Posts Tagged ‘ESPN’

Hall of Famer Vissser to Write Epilogue for Upcoming Football Psychology Book

Special to – Hall of Fame sports broadcaster Lesley Visser recently agreed to write the epilogue for an upcoming book published by World Audience in New York City and authored by Palm Beach clinical and sports psychologist Dr. John F. Murray titled “The Mental Performance Index: Ranking the Best Teams in Super Bowl History.” Murray’s previous best-selling book was Smart Tennis: How to Play and Win the Mental Game.

In his new book, to be released in 2010, Murray will unleash his patented MPI system of rating a football team’s performance on a scale of 0 to 1 (like a baseball batting average), including crucial mental factors in the rating such as pressure performance and reduction of mental errors.

The Mental Performance Index (MPI) was extremely accurate over six years of pilot testing in making overall performance explicit in the NFL playoffs, and this data allowed Murray to say more or less how the teams would perform in 5 of 6 Super Bowls and to beat the spread in 4 of 6. For this book, Murray is rating every play in Super Bowl history to produce the data, ranking every team from 1 to 88, showing the actual data, and announcing the best and most dominant team ever.” Many other interesting questions will be answered such as, what is really more important to winning the big game, offense or defense, or something entirely different?

“I’m extremely fortunate to have a superstar and extremely nice person in Lesley Visser to write the epiloge, said Murray. It will greatly enhance an already exciting book and be icing on the cake by a broadcasting legend who has covered most Super Bowl games in history. Visser was recently awarded as the top female sports broadcaster in history. She adds a rare and extremely informed perspective that I’m delighted to be able to share with the world in this book. It’s not surprising that the publisher has a name like World Audience, said Murray with a chuckle, because the world will indeed be audience to an audacious approach in this book, an approach based on precision and thinking outside the box.”

Murray expects people to learn more about the MPI and pay much more attention to the mental game in anything they do after reading this book. “Readers will never quite view football or other sports the same,” stated the sports psychologist once dubbed ‘The Freud of Football’ by the Washington post. “Readers don’t even have to love football to appreciate this because the principle of performing well mentally is necessary in any high-demand situation. We all expect that the interest from fans, coaches, players and media will be overwhelming.”

The author believes that the fun controversy of arguing over which team was best, as well as the learning that will take place in this spirit of healthy competition, will advance the sport for everyone. “Let each city argue over whether their which team was the best, but the truth will become clear with the MPI data analysis,” explained Murray.

Every year after the Super Bowl game, new MPI ratings will determine whether that year’s winner just became the best team overall, or if they did not it will show exactly where they fit in the hierarchy of all teams who have participated. Starting in 2010 teams will be playing two Super Bowls, the regular Super Bowl, and the “Super Bowl of Super Bowls” to see if their team can become overall champ. “This might be the first book in history that never ends, added Murray, as a new chapter will be added to the book at the end of every football season with the new data that emerges! Teams will have a chance to be crowned Super Bowl champion for that particular year, but also crowned Super Bowl champion of all time.”

The logic behind why the system was accurate in forecasting team performance in the Super Bowls between 2003 and 2008 is clear in retrospect. For the first time the MPI includes something extremely influential in performance, but rarely or probably never measured directly, and that is mental performance. “The mental aspect of performance is quantifiable and very real, said Murray, and it will be clear how this is accomplished by reading this book.”

“I’m extremely fortunate and grateful to Lesley Visser for her willingness to contribute the epilogue to this innovative book which will help everyone become a little less intimidated by mental coaching and sports psychology. It will be much clearer after this book how necessary solid mental training is, and future coaches and players will look back and wonder how they ever survived without it.”

The upcoming book and MPI page are available for review at:

For more information:

John F. Murray, Ph.D.
139 North County Road Suite 18C
Palm Beach, FL 33480
Tel: 561-596-9898
Fax: 561-805-8662

Dr. John F Murray in ESPN The Magazine

ESPN The Magazine – November 3, 2008 – Answer Guy – Why do college sports have polls?

J.B. Morris, college football editor, ESPN The Magazine: They do rankings so people will watch the early-season games. It’s marketing, Guy.

In football? What’s next?

Dave Brown, VP of college football programming, ESPN: It’s true. Polls really help us sell games and build a market. Wouldn’t playoffs sell even better? No way. Each week of the season is like a single-elimination tournament. Look what happened to USC.

Do I have to?

Kent Stephens, curator and historian, College Football Hall of Fame: Sportswriters in the 1880s and ’90s—guys like Casper Whitney and Walter Camp—often included season-ending rankings with their All-America picks. But they didn’t count for anything. They were strictly one person’s opinion.


Oh, we’ve got plenty of those.

Terry Taylor, sports editor, Associated Press: Alan Gould started the football poll in 1936 to give readers something to talk about between games. The basketball poll was added in 1949. Both were intended purely for entertainment purposes.

Nothing like a good fight.

Bill Hancock, BCS Administrator: The only poll we care about is the last one, on Dec. 7; two-thirds of the BCS formula is based on human assessment. But humans need to be leavened, and computers can do that. Yipe! The only reason the BCS started was to get the No. 1 and No. 2 teams to play for a championship.

But isn’t that the problem? Polls and computers can’t take the place of playoffs. Without them, how can we know who the true champion really is?
Marc Mathews, controller, We can’t.

So what’s the point?

John F. Murray, sports psychologist: It’s human nature to want to feel successful, and competition is one of the biggest drives in human nature. So it’s all about ego? In a way. Plus it sells. So I’ve heard.

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