Very impressed with the first hire of the new regime... remember, the first thing she wanted to look into was the analytics...
The creator of the online boo-meter and self-proclaimed Detroit Lions fan has joined the organization.
The Lions have made three new hires official, adding Ademi Smith (scouting assistant), Caio Brighenti (analytics assistant) and Michael Pelfrey (analytics assistant), according to the team's website.
Brighenti created the "boo-meter" to gauge how fans were cheering or booing virtually when each pick was announced by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. This year's NFL draft operated through video conferences instead of its planned on-site location in Las Vegas because of COVID-19 restrictions.
While creating the boo-meter, Brighenti was finishing his senior thesis at Colgate University, where he graduated in May with a degree in computer science and peace and conflict studies. He used 33 meters to gauge the reactions, one for each of the 32 teams. The last meter was used on Goodell; he received nearly 80 boos from fans gauged in his first 30 seconds on the screen.
He was a finalist for the 2020 Big Data Bowl, which invited undergraduate and graduate students to share methods and results of predictions from rushing-play outcomes during Weeks 13 through 17 of the 2019 season.
Along with writing for The Colgate Maroon-News, the student newspaper, for more than two years, he was an innovation fellow at the school from August 2016 to May 2019. He began as a developer at Ho Tung Visualization Laboratory beginning in October 2016, where he worked with small teams to design educational experiences for video projection environments and virtual reality mechanisms.
Through his innovation fellowship, he developed and outlined a design thinking course that became offered to students at Colgate.
Brighenti is joined by Pelfrey, who will operate in the same role as an analytics assistant.
Pelfrey interned for the Lions for almost two years in the analytics department, from July 2018 to April 2020, after an eight-month stint with the New York Giants. He graduated from Auburn with a degree in accounting, then got two master's degrees at Ohio University in business administration (2016) and sports administration (2017).
Pelfrey served as a video and recruiting volunteer at Ohio (June 2015 to August 2016) and was hired as a recruiting intern from August until March 2017. He interned on the marketing team in Auburn's athletic department (2013-14) and was a summer intern at the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 2014.
Smith has had three stints with the Lions. A recent Central Florida graduate with a degree in interdisciplinary studies, Smith was a training camp scouting intern in July 2019, East-West Shrine Bowl scouting intern in January 2020, and NFL combine scouting intern in February.
Evan Petzold is a sports reporting intern at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.