Sunday, December 04, 2005

Moving on to football

Don't miss this article by Michael Lewis on how a coach of a minor Texas university is turning football (or American ovoid handball, as a tetchy friend would have it)strategy on its head. Basically, it involves a pass-heavy approach that seeks to stretch the field as much as possible, both horizontally and vertically.

This is definately the wave of the future. Besides the violence, what I really lack about football is that it has a much larger strategic component compared to other sports. Alas, the sad fact is that most NFL coaches stick to very conventional/conservative playcalling, wasting the potential to achieve victory through greater creativity and flexibility (with some partial exceptions, such as the Patriots, Eagles and, until recently, the Rams).

This is not precisely a new idea. Bob Oates, who writes for the LA Times, has consistently favored this approach.

By the way, if you like football, go visit Football Outsiders if you haven't done so already. Aaron Schatz and his crew are doing a great job by applying statistical modelling to evaluate performance on the gridiron. It simply is a must read, although I do hope that in the future they'll also include --to the extent possible--on the impact of stategy.