Academics, Not Arm, Lands Older Tanney with Chicago Bears
Mitch Tanney's abilities off the field—rather than what the former Monmouth College quarterback displayed in action—were the deciding factors in him landing a job this week with the Chicago Bears.
Tanney, who graduated summa cum laude in 2006 with degrees in math and Spanish, was hired to fill the Bears' newly created position of director of analytics. He will be in charge of analyzing and breaking down data to give the Bears the best options in each situation for every player.
In other words, Tanney will be compiling the equivalent of baseball's sabermetrics. While he'll never take a snap, Tanney will be calling the signals to some degree on Sunday afternoons. The Bears will use Tanney's reports for individual game situations, scouting, and player development.
The older brother of recent Monmouth standout Alex Tanney, Mitch led the Fighting Scots to a Midwest Conference title and their first NCAA playoff appearance in 2005. His academic and athletic background made him uniquely qualified for the position.
"There are very few people who have a competitive football background like Mitch does at a key decision-making position as well as the math background he has and the experience in this field," said Bears general manager Phil Emery. "What you're trying to do is figure out the probability of success of taking the chance or not taking the chance in terms of a successful outcome not only in that given situation but what it could mean in terms of the overall game."
Tanney experienced plenty of success on the field. As a senior he set the NCAA record for completion percentage (73.6) on his way to a 19-2 record. In 2005, he was named a finalist for the prestigious Gagliardi Trophy.
After playing for various arena league teams following his career at Monmouth, Tanney earned his MBA from the University of Iowa and had been the manager of football products and sports analytics for STATS LLC. Among his duties at STATS, Tanney performed historical research and comparison data projects.
Tanney becomes the second Fighting Scot to land a high-level position with the Bears. Ken Geiger, a 1953 Monmouth graduate, was a scout with the Bears when they won the Super Bowl in 1985.