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OT: "You are what you are" (record) or "You are what you're capable of" (capability)?

Discussion in 'PatsFans.com - Patriots Fan Forum' started by GameDay, Dec 8, 2007.

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  1. GameDay

    GameDay Rookie

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    Okay, blame it on an early Xmas break for me to start this topics and get a break from Steelers game talk ad nauseam...

    "The Pats were the best 1-15 team in the NFL"
    (Seriously, I vaguely remember reading something like this about the Rod Rust Pats... The honor now should go to the 0-12 Dolphins)

    "The Pats were the worst Superbowl champion in the history" (2001 Pats)

    "Sometime, the better team doesn't win" (you-know-who)

    Premise A: You are what your record says (Bill Parcells) - TRUE

    Premise B: "The record doesn't say it all" or "The number doesn't tell all" (whoever) - TRUE

    If we accept Premise A, why bother with statements like those? Are all current 6-6 teams in the NFL equal?

    In our life, we encounter failures, but do we accept them at face values, or do we think "that is not the real me and I'm really better than that"?

    There is a real scientific concept behind this and forgive me, those experts out there, it has to do with "scientific inference".

    Premise A is about evidence, fact, and data. Premise B is about what lies underneath that generates that evidence, fact and data. If a team is say, 8-4, what else is there to talk? It is what it is. 8-4 is 8-4. But is it "SB-bound" 8-4 or "fraudulent, one and done" 8-4? It is scientifically valid to ask the second question, which is about the underlying capability.

    Too often, people counter an argument by saying, you are 2-4... or you just win a 4-7 team by 3 lousy points... The other side say, yeah but that's an aberration. On and on waste of time and saliva.

    Is there a way to resolve this? Yes. Definitely.

    When you make a phone call these days, chances are you get a computer answer "OK, let me try to help you... Please say... ". Automated call center like this is a multi-$billion business. Some cell phones have voice/speech recognition (Motorola...), say the name and it makes the call. More than that. Audio analytics and video analytics are trying to determine your emotion. Not only do these call centers computers recognize what you say, they can determine the state of your emotion, especially annoyance and anger. Try to get angry with a computer and you'll get a live person right away: it is programmed to detect anger and alert a human manager so that they don't lose a customer.

    For the same script "What the hell is this?" you can say it with intense anger, with light-hearted humor, or with boredom... A person can be offended or know right away that you are facetious. If reading the script and literal meaning is all we humans care, actors and actresses would not be professional. Why pays Eddie Murphy to be the voice of Donkey, or Mike Myers the voice of Shrek... Any Joe's on street can say those lines.

    This technology (voice recognition and audio analytics) is made feasible by the same desire that football fans try to see if their 8-4 team is SB-caliber or one-and-done type. It's about determining what lies underneath the evidence and record; the true capability of a team.

    One such scientific method is called Hidden Markov Model (HMM). It's about how best to infer the true or innate capability, given the evidence. It allows determining the spoken words and emotion (underlying true value) from speech and voice (evidence & record).

    The multi-$B business of call-center audio analytics software and the wide-ranging speech recognition application is a testament to this scientific success.

    In a "softer" science that is very popular, it's called "profiling" that is familiar to afficionados of CSI and forensics stuffs. In more serious applications, it's about the inference of terroristic intents or potential threats. Humans and animals are evolution-wise hardwired with some HMM inference software as well. It's about subconscious inferring the innate capability of a person based on evidence that we previously encounter with that group of people, which sometime we call "prejudice".

    To some extend, although much more difficult, my colleagues apply this method to determine team capability. This is different from those so-called hard fact and quasi-statistic analysis.

    So the answer is...

    No, you are not exactly what the record says you are. But the record does say a lot -although not all, about you.

    It's fun and fair to try determining what a team capability really is. It has true predictive value. So-called hard fact and quasi-statistic analysis is just a description of facts, they have no predictive basis and value.

    Take any poster on this board and collect all his/her post. They do say a lot about that poster. But not all about that poster, Do they?
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2007
  2. speed

    speed Rookie

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    Re: OT: "You are what you are" (record) or "You are what you're capable of" (capabili

    Right, you are the outcome of what you've done, I agree. If it was all based on potential, it'd be no fun because you'd always know the outcome.

    However, where does "They were who we thought they were" fall? :D
  3. apricissimus

    apricissimus Rookie

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    Re: OT: "You are what you are" (record) or "You are what you're capable of" (capabili

    I (respectfully) think that stiff like this is just so much BS. I understand the logic behind it and other statistical analyses like these (some baseball fans make a fetish of them), and I think it would have validity if you were able to run multiple trials using the same teams (that is, play the season multiple times with the same teams, same schedule, etc.) If you're able to do that, each team would find it's "true" level according to what the stats say.

    But why would anyone care?? The fact is they only play one season. Given that fact, all these speculations lose all relevance.

    Of course there's a random element to every game and every season. Oh well. Lacking any ability to play the games many times (a la ESPN's Accuscore; which is more BS if you ask me), there's no reason in my opinion to care what a teams "capabilities" are.

