The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ website does not list any staff members with the word “analytics” in their title. In fact, the franchise may not have had any single person dedicated to crunching the numbers behind the scenes of the game of football.
That is, until now.
Lance Zierlein, a radio host and co-owner of football analytics website “The Sideline View” announced on Twitter that one of his former writers accepted a position leading the “analytics department” with the Buccaneers.
— Lance Zierlein (@LanceZierlein) March 10, 2014
Tyler Oberly was on the staff at The Sideline View, posting articles and claiming to have developed a “a statistical model to review NFL rosters for player and salary cap analysis.” Oberly’s profile also claims his ratings derived from this model “expose important patterns and anomalies in performance that are considerably less evident using conventional evaluative approaches.” Oberly announced his position with the Buccaneers on his Twitter account.
Analytics are a growing part of sports, and fans in Tampa Bay know all about their impact thanks to the numbers-driven front office and coaching staff currently ruling over the Tampa Bay Rays. But football hasn’t seen a huge influx of analytical staff, despite the popularity of websites like Pro Football Focus and Football Outsiders.
Statistics and numbers will never replace traditional scouting, but used in concert with good scouting and coaching, analytics can be a very powerful tool. They’re a way to challenge traditional ways of thinking to help bring about innovative and new processes and approaches to the game of football.
So whether or not the Buccaneers had an analytics department before the hiring of Oberly (if in fact he was hired, as the team has yet to confirm it publicly), they have such a department now, which is a step in the right direction.