Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Post No. 189: Some Observations of, and Life Lessons Gleaned from, the 2014 Super Bowl

© 2014, the Institute for Applied Common Sense

Now that we’ve had some time to think about it, we’ve concluded:

1. Pundits, experts, and talking heads don’t know jack about jack;

2. Humans really are unpredictable;

3. Organizations consisting of humans are pretty unpredictable, too;

4. The weather and most things associated with Mother Nature might as well be considered unpredictable;

5. Gambling on any anticipated human behavior is stupid, but then again there’s marriage;

6. The Denver Broncos Football Team is a relatively small, government-owned and operated collection of individuals, with only 53 players, a host of highly paid coaches, and a pretty decent front office, and still could not pull off its goal within the time allotted;

7. The Seattle Seahawks Football Team is a relatively small, private enterprise . free market entity composed of individuals, with only 53 players, a host of highly paid coaches, and a pretty decent front office, and managed to pull off its goal this time, but it should be kept in mind that success is frequently transient and episodic;

8. At least players, contrary to politicians, pundits, experts, and talking heads, put their bodies and their health on the line in connection with their claims and goals;

9. Although virtually everyone who gambled on the game thought it through and perhaps legitimately thought they picked the right team and the correct spread, probably more people lost money on the game than got it right;

10. The joke about Seattle beating a dead horse was tired and old before Monday rolled around;

11. We suspect that the vast majority of people actually attending the game on Sunday had some degree of difficulty finding their parked cars after the game;

12. Almost every player on each team, with a couple of exceptions, know that running into another man at full force may result in a concussion, and in an ordinary lawsuit this knowledge would constitute either assumption of risk or contributory negligence on the part of the player, and thus deny his [or her?] claim for compensation;

13. Pete Carroll was not solely responsible for his team’s performance on Sunday;

14. There is no question in our minds that Peyton Manning was solely responsible for his team’s performance on Sunday;

15. If you want to lend legitimate support to someone, some group, or some cause you support, get in your car, or catch a plane, and be there with your slickers when the crap’s flying;

16. Once the game is over, any underlying motivations, biases, or agendas that the pundits, experts, and talking heads had before the game pretty much don’t matter, because no one cares;

17. Life and management of humans are complicated and you never know what is going to happen, much less the reason;

18. Many events in the Universe are serendipitous, when one stops to consider all of the dynamic forces in operation at any given point in time, and no one, single cause and effect factor can be singled out as being responsible for failure or success;

19. As the Logistician’s 93 yr old Father always says, “Timing is everything;”

20. If the NFL were regulated and subject to governmental intervention like most businesses, there would never be a Super Bowl Champion;

21. Lest we forget, there is a notion which many characterize as "unintended consequences," and which some contend even rises to the level of a "law;" and

21. The typical sitting President, including those who many characterize as a moron, is not solely responsible for jack, and politicians are the last folks to sit in judgment about anything, and particularly unqualified in talking about taking responsibility for one’s actions.

We'll leave the other 10 points to David Letterman.


  1. Enjoyed this post, and will look up what it's about. As a science fan i am going to take issue with 'Many events in the Universe are serendipitous' In fact NONE are. Laws govern the slightest movement of any particle, and stopping the chain of causes and effects at any time, and labeling this a 'result', however unpredictable, it is not the result of chance.

    Peoples actions are also predictable - but the chain of cause and effect leading to an action may be unknown for an individual, for a group of people, the result obeys statistical rules. Mass commerce is based on statistical analysis of research. People will not buy blue drinks, but the market exists of people who will NOT do what they are supposed to. A minority (niche) market.

    I hope my comment has been on subject. If not, that was pretty predictable, me knowing jack ---- about the NFL.

    1. Thanks much, CorfuBob.

      We actually agree with your regarding the laws governing particle movement. However, the point we were trying to make is that once there are more, and more, and more particles, the complexity exponentially increases, and unless we are able to suspend the dynamic forces and freeze them, it is difficult to address problems or assess what is going to happen next.

      To some extent, you should feel fortunate that you know little about the NFL. Since you first viewed this post, we provided a hyperlink which takes you to a discussion of the history of the league. Enjoy.

    2. I don't... agree with the premise, that is... Those laws may (and do) control the movement of particles but the aggregate is what you were talking about and that remains unpredictable and, in many instances, serendipitous.

