Sunday, June 28, 2009

Linkagery

I was informed that my most recent links post was pretty boring, and I admit, it was kind of mediocre-fewer items than I generally prefer to have, and most links weren't that interesting. Still, I hadn't done much blogging lately, and as my former English teacher said of his initial efforts when he retired and tried to write a novel, sometimes you have to pump out the garbage before you can do something good. So, more links.

I just have one question for you: What Would Alabama Man Do? Well, for one, he might very well tailgate a play. It couldn't be just any play, though, but a play about Bear Bryant, yes, that's the one to tailgate.

Technical football alert: yet another primer on zone blocking. You can never have too many of those.

Jack Bechta of NFP wrote about how to become an NFL agent. No, I have no intention of ever trying to become an agent.

Year of Sports Death link: DeMaurice Smith is pointing out to everybody who'll listen (e.g., Fanhouse interview) that the NFL is preparing for a lockout in 2011, doing things like negotiating media contracts that are guaranteed regardless of whether or not there are actual games to broadcast, and hiring the NHL's attorney during their 2004-05 lost season. Decertification was not mentioned in the interview, but it'll be coming.

Before the Year of Sports Death, though, we'll be having The Uncapped Year of 2010. As Florio, on the subject where he really knows what he's talking about, writes, though, this really won't be that good, and players are beginning to realize that.

Courtesy of Smart Football, Urban Meyer did a Q&A session with the Orlando Sentinel. There is some interesting stuff going on college football, tactically speaking, as this post on Mark Richt on the shallow cross series indicates, but that post also indicates that it's a lot easier to have a tactical advantage when you have superior players, and, as Dr. Z wrote I believe in The New Thinking Man's Guide, even when there is tactical complexity, analyzing it isn't necessarily that interesting. Great example of this was Rashard Mendenhall's long TD run in the 2008 Rose Bowl. I didn't find a video link quickly, but the play was basically Rey Maualuga attacking the wrong hole, leaving Mendenhall a gap between two offensive linemen and letting him run straight through to the end zone. Exciting for Illini fans, but really a single point of failure play and not that interesting to analyze. The NFL tends to be much more robust than that.

Jack Bechta at NFP had a very nice look at the range of opinions on the impending move to an 18-game regular season, talking to players, coaches, GMs, and Roger Rex. Make no mistake, this IS coming, and I'd bet there's a provision in the current media contracts that increases the amount the NFL gets for expanding the regular season. The problem for the players, though, is that's going to be more like a 5% bump than a 10% bump, and that'd be almost all the extra money they're going to get for getting injured more often.

I'll be writing a post on this post by Jason LaCanfora, now of NFL Network, on how much cash money teams spent from 2004-08.

An "I love the internet" moment: one thing I mucked around with a little bit a while ago, but never actually did was do my own PBP from watching a game. Thanks to modern connectivity, we now have the official PBP online. Still, if you actually need to do PBP on your own, you might want to read this thread for advice re same.

Another series on the greatest from PFR Blog, this one by Chase on Kickers. See parts one, two, and three, where the career rankings are. Some of the "clutchiness" proponents show up in the comments, but thankfully not that many.

One thing I found kind of randomly was an outline for a course on football history. No class sessions with suggested reading, but a useful list of books, though most were on the sidebar, my bookshelf, or the excel sheet I have of football books to read at some point, eventually, hopefully.

Brian Cook of MGoBlog attended the Blogs With Balls sportsblogging conference, and wrote about his experience. See also his followup post on some of the key questions about how he blogs. See also Smart Football, commenting on the same. Thanks to frequent commenter Jon for the kind words to this little enterprise in the comment there.

Finally, for now, I'll link to my favorite Football Outsiders article of all time: Mike Tanier's Kneel to Win theory. This, really, is the kind of piece and more importantly the mindset that made me fall in love with FO in the first place.

And, you know, I'm pretty much caught up with my links pieces. I guess I'll have to read books and write about them (like that one review I've been procrastinating on), or read more links and write about them, or write more in-depth pieces, or pop my head in at Total Titans, or other stuff like that.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Miscellanea

Mmm, content. Fresh, juicy content.

