Podcast: John Urschel, NFL lineman, on football analytics and math research

On this episode of the Football Analytics Show, John Urschel, lineman for the Baltimore Ravens and Ph.D. candidate in mathematics at MIT, joins me for a wide ranging conversation. Topics include:

  • The NFL’s progress in using video tracking data
  • The football analytics problem John is working on
  • The acoustic operator in those Bose commercials with J.J. Watt
  • The breadth of math research in which John is engaged
  • The hidden factor in his success as an NFL lineman

John is an amazing human being, and I hope you enjoy this episode.

You also might be interested in an interview I did with John 3 years ago before he got drafted by the NFL.

To listen on iTunes, click here.

To listen here, click on the triangle.


  1. sam blackman says:

    I spent over 50 years as an applied mathematician working mostly on the multiple target tracking(MTT) problem. I think that much of John Urschel’s work may be applicable to MTT and he might be interested in looking at MTT. We use Kalman filtering but there is much more to MTT because we must sort out which observations come from which targets. This is termed the data association problem and it leads to a complex combinatorial optimization problem that some have related to graph theory. There also is a higher order situational assessment learning process involved in order to determine which targets are hostile and what is their intent. Also, recent work by Mahler et al uses finite set theory to attempt to generate the probability density representing target presence directly in the target state space. It seems to me that he might be able to combine several of his interests in the MTT problem and you might pass along this suggestion to him. For more details, both of my books and the book “Information Fusion” by Ronald P.S. Mahler should be in the MIT library and the MIT Lincoln Lab is probably still doing research in this area. Thanks for providing this interesting interview

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