I’m a 50something curmudgeonly football fan. I have a bachelor’s in chemistry from the University of Guam (I kid you not) and my PhD is in biochemistry from Rice University. My folks grew up in Texas, where you have the choice of being a Dallas Cowboys fan, or not eating or breathing. Seriously. My brother tells my daughter, only half joking, that she has to be a Dallas Cowboys fan or that we will collectively disown her.
Just how Texas is my family? My mother’s side of the family were Spanish land grant settlers, in Texas before it was even a nation, much less a state. My dad is a third generation Aggie with a customized TAMU55 license plate. My aunt and cousin are well known in Texas basketball circles. Yes, I’d say my roots run deep.
That said, I’ve long been a big Phil Simms fan, and like the Giants when they’re not beating my Cowboys. I lived in Philadelphia for 2 years, and really like the city. My wife would move us back there in an instant (she grew up on a tropical island). Having lived near Atlanta the last 16 years, I have a serious soft heart for the Atlanta Falcons. Maybe that’s because Dan Reeves was once an Atlanta coach, but hey, even sentimental reasons are reasons, right?
I’m a big fan of the Falc Fans site and I think its main admin, Pudge, is exactly the kind of breath of fresh air most forums are lacking. And since having this site kills the worst issues posting on forums creates, I’ll mention that some exceptional Cowboys fans can be found at Cowboys Zone.
In college, as Rice usually isn’t competitive in football (baseball is a different story), I often root for Georgia Tech these days, when I’m not rooting for Georgia. I’ll root for my father’s Texas A&M squads, and my brother’s Michigan State.
Focus of this Blog
Over time, this blog has developed something of a schizophrenic character. There are times when I talk extensively about code, especially Perl. There are other times when I talk Xs and Os football, read sites like Smart Football, Coach Hoover, and the Coach Huey forum. Believe me, I have a lot of respect for these sites and that some of them approved of what I did early on was a huge honor, in my opinion.
But more recently this blog has been swinging more and more towards football analytics (also called football sabermetrics). Sites like Advanced Football Stats and Skeptical Sports feature more and more in my thinking. Getting a number of articles tweeted by these guys hasn’t hurt either. Deal is, the amount of “creative juice” per article is high, as I’m trying to understand, in a very fundamental way, the whole of what these sites and others, such as, say, Football Outsiders and Pro Football Focus are actually doing. So I’m asking the same, dumb simple questions any student would do, and I ask them repeatedly.
Since I’m substituting math and intuition for the power tools of the era: play-by-play data, large databases and fast computers, there is no telling how much more output there will be. I might find more cool stuff, or I might just end up repeating myself mindlessly after a while. It’s so hard to tell. Creativity is a very cruel and fickle mistress, as Nassim Taleb is happy to tell all of us in the “Black Swan”. In his terms, it unfortunately belongs in Extremistan.
Civility and this Blog
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