American Football

Cowboys analytics department grows with addition of William Britt from Steelers

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NFL: OCT 16 Cowboys at Eagles
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Mike McCarthy seems to be finally building out that analytics staff that was promised during his hire for Dallas.

The era that many are calling (don’t fact check this) Hot Nerd Summer continues to rage on in Dallas with the news that the Cowboys have made yet another hire for their rapidly expanding analytics department. On Tuesday, it was announced that William Britt has joined the team as a Strategic Football Analyst.

Britt comes over from the Steelers, where he spent the past two seasons as a data analyst. He was one of just two analytics staffers for Pittsburgh during that time, working for an organization that has been largely resistant to embracing the advent of football analytics between longtime head coach Mike Tomlin and longtime general manager Kevin Colbert, who retired following the 2022 NFL Draft.

The Steelers represented Britt’s first NFL job, joining the team straight out of Centre College in Danville, Kentucky. There, he earned dual degrees in data science and computer science while also playing both basketball and football.

Britt conducted numerous sports analytics studies during his time at Centre, including the creation of an improved data-based power ranking system for the Kentucky High School Athletics Association and a study to analyze the most effective lineups for the Kentucky Wildcats basketball team.

Perhaps the most fun fact for Cowboys fans about Britt’s college days is the fact that one of his professors, with whom he collaborated on many of his analytics projects, is named Jeff Heath. Sadly, this is not the same person who spent seven memorable seasons playing safety for the Cowboys, but it still stands as some interesting foreshadowing for Britt, who is now with America’s Team.

Britt is an up-and-comer in the football analytics community, and his addition represents a savvy move for a budding analytics department with the Cowboys. The past two months have seen tremendous growth in this area, first with the appointment of John Park to run the tam’s analytics department and then the hiring of rising star Sarah Mallepalle.

It wasn’t that long ago that the Cowboys posted a job listing for the very position Britt has just filled, which itself was another sign of how the organization is making a full-throated embrace of analytics heading into Mike McCarthy’s fourth season as the head coach. Britt now marks the third analytics staffer in the Cowboys front office, and they have three different coaches on staff as well who are at least partially involved in football analytics.

For context, just half of the league had at least three full-time analytics staffers for the 2022 season, and only nine teams had more than three on staff. Britt’s addition already gives the Cowboys one of the larger analytics staffs in the NFL, and there is still time for the team to add more personnel before the season gets under way. The times are certainly a-changin’ for a Cowboys team that has long been considered one of the less analytically inclined teams in the NFL.

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