In my seemingly-endless, school-induced hiatus I have not had much time to much of anything besides study and sleep. But one thing that I always make time for, regardless of how busy I am, is reading. Reading is the one thing that keeps me sane; it sharpens my mind and reminds me of the fact that there is indeed a world outside of school.
The book that I have been using as an agent to escape from the mundane nature of "the real world" is Moneyball.
Granted, I read this book in the past back when it hit its stride of popularity, but at the time I failed to view the book's true meaning. After my initial reading, I thought the book was simply an over-glorified account of the frugal Oakland Athletics' success at the dawn of the new millennium coated in complicated sabermetric mambo-jumbo.
However, the second time around, I have come to the realization that the book is much more than what I had previously though: It is cry for objectivity sports, a plea for a deeper understanding of the things that sports teams successful. One of the most enlightening things I've pulled from this book is:
"The inability to envision a certain kind of person doing a certain kind of thing because you've never seen someone who looks like him do it before is not just a vice. It's a luxury. What begins as a failure of the imagination ends as a market inefficiency: when you rule out an entire class of people from doing a job simply by their appearance, you are less likely to find the best person for the job." - Michael Lewis
Just these few words alone have piqued my interest in what types of deeper knowledge and comprehension have yet to be discovered in the sports world, particularly in football.
You see, how we view football is limited by what we can see with our eyes. We see a 30-yard touchdown pass and we all say, "Hey, look at that quarterback go." What we don't see, or rather fail to ask, is what made that play work? Is that 30-yard touchdown pass a measure of the quarterback's skill or is it the successful combination of many different variables? Well, we don't know. Why don't we know? Because no one has ever cared enough to ask.
We have already begun to see the introduction and adaptation of sophisticated advanced statistics in business decisions by the front offices of franchises in both the MLB and NBA, most notably with teams like the Houston Rockets and Oakland Athletics. But when it comes to the NFL, we are still stuck in the stone-age of player evaluation.
Sure there are a few websites out there that provide a number of advanced statistics, but comparing where we are in the NFL to where leagues like the MLB and NBA are would be like comparing a Honda Civic to a Bugatti Verona-the former doesn't even hold a candle to the latter.
That being said, it is significantly harder to divulge an individual's performance in the NFL due to the fact that performance in football is more reliant on the performance of other than in any other sport. But is that to say that because it is harder to do we shouldn't even attempt to do it? Certainly not. It just means that it will take more time and effort.
I do believe that we are still in the dark when it comes to analyzing football, and that we haven't even begun to scratch the surface of deeper comprehension. So, my fellow football enthusiasts, I challenge you to shine a light of logic and understanding onto football. You may be asking yourself, "Well how do I do that?" By doing exactly that: Asking questions and searching for answers.