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'Moneyball' for football? Not likely | News

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'Moneyball' for football? Not likely

ATLANTA (WXIA) -- While most of us like to watch our sports with a beer and a hotdog, others like to watch their sports with a calculator and a computer.

The math of sports is an above-the-rim affair and not for the numerically faint of heart. But many believe that within the head-spinning statistical algorithms lies a winning formula that can reverse the fortunes of an ostensible mediocre team.

Indeed, that's the basis for the movie "Moneyball" with Brad Pitt. The film is based on the true story of the Oakland A's and their GM Billy Beane, who played the numbers instead of big name baseball stars.

With the success of "score-casting" in baseball, other coaches want to know if it can be applied to other sports, including football.

But several experts believe it would not work very well on the gridiron.

"Unlike baseball, in football you can win from the defense, and you can score points from the defense," said Emory Economics professor Thomas Smith. "Unlike baseball, football has special teams; and so what happens is you have way too many moving parts to try and dissect it... to try and break it down to an atomic level that's really easy to manage. It's very difficult to piece together a winning team the way that the Oakland A's did."