Super Bowl Athletes Are Scientists At Work

I wrote up another piece about football for the Conversation, this time drawing on material from Eureka, explaining how great football players are using scientific thinking:

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman gets called a lot of things. He calls himself the greatest cornerback in the NFL (and Seattle fans tend to agree). Sportswriters and some other players call him a loudmouth and a showboater. Fans of other teams call him a lot of things that shouldn’t see print (even on the internet). One thing you’re not likely to hear anyone on ESPN call Sherman, though, is “scientist.”

And yet, an elite professional athlete like Richard Sherman is, in fact, extremely adept at doing science. Not the white-lab-coat, equations-on-a-blackboard sort of science, but the far older and universal process of observing, making and testing models of the universe.

I wrote something similar last year, but with more words and less detail. This goes on to make a specific science analogy, between the rapidly repeated process of testing and refining models you see in sports and the rapid repetition of test and measurement used for precision timekeeping.

I don't expect this one to generate as much buzz as my previous piece over there, because it doesn't directly ruffle as many feathers. But it's a new audience for this stuff, and I'm pretty happy with how the piece came out. So, go over there and read the whole thing.

More like this

In the latest New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell has a thought-provoking article on the difficulty of figuring out what sort of person is best suited for a particular job. He begins by discussing the challenge of choosing college quarterbacks, a topic that I've written about a few times before (and cover…
The Great DeflateGate Controversy This year's Super Bowl will be, as of this writing, tomorrow, late afternoon, between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks. Both teams have a 14-4 record for the season, so it should be a good game. Also, the game will be held in a stadium located in…
I had a friend in college who was a baseball genius. He could offer up the career stats of every player in the hall of fame; he knew which teams had won the World Series in each year since its inception—he was a great guy to have on your Trivial Pursuit team; the sports category was a gimme for him…
To Beat Back Poverty, Pay the Poor - NYTimes.com "Today, however, Brazil's level of economic inequality is dropping at a faster rate than that of almost any other country.  Between 2003 and 2009, the income of poor Brazilians has grown seven times as much as the income of rich Brazilians.  Poverty…