“As a practical tool, Moneyball does not work in the NFL because there are very few undervalued players and no middle class because of our salary cap. There is no middle class in football because the minimum salaries are so high, and because of the salary cap, a player will reach a point where you can’t keep him. They go. They’re going to get big money elsewhere.”
-Bill Polian, NFL analyst
Few YouWager bettors would question the credentials of Bill Polian, a very successful former NFL executive. He helped build some popular clubs into prominent championship, or almost championship, teams. He was the Vice Chairman of the Indianapolis Colts from 1998 to 2011. As the General Manager of the Buffalo Bills, his team went to four consecutive Super Bowls. They didn’t win, but these are the most consecutive appearances by any team in the league. After Buffalo, Polian became the General Manager of the Carolina Panthers.
But some of the NFL wagering analysts at YouWager disagree with Mr. Polian about his ‘Moneyball’ remarks. It’s already happening, they say. Many NFL clubs are looking into the use of sabermetrics as way to increase their production and efficiency. Moneyball, the book by Michael Lewis, and the movie, starring Brad Pitt, is about Billy Beane, the manager of the Oakland Athletics, and his sabermetric approach to creating a team in spite of financial limitations. The story suggests that a more modern approach, with detailed analysis of player performance, can make a team competitive against those with deeper pockets.
A top NFL analyst at YouWager explains ‘sabermetrics’ as a process that determines the value of a player or team, in this, or recent seasons, by predicting the value of the player or team. “Like we do, on a daily basis,” He jokes. Some areas of these types of studies are still being developed, especially when measuring performance.
Some NFL experts believe that the nonbelievers incorrectly think the term “Moneyball” means allowing the ‘bean-counters’ to run a team. YouWager’s football forecaster points out that Billy Beane, as played by Brad Pitt, was not in favor of stats instead of scouts, for player analysis. Actually, Beane stressed finding and developing players that were undervalued. Beane did not always win, but his team was far more competitive, even though they were operating at a lower level than other teams, financially.
Many NFL teams have been looking to advanced metrics systems with success, YouWager’s expert says. The San Francisco 49ers hired COO Paraag Marathe, a consultant company, in the 2011 NFL football betting season. The company was originally an advisor for Bain & Company. Several other teams have hired consultant firms to ‘crunch numbers’ to see which stats are most relevant to winning games in the NFL.
Some of YouWager’s serious NFL football bettors have said that that Polian’s charge that Moneyball doesn’t work in the NFL may have something to do with the fact that Polian doen’t work in the NFL anymore. If Polian wagered (successfully) on football games, he would know what serious Internet sports bettors already know- numbers don’t lie.