Top Executive Paul DePodesta Leaves For The NFL
Just when you thought sports couldn’t get any more interesting, the NFL’s Cleveland Browns brought in baseball executive Paul DePodesta into the mix as the new strategic officer. He’ll most likely being charge of overarching philosophy matters for the Browns, bringing his background of analytics to the table to help see what steps the new regime needs to take. The move was made official yesterday after the Brown had fired their head coach Mike Pettine. Pundits in sports media had a field day.
However, this move isn’t that strange if you look at it beyond the superficial Hollywood representation of DePodesta. Most sports fans look at him as the guy who was played by Jonah Hill and opposite Brad Pitt in the 2011 movie, Moneyball. But the real Paul DePodesta actually has a background that makes him very desirable for an organization like the Cleveland Browns.
The Alexandria, Virginia native played football and baseball at Harvard University during the early 1990’s. As a kid, his aspirations included being a football coach. His first job in sports was actually with the Baltimore Stallions of the old CFL as an intern. Following the stint in Baltimore, DePodesta went on to work for the Cleveland Indians, the MLB team in Cleveland. His familiarity with both football and the city of Cleveland will bode well for the struggling franchise.
Additionally, DePodesta has experience in turning around franchises. We all know about the shift in Oakland alongside Billy Beane, but he was actually partially responsible for the New York Mets recent success, since he was vice president of player development and scouting. Their plethora of young talent can be attributed to his work.
Lastly, this move could create a new shift in football. Maybe not as drastic as the one fifteen years ago in baseball, but still as an alternative for struggling franchises. Analytics in football is different because of salary caps and revenue sharing, but similar measurements used to determine team worth in baseball could be used in football. For example, an emphasis on net yards could be just as influential as an emphasis on OBP.
Overall, DePodesta is a great hire for the Cleveland Browns. It’s sad that he has briefly left baseball, but his smart instincts could help resurrect a team in turmoil.