    3. Thanks much Douglas. Once we re-read both your comment and that of CorfuBob, we thought about his statement to the effect that human behavior can be predictable (or really quantified). One of the studies upon which we often reflect is that one concerning the direction patrons of a retail establishment turn most frequently upon entering. Even in that instance, like the reluctance of people to drink blue drinks, there might be a relatively high number performing some task or doing something the same way, let's say 85% or 90%, but there are still others who do not fit within that group.

      Interesting discussion. Thanks.

    4. If I may backtrack just a smidgen (word of the day, I guess)... I think Bob is somewhat right in believing that people, as a group (the larger group, the better, I would suggest) can be predictable. It is what marketing is all about, in a sense. Not only predictable but subject to manipulation as well because of that predictability.

    5. You got us thinking, Douglas; and thinking out loud. Trying to predict human behavior alone is one thing. Trying to predict human behavior vis-a-vis another human is another. Trying to predict the behavior of a collection of humans is still another. Now insert "performance" in our discussion, and then " choices/preferences."

    6. This may be nothing but, many years ago, I took a psychology class at San Diego Community College in which I was told about something called the "bicycle theory" of relationships. In the end, it described a method for manipulating others to behave in a certain way through one's own behavior. It seemed logical and practical. I cannot find a reference to it today.

    7. Douglas, your comment reminded us of two things.

      The first was a show which used to air during the late afternoon, if we recall correctly, which featured an "illusionist' or hypnotist or showman who predicted what people would do under certain circumstances. He often explained that he used the power of suggestion, and set up elaborate sets and events to get his show's participants to think along the line he wanted them to think.

      The other thing we recalled was a book discussion on a radio station earlier this week where the author studied the changing demographics in the 50 states, and concluded that states which were previously neither red or blue states, were becoming one or the other. It appears that ONE factor in this evolution is that when people move they have a tendency to move to states where people have similar philosophies about life. Once they arrive, they are surrounded by like thinkers, and their views are reinforced and amplified. the authors were careful to note that there are other factors, such as taking a new job, moving to take care of a sick relatives, etc.

      We were previously aware of an effort by one of the major religious leaders to have some conservatives move to South Carolina and effectively take over the state politically. Interesting approach.

    8. I would disagree with that study on why states are red or blue. You see, I live in Florida (currently a red state) but we have a constant influx fro the northern states (many, if not most) are firmly blue. Instead of fitting in with the majority, they tend to cluster with the like-minded. This leads to clusters of red and blue throughout the state. Eventually, as these emigres continue to grow, they change the state from solidly red to purple to blue. We, in Florida, are moving rapidly toward being a blue state due, I think, to the movement of people from the northeast states (mostly) to Florida.

    9. Douglas:

      Keep in mind that we did not read the study, or examine it in detail. We just picked up snippets of the discussion on the radio. However, based on what we heard, I do not think that your view and that of the study's authors are necessarily inconsistent. In fact, the example regarding Florida which you provided, almost parallels with an example which the authors provided. In fact they emphasized that there were other factors in the mix, and that the desire to be around like minded people was just one factor. Take California for example. There are definitely parts of the state which are red, and others blue. Once could still move to a sub-part of California for purposes of being around "like-minded" people.

  2. Being a die hard Seahawks fan I am excited about the win regardless of punditry. Having lived in Denver for ten years, I could also accept a Bronco win as second best. All of that aside, an excellent review of the game and everything that surrounds itt. The media is becoming less and less important as a worthy presenter of anything worth much more than a moment's notice. Still, we need something to offer us an option to our own opinions.

    1. Thanks, Dan. Sometimes in the heat of passion, and as people take sides on issues, it appears to us that logic and reason go right out the window, then too many people are surprised when things go occur as they predicted. All of us could use a little more humility, and less hubris, in predicting what is about to occur in the future, and establishing direct cause and effect relationships when events occur.

  3. This is not a comment, it's applause.

    What you didn't cover, however, was the "law of unintended consequences."

  4. I don't understand football. And for that, I am grateful. :-)

    I do, however, understand the snacks that come along with football. And they are yummy.


    1. Pearl, Why You Little...

      We feel honored to have had you visit our site. Whenever we are interested in some entertaining glimpses of life, we pay a visit to your site, and we strongly recommend that others do so.

      You were forthright enough to admit that you do not understand football. We'll be the first to admit that we do not understand politics, and the current tone of the conversation about social and moral issues, and the state of our Nation.

      Hmm. Maybe the two major political parties should be required fight it out in the trenches on a field of battle like the teams in the Super Bowl. Now that's a thought.

      Come back and check us out periodically. We like (and need) your point of view.

      BTW: What are your favorite snacks?


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