The Three Cone Drill Postscript: Ep. 3.0

In what we hope becomes a recurring opener, we started with answers to a few mailbag questions. We then interviewed Steph Stradley of Ultimate Texans and about the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson situations, gender issues in the NFL, the 2-0 (!!!) Houston Texans, and her appearance on Who Wants to be a Millionare. Finally, we closed out with a post-mortem of the nationally televised murder on Thursday Night Football, as well as a conversation about the timing of Blake Bortles and Jerick McKinnon becoming starters in Jacksonville and Minessota, respectively.

What follows are some additional thoughts on the topics we discussed.

Football Writing

The cream of the crop rises to the top…but only if it’s noticed.

I rambled a bit on the podcast, but the point I was trying to make is that success in football analytics — or the larger football writing world for that matter — is mostly based on the quality of one’s work; it’s a meritocracy. That said, if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” I would never have gotten a job at Football Outsiders if Aaron Schatz and his staff weren’t aware of my work at Niners Nation. I would have never become a Football Guy if Chase Stuart wasn’t aware of my work at Football Outsiders.

The bottom line is this: Do something good enough to get noticed. At the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics conference, you won’t get noticed because you’re one of many (many!) randoms who approach people like Aaron. As I said on the podcast, I was one such random at the 2007 New England Symposium on Statistics in Sports. I made sure to meet him, but guess what? When he hired me four years later, he had no recollection of that interaction.

Rivers posted them in the show notes on his site, but the definitive links to read if you want to get into football writing are

So You Want to be a Writer (by Rivers McCown)

Eleven Years and Counting (by Chase Stuart)

They articulated it way better than I ever could have.

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