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Showing 1-1 of 1 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 9 reviews
on October 9, 2002
I'm a huge Baseball Prospectus fan and was very excited when I heard that this book was coming out. I pre-ordered it at Amazon and couldn't wait to get. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to my expectations at all. First off, there were numerous simple facts which were wrong. I'm a Patriots fan and began by reading their writeup for my team; in the first paragraph, they wrote "A vicious first-half hit...sent Bledsoe to the hospital". I remembered this happening towards the end of the game, so I looked it up and sure enough, ESPN's game writeup agreed with what I remembered.
Writers are human so I didn't worry about it and kept reading. However, in the next paragraph, the author mentions "All-Pro linebacker Andy Katzenmoyer". This is a pretty bad mistake; Katzenmoyer was never an All-Pro. He's only played two years: his rookie year and 2000, in which he was hurt for half the season. Any reasonably enthusiastic Pats fan would know this. That's two errors in the first two paragraphs!
While errors like these aren't a huge deal in of themselves, they show that the team writeups (the bulk of the book) weren't written by people who knew much about the team (or bothered to check their facts), which really takes away a lot from what the book could be. One of the great things about of Baseball Prospectus is getting to learn a ton about every team; I follow the Red Sox very closely and every year BP tells me things about the team I didn't know. I was looking for at least some of that in the Football Prospectus but found none, even for the teams I don't follow all that closely.
The larger problem I had though, was in their method for computing stats. In baseball, each player's actions are fairly independent and the season is quite long. This means that stats for a given player can be isolated and the sample size is large enough such that the stats present a good picture of the player. Football is a completely different beast, however; the season is very short and, more importantly, one player's performance is entirely dependent on his surrounding team, the situation, the play called, and the opponent. For example, a D lineman in a 3-4 defense is primarily responsible for driving back the O lineman in front of him in order to protect the LBs. A D lineman in such a defense can have a great day but not do much that will show up in the PFP stats (tackles, sacks, etc.). Whereas, the same player in a 4-3, might not have a great day, but end up with more tackles, simple because in this defense he's allowed to penetrate without worrying about protecting the LBs. Now, I don't have a problem with the writers creating a system to measure performance, but they use their stats throughout the book as if they were Scripture, and that simply isn't the case. In their explanation of their system, they admit that it has plenty of flaws. I just wish they had kept this mind when doing the team writeups and picks.
Who knows, maybe next year's will be better. Afterall, the first Baseball Prospectus left out a whole team. But that doesn't change the fact that the first Pro Football Prospectus has a lot of problems and provided little beyond what the casual fan already knows.
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