It’s no secret the Tennessee Titans aren’t big believers in the use of analytics in professional football. Whereas other teams such as the Baltimore Ravens lean heavily on analytics, the Titans have preferred an old school approach under general manager Jon Robinson and head coach Mike Vrabel. Vrabel’s decision-making on fourth down is often unpredictable, further proving the Titans rarely rely on analytics in crucial in-game moments.
Robinson recently made some comments regarding his dislike of analytics that are gaining traction online.
“We incorporate some analytical data into some of the decisions we make, but I’d say 90% of the decisions we make, we put the film on and watch the guy play football,” Robinson said. “At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about. Does the guy play football well? He has to play football. Let’s not look at a bunch of numbers.”
In his defense, Robinson did admit that analytics play a role into his overall evaluation process, albeit a small one.
“There’s a part of that [analytics] that plays into it,” Robinson pivoted. “I’m not some 1960s G.M. here,” Robinson said, while laughing. “I get it. But there’s a balance there. At the end of the day, we come back to the film. Is the guy good at playing football? If he is, we want to try to get that guy on our team. Whatever the numbers and metrics say, at the end of the day, the film and that evaluation is probably the most important thing,” Robinson concluded.
Robinson also shared his disdain for social media platforms such as Twitter which has allowed modern-day football audiences to share their opinions with a large audience at their fingertips. The way football content is produced and consumed has certainly changed.
“With social media and the digital age, sometimes it drives me crazy with all of the stuff that gets said out there because everybody’s an expert,” Robinson continued.
Robinson’s comments don’t qualify as overly shocking. The Titans didn’t even make their first official analytics hire (Matt Iammarino) until August of last year. Iammarino was hired to help with the team’s scouting database development and some analytical and statistical research. Prior to Iammarino’s appointment, the Titans were the lone team in the NFL without a single member on staff that held an analytics-related title.
Although it’s tough to slander Robinson, who’s never experienced a losing season while stringing together six consecutive winning seasons, three consecutive postseason appearances and back-to-back division titles as Tennessee’s General Manager, it does feel like the franchise could embrace the use of analytics more than they currently do.
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