Technology & Data Is Becoming MOre Widely Used In The NFL

Before computers, cell phones and other technology became widely available and extremely advanced, professional sports clubs simply had to rely on their own scouting and strategizing when it came to building a team.

But now, practically every professional sports team in North America is using some form of analytics, computer/phone technology and data when it comes to factoring in their decisions.

In 2016, the NFL introduced the “Next Gen Stats” system. As noted by the NFL’s official website, Next Gen Stats is used to “provide clubs with data to analyze trends and player performance, while enhancing the fans’ experience in-stadium, online and during game telecasts.” The league features 250 different devices for every game, allowing fans and teams to get the most detailed information possible.

The Cleveland Browns franchise has enjoyed a remarkable improvement under new GM Andrw Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski, and it’s largely thanks to their efforts in technology and analytics. 

The Browns have +1700 odds of winning the Super Bowl next season at DraftKings, and they’re the +175 betting favorites to win the AFC North. DraftKings is one of the major approved sports betting apps in Illinois, along with BetRivers, BetMGM, FanDuel, Unibet, Caesars and PointsBet.

Sports fans in Illinois can enjoy several special offers if they sign up now, including risk-free bets of up to $1,000 with FanDuel Illinois and BetMGM Illinois.

In 2021, ESPN surveyed several analytics workers in the league, and the Cleveland Browns were voted as “the most analytically advanced”, the leaders in producing “the highest level of analytics work” and the top club that “ incorporates analytics into its decision-making?”

Furthermore, the Browns and Baltimore Ravens shared a tie for the most votes of being “among the top five most analytically inclined.”

For Berry and Stefanski, “analytics” include playing the percentages (going for it on fourth down more frequently) and enhancing their usage of sports science.

Advanced stats from the likes of Pro Football Focus and Next Gen Stats are helping NFL teams get the ideal close-up looks of certain players. The Browns and Ravens are among the teams who rely greatly on analytics when it comes to roster building and making gutsy in-game decisions. It’s no wonder John Harbaugh and the Ravens have been among the AFC’s elite under Lamar Jackson.


Major League Baseball and the NHL have also moved quickly towards ushering advanced technology and science into roster building.

MLB clubs like the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland Athletics don’t have the resources to spend high dollars on star players. Instead, they focus on advanced data and unique stats to build their rosters.

Following a brief rebuild, the Athletics used launch angle data to build up a roster full of powerful home run hitters, and it led to them making the playoffs three years in a row from 2018 to 2020.

FanGraphs and Statcast are prime resources for advanced MLB data. Aside from launch angles, exit velocity is a popular statistic that teams eye  closely.

Before he was hired as the new GM of the Arizona Coyotes, John Chayka was a well-known advanced stats guru who co-founded “Stathletes”, which offers in-depth data and analysis on top athletes.

Chayka was only 26 years of age when the Coyotes hired him, making him the youngest general manager in the history of the major North American pro sports leagues. His background and deep knowledge of analytics certainly played a factor in the team’s decision to bring Chayka aboard.

It is no coincidence that plenty of NHL analytics pioneers have been picked up by NHL clubs over the past half decade. The Edmonton Oilers started the trend by hiring Tyler Dellow (known on Twitter as (@mc79hockey) to work for them.

All 32 NHL clubs employ workers in the analytics departments. The league decided to get more on board with it, implementing a new puck tracking technology called “NHL Edge”. 

Front offices are looking at advanced stats such as Corsi For Percentage, Expected Goals For Percentage and Goals For Percentage to find players that can help their teams. And of course, coaches are using advanced data and tracking systems when it comes to in-game strategies.