On Sunday I happened to catch a short blip of a story on 60 minutes about the key success in football: the coach. They explained a little bit about how coaches today use stats to not only find the probability of what an opponent will do in a certain situation but other strategic moves involved in contracts and trades.
Bill Belichick, the head coach of the Super Bowl Champion- New England Patriots, was actually an economics major in college. I found that very interesting.
Anyone who follows sports knows about the salary cap. Teams cannot exceed this limit in aggregate salary paid to its players. Belichick, in particular, uses optimization to decide when it is time to release a high paid star and find a new, emerging player with star potential. This way, his team stays under the salary cap, while having a consistently successful team.