Peculiar Observations about Oregon Fans: Mysteries of the Mind

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Oregon fans are strange, really strange. I’ve picked up some peculiar observations about them/us/me over the years and I still wrestle with some of the odd elements about them in my pondering. Let’s take a look at some of the puzzling aspects about us and concerning fan behavior over the web that can only be classified as Mysteries of the Mind.

We have an incredible analysis posted today about the Stick Concept, and how Oregon uses it, yet as well as those articles do (thousands read them) they are only a fraction–10% or less–of our total hits/visits on the site. In fact the major component this site is known for (analysis) is hardly read at all compared to our other articles. Why would that be? I call it Mysteries of the Mind….

I post these analysis articles as links on other Oregon message board websites, and those sites are visited by thousands daily, and yet so few will actually come over and read the analysis article. Now does that stop them from posting an inane opinion about something? Even when they know nothing about it? Messages are for giving opinions, and those folks (I am one of them) who enjoy doing so–yet few actually want to learn anything about football, and they post their dunderhead thoughts anyway. Why is that? I call it Mysteries of the Mind.

I don't get it...

From Video

I don’t get it…

I’ve had members of those sites accuse me of trying to troll for hits from their site, and on that day when the observation was posted that site contributed all of 2.90% of our total hits/visits that day. That is it! The majority of our visits from other sites occur on analysis days, and yet they constitute less than 10% of our total visits/hits that day. Wow!  Wouldn’t you think that lots of Oregon fans who wish to state an opinion about the team would take fifteen minutes a week to learn something about our beloved Ducks? No, and it is again part of Mysteries of the Mind

On one site we had over 1,200 readers click into the post about the analysis piece recently with TONS of opinions expressed. Many of these opinions seemed completely stupid, considering I covered those points in the article. Then I looked at my analytics to see how many people came over from that site to read the analysis? Only 254! So let me get this right…only 254 actually read the article, but 1,200 wanted to read about other opinions, wanted to post opinions themselves, that had not read the article? This is really strange, and it is as if people are rebelling against learning anything. Yep–it is Mysteries of the Mind again!

Most fans think that on a scale of one to ten their level of knowledge is a 7, while the typical small college or high school coach I work with on analysis articles is a 9.5 to 10. The reality is that most fans are a 1.5, and I learned that the hard way when I began doing the analysis work. (Because that is where I was at.) Most fans are morons when you consider the depth of their football knowledge … and they really don’t want to learn anything. Holy Crap.

The good news? For the fans who want to learn, we have a coach from Kentucky this week teaching us, while next week it is a coach from Albany, New York teaching us some subtle nuances of the Oregon offense that keeps opponents off balance. Next month we will have former Oregon safety Ryan Mitchell begin to help us understand what is going on in the secondary with the Ducks and he will be a consultant during the season as well.

Most fans DON'T want this...

From Video

Most fans DON’T want this…

Rory Davidson will begin his Opponent Analysis articles every week during the season to prepare us for what to look for in the upcoming game, and Nik Brownlee will begin to pose the question of, “who do you want to lose this week, and why?” We have some tasty articles this fall for those want to learn and enjoy the games that much more.

This is why is now in the top 2% of the World for hits/visits per day and although not as many are learning as I hoped, we are helping thousands of fans and coaches around the nation as it is.

I was thinking about all of this, and wondering why more people are not curious and thirsting to learn more about the game as I am. Then I noted how our Technical Editor, Steven Wright, has that natural curiosity about all things involving technology, and how when he discovers something about the site that can help us–he is almost gleeful as he is explaining it to me. I do not have that intuitive curiosity about technology at all, and frankly get freaked out by some of it.

Thus we all have our areas we wish to learn about, and not others that seem obvious to someone else?

So perhaps this is not something about the fans, but more about human nature?  Only a small percentage comprise those who want to learn about the subject?

So maybe Oregon fans are not so strange after all…

Charles Fischer

Top Photo by Craig Strobeck

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Charles Fischer

Charles Fischer

Charles Fischer has been an intense fan of the Ducks for thirty years and has written reports on football boards for over a dozen years. Known as “FishDuck” on those boards, he is acknowledged for providing intense detail in his scrimmage reports and in his Xs and Os play analyses. He and his wife Lois, a daughter, Christine, and their dog (Abbie) reside in Eugene, Oregon, where he has been a financial advisor for 30 years serving clients in seven different states. He does not profess to be a coach or analyst, but simply a “hack” that enjoys sharing what he has learned and invites others to correct or add to this body of Oregon Football! See More...

