Ravens Bringing Moneyball to the NFL?

One of the great things about having organizational continuity is that you get the luxury of innovating. Through every “rebuild” in Berea, the Browns have been vacating and filling roles over and over again, but they’re seemingly the same roles that exist in every franchise. When you have organizational continuity from the top down, and as people get comfortable in their roles, you can identify opportunities to differentiate from the standard organizational chart and innovate with new positions. That appears to be what the Ravens are attempting to do adding mathematician Sandy Weil to their operation.

Weil will use analysis to challenge and examine some of the prevailing schools of thought within the NFL. The studies could look at everything from the value of going for a first down on fourth-and-short, to determining the traits that are key indicators of success for an NFL prospect.

“We’re always looking for confirmation on things we think we know and insights that could provide an edge for us in personnel and coaching,” General Manager Ozzie Newsome said. “This is where Sandy will help us.”

This is what happens when you have a GM who has been in his position for a decade. This is what can happen when you have a team president, Dick Cass, who has been in his position since 2004. Lastly, this is an opportunity that develops with steady, professional ownership as Steve Bisciotti has provided since taking control of the team from Art Modell.

Look, it may not work except to tell the Ravens that they’re pretty good as a front office, but it is something that gives them a chance at evolution beyond the standard operating procedure of other NFL front offices.

Make no mistake, the Ravens aren’t chasing to try and become as good as someone else’s “football tree.” They’re clearly growing their own.

[Related: Jimmy Haslam Represents Possibility and Opportunity]

  • The_Real_Shamrock

    Must be nice is all I can say. What is this stability for which you speak? Innovation, evolution – lol – sorry not in Cleveland. It’s the hard way or no way here! Good write Craig.

  • mgbode

    “determining the traits that are key indicators of success for an NFL prospect”

    I am a bit shocked this isn’t done in NFL FO’s yet. It’s one of the areas where it seems to be a pretty easy thing to de-lineate with variables.

    Position – different for each as normal success rate is different across disciplines. you have to factor in other variables based on normal success rate.

    Overall Draft Grade – and break it down further to specific areas depending on position.

    Small Conference vs. Power Conference – demonstrate if a small school prospect that grades really high has a higher or lower “bust” rate than big school prospects. Or if it matters at all wrt their draft grade.

    Psych Evaluation – every team does one to some degree (whether it’s just interviewing them and seeing how they react or a more sophisticated method). If you can get the data (tough as you need something formulazied), then this could be very useful.