Football coaches have relied more and more heavily on statistics and tendencies with the advancement of technology and its ability to assist in analysis. But is the time invested into this pursuit worth it?
There are a few major factors to argue against heavy use of statistics in football. I’m not saying there are no places for them at all, but I am suggesting we should proceed with caution.
First, there is a human element to the numbers. We are not studying machines that can replicate the same thing over and over. We can’t easily measure things like a player’s mindset before competition. And how do we quantify fatigue, or injury?
Second, there is no control group. We have nothing to compare our statistics to. It’s hard enough to compare statistics of the same team from game to game, let alone from team to team or year to year. There is just too big of a difference between people. Sure, you can look at the average of every team over the course of a season, but the differences within each team makes most of the statistics near useless. For example, you can’t find the statistics that determine ultimate offensive production when you have drastically different styles of play being analyzed at the same time.
Third, the discrepancy between talent can skew the numbers to near meaningless analysis. If I am severely outmatched, or much better than the competition, then the results of that game simply can’t be compared to the results of a game where competition is equal. This reduces the amount of useful samples, and the smaller the sample size, the more useless the statistics.
These are just a few reasons why using statistics in football should be done with caution. There are other things that can severely affect this, such as weather and home field advantage.
Again, I am not saying all statistics are bad. I just advise that we should proceed with caution.