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Blindsided: Why the Left Tackle is Overrated and Other Contrarian Football Thoughts Hardcover – August 1, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Joyner, a columnist for ESPN the Magazine, uses statistics, game footage and his own formulas to settle pro-football arguments ranging from whether it takes an elite running back to win the Super Bowl to whether the storied 1985 Chicago Bears defense is the best ever. Zealous football fans will appreciate the theories and extensively researched, sometimes surprising, conclusions. Joyner peppers his analysis and opinions with football history and a sense of humor. The league-owned NFL Films, Joyner writes, is “the propaganda arm of an effective socialist regime.” Though he clearly loves the game, Joyner isn't awed by the macho, myth-making empire that is the NFL, taking the league to task over its blackout system and shabby customer treatment. In the end, this is a rich mix of statistical insight and thoughtful, clear-headed criticism. (Aug.) (Publishers Weekly, June 2008)
Top Customer Reviews
This is a book that is designed to answer rhetorical questions: is the left tackle as important as people say, what was the best defense ever, and so on. There are two kinds of books with this goal: books that attempt to solve these problems with statistical reasoning, and books that attempt to tease the problems out simply by talking about them and applying their perspective. The first I am very interested in, the second I care very little about. The book masquerades as the first, but ends up being far more the second, with the author bringing up stats initially, but always abandoning them for self-indulgent rambles.
For example, there is a chapter inquiring which is the best defense ever. It is clear from the phrasing used that the author has long believed that the best defense is not the 85 Bears, but instead the mid-70s Steelers, and has written the chapter to make that case. He admits at the beginning of the chapter that he loved the Steelers as a child. His initial point is that the Steelers allowed fewer points than the Bears. And that concludes his statistical analysis. No reference to the fact that the 70s had fewer points scored generally than the 80s (thus skewing the numbers), no inquiry as to whether or not Chicago played a schedule with better offenses. He then goes on to compare the teams position by position in a subjective 'who is better' style, and predictably, the Steelers come out far ahead by his reckoning. No mention is made of the 46 defense, the fact that the Bears defense was anchored by a system, not by a player, which would adjust such evaluations somewhat.Read more ›
If you are a fan of pre-1970 football, there are some interesting tidbits. If you are interested in post 1990 football the book is far less useful.
While the author states that he tries to be objective when coming up with his questions and answers I don't think he has done a good job. His chapter on best defenses of all time could have been done much better, and more correctly. Other reviewers comments on thsi in more depth.
Some of his "studies" use arbitrary cut off like "do coaches loose effectiveness after 10 years". Whats special about 10 years? As opposed to 9 or 11? Is there really a large enough sample set to draw meaningful conclusions? Are there any outliers that distort the data? Maybe the big name coach is offered an ENORMOUS contract by the owner of a terrible team and while improving it, doesnt bring it to the level of the superbowl team he left. In short, I don't think the author looked at the data in enough detail.
I also don't like how the aucthor comes off as opinionated and makes ridiculous and unsupported comments. I can accept that not everyone likes the salary cap, and revenue sharing. But it doesn't help him make his point by calling the NFL socialist. The author dosn't like the draft. He thinks the bad teams like Detroit should have to fight to convince the next crop of players to join them. I think this is a bad ida and would greatly harm weak teams chances of improving, and also hurt teams in weaker markets.
Bill James always did a much better and thorough job than this author.
I did not find it worthwhile to read, and would not recommend it.
I give it 2 starts because there are some interesting parts scattered around
Apparently, KC Joyner does not know the definition of socialism that is given by dictionaries, encyclopedias, or socialists themselves, which is "a social system or theory where the means of production is owned or controlled by the workers." Although the author doesn't use the common definition for socialism, he never bothers to explain which definition he uses. KC Joyner, who is a libertarian, makes a list of things he doesn't like about the NFL and then proceeds to label these things socialist. For instance, he describes the fact that the NFL Players Association doesn't act in the best interest of its players as socialist, a social theory which is based on treating workers fairly. In another example, KC uses the term Big Brother to describe the NFL commissioner as if the term was invented to describe something socialist-The term was invented by a socialist, George Orwell, to describe the worst type of fascist regime he could think up.
So, if you want to read an interesting book, pick it up, but don't forget that there are a very ignorant 22 pages that should have been left out. At least you can currently find the book on Amazon for eleven cents.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very interesting book still reading it I would recommend it. I could say more when I finish reading the bookPublished on June 26, 2014 by geo
This is a wide-ranging collection of football information and analysis by one of the leaders in football statistical analysis. Read morePublished on October 5, 2008 by sisyphus
Finished this book in two days and just about ready to go thru a second read . Ten years from now , when football fans are looking for the seminal moment for sabremetrics and pro... Read morePublished on August 11, 2008 by Thomas Hasek