Moneyball -> Football?

Moneyball, a book that appears to be about baseball, can be read as a book about how disruption can sweep thru an established industry. In that case the story is about using statistics to pick good players and plays while backing off traditional metrics of what makes for a good player.

It’s neat to see that the author, Michael Lewis, looks like he found another story to tell. This time about football.

Here some pull quotes from his article in the New York Times.

Possibly most interesting is how unlike the coach in Moneyball this coach has no serious credentials with the games classic hierarchy.

“How does a coach who never played a down of football have the best offense in the game?”

This coach’s core mood is totally different than the tightly intensity of the one in Moneyball.

The Texas Tech offense is not just an offense; it’s a mood: optimism. It is designed to maximize the possibility of something good happening rather than to minimize the possibility of something bad happening. But then something bad happened. (“It always does,” Leach says.

Unlike the coach in Moneyball this one is obviously a hedgehog.

Each off-season, Leach picks something he is curious about and learns as much as he can about it: Geronimo, Daniel Boone, whales, chimpanzees, grizzly bears, Jackson Pollock.

“To Mike, everything he does makes sense,” Wylie says. “It just takes a while to see how it all fits together. But if you were a fly on his shoulder for six months, you’d laugh your eyeballs out.”

But of course somethings never change, the establishment is closing ranks and fearing displacement.

“…Dismissive is the word. They dismiss him out of hand. And you know why? Because he’s not doing things because that’s the way they’ve always been done. It’s like he’s been given this chessboard, and all the pieces but none of the rules, and he’s trying to figure out where all the chess pieces should go. From scratch!”

But then, that’s just a required part of the David innovator v.s. Goliath story.

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