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Old 06-05-2009, 08:52 AM   #1
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Default Intangibles: Character, attitude, enthusiasm, etc.

Something I've been wondering since I've been thinking about football more deeply is how much intangibles (in general, I define this as psychological components that can't be measured) really matter when it comes to the success of a football team.

The sport I understand best, baseball, there is clear controversy whether intangibles matter; generally the argument goes that if it doesn't result in some kind of measurable, how much can intangibles really matter.

Given we've been hearing a lot about McD's emphasis on things like character and attitude; can a culture change really close the gap caused by a lack of talent? Are intangibles something a coach can control?

As fans, what should we be looking for as we lead up to the season to understand the intangibles of the team. Should we take reporting at face value, or is this the kind stuff beat writers always shovel?

Any thoughts?
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Old 06-05-2009, 09:10 AM   #2
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It's the kind of stuff beat writers shovel, especially the lazy ones who don't want to dig for real stories. I'm not saying character is not important, because it's huge, but every team always pimps their character even if they've got a list of candidates for a police lineup as their starting secondary.
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Old 06-05-2009, 09:14 AM   #3
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My favorite intangible is heart.

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Old 06-05-2009, 09:23 AM   #4
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I believe success on the field or any field for that matter, is determined by a complex system of varibles that cannot be predicted by knowing any one quantity, but the more you know the better guess you can make.

I think money ball is the best way to approach it. A method/player/scheme that produces success, is likely to continue producing success.
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Old 06-05-2009, 09:35 AM   #5
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Jay Cutler is the best example....great tangibles....horrible intangibles

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Old 06-05-2009, 09:41 AM   #6
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yes...
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Old 06-05-2009, 11:25 AM   #7
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Intangibles are important, for so many reasons and I will try to list a few examples to highlight just how intangibles can influence success on the field.

A team with a lot of players with good intangibles is more likely to have a good locker room atmosphere which makes it more desirable for players to stay with that team which would and could lead to players accepting lesser deals, Tom Brady is the best example of this. Having a good lockerroom atmosphere is also important in keeping players happy and playing for the common good, we saw how Randy Moss performed when put in a strong locker room compared to how he performed in a weak locker room.

A player with good intangibles is obviously less likely to get into off-field trouble and getting suspended, which is an advantage for the team.

Loyalty in the locker room will translate into loyalty on the field, if a player misses an assignment on the field someone else will be more likely to cover for that mistake if there is a strong sense of team loyalty.

Good character guys will create a good image for the club which will make it easier to attract other players, a man like John Lynch creates a lot of good will for the team and through activities like the Pro Bowl the word will spread that his team is a good place to be. Look at how the Raiders have had to overpay to get players to come, while other teams can sign players much cheeper because players want to go there.
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Old 06-05-2009, 06:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pseudofool View Post
The sport I understand best, baseball, there is clear controversy whether intangibles matter; generally the argument goes that if it doesn't result in some kind of measurable, how much can intangibles really matter.
I would say intangibles come into play much more often in football than in baseball due to the nature of both games. Many intangibles relate to how your fellow players react/respond to you, which is obviously much more important in football than in baseball due to the amount of on field interaction in both games. Aside from outfielders calling who has it, how much communication is truly required on the field. Further, measurables in Baseball I would say are much more of a solid indicator than in Football. It is obvious who got a hit, not so much with a tackle on every play. The constant arguments like is it the QB who prevented the sack, or the O-line? What caused that incompletion, a bad route, or a bad throw? There is far more room for communication to cause disruption in football, and as a result all the players need to trust one another more. Just my quick 2 cents.
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Old 06-05-2009, 07:25 PM   #9
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It only matters when you're losing, when you win everyone is an angel.
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Old 06-05-2009, 09:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pseudofool View Post
Something I've been wondering since I've been thinking about football more deeply is how much intangibles (in general, I define this as psychological components that can't be measured) really matter when it comes to the success of a football team.

The sport I understand best, baseball, there is clear controversy whether intangibles matter; generally the argument goes that if it doesn't result in some kind of measurable, how much can intangibles really matter.

Given we've been hearing a lot about McD's emphasis on things like character and attitude; can a culture change really close the gap caused by a lack of talent? Are intangibles something a coach can control?

As fans, what should we be looking for as we lead up to the season to understand the intangibles of the team. Should we take reporting at face value, or is this the kind stuff beat writers always shovel?

Any thoughts?
Moneyball works in baseball because you can single out individual performance much simpler than in football. Football is a much more intricate system that is much more difficult to quantify than baseball. Stats are not independent of individual performance. A QB's yearly YPA is highly dependent on scheme, the OL, the running game, the WR's, the RB's, depth, the quality of the competition each week, weather conditions, injuries, etc. None of those factors are one on one, unlike baseball.

Football is much more about execution as a team than baseball. I can understand baseball situations much easier than football situations. Football has a lot more variations to it than baseball and its nowhere close. So, things like character affect team success much more than in baseball. Chemistry and confidence are affected by character.

Also, character is much more quantifiable than you think. Most teams in the NFL view character in 2 forms. Football character and Personal character. Each player gets a seperate grade, and even the pro scouts grade this when they watch the other teams players. Football character refers to the players ability to maximize his potential. A player who has high football character would show traits like solid practice skills, understands and dissects film, gives effort all the time on the field, has leadership qualities, learns quickly, plays through minor "ouchies", commands respect from teammates, and instills fear in opponents.

