scouts and player personnel people should be able to tell from viewing videos whether a prospect can play at the NFL level. Analytics can should only be used to confirm what the see. Numbers can lie or misled, but the camera doesn’t.

  4. Analyze this. The Pats were 5-11 the year before Brady became their QB, and that was only due to an injury to Bledsoe. Prior to that, Belichick was 36-44 in five season with the Browns. He had one winning season out of six, before Tom Brady.

  5. luponatrix says:
    Nov 19, 2016 7:33 AM

    Bill is old school. He prefers good, old-fashioned hard work, diligent preparation, and copious amounts of cheating.

    ————————————————————————-
    And here’s an idiot hater who cheers for some losing team out there. Wouldn’t you just love to have BB as your team’s coach!

  6. Good ol Belichick. Better than your coach. Better than my coach. Better than all of the coaches before him. You can be hatetr sure, but if God(hypothetically) were to choose the highest caliber coach in history, its Belichick.

  7. Analyze this. The Pats were 5-11 the year before Brady became their QB, and that was only due to an injury to Bledsoe. Prior to that, Belichick was 36-44 in five season with the Browns. He had one winning season out of six, before Tom Brady.

    ——————————————-

    Analyze this. 15 years, 6 Super Bowl Appearances, 4 Super Bowl Wins, 10 Conference Championship appearances, 13 division titles. Stop being intentionally stupid. You don’t like him, too bad.

  8. tonebones says:
    Nov 19, 2016 8:07 AM

    Analyze this. The Pats were 5-11 the year before Brady became their QB, and that was only due to an injury to Bledsoe. Prior to that, Belichick was 36-44 in five season with the Browns. He had one winning season out of six, before Tom Brady.

    …………….
    But unlike your favorite coach, Belichick is a master and has failed many times to get where he is. You coach and my coach(jim caldwell) are done learning or adjusting. Belichick is a master. If you know what a master is, you’d understand 100%

  9. On the sideline, the most controversial call of Belichick’s career appeared to be influenced by analytics: When Belichick went for it on fourth-and-2 from his own 28-yard line in a 2009 game against the Colts

    ———
    You talking about the play wher had they spotted the ball at the location of Kevin Faulk’s forward progress, instead of where the defense pushed him back to, it would have been a 1st down?

  10. .
    @tonebone

    Analyze this. Former Cowboys coach and Hall of Famer, Tom Landry, was winless in his first season and didn’t reach . 500 until his sixth season. Many factors go into a coach’s record, but if you want to slam an inept Belichick for averaging over 12 wins a season since 2001, be my guest

    Your problem is that you are a fan of the pillow soft Colts whose season has ended. They have no reasonable shot at even a sniff of the playoffs. You think that the Grigson / Pagano record dwarfs Belichick and the Patriots? Okay fine, but please tell me you have something more than the 1990’s record of the Cleveland Browns.
    .

  11. tonebones says:
    Nov 19, 2016 8:07 AM
    Analyze this. The Pats were 5-11 the year before Brady became their QB, and that was only due to an injury to Bledsoe. Prior to that, Belichick was 36-44 in five season with the Browns. He had one winning season out of six, before Tom Brady

    ——–

    Are you challenging the system QB theory of your fellow Patriot Haters?

  12. tonebones says:
    Nov 19, 2016 8:07 AM

    Analyze this. The Pats were 5-11 the year before Brady became their QB, and that was only due to an injury to Bledsoe. Prior to that, Belichick was 36-44 in five season with the Browns. He had one winning season out of six, before Tom Brady.
    —————————-

    What’s there to analyze? Belichick is a great coach, and Brady is a great quarterback.

  13. First thing on my mind whenever I watch a Patriots game is always “hyperbolic discounting.”

    If you can’t figure that out, I don’t know what sport you’re watching.

  14. tonebones says:
    Nov 19, 2016 8:07 AM
    Analyze this. The Pats were 5-11 the year before Brady became their QB, and that was only due to an injury to Bledsoe. Prior to that, Belichick was 36-44 in five season with the Browns. He had one winning season out of six, before Tom Brady.

    ———-

    And yet you guys claim that Brady is just an average QB and a beneficiary of “the system” and that a HS QB could win with BB….

    You guys really need to make up your minds….

  15. What Belichick did not say, however, is that the Patriots don’t use analytics.
    ================================

    I, uhhh, don’t think he had to, man.

