The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information

 TeasersiSteve Blog

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New Reply
🔊 Listen RSS

From ESPN:

Using data to predict arrest rates of NFL draft picks

Kevin Seifert

A group of college professors and researchers has studied that question as part of a paper on off-duty deviance in professional settings. Their peer-reviewed work was published this month in the American Journal of Applied Psychology.

There were two NFL draft-related results. First, that between 2001 and 2012, players with publicly-documented pre-draft arrests were nearly twice as likely to be arrested after reaching the NFL than those who had not been arrested. The second, which is perhaps less obvious and more valuable, was that there was a small but clear correlation between arrests and Wonderlic tests scores. Players who scored below the mean in the researchers’ sample were also about twice as likely to be arrested in the NFL as those who scored above it.

“The effects are relatively small,” said author Brian Hoffman, an associate professor and chair of the industrial-organizational program at the University of Georgia. “But it’s important here because when making multimillion-dollar decisions, a small effect can be very meaningful. A player’s getting a four-game suspension can be a big deal, competitively and financially.”

By the way, I’ve always been interested in the flip side of this question: how much does athletic talent help youths stay out of career-disastrous entanglements with the law?

I would hypothesize that high athletic potential black youths are less likely to land in prison, either because they have more legal opportunities and thus avoid joining criminal gangs, or better role models such as coaches rather than pimps, or because important adults pull strings for them (e.g., paying off the coed accusing them of rape) or hiring them a good lawyer (who was, say, a fraternity brother of the judge in their case).

One way to study this might be with prison and arrest records by height. My hypothesis would be that very tall black men are underrepresented in prison relative to their share of the population.

This would be a tricky analysis to carry out because you’d need two big sample sizes of heights, one of the general population and the other of the in-trouble population, to find enough potential NBA height individuals. But if anybody ever stumbles upon two such databases, it could be a pretty interesting nature-nurture study of individuals who enjoy very positive nurture due to a semi-random nature factor (height).

• Tags: Football, Height, IQ 
🔊 Listen RSS

Derrick Henry of the U. of Alabama has won the 2015 Heisman Trophy for top college football player, with Christian McCaffrey of Stanford the runner-up. This is a repeat of the 2009 result in which Stanford’s Toby Gerhart finished second to the Crimson Tide’s Mark Ingram. (Both results seemed fair to me.)

Early last season, a sharp-eyed reader called attention to how fast was the then true freshman McCaffrey and the breeding for speed that went into producing him: his father Ed was a Pro Bowl wide receiver for the Broncos and his maternal grandfather David Sime won the silver medal in the 1960 Olympic 100m dash. “That’s why Ed and I got together,” his Stanford soccer player mother told Sports Illustrated in 1998. “So we could breed fast white guys.”

Playing in a conference that’s about as tough as any other than Alabama’s SEC, Stanford is 65-15 over the last 6 seasons and headed back to the Rose Bowl. It seems to me that Stanford under former coach Jim Harbaugh developed a strategy much like Duke’s in basketball in the 1990s of becoming the default choice for the top white talent, but I haven’t heard too many other people say this so I may be just over generalizing from a few examples.

• Tags: Football 
🔊 Listen RSS

One of the older American collegiate jokes is a college president promising to build a university worthy of its football team (this may go back to the U. of Maryland in the early 1950s).

With the U. of Missouri football team firing the president and chairman of the board, it looks like Mizzou will get an administration worthy of its football team, which is 1-5 in conference play and has wracked up quite a record in recent years for sexual assault and domestic violence charges.

A recurrent theme here at iSteve is how conservative millionaires give a lot more to college football than to advancing their ideas. For example, Mizzou is notoriously bad at fundraising compared to powerhouses like the U. of Alabama:

The Missouri athletic department ranks near the bottom of SEC schools in private donations, raising $22 million in the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

But $22 million isn’t insignificant.

On the other hand, the U. of Alabama is swimming in donations. Americans love a winner.

