Paraag Marathe, San Francisco 49ers COO
Marathe: Yes, mostly for kicking. The winds in San Francisco frustrate a lot of teams, but it's not the only stadium with unusual conditions. We also consider Buffalo a particularly tough place to punt, for example, and any ball sails in Denver, so you adjust prospective players accordingly.
Aaron Schatz, Football Outsiders Editor-in-Chief
Schatz: Seattle gets my vote, given their improved defense and need for more experience and accuracy at QB. Tarvaris Jackson did OK for them last year, but few would argue Manning isn't an upgrade. Arizona's also a decent choice, but the team would have to dump their commitment to Kevin Kolb.
|Bill Barnwell, Grantland writer and Twitter feeder|
Barnwell: The focus of bettors on points in garbage time, when victory is out of reach but someone has to finish playing the game. You've got people agonizing over every missed free throw or "prevent defense" touchdown when the spread's tight and money is on the line.
|Janet Simmons' nephew, podcasting with the Commander-in-Chief|
Janet Simmons (ESPNBoston Editor): Yes, Bill's my nephew. As a matter of fact, I helped him get his first writing job many years ago. We're both working with ESPN now, so I guess history comes full-circle. [Janet described her conference experiences in Eyeballing the saber metrics game, which includes a Red Sox dilemma in 2003: should they sign David Ortiz? Or Brad Fullmer?]
|1976 Topps #50, Fred Lynn|
Janet's article did bring up stats from one player's card, Fred Lynn. No doubt about it, Lynn tore the cover off the ball as a rookie in 1975 (and fashioned a decent career thereafter).
The conference's game room (an air-hockey-and-TV break area) broadcast sports analysis shows throughout. My favorite was Silly Little Game, ESPN's 30 For 30 on the start of rotisserie baseball (and fantasy sports in general). Here's its trailer.
The dramatic re-enactments look (appropriately) goofy, but fantasy sports are big business these days and it's a solid topic to explore. I caught most of the program during Saturday's lunch and can confirm it's up to the same level as most other 30 For 30 shows, which is to say "good."
Thanks for following my non-card diversion for two days and I recommend attending the conference if you can swing the trip to Boston and like hanging around with people who crunch numbers for a living.