The reformation of the Cleveland Browns by use of analytics is really nothing new in the NFL. Its late founder and one time head coach Paul Brown used innovative strategies to win 7 league championships in his first 12 seasons with the team. Analytics is nothing more than the use of numerical data to create greater consistencies in all areas of football operations including player evaluation.
Paul Brown was the first professional head coach to use classroom meetings to install his weekly game plans. He also used analytical data to grade each player’s game day production. Hall of Fame Coach Tom Landry used his engineering background to design the Dallas Cowboys Flex Defense. With the help of men like Gil Brandt, Landry’s Cowboys were also the first NFL team to use IBM computers to decipher analytical data to unearth the talent of players like Drew Pearson, Harvey Martin and Everson Walls. Years later, Jimmy Johnson would use the matrix of his Draft Value Chart to trade RB Herschel Walker and build a Super Bowl winner.
Cleveland Browns Executive Vice President Sashi Brown and Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta are seeking to gain a balance between the traditional process of player evaluation and the unconventional use of a numerical blueprint to create a change in Cleveland. Recent draft day blunders are magnified as once lofty draft picks Josh Gordon and Johnny Manziel dominate the headlines for all the wrong reason. Its been said that the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing while at the same time expecting different results. So one could hardly blame the Browns for trying something both old and new at the same time.