Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Here is a nice article from "Moneyball" author Michael Lewis on Shane Battier, a player who is so likable that I didn't mind it when Duke won the national championship his senior season.
I really enjoyed this article, because it delves into a lot of the same concepts we explore while betting the NFL this season. We try to stay ahead of the statistical curve and use the right stats, much like Rockets GM Daryl Morey.

I watch replays of all the NFL games and try to determine who is playing well and who is not. It is pretty easy to judge the quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers, but most games are determined by the lines. The quality of the defensive tackles, one of the most important positions in football, is very hard to quantify. Some of the best DTs show almost no impact in a box score. The statistical void for the defensive tackle is the most glaring in football, but it exists in every position. Wide receiver blocking is essential and unmeasured. A running back's blitz pickups are one of his most critical jobs. And there are always anomalys like Ben Roethlisberger, who some feel is the third best quarterback in the league despite below-average stats.

A few other reasons why I enjoyed the article: it highlights my biggest weakness as a sports analyst: overvaluing offensive capabilities and undervaluing defensive efficiency; it makes a nice juxtaposition of the virtuous Battier and the Evil Black Mamba; and it's exactly the kind of article I would like to write for a living - digging deep, telling a statistical story along with a character sketch, using both the left and right sides of the brain.


Blogger PunkyPickett said...

Who's your daddy- Battier!
Who's your daddy- Battier!

12:25 PM  
Blogger Wayner said...

Moon, you gotta read The Blind Side - if you haven't already. I think it is Lewis' best work.

Great article on Battier. I had not seen it before. Thanks!

10:55 PM  

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