The Eagles openly embraced analytics on their way to the Super Bowl last season, and their success has lent more credence to an analytics-oriented approach in the NFL. But one coach with a background in math says it’s nothing new.
Lions coach Matt Patricia, who earned a degree in aeronautical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute before going into coaching, says analytics have long been part of football, even if that term is relatively new.
“It’s a buzzword, right? Analytics. Everybody wants to talk about it,” Patricia said, via the Detroit News. “But I think analytics have been involved with football forever. We call ’em tendencies. That’s all it was before and now it became ‘analytics.’ So I think that’s important. Every single coach does it, and there’s people in the organization who look at different things that maybe take a lot of time to analyze, while coaches are working on something else.”
One of Patricia’s first moves in Detroit was hiring David Corrao as his director of football research, a position Patricia has been tight-lipped about but that is believed to be about analyzing strategies and tendencies. There’s little doubt that Patricia will rely on analytics as coach of the Lions, even as he says that’s nothing out of the ordinary.