Creativity is what cannot be measured by statistics. Hence the difficulty is creating a creativity stat. Nevertheless, we have developed a FBM Creativity stat and tested it. The FBM creativity stat has a p<0.0001 (n=47) to be correct according to the judgment of scouts. Even though the number of participants in the test is small, the very low p-value makes it a strong scientific proof that the FBM Creativity stat actually measures the creativity of players. Of course, we continue to research this stat and validate it even more.
There are limitations to the FBM Creativity stat. The main limitation is that it doesn’t work for every player. So far the model only works for about one in three players. Fortunately, it is crystal clear when the FBM Creativity stat can be applied to a player and when not. If the FBM Creativity stat can be applied to a player, it is highly likely to be correct.
What is creativity?
Creativity is a subjective judgment that per definition cannot be derived from football statistics. For some players the data scout, video scout and live scout all come to the same conclusion. If that shared conclusion is that the player is a good player, the risk of hiring that player is considerably less than if the shared conclusion is that the player is a bad player.
Yet, now and then, there is disagreement between these three sources of judgments about the player. The more disagreement, the higher the risk in hiring the player. For creativity the most interesting situation is one where the data is negative about the player, but the video scout and the live scout are positive about the player. Somehow the video scout and the live scout see something in the player that is not reflected in the data. You can give any name you want to whatever the video scout and live scout are seeing and we call it creativity. Hence, the fact that creativity cannot be derived from football statistics per definition.
Nevertheless, it would be very helpful in these cases if there was an algorithm that would calculate the probability of a player being a creative player nevertheless. Although we can’t go into the details of how we did it, after years of studying this problem, the FBM Creativity stat passes the first tests successfully.
Two kinds of creative players
There are two kinds of creative players. The first creative player is a player who does more good than bad on top of being a creative player. That player is probably a superstar and his level of creativity, how wonderful it is in itself, is of lesser importance because his excellent data will carry him anyway. We call him a type I creative player.
The second creative player is a player who does more bad than good. We call him a type II creative player and we have a whole list of them. In this case the FBM Creativity stat becomes very important, because now you can calculate whether his creativity outweighs the bad football statistics for this specific player. While in general everybody would prefer a type I creative player for his team, the reality is that those players are rare and very expensive. So in reality most teams are unable to afford type I creative players. The question then becomes: how important is creativity that a team would accept lesser football statistics just to increase the level of creativity in the team?
Complexity and predictability
FBM uses a cybernetic model for football. That means that we see the team as a system that has to deal with the environment. The environment mostly exists out of the opposing team, but the referee, quality of the pitch, weather conditions and the crowds are for example also factors in the environment.
Within cybernetics, complexity is defined as the sum of all possible values for all variables. The number of variables during a match is enormous and almost all those variables have lots of different possible values. So in every match the sum of all those possibilities, i.e. the complexity, is higher than the total number of atoms in the whole universe. It’s an extremely large number. That is why playing football is so complex and that is – in part – what makes football so much fun.
If we were to simplify football to the extreme, one could say that every team has eleven variables (the players) and that each variable has only two values: the player is either attacking or defending. The complexity is then: 2 * 2 * 2 * 2 * 2 *2 *2 * 2 * 2 *2 * 2 = 2048. Now we replace a single player in the team with a creative player who has three different values: attacking, defending or doing something creatively. Now the complexity = 2 * 2 * 2 * 2 * 2 *2 *2 * 2 * 2 *2 * 3 = 3072. By adding a single creative player to the team, we have increased the complexity of the match for the opponent by 50%. Complexity is a nonlinear logarithmic function. That is why the complexity of football is so high. Due to the nonlinear logarithmic function, a single creative player can increase the complexity of the match substantially.
Which leads us to predictability. The lower the complexity of the environment, the easier it becomes to predict the behavior of the environment. The higher the complexity of the environment the harder it becomes to predict the behavior of the environment. While the opponent is part of the environment of your team, your team is part of the environment of the opposing team. By adding a single creative player to your team, the complexity of the environment of the opposing team rises considerably and the predictability of the behavior of your whole team becomes less.
Predictable teams find it much more difficult to win matches than unpredictable teams. If the team has a type II creative player, one who does more bad than good, the unpredictable team’s chances of winning have not increased because the team creates more and better opportunities, because that is what a type I creative player does, one who does more good than bad. No, playing with a type II creative player increases your chances of winning due to the fact that the complexity of the match is raised and the opposing team has much more difficulties to deal with this complexity which results in the opposing team making more mistakes. Mistakes that your team can profit from.
Again, we all prefer type I creative players over type II creative players. Nevertheless, most teams have to deal with type II creative players as they cannot afford type I creative players. In which case they have to find a fine balance between good football stats and creativity. Too little creativity and the team becomes too predictable and the chances of winning drops. Too much creativity and the play of the team becomes too bad and the chances of winning also drops.
The FBM Creativity stat helps you determine this balance. When you want us to analyze your team to see which players have a FBM Creativity stat and if so how high or low their creativity is, please contact us through the form below: