Cleveland Browns: Another reason to hate analytics

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 10: Quarterback Carson Wentz
LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 10: Quarterback Carson Wentz /

Just when Cleveland Browns fans needed another reason to hate analytics, there’s this. It’s like you can make analytics mean anything you want it to.

Throw around the word “analytics” around fans of Cleveland Browns, and you’re likely to hear a lot of grumbles…as it should.

The philosophy employed by fired executive Sashi Brown and current Browns Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta has delivered Cleveland exactly one win in 29 tries.

I’m won’t sit here and rip analytics to shreds, because it’d be crazy to ignore the impact advanced data analysis has had on the world of sports.

But for the Browns to go “all in” with this strategy will be something the fan base remembers for generations, especially, if the perfect season comes to fruition.

I couldn’t help but to drop my forehead to my desk reading Travis Sawchick’s latest story on The Athletic, which the author makes the case for not abandoning analytics, despite Cleveland’s historically bad efforts the past two seasons.

Fair enough, it’s hard to argue against using science to your advantage, so I agree with the author.

But I’d be kidding you if parts of his story didn’t make my blood boil.

He recounted how the Browns “won” the trade with the Philadelphia Eagles (according to traditional draft value charts), when Cleveland traded down out of the No. 2 position during the 2016 NFL Draft.

What happened next? Carson Wentz was drafted by the Eagles. Paul DePodesta predicted Wentz wouldn’t be a top 20 quarterback. Wentz became a bonafide MVP candidate in year two.

And the Browns are the still the clowns.

Sawchik argues that the Browns misstep with analytics happened because of the under evaluation the quarterback position.

He’s right.

And this is the kind of stuff the average fan despises when you try to turn football into some kind of equation.

You don’t need an advanced degree from MIT to know that in the Super Bowl era, the list is short of signal callers who were not franchise quarterbacks to lead their teams to Vince Lombardi trophies is short.

Doug Williams, Brad Johnson, Trent Dilfer and Jeff Hostetler come to mind. Otherwise, to history, belong the greats (Bart Starr, Joe Namath, Joe Montana, Terry Bradshaw, Tom Brady).

A new era in Browns football began with the hiring of John Dorsey as it’s GM, and the veteran personnel executive possesses more of an old-school mind set. Proponents of analytics will watch the Browns closely now that their roster decisions won’t solely be driven by data.

Obviously, you’d like to find the perfect blend of football know how and analytics, just because there are so many variables in the sport.

Football is a violent game and injuries are a given. It takes a certain kind of person to go in there and dominate week in and week out. And when you’re talking quarterbacks, you’re also talking about leaders of men.

I’m not sure analytics can measure the mark of man. Look no further than the SPARQ scores that turned up Kenny Britt.

Next: How the hiring of the Browns new GM should've happened

When talking quarterbacks, Sashi Brown’s numbers missed their mark. John Dorsey may get it right, he may not.  If he whiffs, it won’t be because of analytics.