Can Football Have A ‘Moneyball’ Moment, Please?

Who among you has seen the film ‘Moneyball’? This film is among my favorites. If you remember the 2002 MLB season, and want to see what went into the record breaking twenty game win streak, this movie is for you.

The revolution that made the A’s record setting win streak possible, was something called Sabermetrics. As defined by Bill James, a Sabermetrics pioneers, it is the search for objective knowledge about baseball. It should be noted that the Boston Red Sox eventually hired Bill James, and finally brought a World Series Championship home to Fenway. Though controversial, Sabermetrics ended the ‘Curse of the Bambino’. Elsewhere, Sabermetrics was applied by Nate Silver to politics. We all remember the accuracy of the FiveThrityEight blog.

When will the NFL have their ‘Moneyball’ moment? More and more, it seems that might be happening now. This season, the Buffalo Bills have applied Sabermetrics to scouting and player analysis. Its rumored that Sabermetrics played a roll in the 49ers replacement of Alex Smith with Colin Kaepernick. Incidentally, both San Francisco and Baltimore, finally facing off in the Super Bowl earlier this year, are both analytics powerhouses.

What can Sabermetrics do for football? The most likely change is one fans and season ticket holders would appreciate. Football play selection has become incredibly predictable, and can almost be viewed as timid. On 4th down, the odds of an offense punting are incredibly high. Sabermetrics, as it is applied to play calling, could result in teams that actually go for the 1st down on 4th down. Instead of pulling ahead, and costing with a comfortable lead, teams might continue to push for a more decisive win. Underdog teams might actually come into a lopsided game, and pull off the upset.

Football needs this type of change. These changes, as applied to the NFL will yield instantly noticeable results, unlike Sabermetrics application in baseball. Put the fire back in football, and embrace something new.


~ by arcturus415 on July 28, 2013.

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