New Panthers owner David Tepper encouraging coaches to embrace analytics

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New Panthers owner David Tepper has told his coaching staff he wants a forward-thinking approach to the game, which includes a focus on analytics.

Tepper noted that the Panthers called more passes on first down in Week One than they typically did in past years, and he said analytics had shown that’s a wise approach.

“Those first-down passes,” Tepper told Panthers.com. “I’m real focused on analytics, and we hadn’t really done that before. I loved the mix of plays. The first down passing was a new look for this team.”

Some of the most successful owners in the NFL, including New England’s Robert Kraft and Philadelphia’s Jeffrey Lurie, have said they attribute much of their teams’ success to a focus on analytics. Tepper said he expects his football people to follow that lead.

“You have to incorporate modern ideas,” Tepper said. “I just want to make sure analytics are applied. I don’t want human biases to alter what we think is correct or not correct. There is an openness to it here, which is good. I want a tough mentality, I like grittiness, but this is a new age.”

The Panthers are off to a 1-0 start in the new age that Tepper is bringing in. Tepper knows one game is far too small a sample size to draw any big conclusions, but he’s pleased with what he’s seeing so far.

44 responses to “New Panthers owner David Tepper encouraging coaches to embrace analytics

  1. I’d love to see analytics of NFL teams with a good estimate of the covariance matrices between the different positions to get a good value measure of performance.

    ^ That actually makes sense and allows me to stroke my own ego. Two birds with one stone.

  2. Analytics are the new age term for what used to be known as scouting. There’s nothing new about it, teams have been watching film and charting opponent tendencies for a long long time. Just like they’ve been watching their own film and self scouting to see what tendencies they need to break for a long long time.

  3. Sounds like there’s a job opening. Calling all fantasy football junkies to manage Panthers team. No experience necessary. Can’t do worse than Chip Kelly.

  4. Just like when the Yankees were the first team to realize that pitch selection results in a higher OBP% which leads to more runs and wins. (or someone read a Bill James phamphlet before he became a household name),

    Now they’re back to the HR derby, so I guess somewhere up there, Earl Weaver is smiling.

    You hit .295 and have an OBP of .325, I’m not paying you unless you can play good D up the middle. Great D and you can drop those #’s a bit.

  5. rainsarge says: “I still can’t see why more teams don’t embrace analytics after the Browns used it to get a perfect season”
    ============================

    What do you think Ernie Adams does for the Patriots as “football research director”?

    As a former Wall St. Muni bonds trader, that basically screams analytics. But they’ve only won 5 Superbowls, so what does he know…

  6. bassplucker says:
    September 14, 2018 at 10:51 am
    Because that worked out so well for the Phil Emery era Bears and the Browns more recently.
    __________________________________________________________________________________________

    Jury’s still out on the Browns. The front office witchcraft with their roster they did the last two seasons might be working. Best start since 2004 with the a first overall pick as their #2 QB.

  7. Analytics is limited right now in football because there are just too many moving parts to reduce the game to numbers. In baseball, everything can be reduced to the pitcher-hitter matchup, and analytics can be applied to a high degree within this context.

    There are way, way, WAY more variables to account for in any given football play, making the value of analytics not nearly what it is in baseball. That said, every team should be using the tools available to them (however effective they currently are) to get better.

  8. If you ask Belichick, he’d probably say they don’t use analytics. If you stated it as statistics and probability with a judgement call based on situation, he’d probably say they did.

    The problem is that some teams think that it can somehow just give all the answers. If a play has a 70% chance to get 5 yards per play, you can’t just run it 15 times in a row and expect to get the same outcomes. However, you can use it to find tendencies based on formation and personnel. This is where offenses claim something was up because it’s like the defense knew what they were going to do.

  9. Michael E says:

    September 14, 2018 at 12:01 pm

    Why hasn’t he signed Kaepernick? His backup is better?
    ———————
    The question is why doesn’t Kaepernick want to play?

  10. So they can all be as good as the Panthers?

    Newbie owner throwing his weight around.

    Sounds like a really good idea.