On the other other hand, Manhattan-born Paul Singer uses his giving on Presidential candidates (it was front-page news when he endorsed Marco Rubio), for the Manhattan Institute, and to push for gay marriage, Israel, and more immigration (for America, not Israel). But I can’t find any word of Singer donating to an American college football program. You can buy a lot of think tank staffers for the cost of first rate offensive coordinator.

🔊 Listen RSS
I don’t know anything about football, but let me make a Super Bowl prediction. 

Las Vegas initially established the strong defense and run Seattle Seahawks as the favorite, but a flood of public money on Peyton Manning’s high-scoring Denver Broncos reversed that. (Both teams are 15-3.) 

After all, Manning set records this years for touchdown passes and yards passing. In the regular season of 16 games, he tossed 55 touchdowns compared to only 10 interceptions and was sacked only 18 times. 

He had a great game in the AFC championship against archrival Tom Brady’s New England Patriots, throwing for 400 yards. This is all despite the 37-year-old Manning being one of the weakest-armed and least mobile quarterbacks in the league. Much of the season, he looked more like a symphony conductor, waving his arms around to direct his players in what to do, than a football player.

I’m a big Peyton Manning fan, as I’m a big Tom Brady fan. In fact, the endless Manning vs. Brady debate helped inspire one of my bigger (and most boring) ideas: Back in 2009, when Malcolm Gladwell was denouncing Steven Pinker in the New York Times for citing known crimethinker Steve Sailer’s research debunking Gladwell’s contention that the performance of NFL quarterbacks “can’t be predicted,” Pinker and I got to discussing why humans are most fascinated by arguing over things that are least provable, such as who’s best: Manning or Brady? Pinker told me, “mental effort seems to be engaged most with the knife edge at which one finds extreme and radically different consequences with each outcome, but the considerations militating towards each one are close to equal.”

Still, that doesn’t mean that Manning is bound to win.

The Seahawk’s quarterback Russell Wilson is 25-years-old and in his second season in the NFL. He had strong statistics but not up in the stratosphere with Manning’s. (Wilson, who is black, is remarkably short for an NFL QB: at 5’11″ a half foot shorter than Manning.)

Since pro football is increasingly dominated by quarterbacks, you gotta bet on the guy with the big numbers, right? 

Maybe, but I have this hunch that Manning is due for some regression toward the mean. I mean, how likely is it that he’s going to be better on Sunday than he was against New England or the average for his remarkable season? In contrast, what’s the chance that playing outdoors in New Jersey in February is going to catch up with him?

And I suspect Seattle has devoted some careful thought over these two weeks to how they are going to make Manning feel less like a young philharmonic conductor and more like an old football player.

So, I’m picking Seattle.

By the way, I was wondering why the Seahawks’ Russell didn’t make the NFL until age 24. It turns out that, after redshirting his freshman year at North Carolina St., he started three full seasons, and completed his degree (in communications, of course) while playing minor league baseball in the summers. But after three good seasons as a starter, nobody invited him to the NFL draft combine — he’s under 6 feet tall.

So, he transferred to Wisconsin (without having to sit out a year because he enrolled in a graduate program at his new school) and had such a spectacular season, 33 touchdowns and 4 interceptions and winning the Rose Bowl, that he was drafted in the third round.

Russell comes from an upscale black family in Richmond. His father was a lawyer. I believe Russell’s Wonderlic test score equates to an IQ of a 114, same as Manning’s. Here are Wonderlic’s for active Super Bowl winners:

Here are the Wonderlic scores of active Super Bowl winners, with the mean equaling 21 and two IQ points per additional right answer.

Eli Manning, Ole Miss 39 — 136
Aaron Rodgers, Cal 35 — 128
Tom Brady, Michigan 33 — 124
Peyton Manning, Tennessee 28 — 114
Drew Brees, Purdue 28 — 114
Joe Flacco, Delaware 27 — 112
Ben Roethlisberger, Miami (Ohio) 25 — 108

These guys probably study up for the Wonderlic, which boosts their scores, but still, it seems plausible that a 3-digit-IQ is an advantage for 21st Century NFL quarterbacks.

• Tags: Football, Sports 
🔊 Listen RSS
From Slate:

The Running Men 

Are mobile quarterbacks like Colin Kaepernick more injury-prone than pocket passers? 