Alas for you readers, though, my first note is a booooring law one-a piece on the 25th anniversary of the Colts' move away from Baltimore, beating the city's away to take the team away from the Irsays by the use of eminent domain. HT to Ilya Somin, whose comments are eminent domain-related rather than sports-related.

Advanced NFL Stats had a piece on whether or not NFL QBs who started their rookie year ended up better. Useful interchange in the comments between Chase of PFR Blog (slight correlation, probably isn't meaningful in and of itself) and post author Brian (positive and significant correlation) that highlights why Advanced NFL Stats has been on and off the blogroll.

More on why Allen Barra's idea that the NFL should reimburse college teams for tuition of drafted players is wrong: a CBO study on tax preferences for college sports. Most of what college athletic departments is orthogonal to the existence of the university, so we shouldn't be surprised that athletic departments are really engaging in commercial, not educational activities.

Robert Boland of NFP put together a useful primer on some of the issues that will be behind the NFL labor stoppage in 2011: The Year Sports Died. The one thing that he sort of backs into, with the mention of Goodell's authority, is the biggest obstacle to settlement will be getting the high local revenue owners and the low local revenue owners to get along with the same deal. Tags had the heft to get that done in 2006, but I'm pretty sure Roger Rex either does not or will not buck the high local revenue owners.

From EDSBS's lips to my mouth: blogging is not reporting. I am not a journalist. I do not want to be a journalist. I have a day job. I do not want Tennessean Titans' writer Jim Wyatt's job, or ESPN AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky's job, or SI CFB scribe Stewart Mandel's job, and by writing this blog, I am not trying to take their job. Fundamentally, I write to gratify myself. I go two weeks between posts because I'd rather do something other than blog here. See also Mark Cuban, reminding people that just because somebody writes something on the internet, it doesn't mean it's important.

Interesting exercise by PFR Blog ranking the greatest coaching records. Shula, Halas, Lambeau, Landry, Noll, Lombardi the top 6. Lombardi suffers a little for only coaching for 10 seasons.

Andrew Brandt had a piece on the overreported and underreported stories of the NFL offseason. Good list, aside from the random-seeming mention of Kellen Clemens on the underreported list-it'd be like RB Chris Henry on an underreported list after the Titans drafted CJ28 last season. On his state lottery point, see this useful Q&A from Sports Law Blog.

I didn't think this was actually coming: the SEC banned oversigning of recruits. This was the blog kerfuffle of last CFB offseason, with Brian Cook of MGoBlog leading the proverbial charge against the practice and fans of SEC schools reminding everyone why the SEC has been the bane of the NCAA and every other school for the past 6 decades.

Finally, for now, Jack Bechta of NFP wrote about getting fired by clients. Key takeaway: don't end up an offensive drunk like Leigh Steinberg.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Total Titans

Two posts up at Total Titans I haven't mentioned here. The first one, which went up Thursday night, continued on a post I did last fall and looked at running back success rate for the Titans as a team during 2008. Data post around the time of the fall post here, but I'll be putting up a new post with the full season data when I write the promised second half of that post. HTML like that is boring.

The second post entailed actual watching of football, namely a PBP breakdown of VY's passing plays against the Colts Week 17. No new ground was tread.

"Promised" book review post coming "soon," which is a term without enforceable meaning, though this post reminds me I should blog more.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Linkagery

Football stuff is still being published on the interwebs, and I'm still reading about it.

Jack Bechta wrote about what makes up his life as an agent after the draft hullabaloo dies down.

Something that's perhaps of greater personal interest than football interest is conference expansion/realignment. The personal interest comes from my status as an alumnus of Georgetown University and its Big East Conference affiliation. The current Big East is an unstable creation-8 schools for football, short of the even dozen needed for a conference championship game, but 16 for basketball, and the 8 non-football members aren't ready to join the football conference (7 because their football team isn't good enough, and Notre Dame). The conference was hit by the Miami, VaTech, and Boston College football defections earlier this decade, but the next domino to fall may be as a result of Big Ten expansion. Joe Paterno hit out at these fears when he spoke of expanding the Big Ten eastward-to Pitt, Rutgers, or Syracuse, but B10 Commissioner Jim Delaney struck that idea down. Oddly enough, this whole process was set in motion by Arkansas's poaching by the SEC. The SWC died, other conferences responded to get to 12 teams, and life has been interesting since. This'll make a great book one day-Ivan Maisel, are you listening?

