As many folks here know, I'm a bit beholden to the folks at Football Outsiders. While my heart certainly interjects on occasion, I am wildly intrigued by the kind of work Football Outsiders does. It's not always correct, and there are plenty of people bringing this kind of thing to the table now. However, the general idea of using serious statistic analysis to analyze the game of football and the 49ers in particular is one thing I particularly enjoy.
I like to swing over to 49ers Webzone and see what there writers are posting about on occasion. For those who don't know about Webzone, they write articles, but I look at them as a bit more like a message board. I could be wrong since they do mix in a large number of in-season articles with the message board stuff. For blogging purposes, they post fairly consistently, but tail off during the offseason. As we're approaching training camp they've picked up their posting again.
I mention all this because they had an article a few days ago that amused me to no end. The article's title: "Analyze This, Football Outsiders: We Will Prove You Wrong." It was pretty easy to tell where this article was going. I completely understand the point they're trying to make, but lines like the following still make me laugh a little bit:
You guys at Football Outsiders assume, not unreasonably, we'll fail because of our lack of strength. But you haven't measured our will. And that's why you're wrong.
Or this one in discussing the small percentage chance of winning 9 or more games:
And here's why that 12% chance is coming through. What separates us from the Lions, at least this year, isn't just context and luck. It's something your stats will never measure. It's the category in which we'll lead the league, without a doubt.
I'll keep an eye out at ESPN's stats section for league-leading will.
Now, I realize the point of the article and how stats don't measure heart and this and that (in spite of leading the league in will). But it still cracks me up. I've been known to throw out cliches in articles. When writing a post-game recap or most anything during the season, it's easy to get caught up in the emotion of it all. However, during the offseason I feel like I can maintain a slightly more analytical view of things. I'm not saying I'm not a homer at times. But I can recognize reality on occasion.
I also know there are plenty of folks here who agree with the idea of the Singletary imposing his will and this team having the heart and all that other stuff. I don't buy into it nearly as much, but I won't begrudge another person the right to believe in that stuff 24/7.
It doesn't mean I won't snicker a little when I hear it though...