  16. The whole analytics thing kind of drives me up a wall. I am trained and for 20 years had a high level job that involved data analysis. A lot of these come lately think that the data is the key and use it like gold but the true aspect of analytics is one more step if the data sez X the next questions is WHY? Here is a NE example: 2 years ago a local radio station in buffalo ( yea I know) used analytics to show that there is no bias to penalties ( the claim that good teams get less calls, which I fully support by the way) but they claimed that NE and Seattle was at the time the most penalized team in the league and both we tops in the league. Thus making his point that it don’t win and loses games. A rookie analytic mistake. I took NE for example and they averaged 10 calls per game let’s say. Tops in the league. Well I broke down the games and ended up that NE average 5 penalties per game when they were in games decided by less than a TD and average 13 penalties in blow out wins. (which in that were was 6 of the 13 games they had) Most penalties were defensive in natural, def holding or PI. stuff like that. So what the number tells me not like the buffoon at the radio station that used the stat to make his point. I say in close games when it matters they don’t get call against them. in blow out wins the tell their D to grab and hold to prevent big plays that might help them get back in the game. Big difference looking at the same original stat. That is my issue with analytics, in the wrong hands could be a big mistake to use.

  17. NE path to AFC Championship game every year is certainly helped by the PATHETIC play of Miami, Buf, and NYJ over the last decade.

  18. And they made that 4th & 2! But got a terrible spot in Dolts’ banner hall, which ended up being crucial to the game and season.

  19. Belichick has a Terminator like heads up display in his eyeball that provides real time analytics as he watches games or practice or Linda Cougar.

  20. Ask Bernie Kosar if Belichick believes in analytics. Or Mike Tomczak.Todd Philcox. Eric Zeier. A respected, but diminishing and more expensive quarterback was run out of town in favor of a motley crew of replacements who’s viability to start for an NFL team was questionable at best. But…Ernie Adams’ metrics said they could.

  21. If Analytics were so useful as some suggest, how come they are correct about half the time, such as some sites “predictive analysis” on who will win the games, and what the % probability of X Team beating Y because they are up 14-0 after the 1st Q.

    If you have eyes and a brain, that will beat analytics every day of the week.

  22. ReligionIsForIdiots says:
    Nov 19, 2016 7:34 AM
    I can tell he doesn’t look at analytics considering how garbage his defense has been the last five years!!

    ——

    I’m surprised you’re allowed on the internet outside of your cult’s approved sites. Aren’t they all the devil?

  23. luponatrix says:
    Nov 19, 2016 7:33 AM

    Bill is old school. He prefers good, old-fashioned hard work, diligent preparation, and copious amounts of cheating
    ————————————————————–

    Comments from Patriot detractors often demonstrate that Patriot detractors are constrained to the parroting of lame and tired “cheating” nonsense, abounding from an inexhaustible reservoir of stupidity.

    The NFL won’t release the PSI information that was collected during the 2015 season because even stupid people might understand that nobody deflated footballs after seeing data showing that footballs always lose PSI when its cold.

  24. 345snarkavenue Nov.19 2016 8:29 AM posted First poster that brought this fact too light and he is correct and his analysis if proven correct might have meant another big win maybe a Superbowl. Best post of the decade 345 snark your 1 in a million.

  25. Who needs analytics when you bug opponents locker rooms, jam their headsets, steal their signals, illegally film their walk throughs and tamper with the equipment? Bill is all time Cheetah GOAT!

  26. Here’s the problem with those analytic sites. The people who are rating the players are NOT privvy to the calls or know the individual responsibilities of the players based on calls made presnap, and routes done post snap. So in essense their player ratings are simply guesses and thus unreliable.

    Of course BB believes in analytics, but because he KNOWS the call, the player’s responsibilities and presnap/post snap obligations, HIS stats are more effective in making decisions, and assigning accountability for the success or failure of an individual play.

    Trying to use raw statistics in a vaccuum is usually ineffective, and statistics can always be manipulated to give you the answer you want, not necessarily the answer that is real

  27. Fans of teams the Pats beat in the SBowls are hilarious. It’s just a constant, never ending stream of B$. The fact that it wrecked their lives is almost as much fun as those 4 wins were.

  28. The NFL won’t release the PSI information that was collected during the 2015 season because even stupid people might understand that nobody deflated footballs after seeing data showing that footballs always lose PSI when its cold.

