On the afternoon of Thursday, January 22 Bluffton University hosted a mathematics seminar unlike any you’ve ever been to. Tyler Oberly, Manager of Analytics for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, addressed an eager audience with a speech titled “Sports Analytics: Diving into the math behind athletics.”
The seminar, which was open to all, focused on the emerging industry of sports analytics, and Oberly’s journey to his current position.
Analytics, without going into much detail, is the process of collecting and analyzing data, the ultimate goal being recognition of trends to improve performance. With so many teams searching for a more reliable way to measure and predict player performance, the sports analytics industry is rapidly expanding across all the major professional and collegiate leagues.
Oberly is a graduate of Bluffton High School (2006) and the University of Toledo where he majored in electrical engineering. He is married to Erin (Neal) Oberly, the daughter of Guy and Diane Neal.
He said that while he was happy creating business and risk analysis reports in the industrial world, he knew it wasn’t what he really wanted to be doing. Growing up playing football, basketball and running track, Oberly has always had a passion for sports, and knew he could turn that into a career. He just didn’t know how yet.
“I could not fall asleep after watching that movie,” said Oberly about Moneyball. “It was my eureka moment when I realized I could do this. I was already doing it, just not in a sports context.”
In his time at Toledo Oberly had begun to develop his own model for evaluating National Football League rosters and salary caps, called the Elitics PER (Player Efficiency Rating) Model. The Elitics PER Model is designed to provide one metric in reviewing all players from all positions throughout the NFL.
As one of seven finalists in the 2014 MIT Sloan Business School’s Evolution of Sport conference, Oberly was able to present his work to an audience of sports professionals looking for the next big thing that could change the face of sport.
Obviously Oberly impressed at least one person in that crowd because he was shortly thereafter hired by the Buccaneers to head up their new analytics department. He now works closely with Head Coach Lovie Smith and General Manager Jason Licht, as well as other front office personnel.