Friday, September 15, 2006

A few football nuggets

Sometimes one wants two plus two to equal five.
One of Dostoevsky's big beefs was the idea that mathematical systems could make projections on human behavior, that everything that happened in the world was a matter of cause and effect. In books like Notes from the Underground, Dostoevsky attempted to show how all sorts of irrational forces impact human behavior and events.

I have similar skepticism about computer systems that attempt to project what a coach should do in a give situation. I think intense statistical analysis can tell us a lot about football; however, I don't think it can project what a give team, with a given offensive personel, facing another given team at a given date, with a specific defensive set with a specific defensive personel, with specific events that have already occured in the game (players getting worn down, plays already run, either successfully or unsuccessfully), at a specific point in the game, should do.

Getting ready for the Panthers.
The Vikes are likely facing the Panthers without Steve Smith, their best offensive player, a true playmaker who makes the offense potent (and even if he plays, will he be effective?). The Panthers have also just lost their starting left tackle, might be playing without their center, and will most likely be playing without their middle linebacker. I really shouldn't be as confident as I am, I know, but I don't see any reason the Vikings shouldn't win this game.

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