Sports are good case studies. The outcomes are binary, the statistics are plentiful, and the rewards are large. There’s glory, attention, and interest. What’s not to love?
The most recent version of this (on my radar) was the double-edge sword of luck. In his paper, (Kyle Siler) writes about how lucky breaks in football lead to job losses and job opportunities. One part:
“Luckier outcomes were conducive to the retention of coaches and players. Less lucky teams were more likely to replace coaches and players. In turn, people are credited or blamed for accomplishments that were at least in part out of their control.”
In an era where people emphasize the process and not the outcome, where resulting is a four letter word, this objectability makes sense.
Well, only sometimes.
What makes sports great: bountiful numbers, is also what makes it prone to errors. Al Davis had it wrong.
But Davis knew he was wrong, even as he said it.
Go Like Hell was a great book because it had great characters, the race was secondary. Bob Iger‘s most-important early lesson was that sport wasn’t mainly about broadcasting. My short ebook emphasizes the jobt-to-be-done of sport.
Al Davis knew all this. Davis is still relevant today because he knew that winning was secondary to relevance. Sports is about storytelling. Sport is about narrative. Talking heads are imperative to this. Analytics haven’t taken over sports because they’re not conducive to storytelling—at least not yet. That means there’s one sport, one champion, that understands this. The only honest sport is the WWE.