Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The twisted wisdom of football.

Not a good time to say you're an American football fan, is it? I understand the beefs against the sport, and I'm far from rabid about it. But it still speaks to me.

Maybe that's the result of pre-teen years filled with Fighting Irish, Monday Night Football, and Mean Joe Greene. Or perhaps it's because the game is driven by strategy, but really defined by interconnected and tangled complexity. An interview with Texas  Longhorn's defensive coordinator Manny Diaz (HT: smartfootball.com) gives a glimpse into exactly how tangled and complex:
"Last year, everybody was wondering six games into the season why our defensive ends couldn't get sacks, and then the next couple games they started getting sacks," Diaz said. "But we were also covering better those games. Quarterbacks maybe held onto the ball a half-second longer. All of a sudden the defensive ends get the plaudits, but a lot of it was maybe because of the coverage. 
"Nothing happens to a defensive player in a bubble," Diaz said. "That's what makes college football the opposite of baseball. Because in baseball, everything happens in a bubble: this guy pitches, this guy hits and the ball is hit to that guy." 
Because of that, Diaz said it would be difficult to come up with accurate statistical measurements for individual defenders. But he said the fact that people are finding different ways to look at the game was a great thing. 
"The way an iceberg looks from a ship going by is very different from what's happening beneath the surface," Diaz said. "That's what's so fun about this game. There's so much going on beneath the surface, and I think that's the point."

2 comments:

  1. Football doesn't appeal to me, but I find the iceberg analogy compelling. The idea gives extra dimension and interest to almost everything. I wonder whether we can have a comprehensive understanding of what is happening beneath any surface? It's a powerful notion.

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  2. There's so much brewing under the surface nearly always, isn't there? Even something as seemingly knuckleheaded as football is full of complexity and rich in possibilities.

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