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TFD: Information changes the type of fun we have watching sports

Posted by: Michael Rand under Vikings Updated: January 19, 2011 - 4:18 PM

We've been thinking recently about information as the word relates to sports -- and particularly football.

We watch games and everything we could possibly want to know about athletes, teams and tendencies is at our fingertips. We know what should happen. And every game we watch for the rest of our lives will only increase that base.

Coaches work 39-hour days because they have all this information. They scheme and scheme and scheme. They are not worried about "If A, then B." That's the old game. They are worried about, "If A, C, and F," then X, Y, Z, sometimes Q, but only if the inside linebacker blitzes." There is a sea of laminated menu cards and wrist bands.

It often feels so much less about one player beating another player. It's either one plan beating another plan. Or a random deflection caused by the chaotic -- sometimes unexplained, often fortunately timed -- movement of limbs.

We're not complaining about this. In fact, we probably watch more sports now -- particularly the NFL -- than we ever have at any other point in our life. We're not saying coaches shouldn't use the information at hand. We're not proposing we all stop looking up Green Bay's third down conversion success rate online if the graphic doesn't pop up on the screen.

We're just saying information has inherently changed the nature of competition and how we view it. We love it when a good plan comes together. The NFL is hard-hitting chess. But sometimes we miss the bliss of ignorance. Sometimes we just want some hidden cat in our sports.



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