    ————

    This fact has been one of the most telling, and overlooked aspects of the last 2 years.

    If ANY of this data (even if Goodell and his minions could skew it in their favor) aided their ridiculous case, they would have trumpeted it out there from the highest mountain.

    Predictably now, the NFL offices’ infamous “leak” system is shut tighter than a gutter sprayed with Flex Seal regarding the data because NONE of it helped their case one bit.

    These bozos would truly be laughable if they weren’t so disingenuous at the same time. Complete frauds.

  29. jagsfan1 says:
    Nov 19, 2016 9:01 AM
    NE path to AFC Championship game every year is certainly helped by the PATHETIC play of Miami, Buf, and NYJ over the last decade.
    +++++++++++++++

    Says the guy whose team resides in the AFCS. Nothing reeks of a neophyte like parroting the weak division nonsense. The AFCE was the winningest division in football last year and has more wins per team than any division over the last 10 years. There’s not a team out there that wouldn’t rather play in the AFCS than the AFCE. For the last 3 years in a row NE has lost as many times (2) in 6 division games as they have in 10 against the rest of the league. They swept the AFCS last year and 3-0 so far against the AFCN this year. In the Brady/Belichick era NE is now .771 against the AFCE and .764 vs the rest of the NFL, a .007 difference. Considering they only play the top teams in 2 of the other 3 AFC divisions each year that’s pretty damning.

  30. The Patriots probably don’t use analytics websites because they invented them. Always ahead of the curve. The Colts 4th and 2 call, IMO, was more about the situation. They just couldn’t stop the Colts late in that game.

    Not kicking the FG in the SBowl was strange. I’ve read that Gostkowski basically had the yips, similar to what he’s going thru this season. He had an awful wk of practice, and I think he even had a kickoff go out of bounds in that gm. They just didn’t have confidence in him that day.

  31. “Many of the methods that sports statistical analysts use are rooted in the same methods used to analyze economic data. Adams understands both, and that makes him valuable to Belichick.”

    Belichick’s degree is also in economics. The irony here is that he has been practicing the NFL’s version of moneyball right along.

  32. 72DolphinsStillUnmatched says:
    Nov 19, 2016 10:10 AM

    1 tainted title in 13 seasons is not a dynasty.
    Eli 2 Shady 0
    ————————————————————–
    Only those that are still unable to understand 7th grade science believe that “tainted” nonsense.

    The Steelers fans know a thing or two about winning…
    An intelligent Steelers fan decided to test footballs instead of being gullible. A video from those tests was posted on the popular online video site. Just search for: “DEFLATE GATE & WHY SCIENCE SAYS THE PATRIOTS DID NOT TAMPER WITH FOOTBALLS”

    Dolphins fans, on the other hand, know a thing or two about loosing…
    Considering that Elvis was still alive the last time the Dolphins won a superbowl. The date was January 14, 1973 and Elvis died years later on August 16, 1977.

  33. Yes, the NY Synchronized Cramping Cheat the Draft for Eli Giants are really paragons of football virtue. You must be new here.

  34. Here’s some analytics for you…

    Pats went from a high fumble rate team to the least fumbling team once they convinced NFL to allow them to ‘manage’ their own balls.

    Deflator, bathroom breaks, etc.

    Now NFL is checking balls and Pats are the most fumbling team in the NFL.

    Odd, no?

  35. Ah, the shadowy Ernie Adams…the real brains behind the Patriots. Belichick has a special phone on the sidelines during games just to contact Adams. The truth is out there.

  36. danceformemarionetteboy says:
    Nov 19, 2016 11:02 AM

    Now NFL is checking balls and Pats are the most fumbling team in the NFL.

    Odd, no?

    ————————————————————–
    The NFL was checking the footballs last season and the Patriots were among the least fumbling teams in the NFL.

    Clueless people might want to look at a small sample size from this season where backup quarterbacks contributed to fumble stats draw false conclusions.

  37. danceformemarionetteboy says:
    Nov 19, 2016 11:02 AM
    Now NFL is checking balls and Pats are the most fumbling team in the NFL.

    Odd, no?
    +++++++++++++++

    And yet last year, when the balls were under super special scrutiny so secret the results haven’t been shared, they had the fewest.
    Odd, no?
    This year 2 rookies, Brisset & Jones, accounted for 6 and Garoppolo for 2. That’s half NE’s fumbles, from guys that didn’t handle the ball last year. Any more misconceptions you’d care to have debunked?

