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Opinion: You can’t win them all

Sometimes we as football evaluators can be like the weathermen.  We can look at all the film, do all the background research, make a projection, and wind up being counted as “wrong.” 
Sometimes we as football evaluators can be like the weathermen.  We can look at all the film, do all the background research, make a projection, and wind up being counted as “wrong.” 

Last fall, central Indiana – where I live – was placed under multiple tornado watches on a Wednesday night. Weather forecasters told us to prepare for the worst.  And so we did.  My wife was sent home early from work.  As a church small group leader, I canceled our meeting that night.  We hunkered down at home, preparing for the onslaught of storms to happen.

Yet as the afternoon went into evening, no storms came.  At 5 p.m. the sun was shining.  Overnight we got some rain, and a few bolts of lightning here and there, but there were no tornadoes, no high winds, no severe weather.

The weather forecasters looked like fools.  People expressed anger toward them.  How could you get a forecast so horribly wrong?

Last week, these same weather forecasters told those of us in central Indiana, once again, to prepare for the worst. 

Indiana had 17 tornadoes, including a few ones that leveled entire towns, last week.  An EF-3 tornado leveled the town of Sullivan in the southwestern part of the state, and the same cell struck Whiteland just south of where I live. 

Last fall, the forecasters appeared to be wrong.  Last week, they looked like geniuses. 

But part of me asks: were the forecasters really wrong during the storm in the fall, when nothing happened?

I don’t believe they made a forecast intentionally trying to deceive people.  These are highly-educated men and women.  They looked at their weather models and weather data and made a forecast calling for severe weather.  It didn’t happen, perhaps due to a number of factors outside of their control, notably the instability and quickly-changing weather in this part of the country.  But they did the best they could with the information they had at that specific time.

Sometimes we as football evaluators can be like the weathermen.  We can look at all the films, do all the background research, make a projection, and wind up being counted as “wrong.”  But I don’t think we are as “wrong” as often as we think we are.  We make projections with information we have available at a specific time in history, not information we don’t have available.

Some players inexplicably get better due to factors we cannot see.  They wind up with the right coach, right team, right situation.  Or maybe they just wake up one morning and decide they want to improve.  The reverse is also true.  A player we project as good might turn out to be horrible because of a bad coaching situation or lack of motivation once money is thrown his way.  They crash and burn.

I know evaluators who beat themselves up over their (perceived) mistakes.  You can’t win them all. My encouragement is to do your best and be confident about doing it.  Get as much background information as you can, take all the notes you can, and produce an evaluation that you feel is accurate based on the information you have, not the information you don’t have.  And have unwavering conviction in what you see.

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