While it’s sometimes hard to tell one way or another, the Bills appear to be a team that is investing in analytics in regard to their approach to football.
According to ESPN sports analytics writer Seth Walder, the Bills have at least four people working in their analytics department. The research looked into all 32 teams in the NFL and the findings showed that only six teams have four or more people in such roles:
Updated the NFL analytics staffers list again after yesterday’s Jaguars news, plus a few other updates elsewhere.
As always, this is to the best of my understanding based on what teams list and conversations with staffers themselves. pic.twitter.com/KyrJeD3V4R
— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) May 15, 2021
In February 2018, Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott continued an overhaul of some of the team’s front office. Hired in 2017, McDermott began doing so in his first offseason when he cleaned house in the Bills’ scouting department following the 2017 NFL draft.
The following year, Luis Guilamo was hired as the team’s director of analytics and application development. Upon doing so, at the 2018 scouting combine, McDermott mentioned that the idea was simple for the Bills. Analytics can make the team better.
“It’s football-based, football analytics,” McDermott said. “It will not be involved on the business side at this point. It’s about us growing, us evolving and becoming better. It’s a part of what we’ll do. It’ll be involved, whether it’s personnel, game-management, it’s just about information gathering and building overall awareness on whatever it might be. I’m confident it’ll help us get to the next level in some areas.”
Considering the recent look at analytics around the league by ESPN currently, it’s clear that the Bills and McDermott feel analytics have helped with the team’s recent successes.
However, it’s unclear how the Bills apply such findings. One way we can speculate the Bills use analytics potentially involves fourth down and the Bills offense. In 2020, the Bills led the NFL in fourth-down conversion rate at 83.33 percent.