    Put me in the "You are what you are" camp.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2007
  4. GameDay

    GameDay Rookie

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    Re: OT: "You are what you are" (record) or "You are what you're capable of" (capabili

    Feb 2002. An 11-5 team won the Superbow. A flash in the pan? Or "A dynasty is born"?

    Dec 2002. That team was 9-7, missed playoff. Obviously a flash in the pan. Irrefutable evidence. Case closed. Yes? No? Your pick?

    What I respectfully disagree with you is that while one can't have identical teams and seasons and that people do not age or change... There are ways to infer the capability and potential. You take the hard view that this capability and potential has to be fixed like physical constant. Which is wrong. A model can allow for these changes as well as unknown variables.

    Models are far more intelligent than that. We know that our voice can be hoarse or clear, depending on the throat, yet we and computer can still recognize. A model can try to identify players or group of players that may start a dynasty or just "flash in the pan".

    If people wait after 3 SB's (hard record, irrefutable evidence) to decide to become Pats fans, what are they called?
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2007
  5. GameDay

    GameDay Rookie

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    Re: OT: "You are what you are" (record) or "You are what you're capable of" (capabili

    Well, the outcome is still random. I can hit one-in-hole on the 1st stroke. It doesn't make me of the same potential as Tiger Wood's.

    It means we guess their capability correctly and too bad we let them off the hook!:D
  6. speed

    speed Rookie

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    Re: OT: "You are what you are" (record) or "You are what you're capable of" (capabili

    Au contrare, mon frere-Tiger's potential is to marry 1 supermodel and hit 5 of 100 holes in one, My potential is to hit zero holes in one and marry zero supermodels (love you honey, your my supermodel :) )

    Good thing we aren't talking about the "playoffs?", I guess.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2007
  7. TIMEsteelersfan

    TIMEsteelersfan Rookie

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    Re: OT: "You are what you are" (record) or "You are what you're capable of" (capabili

    It's not about how good you are vs. how good you can be in my opinion. You are what you are. Potential vs. Production and I'll take production all day everyday thank you.

    Not to mention, potential is opinion, production is fact. You are what you are.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2007
  8. apricissimus

    apricissimus Rookie

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    Re: OT: "You are what you are" (record) or "You are what you're capable of" (capabili

    A good team got hot, won a divisional game, won the Conference championship, then won the Superbowl. Sometimes that's all it takes. Clearly that's all it took in 2001.

    They just didn't win as many games as they needed to in 2002. That doesn't affect at all that they did win as many games as they needed to in 2001.

    What good does it do though to be able to infer ability and potential (whatever those things are)? Doesn't change the fact that they still have to play the games, and that unexpected things happen. Suppose some expertly designed model shows that the Steelers, say, really ought to be 11-1, and that two of their losses were just flukes... Doesn't help them get the inside track on a first round bye, does it? It still only the win-loss record that has any relevance.

    I don't doubt that these models are well-thought out and that the people who put them together do so in good faith. I just personally don't care. If a model says that the Dolphins ought to have a better record than they do (they have had 5 losses of 3 points or less, right?), it's just not interesting to me because it has no actual effect on anything.

    If you do care about this stuff though, then that's fine. Following sports is ultimately just a hobby and it's up to each person to take from it what he or she wants to take from it.

    Now if a model actually could predict with greater success than your run-of-the-mill human expert which teams will win or lose, or which teams will have greater success in the following year, then that would be something. It would have to be backed up by real data and real results.

    But unless the NFL adopts a new rule saying that a team's won-loss record can be adjusted by some statistical model to correct for aberrations during the actual season, the models aren't going to mean much to me.
  9. GameDay

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    Re: OT: "You are what you are" (record) or "You are what you're capable of" (capabili

    Successful model correctly predicts production in the long term. If you are Steelers GM and you have to draft, what do you do? Of course every GM looks at a player's college production. But isn't what they really are looking for is the player's NFL potential?

    Why don't you just look at the number and draft players... There are many numbers to choose.... game stats, the combine... Pick the highest numbers. The job would be so easy. BUST would only mean a statue in the HOF and not something else in the NFL.
  10. TIMEsteelersfan

    TIMEsteelersfan Rookie

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    Re: OT: "You are what you are" (record) or "You are what you're capable of" (capabili

    Scouting college players is all about potential sure... winning games is about production. Potential also has a nasty history of getting coaches fired, rarely does production.

    Potential is great, but it's often used as a cop-out for poor production. When a team is losing that's all you hear about, potential, potential, potential. Your production is what counts and it's what defines you as a team IMO.
  11. GameDay

    GameDay Rookie

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    Re: OT: "You are what you are" (record) or "You are what you're capable of" (capabili

    Apricissimus, you know that's not what this thread is about right? Let's not go there. Like you said. For sports, it's a hobby and fun. They do it to try to predict who will win and some bet on it. Why do you think there is sports betting? All for entertainment.

