What I’m Reading This Week: Stiff-Arming Football Myths
The past week I’ve been going over some of the new football books on my bookshelf, and I wanted to start with this one. Stiff-Arming Football Myths.
If you’re looking for something fun to read and that makes you think about football a little beyond the kind of analysis you hear on the major networks, this is a pretty good read. Emory Hunt and the rest of the guys working on this compilation together do a great job of looking at some of the most common misconceptions about the game.
In case you’re not familiar with his work, Emory is the head of FootballGameplan.com, where he and his group of guys put out a lot of great content, including videos on football schemes and breaking down draft prospects.
The book is available here in paperback and PDF versions, so you can get a copy right away in your inbox.
Without giving too much away, I wanted to go over a few of my favorite things from the book. Below are three of the most interesting football myths in the book
Myth #22 – “Wonderlic Scores Determine Performance”
With as much talk about the Wonderlic test we usually hear this time of year, it’s important to remember that it’s completely hit or miss with this statistic. Every year we hear of some QB prospect scoring high on the test, which is supposed to translate well to the football field. The latest example is Jameis Winston, who is said to have scored just below Peyton Manning on the scale (For some reason people are surprised that a very successful college QB has a good amount of intelligence). The book makes a successful case that the Wonderlic is nothing more than another empty talking point used to fill up time on ESPN in between highlights.
Myth #31 – “Height at the Quarterback Position is very Important”
Staying with the theme of personnel evaluation, quarterbacks are scrutinized more than any other position on the field, and perhaps justifiably so. A great quarterback can set a franchise up for success for at least a decade, and maybe more. One of the more persistent narratives is that a quarterback needs to be very tall in order to have any chance of success in the NFL. The book makes a convincing argument that while height is important, it’s only important when looked at in context with the rest of a player’s traits. Can he throw the ball accurately? Does he have a feel for what to do with the football once the pocket breaks down? Is he coachable? What about his throwing mechanics? The list goes on and on…
Myth #33 – “Football is Very Technical and Complicated”
Coaches and analysts love to make the game seem more complicated than it actually is. For all the writing I do about X’s and O’s, the bottom line is that football is a game that comes down to individual matchups, and executing your job better than the man across from you. This is why so many modern offenses try to get players in one-on-one matchups and create space for their best players.
At the end of the day, even if you still don’t agree with everything you read, the book gives you different perspectives to think on, and accomplishes its goal of making you take a critical look at why you believe what you do about the game of football.
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