Archive for July 14th, 2010

July 14, 2010

Spread Offense


The spread offense is an offensive scheme in American and Canadian football that is used at every level of the game including professional, college, and high school. The spread offense begins with a no-huddle approach with the quarterback in the shotgun formation (5 – 7 yards behind the line of scrimmage) much of the time. 3-5 receivers are spread along the line of scrimmage, creating multiple vertical seams for both the running and passing game to exploit, as the defense is forced to spread itself thin across the field to cover everyone.

The father of the spread offense is Rusty Russell, coach of Fort Worth, Texas’ Masonic Home and School for orphaned boys. Russell began coaching Masonic Home in 1927, and due to the fact that his teams were often over matched physically by other schools, they were called the ‘Mighty Mites.’ While there, he deployed the earliest form of a spread offense to great success.

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July 14, 2010

Long Tail

long tail


A long tail refers to the statistical property where a larger share of the population rests within the tail of a probability distribution than observed under a normal distribution. This has gained popularity in recent times as a retailing concept describing the niche strategy of selling a large number of unique items in relatively small quantities – usually in addition to selling fewer popular items in large quantities. The concept was popularized by Chris Anderson in an October 2004 Wired magazine article, in which he mentioned and Netflix as examples of businesses applying this strategy.

However, a 2008 study by Anita Elberse, professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, calls the Long Tail theory into question, citing sales data which shows that the Web magnifies the importance of blockbuster hits.  Also in 2008, a sales analysis of an unnamed UK digital music service by economist Will Page and high-tech entrepreneur Andrew Bud found that sales exhibited a normal distribution; they reported that 80 percent of the music tracks available sold no copies at all over a one-year period.