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49ers 'believers' in analytics approach

A joint effort by ESPN The Magazine and ESPN.com rated 122 teams on “the strength of each franchise’s analytics staff, its buy-in from execs and coaches, its investment in biometric data and how much its approach is predicated on analytics” in a survey posted online Monday.

And if your mind is swirling with visions of Billy Beane and his Oakland Athletics, of a best-selling book called “Moneyball” and an Oscar-nominated movie of the same name, don’t fret.

No NFL franchise cracked the top 10 list, which included four NBA teams, five MLB clubs and an NHL organization.

The San Francisco 49ers, meanwhile, were one of nine NFL teams labeled as being “believers” in analytics, which is interesting considering the change at the top of the coaching staff.

Team president Paraag Marathe, who was hired by Bill Walsh and Terry Donahue “based on his work as part of a consulting team providing a data-oriented approach to the draft,” the report read, is credited with getting the Niners into the analytics flow, so to speak.

“Colin Kaepernick's 2014 team-friendly contract was crafted according to analytical research, with a refundable 'pay as you go' structure, setting an NFL precedent for QB contracts,” the report read.

Perhaps, then, one of the purported numerous issues between head coach and front office had a little something to do with analytics?

“On the coaching side,” the report stated, “former coach Jim Harbaugh wanted little to do with analytics. But new coach Jim Tomsula, while he has similarly old-school roots, is, according to sources, more amenable to input from the analytics staff.”