Are you ready for a paradigm shift in sports? 

How we think about sports will never be the same after this book. The book will be ready for purchase withing 10-15 days. Enjoy some excerpts now from the Foreword, Author's Note, Preface, Chapters 1-5, the Epilogue and the Appendix! 
Dear Friends, Clients, Colleagues and Family,

I'm almost over this silly pneumonia that sidetracked me like getting hit by an 18 wheeler. The worst part is that I think I tore or ruptured a muscle in my upper chest and so coughing was almost unbearable, but the only way to get rid of a cold .... a classic Catch 22 nighmare!  Maybe my body was telling me to slow down after finishing this book ... but I will be ready to roll again very soon ... and the book will be in print FINALLY very soon too. I thought you might enjoy a few advance excerpts in the meantime.

Enjoy! JFM

From the Foreword by Tom Flores

Some of the great players that I coached had one thing in common. They had the ability to visualize what was about to happen before it happened without realizing why. Hall of Fame players like Marcus Allen, Ted Hendricks and Mike Haynes made great plays, over and over. When asked why they did what they did, they would usually respond: ‘I'm not sure.’ They were so mentally prepared that they automatically responded physically to any stimulus.

Dr. Murray has developed a system that is part of the evolution of football: The ability to identify, quantify and utilize a grading system that will aid coaches and players. It is a method of identifying the strengths and weaknesses of every aspect of a team and or individual. It is a system that can point out the direction needed for improvement.

From the Author's Note

Something was astonishingly missing in the measurement of team performance and I had to do something about it.  While the product of the mind in competition (e.g., smarts, intelligent play) was vital to performing and winning, it was rarely, if ever, professionally quantified.  Smarter and more disciplined athletes consistently outfoxed their more careless opponents. Yet as influential as smart play was to success, it was overlooked in team performance statistics resulting in less precision. The result was that coaches, media and fans received a limited understanding of team performance. 

Imagine the errors that have occurred over the years in scouting opponents, understanding success, and grasping the impact of the mental game. This book corrects this historical omission by introducing the Mental Performance Index (MPI), a new rating system for performance in football that includes the mental game. Like our first a view of stars from the Hubble telescope, the MPI illuminates football and the Super Bowl as never before.

From the Preface
              I consciously went right to the top to study the NFL Super Bowl. It was my belief that by understanding what happened on this monumental platform, when the eyes of the world were upon players and coaches with the greatest scrutiny, and the biggest prize loomed, we would learn lessons of success, teamwork, and passion in whatever we are doing in life, and especially in demanding pressure situations.  I studied each play a little differently than in the past, looking not only for traditional performance as seen in yards gained, first downs, turnovers etc., but also for observable aspects of mental performance that could be incorporated into the team performance ratings in a fair and balanced way. Smart playing teams would score higher in my system.  Careless teams making mental errors (e.g., running before a catch and dropping passes, managing the clock poorly, making careless penalties) would rate lower on this factor than teams with fewer mental errors and superior execution in pressure moments such as 3rd and 4th down, for example.
From the First Chapter
              While these comments about the intelligence or mental aspects of a team’s play are made every day, and we all assume that playing smart is so crucial to success, isn’t it amazing that so few have tested this assumption or measured mental performance? That’s why I chose Hegel for the opening quote in this chapter. It was so familiar, so talked about and so apparently understood that it hid right in front of our noses and remained unknown at a deeper level!  We chatted about “smart” so much that we assumed we already knew what it meant, when in fact we never really stopped to look at it carefully. 
               There came a time in my professional life an “ah-ha moment” when I chose to attempt to correct this historical oversight and create a valid measurement that included the mental aspects of football performance. The experiences and motivations leading me there are a big part of this first chapter. I decided to find a way to measure this supposedly intangible or elusive factor in developing the Mental Performance Index.