  11. The Venn Diagram including both people in Carolina, and people who understand analytics must have a smaller intersection than the one for Cam Newton, and Panthers fumbles recovered.

  12. He’s wrong. As soon as you use analytics, your lack of human bias will be picked up opposing teams. If there is no human bias, it is easier to tell what’s coming. Success is helped when you are considered volatile and the opposition doesn’t know what to do. Artificial intelligence and “analytics” is for routine activities that are done over and over again, not for strategy and competition

  13. Here’s something they could analyze: How much time does Cam spend celebrating his TDs compared to how much time he’s studying film/pics on the sideline in between drives. He’d be a better QB if he spent less time on the former, and more on the latter.

  14. It’s one thing to study film to detect an opposing teams tendencies. It’s quite another thing to reply on a computer to dictate what you need to do on any given situation. That’s takes the human factor out of the game! Sports are player by human beings and that is how it should always be. If you rely on computers, you might as well just play computerized football! Let the computer do everything and decides who wins! Look on the bright side, nobody gets hurt that way!

  15. What you guys don’t seem to know here is that the Panthers over the past four years would run up the middle on 1st down the vast majority of the time. If Mike Tolbert was in the back field you could count on a pass; didn’t matter what the down and distance was they were passing. The offensive decline of this team came from the coaching staff embracing the “run first team” mentality to the point other teams knew when to load the box and when not to. The coaching staff still called runs knowing that it would result in 3rd and longs. The Panthers have been their best when running the hurry up with Newton calling the shots. So yes, Panther fans are rejoicing at the prospect of constantly shifting game plans over the same game plan every week.

    The Browns and Bears used analytics to select players that was dumb. Using analytics to assess your opponents and your tendencies is smart. Hopefully it pays off.

    Lastly Tepper likes what Trump has done for the US economy, but thinks he should keep politics out of football.

  16. atwatercrushesokoye says:
    September 14, 2018 at 11:01 am
    Analytics are the new age term for what used to be known as scouting. There’s nothing new about it, teams have been watching film and charting opponent tendencies for a long long time. Just like they’ve been watching their own film and self scouting to see what tendencies they need to break for a long long time.

    ———-

    This is just false. Sure analytics partners closely with film study and scouting, but it truly is a different wrinkle that most teams don’t take seriously. It should also be noted that analytics is not some magical cure all that will get you a winning season. It’s a small part of game planning that can make a real difference on game day, but it also requires execution by the players. For example it’s easy to be aggressive on 4th down when you have Wentz or Brady, but it backfires if you have Nathan Peterman.

  17. I’m already sick of this guy. If your staff doesn’t use analytics, they’re stupid and should be fired, and then you go and hire coaches who have kept up with the times. You own the club, buddy.

  18. Well, if you make that change, consistently, you lose the benefit of the analytic (i.e. it works because defenses expect run). Would think the analytic simply turns into a consistent approach, which would cause defenses you face to expect pass. You need to be unpredictable.

  19. pauldeba says:
    September 14, 2018 at 12:30 pm
    He’s wrong. As soon as you use analytics, your lack of human bias will be picked up opposing teams. If there is no human bias, it is easier to tell what’s coming. Success is helped when you are considered volatile and the opposition doesn’t know what to do. Artificial intelligence and “analytics” is for routine activities that are done over and over again, not for strategy and competition

    _____

    Your use of the term, “Artificial intelligence,” should be enough to show that you have no idea what your talking about, however the rest of your statement solidifies that you don’t. The strength of “machine learning” is in finding valuable information in complex data sets that you would get with non-routine activities. Small sample size makes ML more difficult in football, but that doesn’t mean there is not information to be gained. Also, the point of this type if analytics isn’t to gain an absolute answer to a problem, but to analyse trends, and how different responses to those trends tend to work out. It doesn’t remove a coaches choice, but gives them better insight into their options. Human bias tends to be predictable, and can often be based on out-dated information. In a sport that is evolving as much as football is, it is important to not become a John Fox or Jeff Fisher.

  20. He seems to be another annoying owner like JJ. Stay out of football decisions and just count your money and smile all the way to the bank.

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