The Chicago Bears added a new member to their very own Geek Squad, another cast member to their Revenge of the Nerds. Phil Emery hired Mitchell Tanney, former product manager at STATS Inc., to serve as the Bears’ director of analytics.
We knew Phil Emery was a nerd at heart, a stats geek with a high regard for metrics and measurables. In his season ending press conference, Emery broke down offensive line statistics and cited STATS and ProFootball Focus in his breakdowns.
Here’s what Phil Emery said of the newly created position:
“We needed somebody with an expertise in filtering through subsets of data to make sense of them in terms of which pieces are important and which pieces can be put together to give a clearer picture of projecting performance, whether it’s on the field in situational football or in scouting projecting players moving forward,” said general manager Phil Emery.
So Tanney will be solving math problems all day long to figure out the chances of a Jay Cutler interception on 3rd and 12 while protecting a 4-point lead at the end of the half. You don’t need to be a stats geek to figure this one out.
Kidding aside, it’s a nice tool that the Bears should use to at least arm Marc Trestman and the coaching staff with more information as they prepare game plans and on game days. When you consider the millions the team will spend on useless players, the money on Tanney will be well spent. Fewer than ten NFL teams have a full time employee working strictly on analytics.
Now if only they could find a full time guy to decide whether or not to throw the challenge flag, we’ll be in good shape.