The Chicago Bears have hired Mitchell Tanney as the organization's director of analytics. Tanney formerly worked at STATS Inc. where he managed several analytics projects and analyzed decades of historical data to determine the most important factors for winning NFL games.
Tanney will work with GM Phil Emery in an attempt to lead the Bears to their first Super Bowl championship since 1985. Emery, and the rest of the Bears' front office, are increasingly implementing analytics into their organization. In a season-ending press conference, Emery frequently mentioned that he had begun consulting analytical companies such as STATS Inc. and Pro Football Focus.
Tanney will be the club's first "director of analytics" and will manage the use of analytics in scouting, player development, game management, and more.
While analytics can now be found within every organization in the MLB and NBA, NFL teams are implementing them at a much slower pace. The Bears will join the Jaguars and Bills (among several others) as teams with analytical departments.
Those opposed to analytics are more in favor of traditional scouting and the "eye-test." Tanney is a former Arena League quarterback and was the runner up for D-3 National Player of the Year during his time at Monmouth College. Tanney's background as both a player and stat guru should ease the transition and help bridge ideas from both scouting and analytical perspectives.
Daaaaaa Bears have a new Daaaaarector of Analytics.