A Substitute for War

Basketball philosophy

Posts Tagged ‘Football

March Madness as a Playoff System

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Candy

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I’ve previously analyzed the playoff systems of the 4 major professional sports leagues in the US, looking at fairness, which I’ve defined as follows:

Ideal fairness means that we get rid of the unevenness of the regular season schedule without adding too much randomness.  If you’ve got a variety of divisions or conferences that hardly play against each other, the idea that you can have a single champion without a playoff tournament of some sort is absurd – but of course playoffs in some sense always mean throwing out a larger sample size for a smaller one, which never entirely good.

We’re in March Madness season so it’s worth considering college basketball’s playoff system, arguably the most successful in terms of financial gains relative to regular season. This happens to be a particularly good season to consider this because all of the favorites are gone. Every team left has at least 8 losses, which either indicates a stunning amount of parity, or a ridiculous amount of luck.

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Clay Matthews and the deep end of the talent pool

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Linebacker/defensive end Clay Matthews III, wa...

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Clay Matthews is a star

Clay Matthews is on top of the world. This last regular season in the NFL he emerged as a defensive juggernaut and came within two votes of winning the Defensive Player of the Year award. Come playoff time, he then led the Green Bay Packer defense to a Super Bowl ring. If the NFL had a defensive award for the entire season, Matthews would probably get the nod as the best defensive player in the league this season.

Clay Matthews has only played 2 years in the NFL. He’s about as much of an immediate star in the league as you’ll see. Consider for example, that we haven’t had an NFL DPOY with 2 or less years of experience since Lawrence Taylor almost 30 years ago. While Matthews certainly has great instincts as a football player, he doesn’t get where he is right now without freakish physical talent. A quarterback can get away without being able to move that well, a linebacker cannot. And so clearly, while spotting which players will emerge as DPOY is a bit tougher, Matthews clearly has the physical tools that should make him pretty easy for scouts to identify. And of course, the man did get drafted in the 1st round of the NFL draft, so nothing to out of the ordinary there.

Clay Matthews was never a “future star”

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