Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Sunday sports section 

Malcolm Gladwell and Steven Pinker stray far from their areas of expertise to pick a fight about pro football -- demonstrating mainly that neither knows much about what they are arguing about, nor much about finding the credible Internet resources to back their cases. Pro Football referees the dispute.

How to beat the spread on NFL football games, II. Again from Pro Football
... Now here's what you should be thinking: Chase picked four relatively arbitrary stats, combined them in a totally arbitrary way without explaining why, and then multiplied them by a number he picked from his you know what. How could these possibly be useful?...

To see how my system did, however, you need to look at the most extreme games. In 462 games, my projected point spread differed from the actual point spread by 5.0 points or more. The team my system would say was underrated by the point spread covered in 297 of those games and failed to cover in 152 of them; thirteen games were a push. A 297-152-13 record translates to a .657 winning percentage against the spread...

Bump the requirement to 10.0 points differential or more, and the undervalued teams went 74-29-4, an incredible 0.710 winning percentage.

The bad tattoos of pro athletes. Really, with all the money these guys make they could afford better -- at least some proofreading...

...that's not as bad as the tattoo that Washington Wizards G/F DeShawn Stevenson added this past offseason -- a Pittsburgh Pirates "P" on his cheek. The only problem is, it's backward. Did you do it yourself in a mirror, DeShawn? Because it looks like a 9.

"If you're standing [farther away] it looks like a P," Stevenson told The Washington Times, in what has to be a leader for Dumbest Quote of 2009...

Forget the Belichick brouhaha everyone was mad about last week. The game ending/losing coaching Epic Fail of the year -- maybe any year -- was committed by Les Miles of LSU (with his $3.5 million "amateur sports" salary) last week, who clearly had no idea what the @#$%! he was doing as his team exercised mass confusion while time ran out rather than kick a short field goal to win.

Then he lied about it, telling the press after the game, "The one thing we couldn't do there is clock (spike) the ball. I have no idea who told the QB to clock the ball". This while video of the game clearly showed him jumping and waving and yelling at the QB "clock the ball!, clock the ball!" As the ESPN announcers said later, "Coach, you've got to know you're on camera". The story, and assorted videos.

It had to be the biggest sports story of the year, and I missed it! I know it was the biggest story of the year because in the print edition of the New York Times sports section it was full-page width -- five columns wide -- and they don't even give that to any single story on the Super Bowl!

This vital reporting was about a dramatic, indeed traumatic event in women's college soccer...
ALBUQUERQUE Nearly two weeks later, the University of New Mexico soccer player Elizabeth Lambert said she still could not fully explain what led her to yank an opponent from Brigham Young down by her ponytail...
I missed this story because for some reason I don't read the sports section of the Times any more, and it wasn't noticeably reported by any other newspaper, television or radio show, or web site that I pay attention to.

I saw it only because there was a week-old copy of the Times my wife had left lying in the house, and I noticed the story while taking the paper to recycling.

I apologize for my ignorance and neglect.