By Omar Bashir and Chris Oates 

This year’s Super Bowl matchup shows you don’t need a particular type of quarterback to win in the NFL. The Ravens’ Joe Flacco has 38 rushing yards this season. The 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick ran for 56 yards on a single touchdown gallop against the Packers a few weeks ago. But in the long term, when you’re building a franchise, which kind of signal-caller is the better bet? 

Conventional wisdom says a runner is more likely to get hurt than a stay-in-the-pocket statue. Just ask Joe Flacco, who told the assembled press on Wednesday that “quarterbacks like [Kaepernick] are eventually going to have to become mostly pocket passers to survive in this league.” 

… But is this correct—are mobile quarterbacks like Kaepernick, Michael Vick, and RGIII, more prone to getting hurt than conventional passers such as Flacco, Peyton Manning, and Tom Brady?  

… We tried to shed some light on the injury question by collecting quarterback injury data and applying some basic statistical tests. 

Finally, we ensured that each of the four total ways of separating “mobile” passers from the rest yielded a reasonable set of names. For instance, when mobility is defined by four or more rushes per start over a regular-season career, nine of 82 players in the dataset qualify: Michael Vick, Robert Griffin III, Vince Young, Daunte Culpepper, David Garrard, Quincy Carter, Colt McCoy, Cam Newton, and Tim Tebow. (Kaepernick would also qualify under the four-rushes-per-start criterion.) 

As you’ll see in the chart below, regardless of how we sliced the data, there was no statistically significant difference in injury rates between mobile and conventional quarterbacks. Quarterbacks of both types tend to lose 11 to 14 percent of their starts to injury. Even without counting the thus-far injury-free Kaepernick, three of the four tests produced a lower injury rate for mobile quarterbacks. The gap, though, is small enough that a statistician would call it zero.

A few things:

First: What Flacco says is literally true: “quarterbacks like [Kaepernick] are eventually going to have to become mostly pocket passers to survive in this league.” 

Running backs can get stronger into their mid-20s: e.g., Adrian Peterson just had his best year at age 27. But running quarterbacks generally don’t succeed by lowering their shoulder and running over linebackers, they succeed through being elusive, like Kaepernick. Elusiveness is mostly a matter of foot speed, cutting ability, and instinct. Most players come into the NFL about as elusive as they’ll ever be. Aging and injuries, large and small, take their toll rapidly in the NFL. 

Whether or not running quarterbacks suffer more major injuries doesn’t really matter. Just about everybody in football except, maybe placekickers, gets progressively dinged up, and thus their elusiveness erodes with age. 

If a quarterback comes into the NFL as an outstanding runner, he might be able to be fairly effective as a starting QB immediately even if he hasn’t learned how to be an NFL-quality passer. But, if he doesn’t learn how to pass, he’s not going to be starting in his mid-30s.

Second, there’s always a lot of excitement around the idea that running quarterbacks are going to revolutionize the NFL Real Soon Now. They make for great highlight clips and they’re the simplest players to win with in football video games. My son told me that when his friends forced him to play Madden, he’d always just pick Michael Vick and have him run around with the ball.

Similarly, the easiest way to win in Pop Warner football for little boys is to snap the ball to the best athlete and let him do whatever he wants with it. One man heroics work less, however, as you ascend the pyramid of training. At the highest level (the NFL), collaboration among specialists tends to produce better results than having an all-around athlete do his own thing.

Third, here’s a baseball analogy to a young running quarterback: Say, a very fast first baseman wins Rookie of the Year at age 24 by leading the league with 15 triples (versus only five homers), stealing 60 bases, and getting to grounders in the hole between first and second base better than any other first baseman in the league. (Why is somebody that fast playing first base? Let’s say, he can’t play other infield positions because he’s lefthanded and he can’t play the outfield because he’s terrible at judging flyballs.)

If your friend says, “He’s going to revolutionize the first base position, turn it into a speed position!”

