If a since deleted entry on the official site is any indication, it appears the Broncos are about to hire Mitch Tanney as their first ever director of analytics:
I don't have a tweet or anything, so there's a little screengrab from my RSS reader just so you (I) know this isn't some figment of my imagination. Also, screengrabs are fun.
Notes on Tanney:
- Graduated from Monmouth College in 2005 with degrees in math and Spanish, and later got his MBA from the University of Iowa
- No, he wasn't just a math geek; as a senior, the quarterback led the Fighting Scots to a 10-1 record, a MWAC title, and their first NCAA playoff berth, all while establishing a new NCAA record for completion percentage (73.6). That performance earned him MWAC POY honors and made him a finalist for the Gagliardi Trophy, which is awarded each year to the best player in D-III football.
- After that, Mitch played four seasons of pro ball, including stints in the Arena and Indoor leagues
- He then worked at STATS LLC for two years
Emery cited both STATS and Pro Football Focus when talking about the team’s pass blocking in the past season. He mentioned that he had visited with people from STATS to understand their methodology in producing data. Now, he will have someone in house to assist in scouting elements as well as other data.
At STATS, Tanney was the product manager of the company’s ICE platform, a system that aligns a team’s analytical data and player records to scouting video. According to the release, Tanney also analyzed 30-plus years of historical data to identify key statistical categories that influence game outcomes to create winning formulas for NFL franchises.
1. Obviously, I love that the Broncos look to be moving into the 21st century. That Tanney played the sport at a high level should help keep the anti-intellectuals at bay.
2. Who am I kidding? There will always be Charles Barkley types out there.
3. Roughly two months after the Broncos fired John Fox, they appear set to hire their first director of analytics. Who will they hire? The guy who held that job in Chicago, where Fox is currently employed. Meanwhile, the Bears appear to have eliminated the position entirely.
4. If the Broncos end up going for a few more fourth downs, punting from positive territory less often, and moving away from 19- and 20-yard field goals, then this will have been a worthy hire. And even if that doesn't all happen right away, it's nice to know the team may be headed in that direction.
5. Does this increase the likelihood that Denver drafts or signs a punter as something more than just camp fodder?
6. Gary Kubiak will now have the Fourth Down Bot bookmarked on his phone or tablet, right?
7. This move doesn't necessarily indicate that John Elway is still livid about Fox thinking a coin flip was preferable to giving Peyton Manning a chance to drive for a field goal attempt against Baltimore 26 months ago. But that won't keep me from thinking that's exactly how Elway feels.
Lastly, Mitch is the older brother of current Tennessee backup Alex Tanney, who also played at Monmouth and is best known for this video: