Michael Lewis wrote the super book Moneyball about how the Oakland Athletics use logic and statistics rather than traditional thinking to achieve a lower payroll cost per victory than almost anyone year after year. The fact that the A’s usually make the playoffs, but rarely have won the pennant or series recently is not statistically significant because the playoff series are too short for a game like baseball where the element of chance is so important.

Blind side offers a similarly stellar analysis of the evolution of the importance of the offensive left tackle in pro football.

I learned about the book from an excerpt in Sports Illustrated. The excerpt was so good that I wrote SI to say it was one great article. However, the SI excerpt was the whole book as it turns out.

The other portions of the actual books are a story about an Ole Miss left tackle named Michael Oher. Oher was a ghetto “orphan” whose childhood was awful even by ghetto standards until he was catapulted into the opposite end of the spectrum by being adopted by the family of a white, retired NBA player. It is a fascinating and inspiring story, but it is not very illuminating for people trying to figure out how to coach football better.

Lewis’s discussion of the strategy and tactics of the left tackle position, which is important when the QB is right handed because his back faces the left, is excellent for those hoping to coach football better.

I wonder if an easier solution might be to bring back the QB back pedal (e.g. Hall of Fame QB Joe Namath) to replace the current practice of turning toward your throwing shoulder with your back to the other side as you drop back.

I discuss that at length in my book The Contrarian Edge for Football Offense.

To contribute an idea or comment to this Football Think Tank web site, either email to johnreed@johntreed.com or fax to 925-820-1259 or snail mail at 342 Bryan Drive, Alamo, CA 94507.

Best wishes,

John T. Reed