KC Joyner, aka The Football Scientist, is one of the pioneers of the football analytics revolution.
It all started after he left his job in the telecom consulting world in October 2003 to pursue a lifelong dream of writing a Bill James-style book about football.
Nineteen months later, his detailed tape breakdowns of the 2003 and 2004 seasons led to the self-publication of Joyner’s groundbreaking book Scientific Football 2005 in May 2005.
Joyner sent copies of this tome to sportswriters around the country, including Sports Illustrated icon Paul Zimmerman. Dr. Z was so impressed with the book that he penned an article about it on SI.com in which he said, “I’ve never seen a more detailed look at this phase of the game…If it were just a collection of numbers, I wouldn’t be spending this much time on it, but here’s the thing that caught my eye: the quality of the observations. We are constantly being deluged by crap, by clichés, whether in the newspapers or on TV…But the observation Joyner affords on every team, while I didn’t agree with all of them, are striking because they are based on non-emotional, non-promotional facts. His facts.”
Dr. Z wasn’t alone in that analysis, as NFL Films legend Steve Sabol was also an enthusiastic supporter of Scientific Football 2005, saying, “He’s peeled back more layers…in his desire to evaluate and analyze the game. The work that went into [this book] and the attention to detail and the care is fantastic.”
The Scientific Football book series didn’t stop there, as Joyner self-published that series for another four years. During that span, multiple NFL teams purchased copies of the book, including one that privately said it changed the way they scout the game.
Scientific Football 2005 also led to Joyner getting an offer to work for ESPN, an agreement that led to a 14-year run with the Worldwide Leader in Sports. During that span, he helped lead the revival of ESPN’s Insider section from being a dormant afterthought on the ESPN website to becoming a paywall industry powerhouse by penning insightful, metric-centric articles about fantasy football, the NFL, college football, and the NFL draft.
Joyner additionally contributed many NFL, fantasy football and college football elements to ESPN The Magazine. His metric charts were such a draw that Joyner was eventually given a dedicated metrics section in an edition of ESPN’s annual fantasy football magazine that was featured on the cover of the magazine.
A 2007 ESPN Insider article that Joyner wrote about Eagles cornerback Roderick Hood’s success in covering Plaxico Burress led Hood’s agent to hire him to put together contract negotiating research material for Hood’s upcoming contract negotiation. After Hood signed a five-year, $15 million deal with the Arizona Cardinals, it opened the door for Joyner to work with many other agents in contract negotiation research over the next couple of seasons.
Joyner is a nationally published author, as in 2008 Wiley & Sons published his book Blindsided, Why The Left Tackle is Overrated and Other Contrarian Football Thoughts. This wide ranging tome reviewed a variety of topics, including why the left tackle position is overrated, why the supposed end of the NFL dynasty was a myth, if weak schedules helped playoff teams, why it doesn’t take a great running back to win a Super Bowl, and the Darwinism of the coaching forest.
Joyner also served as a contributing writer to the New York Times Fifth Down blog in 2008 and 2009. The blog format allowed him to delve into a wide variety of article topics, including how population trends impacted stadium attendance and why NFL officiating was much better than the atrocious officiating that was on display during the NHL’s 2009 Stanley Cup Finals.
His influence is not limited to the writing world, as Joyner has done well over a thousand radio interviews over the years. He is currently an in-season regular guest on the Football Diehards Show with Bob Harris and Mike Dempsey on Sirius XM Radio, the Morning Show on ESPN Los Angeles with Keyshawn Johnson, LZ Granderson, and Travis Rodgers, the Mike Gill Show on 97.3 ESPN in Atlantic City, and on the Nick Cattles Show on ESPN Radio 94.1 in Virginia Beach. To book KC for your radio show or podcast, please click here.
KC is now bringing his nearly two decades of insight and experience to this website on a full-time basis with his new Paydirt service that will combine many of the aforementioned elements, plus some new elements, into a one of a kind subscription service that aims to change the way people view the football world.