Roundup 12/23/11

The scariest 6 words ever heard by a 49ers fan: "Alex Smith is our long-term quarterback." Smith is having a slightly above-average season with a great defense to bail him out of trouble. But don't fall for the 'finally got the right coach' narrative and think Smith is suddenly a different player than he has proved to be over several seasons. The most succinct way to put it is that Smith's career peak is at league-average.

I'm generally adverse to stats like 'fewest rushing TDs allowed'. As I've written before, stats like that aren't really stats. They're questions destined for a sports trivia question-a-day calendar. But if the 49ers defense can go an entire season without allowing a rushing TD, that would be very cool. Plus EPA backs up SF as the best defense against the run.

The widest necks in the NFL. I've always thought Takeo Spikes was in a league of his own, but it turns out he has company.

Teams ranked by their injury woes. (Caution-link has super-annoying video insert.) Helmet-knock: Czaban

A blueprint for Super Bowl victory for each of the playoff contenders.

Some advanced analysis at the college level--2-pt conversions, 4th downs, run/pass. Pretty much mirrors the same conclusions for the NFL. Helmet-knock: Smart Football

From the Community Site: the Favorite/Long Shot Bias.

Lists of all the players who played for each coach at PFR. 

The top receivers at generating YAC. I think I finally understand the YAC+ stat. But wouldn't this be biased toward guys that can only catch the ball when wide open, and against guys that are good in traffic or along the sideline? Maybe that's been addressed. By the way, you really don't need an adjustment for position (WR vs. RB). Just have separate categories and don't try to mix them into one single ranking.

A new working paper shows how coaches manipulate their ranking votes to benefit their own team and conference. 

Icing the kicker remains ineffective. But does it let kick defense units have a practice run? (But be sure to read the 5th comment by nekelund.)

Dave Berri has a guest post comparing the European 'market' system for allocation of sports franchises to the North American 'central planning' arrangement. Interesting discussion, and it touches on a common refrain about American sports. Some claim that the salary cap and revenue sharing of the NFL is 'socialist' and the free-spending arrangement of MLB is 'capitalist.' I don't think that analogy holds water.

The fatal flaw in the sports socialism vs market argument is that it assumes the "team" is strictly the unit of economic activity, and that's a false assumption. Those that call a sports league "central planning" or "socialist" are confusing athletic competition on the field with business competition off the field.

Teams are not independent businesses the way Apple, IBM, Google or Microsoft are. Teams are franchises, akin to McDonalds. Franchise arrangements are a hybrid of a single economic unit and independent economic units. McDonalds franchises are not intended to be in competition with one another. They are, as a whole, in competition with the Burger King and Taco Bell brands, as wholes themselves. The NFL is in competition with the NBA and other entertainment options, not with itself except in rare cases.

It would never make sense for McDonalds to allow franchises to open next to one another and directly compete. This is not the same as central planning on a national economic scale. I think Hayek would agree.

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1 Responses to “Roundup 12/23/11”

  1. Andy says:

    Why do Starbucks franchises often open next to each other?

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