Many professional sport franchises have undergone shifts in talent evaluation strategies by moving to analytic and data-driven approaches. However, National Football League (NFL) franchises have been resistant to fully embrace the analytical model, as NFL organizational management structures tend to be isomorphic. In 2016, the Cleveland Browns initiated an ideological break from this system by hiring “moneyball” guru Paul DePodesta, a move that signaled a shift to an analytics-based model in organizational management. A textual analysis of 120 online media articles was carried out to determine how media reports framed this philosophical shift. Results revealed that frames predominantly portrayed analytics as being in direct opposition to normalized operational structures in the NFL. The results illustrate how difficult it is to change the discourse and embrace new management ideas that are perceived to contrast with dominant ideologies.
Cassilo is with Kent State University, Kent, OH. Sanderson is with the School of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Arizona State University, Glendale, AZ.