You’d reply: “He was fun as a rookie, but to have a good, long MLB career at first base, he’s going to have to develop homerun power, because he’s not going to get faster as the years go by. It’s not hard to come up with a slow first baseman who hits 25 homers year after year and thus contributes more overall than this guy does, especially in a few years when he’s hitting only six triples per year instead of 15.”

Exciting young running quarterbacks are kind of like that: they naturally get worse at running, so they’d better get better at passing.

Fourth, as a running quarterback’s running skills decline with age, defenses can concentrate more on stopping his passing, so, unless his passing improves, the effectiveness of his passing will also get worse as his rushing declines.

Fifth, all else being equal, it’s better for a quarterback to be a good runner than not a good runner, just as all else being equal, it’s good for a first baseman to be good at fielding and baserunning. But the Venn diagram intersection of NFL-Quality Passer and NFL-Quality Rusher is not large.

Sixth, all else being equal, the player who gets hit more often is going to get hurt more often. But, things are seldom equal. 

Seventh, much of the confusion surrounding this topic is due to it being closely linked to questions of race, which lowers collective IQs by 20 points: “Michael Vick, Robert Griffin III, Vince Young, Daunte Culpepper, David Garrard, Quincy Carter, Colt McCoy, Cam Newton, and Tim Tebow. (Kaepernick would also qualify under the four-rushes-per-start criterion.)” 

So, the study shows seven black running QBs, one biracial (Kaepernick), and two whites. I would imagine that pocket passers would be skewed at least as heavily in the opposite racial direction.

Much of the talk about running quarterbacks getting injured more is excuse-making and misdirection for the quarterback position in the NFL remaining white-dominated. (Notice that blacks aren’t underrepresented at quarterback in the NFL relative to their share of the national population, they just aren’t over-represented like at most other positions. In today’s mental climate, black monopolies at cornerback or running back don’t need explanation — that’s just the way it is, and, hey, why are you even noticing? — but white domination at quarterback does require rationalizations.)

What seems to be happening is that, per capita, black quarterbacks are more likely to start in the NFL before they’ve become NFL quality passers, because their, on average, more dangerous running ability makes them more effective at a young age. But, the percentage of college quarterbacks of any race who mature into elite NFL passers is quite small. So, as young black running QB starters slow down with age, they lose the skill that made them effective without being an NFL quality passer, so they tend to flame out in spectacular fashions.

So, to explain phenomenon such as why Vince Young was on the cover of Madden NFL 08 but is now a backup, the running QBs gets hurt more party line gets propounded.

In contrast, a young slow white quarterback who isn’t ready yet to be an NFL pocket passer is more likely stuck on the bench or the taxi squad. And if he fails to develop into an NFL-quality passer, he quickly moves into the rewarding world of insurance sales without much muss or fuss.

• Tags: Football, Sports 
🔊 Listen RSS
My old high school had a mediocre football team while I was there in 1972-1976, but then hired a brilliant coach a couple of years after I left and has been a powerhouse ever since. This year they have a 6’6″ 220 pound quarterback from Claremont, a college town 40 miles away (his parents had to drive 160 miles per day to get him to school) and a tailback who won the California track & field sprint championships for 100 and 200 meters last spring.

Lately, they’ve been playing a late August game against an out of state power. This year they’ll play an Arizona team on August 31 … in Ireland.


In recent years, the Catholic schools and the upscale exurban public schools have dominated high school football. You are starting to see isolated examples of high end prep schools running into trouble getting enough boys to go out for football. I noticed that one wealthy private school that a half decade ago had a football team full of huge fast guys brought in from South Central has dropped down to 8 man football this year. I suspect that schools will increasingly have to choose between going all in or getting out of 11-man football.

• Tags: Football, Sports 
Steve Sailer
About Steve Sailer

Steve Sailer is a journalist, movie critic for Taki's Magazine, columnist, and founder of the Human Biodiversity discussion group for top scientists and public intellectuals.

The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
The evidence is clear — but often ignored
The unspoken statistical reality of urban crime over the last quarter century.
The major media overlooked Communist spies and Madoff’s fraud. What are they missing today?
What Was John McCain's True Wartime Record in Vietnam?