26 Jan 2006
John F. Murray, a sports psychologist in Florida has developed a system that has successfully projected the winner or the team that covered the point spread in the past three Super Bowls, and he's picking the Seahawks to win by 5 to 10 points this year. See if this sounds familiar:
"Mental Performance Index (MPI) is ... based on Murray's assessment of each play, quantifying the degree to which a team performs to perfection. For instance, a 3-yard rushing play might get an average score in one situation or an above-average score in another, if it came on a third-and-3. Defensively, if a team gives up a 12-yard reception, it might get a below-average score, or average to above average if there was a decent rush and good coverage. Murray emphasizes the importance of each play, including those on special teams, then adds it up, yielding conclusions and predictions."
When he adds it all up, Seattle scores a .566 to Pittsburgh's .530. The article doesn't get into specifics, but I have a few questions. First, does the model control for strength of opponent? Second, is .566 significantly better than .530? Third, does Murray know Jerome Bettis is actually from Detroit?
49 comments, Last at 30 Jan 2006, 1:12am by John Cramer
"Last team with the ball wins" is a cliche, but sometimes cliches are the best way to get across the central narrative of an important game. If you like great quarterback play, you have to watch the NFC Championship Game.