The Ravens announced their most unusual free agent signing of the offseason Monday a math whiz from Yale.
The team hired Sandy Weil as Director of Football Analytics, a new front-office job in which Weil will put advanced principles to work examining everything from the odds of going for it on fourth down to the traits needed for a prospect to succeed.
Were always looking for confirmation on things we think we know and insights that could provide an edge for us in personnel and coaching. This is where Sandy will help us, Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome said in a statement.
Is this Moneyball come to Baltimore? Well, yes, according to Weil in an interview with the teams website.
"Theres no longer complete skepticism around the approach, Weil said of the idea of using mathematics in sports. "The Oakland As took that hit. Billy Beane and the people he worked with kind of took that hit and made it OK to hire guys who know how to work with numbers. That stigma is gone.
This is Weils first job in the NFL. His sports-related background is in pro basketball. Weil worked as a statistical consultant and data structure designer for the NBA and consulted with the San Antonio Spurs.
He comes to the Ravens from a non-sports job with Ascend Analytics in Boulder, Colo., where he was a senior energy analyst and product manager. Before that, he also worked for the investment bank Bear Stearns on its derivatives trading desk.
The Ravens will put him to work on a wide variety of aspects of pro football, seeing if they can uncover some secrets.
"Its not just doing the analysis and spitting out some number, Weil said. "Its knowing the limitations of the analysis and presenting them in a way that people making decisions can make use of that information. They can incorporate into the way that theyre doing things, and thats really where my job is to fit in.