After the Buffalo Bills announced they would be embracing the statistical revolution and putting resources into an analytics department, former NFL general manager and current ESPN NFL analyst Bill Polian dismissed it on Thursday, saying “Moneyball” will not work in the NFL.
“As a practical tool, Moneyball does not work in the NFL because there are very few undervalued players and no middle class because of our salary cap,” Polian said. “There is no middle class in football because the minimum salaries are so high and because of the salary cap, a player will reach a point where you can’t keep him. They go. They’re going to get big money elsewhere.”
Polian was the former Bills general manager who built the team that made four-straight Super Bowl appearances in the 1990s. He was most recently the Vice President of Football Operations for the Indianapolis Colts.
One NFL analyst said, of Polian’s remarks, that “teams always are looking for an edge” and “Polian’s view seems deliberately obtuse or perhaps a little afraid that small changes are coming to his change-resistant league.”