Much has been made of the Eagles' sports science program ever since Chip Kelly was hired. But how effective is it?
Luckily for you, James Keane has already covered the answer to this question here at Bleeding Green Nation. Spoiler alert: evidence would suggest Philadelphia's sports science program has been able to keep the team very healthy. So healthy, in fact, that the Eagles are the healthiest team in the NFL the past two seasons. When you're done yelling at me for "jinxing" things, take a look at this chart via r/NFL:
Note that AGL is a metric created by Football Outsiders which uses injury report and injured reserved data to determine how a team is impacted by injury.
Perhaps even more interesting than the Eagles being the most healthy team is the disparity between them and the New York Giants. The Giants have been bitten hard by the injury bug in recent years. Is it just bad luck? Maybe not. Check out this interesting quote from a recent interview Walter Thurmond did with Bleacher Report. Bold emphasis mine:
"Coach Coughlin is the same type of person, but we battled through injuries last season. Yes, he's a little old-school, but he's starting to come around to the times. He doesn't believe in the sport-science aspect like Coach Carroll or Coach Kelly and the newfound technology for the players. His style takes a hit, because he doesn't believe in this aspect. He believes in winning, but he doesn't believe in the modern medicine to progress the players to that next level.
Coach Kelly is the front-runner and the most extroverted as it pertains to sport science with hydration and maximizing the full potential of the players."
It always seems crazy to me when teams insist relying on "old-school" methods as opposed to some of the newest cutting-edge technology and data out there. Spending money on a sports science program isn't something that counts against the salary cap. Maybe Coughlin figures he doesn't need it because he's had a lot of success in the NFL without it, but the Giants have clearly been at a disadvantage in recent years.
Getting back to the Eagles, it'll be interesting to see how their AGL holds up after bringing in so many injury prone players this offseason. Here's to sports science.