  • Eps iLon

    Most fans are morons, he says.
    nice, that

  • Rick

    Count me as an analysis reader – it’s what I enjoy most your site. Looking forward to learning more about our defensive backfield schemes. Keep up the great work

  • Breadbox

    Charles, you recently called out a poster for saying that your assumption was dumb. You then pointed out that on your site, “We don’t stoop to insulting others”

    Then you write – “Most fans are morons”. Hmmm…

    I played football at USC in the mid 80’s, and think my football knowledge is pretty solid. I only occasionally read your analysis, and rarely finish the articles simply because they just are not that illuminating or compelling. Maybe your readers are more intelligent then you give them credit for, or maybe they already understand the game as well as you now believe you do. It’s just the game of football after all.

    Just saying.

    Love the Site, Love the Ducks

    Oregon Grad ’93

    • Perhaps I should add come color to the “morons” comment. Compared to many Oregon fans–I AM an analyst, but compared to most coaches I am an idiot compared to their knowledge. If you played college football than you know more than 95% of the college football fans out there.

      The knowledge level of most fans really is pretty low; if they sat with a real coach as I have–they would understand. Most cheer the touchdowns without a clue as to how it happened, and that is OK if they prefer not to learn.

      I know of a coach who refuses to go to Oregon games anymore due to the things he hears people stating in the crowd–and I understand that as I hear some doosies once in awhile as well. You are in a position to say that, but most are not.

      If someone was offended–my apologies.

      • Breadbox

        My apologies to you Charles! You are a real Pro, and your site is always a must read! Your analysis is excellent and you are likely the reason practices were closed when Chip was here. Reporters don’t analyze plays, but you do. I appreciate everything you have done and continue to do for Duck Football Fans. I meant no disrespect.

        I get it. I’ve heard ridiculous things in the stands as well. I’m sure you have heard the joke: “What do Beaver Fans and Duck Fans have in common? Neither of them went to Oregon”.

        Band Wagon fans are just that, and it just comes with the Territory of any successful team.

        I’ve been a Duck Fan my whole life and I am old enough, (50), to remember when a 6-5 season was something to celebrate.

        My Dad was a Duck and ASAB President in 52. My Uncle played for Cas, and 9 members of my immediate family have graduated or are attending Oregon.

        Please ignore my petty comment. I woke up cranky today.

        Thanks again for your work and for assembling a great team of writers! I look forward to your next article.

        Will 93

    • GoDucks

      Calling one’s reading audience ‘morons’ speaks for itself. Then, trying to cover one’s tracks by saying (below) that people who cheer when touchdowns are scored have ‘no idea how it happened’ doesn’t help much either.
      Really, this pundit should have just said, ‘if I have offended, my apologies’ and left it at that.
      And ya, you did.

      • Well….you also have to understand where I am coming from. No one explained the Spread Offense so I created the 50 videos of the Oregon offense and defense–and through the whole process it was I who was the moron learning in order to share it with others.

        And I thought at that time that I knew football pretty well! Sit with a real coach and you find out how little you know, and few, if any fans, have had that experience. Thus my labeling comes from being there and the unique journey I’ve had in learning the game.

        All this takes away from the major point; most people DON’T want to learn, yet express a highly uninformed opinion. And I suppose that is human nature. Anyway it was interesting when pondering all those things combined.

        Thanks for writing.

        • GoDucks

          “Most fans think that on a scale of one to ten their level of knowledge is a 7, while the typical small college or high school coach I work with on analysis articles is a 9.5 to 10. The reality is that most fans are a 1.5…. Most fans are morons when you consider the depth of their football knowledge ”

          By definition, the average football fan’s football level of knowledge is 5 in 10, as this is the central point on the normal curve of distribution when a scale is based on 10.

          • And you sir…do not know that real level of your understanding, the coach’s understanding, and that of the fans.

