Bills President and CEO Russ Brandon called it a long and thorough process, but the team's plan to be a progressive and attacking organization has taken a big step forward with the hiring of their Director of Analytics.
Mike Lyons, a former MIT and University of Rochester Simon School of Business graduate and 25-year employee at Xerox, will begin to develop the Bills' analytics department from the ground up.
"Mike will be leading the department and he will work with different project teams along the way," said Brandon. "We have a lot of pieces in place already here through the football administrative department through the things we want to do business-wise. We have a long list of things for Mike to start working on."
Lyons' responsibilities will include analyzing and developing strategic performance initiatives for all functions of the Buffalo Bills organization including – football operations, business development, and marketing. As such he will work with several department heads on both the football and business sides of the organization.
"He'll work closely with (Senior VP of Football Administration) Jim Overdorf, (Player Personnel Analyst) Kevin Meganck, Stephen Brown, who is the assistant to coach Marrone. In the offseason he'll work with coach Marrone directly and myself. Then as we broaden the scope of what we want to do he'll work very heavily with the business department."
While Lyons' work will provide additional data to the football department it will be far from the sole determining factor in making football decisions.
"It's another layer of information," said Brandon. "Really it is just another spoke in the wheel of providing as much quality in depth information we can to make informed decisions across all of our business platforms. The main focus will be football at this point and we'll layer that in as we move forward. The whole concept will be bringing the analytics element to everything that we do."
Although Lyons joins the team in the middle of the NFL's regular season Brandon believes that the team's new analytics head can have an impact before the season is over.
"We have a short and mid-range schedule for Mike," said Brandon. "He'll make contributions very quickly we believe to the organization. This has been a long and very thorough process that we've gone through. Mike is a tremendous candidate, who I know will provide us with a lot of in depth analysis moving forward. But this is long range. He'll jump right in and be a big part of what we want to do. We're looking forward to it."