Mike Eayrs, a data analyst for several college and NFL football teams, spoke about the innovative practices that earned him the name the “grandfather of NFL analytics” at Mendoza College of Business on Tuesday night. Eayrs started out as an assistant coach in the NCAA, where he said he and the other coaches were constantly arguing over new ways to gain a competitive advantage.
“I was trying to think, ‘What’s the lowest common denominator we have in our staff room?’” Eayrs said. “The answer was everybody wants to win.”
In response, Eayrs said he started to study game statistics and how they were connected to the team’s wins and losses. In this study, he said that turnovers were the factor that had the strongest impact on the outcome of a game.
“For the first time since I’d been hired, we actually agreed on something,” Eayrs said. “Everybody agreed that if we could lower turnovers on offense and raise them with our defense and coverage teams, we would have a much better football team.”
As a result, Eayrs said he began catering drills in practice towards ball security, so that players could become better at handling the football and would be less likely to turn the ball over.
“The more you repeat something successfully, the better the neuroconnections become, so that you do it more effectively and faster,” Eayrs said. “Believe me, when it comes to ball security, we want our guys’ neuroconnections firing really fast.”
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