            I do not expect all to understand, since none how gone through the unique experience that I have…

          • GoDucks

            “And you sir…do not know that real level of your understanding, the coach’s understanding, and that of the fans… I do not expect all to understand, since none how gone through the unique experience that I have…”

            Fish, Fish, Fish…. The next time you visit the Ivory Tower, ask some of the great minds there to tell you about a thing called the Normal Curve of Distribution. In the meanwhile, I’ll hold my ground, as my point has nothing to do with one’s knowledge of the read option, counters, or whatever Bralon Addison may have had for breakfast the other day.

            In fact, whenever one applies a 10-point scale to a large group, the average, or norm, is 5 by definition. Beyond this, I defer to the Normal Curve: going in either direction from the norm 68 percent of a group is captured by the Curve through a range that works in either direction and is known as the first ‘standard deviation’ – hereafter ‘SD’. This is always true based on any large group, where people’s differences can be measured according to various things such as height, IQ, knowledge of football, et cetera.

            So, here’s the statistical reality of what happens when we apply the knolwedge level of football fans on a scale of 1 to 10: Those at the extremity of the minus-1 SD range, (where the first SD meets the second SD), in fact have a level of knowledge that equates to around 1.5 in 10. A 1.5 score in this case equates to about a D-plus on a report card, which in turn explains why this is a passable grade – although barely. Imagine saying that a most people at a given high school have a GPA that equates to a D-plus average, and you will see why you’ve missed big on this one and why, frankly, you sound very sophomoric.

            Going the other way, 95 percent of a population falls within the first two standard deviations. Turning to the positive side of the curve, it follows that somebody on the next cusp – where the second SD meets the third SD – rates about a 9.75 in a scale of 1 to 10 because they rate better than 97.5 percent of the population. Incidentally, this is the threshold that Mensa uses to denote genius-level IQ. That is, those who earn a score of 132 qualify for Mensa membership because this score is higher than 98 percent of the general population. It follows that the Mensa threshold is based entirely on the Normal Curve.

            Beyond 9.75 (or the 2nd SD) the Curve gets much, much steeper. These are the people that you seem to confer with in building this generally fine site. The difference in knowledge between a 9.75er and a 9.80 is far, far greater than the diff between a 5 and a 5.5er, but it is significantly less than the diff between a 9.8 and and 9.85er, and so on. For the record, nobody has a level-10 knowledge of football because that would infer that somebody knows literally everything about the game.

            To bring this all home, I get that you hang with people who want to dissect this game and are much more knowledgeable about football than the majority. But none of your ‘moronic’ generalizations about your reading audience is going to change the fact that the average Duck fan’s knowledge of football is well above 1.5.

            Get back to posting excellent articles, Fish.

          • Now THAT is wonderfully written disagreement and I thank you. People here have been offended by my observations and while the 1.5 does not resonate with you–it does to real coaches. Sit with a real coach and listen to him explain football and you quickly realize the vast ocean of knowledge between you and him.

            Perhaps my math for explaining this difference was poor and I do apologize for that, but none of you have gone through the hundreds of hours of consulting above and beyond what a typical Oregon fan does, (as I have) and yet I am still humbled by the disparity.

            I guess my admiration for the coaches is something I cannot properly convey and is the type of thing that you understand if you experience it. I would probably take offense if I were you too….

          • dreambeliever11

            With 22 men on the field the variation of match-ups and assignments is nearly infinite. Trainig and teaching young men is a vocation itself aside from the strategies of the game of infinite variables. To even suggest that a fan should have the understanding of someone who has devoted his entire life to the study of the game unrealistic. Can you design an aircraft or an oil platform? Probably not, maybe if you devoted your entire life to the study of those structures you could talk about their design on the same level as their creators! There is a huge difference between seeing something and enjoying it and actually understanding how to create it!

          • GoDucks

            Thanks for being a good sport, Fish.

            I hear what you’re saying, and understand the spirit of what you’re really trying to say – so no offense was taken. As for my main point point, simply put, to the uniniated – those who don’t know the law of theNormal Curve, the 10-point scale doesn’t capture the significance of what a 9.9er or a 9.95er is, relative to what’s normal, that is us 5er types. Their separation is always significant in any group, and much more than the numbers may suggest.

