"“Park will incorporate and utilize statistical resources to provide support in various efforts such as player evaluations, salary cap, coaching, strength and conditioning and medical,” said the Colts in a statement Wednesday."
Florio details Park’s background, which includes a short stint with the Cleveland Browns and goes as far as a financial actuarial role with a “Big 4” accounting firm in PricewaterhouseCoopers.
"“Park’s NFL experience is limited. He spent the last four months as an intern in the NFL Player Engagement department. Before that, he spent time with the Browns as a remote independent contractor, working as a game charter.”“He graduated from Columbia after spending four years in the music industry, obtaining a degree in cultural anthropology. Park then worked as an actuary, consulting with Alvarez & Marshal’s and PricewaterhouseCoopers.”“Park has no title attached to his role, such as director or V.P. or anything like that. As a result, it’s unclear how much sway he’ll have with G.M. Ryan Grigson when the time comes to make decisions.”"
While all players must still pass “the eyeball test”, this seems to show that the Colts are looking to get better acquainted with the advanced statistics and analytics movement of professional sports that was popularized by Billy Beane’s baseball sabermetrics in “Moneyball” as general manager of the Oakland A’s
Park may not quite look the part of Brad Pitt, but he certainly can provide the Colts with another set of tools as it relates to evaluating current players and future prospects.
It doesn’t mean that that the Colts have to rely solely on advanced statistics and analytics by any means, as talented players still “flash” plenty on film.
However, there’s nothing wrong with having another set of evaluation tools at the team’s disposal. By blending both film and advanced stats & analytics, the Colts could have a superior player evaluation model.
It comes just a year after ESPN ranked the Colts in the old school football category of “skeptics“, when it comes to analytics along with 11 other NFL teams.
This is clearly indicating that there may be a “changing of the guard”, as it comes to the Colts considering more modern player evaluation tools. While old school football scouts still have their place in the NFL, so do advanced statistics & analytics. There’s no real reason as to why both can’t co-exist either in a team’s front office.
It comes at a time where advanced football statistics web sites such as ProFootballFocus and FootballOutsiders have become widely popular and utilized by teams, client representation, and fans alike.
Additionally, the Cleveland Browns recently hired a trio of Harvard graduates: chief strategy officer Paul DePodesta, Director of Football Operations Sashi Brown, and former Colts pro scouting coordinator, now Vice President of Player Personnel Andrew Berry.
Of course, DePodesta was one of Beane’s right hand men during the early “Moneyball movement” with the Oakland A’s, and now the former has surrounded himself with some brilliant brains for his own professional football movement.
It goes to show you that the game of football is clearly changing, and instead of resisting such change, the Colts have now shown at least a willingness to get their feet wet.