Matt Bowen wrote about some of the reasons he sees rookie wideouts struggling in the NFL, and also identifies some 2nd year WRs who need to "step up" in 2009. Gadolinium, I hate that phrase. Still, one of the ways I would know I'm actually not grossly incompetent as a talent evaluator is if I could say intelligent things with any degree of reliability about young wideouts.

Dr. Saturday continued his breakdowns of the serious national championship contenders with a particularly fine look at Texas.

It's a couple months old, and not strictly football-related, but this long article from Sports Illustrated on the causes of athletes' financial difficulties is worth your time, especially if you're a star athlete who could be pulling down big bucks.

Matt Bowen wrote about who the #1 wideouts are. The Hockey News, I believe, in their preseason preview magazine about ten years ago, wrote that the way people talked about a "#1 center" or "#1 defenseman" was silly-that there were 30 teams, and each team had a #1 center, and what people were thinking about when they said "#1 center" or "#1 wideout" was really "elite #1 wideout".

Robert Boland had a useful precis based on his students' final projects of the issues facing the NFL as a business over the next couple years. I'm pretty sure he's wrong, though, to disagree with his students' belief that the NFL is the best-positions of the major sports leagues going forward. The media deals announced since Boland's piece was posted seem to indicate continuing strength, and it's not like the other major sports leagues are problem-free.

Speaking of, Roger Rex gave an interview to Vinnie Iyer of the Sporting News. Nothing particularly interesting, but don't miss the box about Goodell talking about his childhood heroes. He mentioned Redskins RB Larry Brown, which Iyer described as an inspiring choice by an inspiring league leader. Oh, gag me with a spork.

On a less infuriating (at least to me) note, JKL is continuing his ongoing series into the AFL and how good it was compared to the NFL. See this post looking at the 1960-63 drafts, and this one on various trends during the same time period.

Texas Teach head coach Mike Leach gave an interview to a publication more or less after my own heart, Bitter Lawyer*. I liked his comparison of a contract to a leprechaun. I'd also second his advice to potential law school students-you should only go to law school if you really want to practice law.

*-Note to any co-workers, clients, or prospective clients: the foregoing was intended to be amusing. Almost all lawyers hate their jobs, and this is actually a requirement. It's a well-kept secret that only a very small number of lawyers are even permitted to admit to non-lawyers that they like their job. This is actually part out of well-thought out scheme to [SENSITIVE SUPER-SECRET LAWYER CONSPIRACY MATERIAL DELETED]. This blog and its contents do not constitute legal advice.

Ray Gustini wrote a column comparing some of the summer movies to NFL teams. I don't necessarily agree with any of his predictions, but any piece with a passage like
The importance of counterprogramming during the summer frequently leads to the media overhyping hipster love stories. As for Houston, take that last sentence and replace “hipster love stories’ with “the Houston Texans” — that should just about cover it

is worth reading.

Finally, for now, I point to something non-football: this post by one of my favorite bloggers, economist Tyler Cowen at Marginal Revolution, on "a theory of assorted links", and the comments thereto. My aspiration is to get to a point where I post assorted links, probably with a paragraph or so of commentary on each link, once or twice a week during the regular season and once every week to ten days during the offseason. The problem with daily link-posting, I find, is that many of the links aren't worth reading two days later, and unless that news has some notable impact on something important to you within the next 2 days, it's not worth reading. Another way I think about my links posts is that they act as an online repository of my bookmarks-I do have a great many bookmarks in my Bookmarks Folder, a number of which first appeared here, but sorting and cataloging all of those in an intelligent and useful way is probably at least as hard as blogging about them. Thus, this site.

Book review and a post or two on Total Titans coming up in the next couple days. I also have enough links for a couple link posts, one of which is the draft one, but who knows when I'll bother to write that.