These are the show notes for Episode #5 of the Soccermetrics Podcasts, with featured guest David Sally, co-author of The Numbers Game. This episode was recorded on 7 November 2013 from the Atlanta office.
David Sally is a behavioral economist by training (Ph.D, University of Chicago) and a visiting professor at Tuck School of Management at Dartmouth College. He and Cornell professor Chris Anderson founded the football analytics consultancy Anderson Sally and wrote The Numbers Game: Why Everything You Know About Football is Wrong, published by Penguin Books. This book creates a bridge between the football analytics subculture and the broader football world, addressing basic but compelling questions and challenging long-held assumptions about the game that many people “know to be true”.
During our conversation, David and I discussed the following topics:
- How David came to follow — and embrace — the beautiful game
- David’s partnership with Chris Anderson
- The contributions of behavioral science to problems in football analytics
- The surprising similarities of the Big Five European leagues
- Short corners and short free-kicks
- The problem with penalty shootouts
- How do you measure a player’s heart?
Web links to relevant resources that we referenced in our conversation:
- Soccer by the Numbers: Chris Anderson’s original football analytics blog
- Javier Zanetti’s goal for Argentina vs England (World Cup 1998), from a short free-kick.
As always, we welcome your feedback on the episode, whether on content or technical matters. You can make your feedback in the comments section (recommended for content-related discussions) or by emailing [email protected] (recommended for technical issues).