Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Houston Texans stunned the Indianapolis Colts in Week 1, so Gregg Easterbrook wonders if Armageddon isn't far behind - ESPN

Tuesday morning quarterback is worth reading every week, if for no other reason then you get goofy analysis like this:
Announcers and sports writers exaggerate the frequency or effectiveness of blitzing partly because they want plays to be exciting, and blitzes do produce exciting results, though often for the offense. The other factor is "observer's bias." Psychological studies find that we usually see what we expect to see, filtering out any contrary evidence. If high numbers of blitzes were a formula for consistent victory, everybody would be blitzing all the time. That's not what happens. Defensive coordinators know that blitzes often produce big plays for the offense. Sports writers and sports announcers seem to take note only when a blitz produces a sack or interception. When the blitz backfires, they filter that out.

Here's an example of the blitzing double-edged sword. Leading 7-3 late in the second quarter, the tastefully named Gregg Williams called a safety blitz, which produced a Favre interception. Still leading 7-3 on the next Minnesota possession, Williams called the same blitz, which Favre this time recognized. The result was a 33-yard completion to Visanthe Shiancoe, setting up the Vikings' sole touchdown.