Welcome to Seven Step Drop
By Alex Chinery
Welcome to Seven Step Drop, the Touchdown’s brand-new analytics division. The world of football is changing and whilst the game isn’t as analytically driven as other major US sports like Basketball and Baseball, the influence of ‘computer folks’ as Dave Gettleman calls us is growing. In the UK access to analytically driven football commentary is limited, with most of the brands staffed by professional journalists focusing on the mainstream and most of the amateur writers focusing on film study. As important as film study is (in addition to working with stats, I watch a fair bit of film), statistical analysis is important for qualifying opinions. As such I hope you will join me for an alternative look at all the action on the gridiron and find that Seven Step Drop is the missing piece of your football experience.
Who am I?
For those that consume all the offerings on the Touchdown you will know me as a member of the College Football and NFL Draft writing team; one of three hosts of the College Chaps Podcast and generally vocal fan of anything burnt orange. As part of this project I plan to combine my love of football with skills attained from my professional background as an analyst to spread insights and ask questions that will give pause to any NFL fan reading or watching.
The Problem With Analytics
Analytics has a marmite reputation. Sports fans are either complete believers in its power or like to rubbish the findings as less than those coming from tape, scouting or other methods of consuming the game. However, I am going to let you into a secret. I’m not a total believer in analytics. Analytics without the concept of film study, are useless. Box scores lie and context is king. Learning these lessons in my professional career means that the content produced as part of Seven Step Drop will blur the lines between analytics and context. I hope this balanced view will help introduce some new people to analytics in football, whilst also converting some of the non-believers.
Combine recap: The state of football discourse is awesome right now. The number of people talking and thinking about this sport in a critical way is amazing. That’s not an “analytics” comment either. I talked to analytics people who see the human element better than anyone else.— Robert Mays (@robertmays) February 28, 2020
Another issue with analytics is how needlessly complicated it is made. You’re forgiven if the idea of ‘adjusted net yards per theoretical drive’ is a phrase that immediately has you grabbing your mouse to close down the page, or if ‘o-line adjusted QBR’ has you reaching for the unfollow button on twitter. Whilst I can’t guarantee we will never delve into tough to understand topics, I will endeavour to make sure that the majority of concepts explored in these articles and videos are easy for everyone to understand. I’m not interested in peacocking – this project is about getting top quality analytical insights and making them available to everyone.
Follow @sevenstepdrop on Twitter and @seven_step_drop on Instagram for full access to all our graphics, insights, articles and videos. Full plans for the season have not been fully fleshed out, but you can be sure that the Twitter account will be active on Saturdays and Sundays, bringing you a slightly different take on all the weeks action. Our YouTube channel will be up and running very soon, with lots of great content to come including some good old fashioned new-school vs old-school debates on several great football topics.
Finally, we have our own section right here on the Touchdown. Bookmark https//:thetouchdown.co.uk/analytics to get access to all our analytics content in the months ahead.
A professional data analyst, alex has decided to turn his analytical eye to football for the touchdown in a UK first. be introduced to the analytical side of the game as alex blurrs the lines between the old school and the new.