If you’re reading this, there’s a pretty good chance you read (or at least noticed) the 2013 All-Tribune football team nearby.
As we do every year, there were 48 schools’ worth of good, great and elite kids with statistics, accomplishments, opinions and other relevant criteria to plow through (lots and lots of) feedback from coaches to help formulate these teams.
Longtime followers of East Valley high school football — OK, let’s say the past five years — will see not much has changed in this year’s format, but for those passing by or new in interest to how this works, here are a couple brief points:
• Coach’s submissions (every EV high school coach received two emails seeking nominations and information) play a huge role in these because they see and know so much more than anyone. Ultimately, however, it was up to me to decide these teams (spanning Divisions I through VI). Trust me, there was lots of pacing, cringing, audible self-dialogue, debate, insomnia, and co-workers all-too eager to knock me unconscious so they wouldn’t have to listen while I try and bounce ideas off of them for three weeks.
• This has nothing to do with who might be a better college prospect, or even who’s the more talented player in spots. It’s about who had the best 2013 season and was most invaluable to their team. The goal is to closely duplicate the number of kids per team as it relates to the sport (in this case, football being 11 players on the field at once plus a couple more for special teams, etc.).
• As you can imagine when dealing with this many schools, the number of kids involved, and caliber of talent the East Valley has produced in the past five years, it’s not remotely perfect. It might not even be mediocre. It could be pathetic. I know nothing about evaluating talent, would never project a kid’s future and pretty much have no idea whether a Division III stud would be good against Div. I competition.
• The number of honorable mentions who deserve to be first- or second team is in the dozens, especially quarterback, running back, defensive line and linebacker is staggering. So, too, is the idea many Division I college prospects and some of the best in the country (let alone the EV) are honorable mentions. Again, quarterback and running back comes to mind.
• Thoughts, questions, criticisms are always welcome. It’s obviously subjective, and obviously the vast majority of kids wind up being undervalued when creating monsters like these postseason awards.
• Statistics don’t tell a whole story, but they are important because — though flawed in several ways — there is no other tangible basis for comparison or discussion. They’re obviously not the end-all, especially at offensive line and defensive line, and stats can easily be manipulated so schools would be wise not to fudge them (sometimes obvious to the point it works against the kid), but stats are a base on which to build these.
• Last, but absolutely not least: no, your kid being on the first team, second team or honorable mention has no impact on whether he’ll get a college scholarship at any level. None. Zero. Zip.
That much, I promise.
Mark Heller is the East Valley Tribune sports editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (480) 898-6576.