sports psychologist & clinical psychology

SUPER STUPID

Peoria Journal Star – Feb 06, 2007 – Editor Kirk Wessler – Colts 29, Bears 17. In my face. I should retire from predicting now. What idiotic thing did I say? (Oh, yeah, Bears 27-10, with a thousand good reasons that they could not lose.)

I should have paid closer attention to Dr. John Murray, a West Palm Beach sports psychologist I wrote about last year. Murray, whom The Washington Post once touted as a football Freud, sent out his annual assessment of the Super Bowl combatants and declared the Colts would bust up the Bears big time.

What makes Murray more credible, I think, than your average prognosticator is that he bases his predictions on grades that are based in teams’ performance, play by play. The goal on each play is perfection. To attain perfection, each player on each unit must focus and execute flawlessly on each play. Obviously, that’s not possible. But the team that is able to focus and execute at the highest level most of the time should win, barring bizarre circumstances.

For the past five years, Murray has tracked playoff teams through his Mental Performance Index. When Super Bowl time arrives, he compares the MPI for each team – overall, plus half a dozen specific categories – and renders a prediction. The only time that the team with the higher index did not win was last season, but as you will recall, that game turned on a couple of big plays and a couple of widely criticized calls by the officials.

This year, the Colts performed with a .547 overall MPI in the playoffs, while the Bears were at .520. The Colts also performed better than the Bears in every breakdown category, with a whopping .570 to .507 edge in total pressure situations.

Based on those facts, Murray predicted Colts dominance. Based on a lot of things�not-unfounded thinking that the Bears get some bizarre breaks being in there, but my own stupidity being No. 1� I didnt buy it.

Oh, well.

Dr. John F. Murray is a sports psychologist and clinical psychologist providing sports psychology and counseling services based in Palm Beach, Florida.

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