    Appreciate your thoughts and comments very much.
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2007
  12. apricissimus

    apricissimus Rookie

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    Re: OT: "You are what you are" (record) or "You are what you're capable of" (capabili

    Maybe that's part of why I'm not all that interested in the predictions by statistical models. I've never bet on a game, and I think I would enjoy it less if I did. But that's just me.
  13. GameDay

    GameDay Rookie

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    Re: OT: "You are what you are" (record) or "You are what you're capable of" (capabili

    What you meant is accountability. Yes, absolutely. If we screw up, we have to man up and admit our mistakes and take responsibility. To say that isn't me and make excuse is not acceptable. That's about the value and rule of society, not the science of inference.

    What do you think the capability of your team? Do they have the capability to win SB this year?

    I think the Pats have the capability to win SB this year. Let's say bad luck may happen, somebody be may injured in the future, or in one playoff game, the entire team might be hit with ebola... The future is full uncertainty, but if you have to put $ right now on which team to win SB, what would you do? and why?
  14. GameDay

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    Re: OT: "You are what you are" (record) or "You are what you're capable of" (capabili

    No, you don't have to bet your money. Let's say you didn't know the outcome.
    You were sent to a film vault where you could watch 11-5 Pats in 2001, and the 12-4 Pats in 2006. Of course, you could watch game films of every team as well.

    What would you have predicted?
  15. TIMEsteelersfan

    TIMEsteelersfan Rookie

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    Re: OT: "You are what you are" (record) or "You are what you're capable of" (capabili

    If I have to put my money on the SB pick... I take the Patriots and here's why. They've played the second best team(INDY) and probably the third best team(DALLAS) both on the road. In both games they were punched in the mouth a little early and had to keep fighting and hang on/rally for the win. They eventually disposed of Dallas like they were playing aginst Notre Dame, and fought back with two fourth quarter TD's to beat INDY. I can't see any other team in the league doing that... so right now, the smart money is on the Patiots to win it all.

    That being said, upsets happen every year and so do injuries so we'll have to wait and see. Plus you never know when a team is gonna get red hot(SEE: 2005 Steelers), and there's plenty of talented teams out there that could catch fire and give anybody a run for their money.
  16. GameDay

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    Re: OT: "You are what you are" (record) or "You are what you're capable of" (capabili

    TIMEsteelersfan, you just did a wonderful non-numerical HMM inference. But wouldn't you be curious about the Steelers' historic defense (like in some articles and threads here) vs. the Pats' historic offense? Defense wins championship, there is a long record of that also. No?

    Insisting on record and production means that no one should have believed in 2005 Steelers (except for their fans). Perhaps however, there were true wisdom somewhere that could see beyond the record and correctly predicted the 05 Steelers' capability?

    BTW, no offense intended, but I think the other team deserved to win and had the true capability to win. But random events do happen.
  17. PatsFanInVa

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    Re: OT: "You are what you are" (record) or "You are what you're capable of" (capabili

    It's part of a continuum.

    "They are who we thought they were", shading through "we let 'em off the hook," all the way to the extreme of "If you wanna crown their a s s, crown their a s s."

    PFnV
  18. TIMEsteelersfan

    TIMEsteelersfan Rookie

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    Re: OT: "You are what you are" (record) or "You are what you're capable of" (capabili

    Defense wins championships absolutely, and yours is good enough to get it done... especailly with that offenes. Ours is too, but we're not playing well lately and my analysis is based off the way everyone is playing right now. If the playoffs started today I think we'd be sent packing. We need to get rolling here over the final four games just like we did in 05'.

    That was a very similar situation, we started the season 7-2, then lost 3 straight and dropped to 7-5. At that point we were on the outside looking in, but we got hot and won our final four and then rolled through the playoffs. I absolutely believe my team can do it, but that's because I'm a steelers fan... I always see the bright side of things with my squad.
  19. makewayhomer

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    Re: OT: "You are what you are" (record) or "You are what you're capable of" (capabili

    gameday is my favorite poster on this site
  20. GameDay

    GameDay Rookie

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    Re: OT: "You are what you are" (record) or "You are what you're capable of" (capabili

    Who wins the game tomorrow? what will happens? no one knows. Pats fans think the Pats will win, Steelers fans think the opposite of course.

    If going only by the record and hard number, we can take the average Pats' scores vs. the Steelers' scores, game stats etc. and come up with a prediction.

    If going by team capability, you can try to project how the Steelers D will limit the Pats O and so on... You can try to see how Ben Roth and Willie can attack the Pats D, rather than using Willie's stats the last few games to project what he can rush (you wouldn't want that). Neither would you want to take the average of all INTs BR threw and project that. All these, linear extrapolation, is actually a kind of projection that is just not as accurate and reliable as other methods. But it gives people a sense of "cold hard facts whatever..."

    We do inference based on what we perceive as team's "true capability" all the time. Just not realize that. The method we do can be called "human-based neural networks" or better yet, "gut feeling".

    But there are other methods as well and some people are just sort of having fun with them.
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