Pop sociologist -- "Why don't Lions no-huddle?"

Monday, May 18, 2009

ESPN.com's Bill Simmons has been talking with journalist, author and pop sociologist Malcolm Gladwell, the author of the popular books, "The Tipping Point," "Blink" and "Outliers." A theme in his work is how small events can have big implications in society. Gladwell addressed the Lions in one of his recent conversations with Simmons:
Right now, great teams (such as the Colts and Patriots) use the no-huddle selectively, as a way to maximize their dominance. But why don't bad teams use it? If you were the Lions, why not run the no-huddle this season? Why not put together a lighter, better-conditioned offensive line and a radically simplified playbook and see what happens? It's not as if you are risking a Super Bowl if it backfires. Your offensive line is lousy anyway, so there's no harm in tearing it down, and your fans aren't going to turn on you if you get killed while you work out the kinks. Last I checked, your fans have already turned on you. On the plus side, maybe the no-huddle exhausts the other team's defense so much you slow down their pass rush in the second half. And maybe giving your quarterback a bit more autonomy helps develop his knowledge of the game, and his leadership skills.
Gladwell also talked about how its a moral hazard to reward NFL teams for losing by giving them higher draft choices. Agree? Disagree? Talk about it in The Den.