Too often in sports I hear announcers and analysts make statements to the effect of, “these guys were not motivated today,” or, “it just didn’t seem like they wanted it enough.” Many times analysts lean on just their fuzzy memories and the final score of the game–and usually no other statistics–to make these highly insightful (read: completely worthless) analyses.
It’s much easier to observe a 12-point deficit and complain about the Blazers appearing to be asleep in the first quarter than to actually look at stats and specific replays; it’s much easier to see the Ms getting shut out three times in the last week, and then assert that they don’t care anymore. But it doesn’t take a genius to look at the stats and realize that Kobe Bryant just went off for 16 on 7/8 shooting (all tough fadeaways, no doubt, that couldn’t be defended), or to observe that the Ms, armed with lineups that were not what most people call “Major League Caliber,” faced some quality starters from the oppostion. But that’s just it: analysts are not geniuses, and they tend to make most of their comments based on those cloudy memories in the heat of the moment that, any psychologist will tell you, are about as accurate as Tarot Card readings.
USSMariner blog wiz, Dave Cameron, wrote a great piece about it HERE. This applies to all sports. Please think about what the analysts, newspaper writers, tweeters, etc. are telling you before you accept it as gospel.