For the record I’m a lifelong Packer fan. I’m old enough to have seen Bart Starr score the winning TD in the Ice Bowl (on TV).
I would like to be a semi-interactive blog. Post comments and I will discuss.
So what to make of this year’s action?
Well, Denver has the best defense statistically. They have light quick defensive ends and they play at Mile High stadium. This game will be played at sea level and the Panthers have a top RB, one Jonathan Stewart. If Denver can’t stop the run, the game is over.
The Panther defense isn’t too shabby either. Luke Keuchley is about the best LB in the game. And these folks rush the passer like nobody’s business.
The smart money got on the Panthers early and once the price gets to a certain point some of the boys are going to play the middle.
Can Denver win? Sure this is professional football – there’s always a chance. Most Super Duper Bowls are blowouts.
Choke factor – sometimes teams or players play tight and don’t perform to expected capabilities.
Coaching – an NFL coach need three factors in general. Talent evaluation, X&O’s aka talent development and game coaching. It’s the rare coach that is good at all three.
Game coaching – this is a bit of a lost art these days. Defenses and offenses are very complicated compared to where they were 20 years ago. The head coach is generally on the field. Some subset of the assistants are in a booth high above the field where it is easier to observe the whole field and what the opponent is doing. Video of the last series is available on tablets to each team for both offense and defense. The offenses and defenses make adjustments throughout the game. Halftime gives some extra time for adjustments.
Game coaching the lost art – the short answer is being able to think on your feet. Apprise the situation and select the option that has the best chance of succeeding. Apprise the situation – because of all that is going on and the complexities in the adjustment aspects many coaches lose sight of the big picture. I.E is their defense tired, is his defense tired, is a key player on the other team injured… A lot coaches don’t have the real time bandwidth to process the information and they don’t produce an organizational structure to deal with it. It looks a lot like the Dunning Kruger effect in pressers:
Select the best option – certainly if you can’t apprise the situation, you don’t have the proper data to make a proper decision. That said, analytics are in the game, but not game theory. Just because the league average is X when going for it on 4th and 1 yard, doesn’t mean that is your team’s performance or is the right thing to do in the context of the game. The rule I grew up with is go for the win on the road and play for the tie at home. From a game theory perspective it’s right more than nine times out of ten. Not much thinking required.
Frick -the Panthers made all of the big mistakes. Dima-K was right in asking about coaching. The Panthers were outcoached too.