Personal character refers to offield issues and conduct. A player who has high personal character gives back to the community, stays away from police reports, represents himself and the team well, has solid relationships away from football, has the respect of former coaches and teachers, handles the media rather than having them handle him, and never violates team rules. In short, he handles himself like a professional all the time.

Hope that helps.

Last edited by Mediator12; 06-05-2009 at 09:57 PM..
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Old 06-05-2009, 10:52 PM   #11
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Every player in the NFl is an incredible athlete. When you read the bios, they all broke records in high school, earned honors in college, then impressed people enough to pay them money in the NFL.

What makes Ray Lewis scare the crap out of opposing offenses?

Why was Al Wilson such a leader (even when he missed tackles)?

Why did Rod Smith have such a great career with so little comparitive talent?

Why do QB's like Orton have a winning record when Cutler doesn't?


Intangibles are part of the game, when they become tangible. "Heart" helps a linebacker shed a block in the fourth quarter when he is tired, and make a game saving tackle. "Leadership" helps a defense like the Ravens believe they are unstoppable, so they play like a wrecking ball. I think a QB that is relaxed in the huddle can help his offense when they are down. Attitude gets guys like Mike Anderson and Peyton Hillis past the first down marker, when other guys would simply fall down.

Sometimes players have tremendous talent, but are just uninspired to greatness.

So. I stick with my previous comment. Intangibles are very important when they translate into tangibles.
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Old 06-05-2009, 11:22 PM   #12
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Thanks guys. Given what's been said, can we apply it to the Broncos in any credible way? Or is it just a guessing game for us fans.
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Old 06-05-2009, 11:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
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Thanks guys. Given what's been said, can we apply it to the Broncos in any credible way? Or is it just a guessing game for us fans.
Now, no not really, not even the coaches really know. An NFL coach once told me you never know how a team will perform until AFTER the first game. He said you get a general feel about certain things, but you never KNOW.
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Old 06-05-2009, 11:42 PM   #14
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Basically it looks like McDaniels is getting the slobber job. When this guy shows he knows how to do more than teach then most will be shocked. He is in way over his head and is learning on the job. Win something and shut up. Isn't that what he gets paid for?
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Old 06-05-2009, 11:55 PM   #15
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Basically it looks like McDaniels is getting the slobber job. When this guy shows he knows how to do more than teach then most will be shocked. He is in way over his head and is learning on the job. Win something and shut up. Isn't that what he gets paid for?
WTF This is a thread about character as it applies to football. McDaniels is very rarely mentioned....
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Old 06-06-2009, 05:55 AM   #16
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Thanks guys. Given what's been said, can we apply it to the Broncos in any credible way? Or is it just a guessing game for us fans.
Guessing game at this point, although many indicators are there that we have improved greatly regarding intangibles. Dawkins, Davis, even Orton, all these guys are rumored to be on-field motivators and leaders in one way or another. By definition though, intangibles will always be a guessing game. Do these guys mesh right here in Denver? Does McDaniels utilize them properly? As they near the end of thier careers do they still have the fire that drove them early on? Will growing pains for the young members of the team (including the coach) cause so much disruption that the positives are outweighed? Very hard to say, my guess though is that what we gained will provide a very positive boost. While I doubt it will be enough to win us games this year (I think the D-line is going to kill us again), I do think the veteran presence will be excellent for development in years to come.
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Old 06-06-2009, 06:23 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pseudofool View Post
Something I've been wondering since I've been thinking about football more deeply is how much intangibles (in general, I define this as psychological components that can't be measured) really matter when it comes to the success of a football team.

The sport I understand best, baseball, there is clear controversy whether intangibles matter; generally the argument goes that if it doesn't result in some kind of measurable, how much can intangibles really matter.

Given we've been hearing a lot about McD's emphasis on things like character and attitude; can a culture change really close the gap caused by a lack of talent? Are intangibles something a coach can control?

As fans, what should we be looking for as we lead up to the season to understand the intangibles of the team. Should we take reporting at face value, or is this the kind stuff beat writers always shovel?

Any thoughts?

A pair of good examples the 1969 New York Jets and the 1969 New York Mets. These are two teams who far exceeded what ANYONE could imagine, against teams who were far superior talent wise, even backward looking. These teams had great leadership, coaching, attitudes, a mixture of veteran and young players. This is coming from who died watching these teams win championships - in Baltimore.
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Old 06-06-2009, 06:29 AM   #18
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The absolute key thing is for all 11 players on the field to be on the same page and to be of one mind.

That's why I am glad Cutler's gone - for all his talent, he didn't want to play for the new coach....having such a major player going in a different direction to the head coach would be a recipie for disaster.....

But that doesn't mean that he has poor 'intangibles'. I don't think they are things that you carry around with you, sometimes guys just find themselves in the right situation and the lightbulb goes on. They don't have to be 'character' guys, as long as when it counts they put the team first.

But as some people have said, every team talks about the great 'character' they have....you don't know who's really got it untill the pressure is on......
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Old 06-06-2009, 12:47 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Basically it looks like McDaniels is getting the slobber job. When this guy shows he knows how to do more than teach then most will be shocked. He is in way over his head and is learning on the job. Win something and shut up. Isn't that what he gets paid for?
Ok Scttgrd, i'll just come out and say it. We have a community around here and you are obviously as welcome here as the rest of us. However, you are just acting like an a-hole.

We are talking about football in general, not about McDaniels. If you have something to add, then add it, just remember that if you are always trying to be a dick, people will start to treat you that way.

You are welcome to your opinion, but remember that despite all our differences, we have a sort of community here. Add something positive every once and a while.
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