            Looking forward to more great reads at this site, regarding this sublimely nuanced game that we all enjoy. ;)

          • dreambeliever11

            Charles, you sound so condescending, I’m a bit taken back. I’ve always appreciated your analysis!

  • Weston

    I didn’t read this article, Chas, but I just KNOW you is wrong!

  • John John

    moron fans plus thin skins = oregon fans generally

    and eugene is a very isular and isolated place whose culture doesnt produce people with a generally wide or deep view of most things,, and sports in oregon is minor in terms of the local culture and in terms of high level play and the historic roots of teams at the highest level. there is no pro baseball, pro football, etc,, and all these things are factors in why oregon fans are basically very shallow, myopic, and adolescent in terms of understanding football, and most other sports, and especially at the level of insiders or ‘deep perspective’. Ad to that the political corectness mind conditioning-marxism element and the skin is as shallow and thin as the analysis or comprehension or insight. No doubt an unpopular opinion but, true.

    • Ah yes….well written, with sentence structure, grammar, and spelling. You sure showed us Eugene residents a thing or two!

    • Mark Gilbert

      wow, such a composed statement of us Small city minions who have no clue what big time sports is,, this coming from such a giant mind as yours has put us in our place. You must live in Washington, where most drivers get in the left lane and drive 50 mph on the freeway that has a 55 mph speed limit. By the way the NBA left Seattle and the Mariners have never won a thing, have been a non factor in MLB for so long, only back in the days of Griffey were the relevant. Its not their first rodeo oh no, remember the Seattle Pilots LOL now there’s a team to be proud of.
      Yeah we folks here in Eugene we just have a simple life, cheer on National Champion track and field teams both men and womens this year indoor and outdoor, but hey we don’t know anything and we aren’t worthy, So why are you hear anyways?
      I’m sure Ackerly is kicking himself for selling the Supersonics! We even have a Costco and have had for years.

  • Dean Brickey

    I’m a moron who hopes to become wiser by reading and learning from these articles. Certainly can’t hurt!

  • hokieduck

    Charles. Next time you feel a real rant coming on, consider this old gem of wisdom about whether to say/write something. Is it true? Is it kind? is it necessary?
    This post fails, quite possibly on all three counts. You are the Fish, the face, the founder of Fishduck. You are not some anonymous commenter on this site and rantings like this coming from you diminish the blog. Just my opinion. Fishduck has a national reach now. Posts like this one just seem petty and personal.

    • I’ll go along with that hokie….some of my writing will not resonate. I have my hits and misses, and I should listen to the many fine editors on the staff. Trying to convey what I have experienced, and seeing the wide gulf of difference between a coach and the fans has truly been a “Bridge too Far.”

      I do offer my opinions often, and this one drifted too far…

      Thanks for the feedback.

      • hokieduck

        I am just concerned for you and the site, Charles. I first found and loved Fishduck because it was so different than most any other site. I came because of the analysis and I have learned tons about our “beloved Ducks” and about football in general. It also seemed different because the pure vitriol present in so many other places was wonderfully absent here. With your popularity and reach, that is changing a bit, but still this blog is usually a welcome breath of fresh air.

        The analysis pieces are what I come here for (and Mark Saltveit’s posts are always well written and informative). I absolutely *love* the analytical posts, devour them and have learned a ton (unlike, for example, Breadbox, I did not play college football and, even for those who did, I still have to think that these pieces examine schemes and plays that were not common in the mid 80s). The analysis is what makes this site unique.

        Thank you for all the incredible work and time you spend doing this. I am always vicariously proud when I see Fishduck linked or cited in some other blog.

        Go Ducks!

  • douglas fur

    Crabby Mr. Fishduck.
    I think your technical editor example is the clue you need. Each of us has our passions and learning styles. Being an art and design major I know my brain is different. I look at words and X and O charts and my visual brain gets little out of them. (I know I spent a lot of class room reading time looking at the patterns and shapes of yhe white around the black letters.) I look at the GIFs of plays until I can see the patterns but comes game time, that’s all out the window and I’m back to a moron thinking “Wow, how’d they do that?”
    I took your “moron” comment as an affectionate curmudgeonly poke in the ribs. I know that you are an idiot in the areas which are my strengths but what learning can happen if we only read those with whom we agree?
    Maybe we’re all cranky from this unseasonably hot weather.