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Chiefs say goodbye to one analytics specialist, hello to another

NFL: Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Two pieces of Kansas City Chiefs news when it comes to their analytics department came through as the week came to a close — both can be credited to ESPN’s Seth Walder.

The Chicago Bears hired Krithi Chandrakasan away from the Chiefs to become their director of football analytics. Chandrakasan’s final title with the Chiefs was “senior data scientist.” He had worked his way up to the title after joining Kansas City in September of 2019. Chandrakasan likely had a good relationship with Ryan Poles, the former Chiefs personnel man who landed the general manager role with the Bears.

As Chandrakasan reportedly exited, the Chiefs brought in Marc Richards as a football research analyst.

Walder added that Richards was on the winning team for the “Big Data Bowl” in 2021.

The “Big Data Bowl” is an annual analytics contest that “challenges members of the analytics community – from college students to professionals – to contribute to the NFL’s continuing evolution of the use of advanced analytics. The crowd-sourced competition uses data and technology to spur innovation that results in creating new insights, making the game more exciting for fans and protecting players from unnecessary risk.”

Friend-of-the-site Charles Goldman of Chiefs Wire found an interesting note regarding Richards’ “Big Data Bowl” win.

It seems like Richards’ team’s analysis of pass coverage caught the eye of statistical analysis coordinator Mike Frazier — one of the hidden gems of the Chiefs’ organization. Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy was asked about the team’s integration of analytics back in November 2020.

“Well, I think more than anything, our play calling is basically a collaboration of what we studied for that particular week, and on top of that, yes, we will utilize our analytics,” said Bieniemy. “Mike Frazier does a heck of a job of updating us on things that are strengths and things that are weaknesses that are being presented to us.”

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