Are NFL teams who use sports analytics more successful?

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Dec 28, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) reacts after making a sack for a safety during the fourth quarter against the Jacksonville Jaguars at NRG Stadium. The Texans defeated the Jaguars 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports


Nobody. Not very surprising actually.

Football is a very difficult sport to use sports analytics compared to basketball and definitely baseball. The biggest reason is a small sample size. With only 16 games per season, it is difficult to tell which numbers are accurate and which numbers are blown out of proportion due to an outlier. On top of this, the NFL is a relatively new sport in terms of seasons played professionally.

The next challenge the NFL has is that there are 22 players on the field at once and teams use different schemes both offensively and defensively. In basketball and baseball, there are only ten players within the boundaries and most teams run very similar offenses and defenses. In football, Peyton Manning‘s offense looks completely different than the Texans’ offense with a healthy Arian Foster.

Websites like Pro Football Focus is going to change the use of sports analytics. PFF has hired NFL scouts and they watch tons of game film in order to give grades on individual players from quarterbacks to safeties to left guards. This is the new wave of sports analytics for football.