  38. mlhigh says:
    Nov 19, 2016 10:13 AM

    Who needs analytics when you bug opponents locker rooms, jam their headsets, steal their signals, illegally film their walk throughs and tamper with the equipment? Bill is all time Cheetah GOAT!
    ————————————————————-
    Who needs a brain when you can repeat conspiracy nonsense which has been already been proven to be false!

  39. “Belichick was 36-44 in five season with the Browns.”

    The Browns now wish they had that record for the past 5 seasons.

  40. Haha. I’ll admit that as a Raider fan, I’m still salty about the tuck rule game. Brady had already tucked the ball.

    But over the years I’ve grown to respect Brady and the Patriots organisation. Both are top class, weather or not they cut corners bere or there Over the years many players and teams have engaged in shady misconduct, not just the Pats. Heck the Ravens beat the Raiders in the playoffs by cheating.

    Also, yeah if their defense was better they prolly woulda won a couple more titles.

  41. The major differences in the Patriots use of analytics from the Browns use is two fold. In New England, the data provided is analyze by FOOTBALL people who use it as just another tool in a vast toolshed. In Cleveland, the data is analyzed by Harvard lawyers, bean counters, and a MLB guy, who totally depend on the data to provide all the answers. They are completely oblivious to film, talent, or heart. That’s MONEYBALL, not football.

    – 70 years as a Browns fan

  42. The Oakland A’s are top of the line in finding and developing talent. They just can’t afford/choose not to pay them when the time comes.

  43. Theo Epstien brought analytics to the Red Sox and the Cubs. They have money. Look what happened. Landry and the Cowboys were ahead of the curve using (primative)computer analysis to draft better players. The steelers were at the forefront of steroid use(snicker).

  44. Advanced metric websites are a joke compared to having actual video of an opponent’s practice sessions. Right, Bill?

  45. kayakattack says:
    Nov 19, 2016 11:07 AM
    It’s so cute when regular people try to understand advanced metrics and economics

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    You mean the regular people who claim planet earth is 6000 years old, give or take a few dozen years?

  46. “Belichick was 36-44 in five season with the Browns.”

    And yet he’s still the most recent Browns Head Coach to win a playoff game.

  47. This coach’s record thing is such bull. Unless you’re GSeifert, that inherits a good team, or a guy like Shula or Landry, that stays with the same team for a million yrs, most coaches are taking over bad teams. It takes a while. Belichick took over an awful Browns team and built them into a SBowl contender before Modell pulled the rug out. Same with Parcells in NEngland. I think he was about .500 for them, but built a laughing stock to a SBowl participant, and left a lot of good players here when he left. Many of which helped win the SB against the Rams.

  48. I’ve seen lots of debate about who is ‘really’ responsible for the Pats success since 2001 – Belichick or Brady? In my opinion the answer is simple: the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts.

    In other words neither Belichick nor Brady would each be as great as they are without the other. That’s not a knock on either because Belichick-Brady is comparable to other great HC-QB duos throughout NFL history like Paul Brown – Otto Graham, Landry-Staubach, etc. where the HC (QB) success was directly correlated with their QB (HC).

  49. Patriot Zombie Fan Girls. Were it not for your team, would you have any semblance of a life? Any family, friends, relationships, career? Or is it all Tom Brady, 24-7. Is Tom more imporant to than your Dad? Wow, that is messed up.

  50. mlhigh says:
    Nov 19, 2016 7:09 PM

    Patriot Zombie Fan Girls. Were it not for your team, would you have any semblance of a life? Any family, friends, relationships, career? Or is it all Tom Brady, 24-7. Is Tom more imporant to than your Dad? Wow, that is messed up.
    ———————————————————-
    The thin air a mile up seems to affect mood. Someone needs a time out and a puff of oxygen.

  51. Belichick uses analytics, says he doesn’t. Supports a racis… err.. a friend for president, says he doesn’t condone racism.

  52. jstamper3377 says:
    Nov 19, 2016 8:25 AM

    Analyze this. The Pats were 5-11 the year before Brady became their QB, and that was only due to an injury to Bledsoe. Prior to that, Belichick was 36-44 in five season with the Browns. He had one winning season out of six, before Tom Brady.
    —-

    Has any coach had better than a 36-44 record with the Browns since?

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