Innovation Session: Tony Gonzalez Infographic Part 7

Tonight I finished the infographic I’ve been working on for the past seven weeks. Two versions of it actually, one for if Tony G. retires and one for if he comes back to play another year. They are fairly similar, but with subtle differences in the presentation in order to change the emphasis of the message. I suppose at some point I can put them up side by side to see if those subtleties are achieved.

I’m actually a bit torn right now because I like the version for the retirement scenario better, but I’d rather get to see Tony play for another year.

Like any project, once I finished the first 90%, I could start on the second 90%. There was a good bit of polishing to do but I’ve actually tried to do some of it as I went, mainly when I was stumped on something else.

The final thing I worked on tonight, but have yet to make a decision on, is the copyright status I’m going to put on the image. I normally default to throwing up ‘Copyright 2013’ on whatever I make (though that isn’t necessary under US law) but with this one I’m not sure if it fits the project.

This infographic, like all of my innovation sessions, isn’t for profit. In order to focus on the innovation parts of the projects, I’m relying on anything pre-built wherever possible. The data, logos and some of the graphics are pulled from other sources – so I feel bad throwing a copyright on it –  even though I could probably get away with it under fair use.

I’m currently leaning towards a creative commons license, for attribution and non-commercial. I don’t really want to see someone printing out the infographic I’ve made and selling it for a profit, but have no problem with anyone else sharing it on their fantasy football blog, website, etc. I’ll probably sit on this decision for a bit and make a call on launch day.


Innovation Session: Tony Gonzalez Infographic Part 6

Done! Pretty much anyways. All of the major data for the infographic is now in place – I’m sure I’ll make a few final tweaks, but for the most part I’m pretty happy with it.

Tonight I spent most of my time wrestling with a few ideas of how to present comparisons between Tony G. and the current crop of Tight Ends in the league. I started with the idea of normalizing per season, but realized that most athletes, Tony included, experience their top performance in the early half of their career.Also, many athletes, Tony excludes, get injured as they get older and start missing games or have to stop playing all together.

I had a thought that I would project out the averages of each player into the future to predict when would be the soonest they could catch any of Tony’s current records. As I started working on it though, I just wasn’t comfortable with having the data be based on something so theoretical.

I thought about comparing the first N years of Tony’s career to the careers of younger players – but that story wasn’t very compelling. The data didn’t show much – and there was a lot to account for in the fact that a good portion of the redefinition of the Tight End role happened because of Tony and during his career – so years 1 & 2 of players who were drafted in 2010 would be very different than Tony’s in 1997 & 1998.

I ended up deciding on sticking with the normalized yearly averages. To add some depth to the visualization I included stars for how many years they player has been in the NFL – thus adding a bit of context to the stats. Averaging nearly 1,000 yards per season for 16 seasons is a much stronger stat than 1,000 for 2 seasons.

Here is a sample of the what I showed for Jimmy Graham – I like that it makes it easy to put context around how the two players compare. We can see that Graham is a TD producer but still behind Tony’s averages for receptions & yards receiving. This is of course only 3 seasons into Graham’s career & he’s had a guy named Drew Brees throwing to him for all of them so who knows what the future holds.


Thoughts On: Valentine’s Day

I’m going to start this by agreeing with a sympathy that I think most men hold: Valentine’s day is a bit of a silly holiday that is a big deal mostly because of backing from card & flower companies.

That said, it is highly unlikely that we will be able to change it, so here is how I think about it.

Valentine’s day is a sport. Like all sports the rules are basically arbitrary. They were decided before you started playing the game. In a way, you are confined by them, but that is part of what makes it fun. Within the confines of the rules of the game, you get to use your creativity, skill and dedication to help you achieve optimal results. Winning!

Valentines Day is a sport. It is a sport that all men in relationships are automatically signed up to play on one night of every year. Its a bit like middle school gym class – you didn’t get to decide that you wanted to play, you didn’t get to decide the rules, but now that you are playing, you have a decision to make. You can either play half-heartedly and go home regretting it. Or you can play your best, make big plays and hope for the win.

Like all sports you get points for certain things. There isn’t an official Valentine’s day score card, it is probably different for everyone depending on what your significant other likes. Generally things like flowers, chocolates, candles and the like get you points. Why do roses get more points than other flower on Valentine’s day? I don’t know, why do you get six points for a touchdown instead of 4 or 15? This was all decided long before any of us started playing.

Like in football, you have to call a play. An expensive dinner is a classic option, like a forward pass, but not the only one. The tried and true home cooked dinner is like running the ball on 1st and 10. If you’ve got time on the clock, go for it.

Like all sports there is competition. You are basically competing with 2 things; your significant other’s expectations and her friend’s boyfriends/husbands.

Her Expectations

You might be lucky enough to be in a relationship with a girl that doesn’t care much for Valentine’s day. This makes the first part of your competition easy. You don’t have much to compete with when it comes to expectations. A quiet night with a nice card might earn you the W.

On the other hand, you might be dating someone with a wild imagination, a reality TV habit and a weak understanding of finances. Sorry, bro. You’ve got a lot to go up against. Remember, though, expensive dinners are one play option, but you can always attempt a trick play and go for a walk on the beach.

The Significant Others of Her Friends

Next up you have indirect competition with the significant others of her friends. On February 15th, your girlfriend is going to talk to her friends and they will discuss Valentine’s day. You might have thought you did a great job because your sweetheart has low V-day expectations, but when your girlfriend hears about the nice dinner her friend went to or the chocolates her other friend got, things might change. Many a time, a guy has thought he did a decent job, only to find out a few days later he dropped the ball. And he can’t make up for it the next year.

Know what league you are playing in. Unfortunately some things that work in NCAA don’t work in the NFL. Just ask Tim Tebow.

In conclusion, you were signed up for a sport that you only have a basic understanding of. The scoring rules don’t make much sense and your competition is a bit of a mystery. It doesn’t matter how you feel about it though, you’re a winner, you play to win. So next year, go buy some flowers, make some dinner plans and write down a few heartfelt thoughts on a card you got at the corner store. Feel free to keep track of the imaginary score in your head, but keep in mind your traditional touchdown celebration dance might not be appropriate. Eh, who cares, if you want to do the dirty bird in the middle of a Michelin Star rated restaurant, go for it!