Denver Broncos testing in-game analytics

Posted to Statistics  |  Tags: ,  |  Nathan Yau

Analytics continues its spread into the various facets of sports. Just recently, the Denver Broncos hired a director of analytics, Mitch Tanney, who will be available to coaches on the field to provide probabilities that inform in-game decisions.

“If we’re moving the ball or we’re doing formatting, I’ve got Mitch with me because he’s going to be on the headset, so we’re trying to practice,” Kubiak said.

With Tanney nearby, Kubiak can receive a quick report on the statistical probabilities of almost any situation. Say that you have fourth-and-3 from the opponent’s 45-yard-line with four minutes to go. Do the large-sample-size percentages make the risk-reward ratio acceptable enough to go for it? Tanney’s analytics can provide insight to aid Kubiak’s decision-making.

This should be interesting. From the team’s perspective, does more information during the game actually inform the coach’s decision, or does it clutter, and he eventually goes back to gut feeling?

And if the coach does run with the analytics, how soon will it be before fans and viewers start whining about data-driven decisions over gut feelings? I can already hear the color commentators spouting nonsense when a play doesn’t go in the Bronco’s favor. “I guess the statistics were wrong! Har har har.” [via Deadspin]

Favorites

Reviving the Statistical Atlas of the United States with New Data

Due to budget cuts, there is no plan for an updated atlas. So I recreated the original 1870 Atlas using today’s publicly available data.

How to Spot Visualization Lies

Many charts don’t tell the truth. This is a simple guide to spotting them.

Marrying Age

People get married at various ages, but there are definite trends that vary across demographic groups. What do these trends look like?

Years You Have Left to Live, Probably

The individual data points of life are much less predictable than the average. Here’s a simulation that shows you how much time is left on the clock.