                --------- later in 1st chapter ---------
                   When I started following each Dolphins game closely local games were blacked out and we had no tickets. The play-by-play announcing of Rick Weaver on WIOD 610 radio shouting “Holy Toledo what a hit … Captain Crunch Mike Kolen just rappycaked him!”(With future media star Larry King’s excellent color commentating on the sidelines) was a real blast of energy and emotion, but when Don Shula took over, a higher intelligence also arrived and my father could not contain himself. He excitedly proclaimed Shula a young and bright football mind who had attended John Carroll, a Jesuit university, while I had no earthly idea who or what John Carroll was or what he was talking about. I interpreted it as a simple truth that Shula would turn around our young team that had never won. My father explained that Jesuits were some of the toughest and brightest teachers in the world and that Shula was a class act and a winner because of his background. No wonder my two younger sisters and I later went to Loyola University of New Orleans, a Jesuit stronghold.  My dad was right on about Shula, but who would have imagined the greatness he achieved that is now depicted in a bronze statue in front of Sun Life Stadium showing Shula carried off the field on the shoulders of players Al Jenkins and Nick Buoniconti after winning Super Bowl VII and completing a perfect season? Who would have imagined then that he would win the most games in NFL history?  

From the Second Chapter

There are signs that a stubborn team sports worls is finally changing and it is my hope that my relentless efforts in the national media, and in this book, will boost this quest to remove stigmas and ignorance about the mental side of sports and life even more. I want people to think of the MPI as a solid system of measuring performance differently and in many cases better than before. Think of it as advanced weaponry for victory. Does that sound weak? The real problems are ignorance, stupid stereotypes, and poor communication. The strongest and brightest among us achieve greater success, whatever it takes.   

 It was during NFL work and doing the radio show that I finally got it! I needed to take advantage of the fact that mental performance was not being measured even though it was critically important to success, and that if I could measure it effectively and then show the added impact of mental performance on winning or losing I would have made a discovery of sorts that would contribute to a paradigm shift in how we view sports. This is precisely what happened. The findings are so exciting, and I can’t wait to share them with you.  

In order to show the benefits of the mental game to stubborn traditionalists, I realized that I was in for a battle. I would need to objectively quantify mental performance.  I would define it and give it a measurable value in the MPI. Then I would show how winning or losing is related to the MPI. I needed to be able to show that the costs of poor mental performance are far too high to ignore and that the benefits of extraordinary mental performance were greater than acquiring three number one draft picks. I had been an exhibitor at the American Football Coaches Association in Louisville, Kentucky one year and had a feeling about how most of these football coaches go about their business. They were very conservative, but they did listen to success. If one coach wins a national championship many immediately copy him. Psychologically, I had to wake them up with a clear objective link to winning.  I needed to scientifically establish the relationship between the MPI and on-field success. If it held up as I suspected because it was not being measured before, then I would have established a link between mental performance and winning that would force everyone to take the mental game more seriously. I laid out my theory and tested it multiple ways over 8 consecutive Super Bowls played between 2003 and 2010. The results will be shared after first giving some background in better understanding the basics of the MPI statistics.

From the Third Chapter

If you are enjoying this book, we’re just getting started. You now have a 50 yard line seat, as I did in Super Bowl XV, but to 44 games instead of just one. You are about to witness the biggest Super Bowl of all time, a huge battle pitting each one of these memorable teams against one another until only one is left standing. I’ve named this the MPI Bowl and it’s going to be a lot of fun and we’ll learn just as much too as you’ll soon see.

The contestants from all 44 Super Bowls will be ranked on 17 different performance categories. The overall best performing team will be the champion and rise to the top as the winner of the MPI-Bowl.  When the two teams square off for Super Bowl XLV in Cowboys Stadium February 6, 2011, they’ll each have an opportunity to become the new overall champion, or best team ever, when their MPI scores are added to database.       

Before paging ahead to see the winners of the first MPI Bowl, take a moment and write down your picks for the three best teams in Super Bowl history in terms of total performance. Later you can check how your picks match my data. What about the most dominant teams or teams that far outperformed their opponents? Best teams on defense, offense or in pressure moments of a game? “Best” is actually quite different from “dominant” in my system as you will discover. These are the kinds of questions I asked and answered by looking at each play with the MPI and then ranking all the teams in each of the categories.

From the Fourth Chapter

Where Does Your Team Rank?       

”Whatever you are, be a good one.” 
—Abraham Lincoln


Top Teams in Every Category

(Note: Teams with the same rank have the same score)


Results of MPI BOWL I
Best Teams Ever:  Top 32 Teams


Below are the Top 32 performing teams that have played in the first 44 Super Bowl Games from 1967 to 2010. The list will be updated each year based on the new Super Bowl game played. The top team on the list is the current MPI Bowl I Champion. This list is based on performance in one game in a comprehensive manner ...... This list represents the teams that were overall best based on their play on Super Bowl Sunday, not during the season. Feel free to disagree. It is based on how the team actually performed, and it includes mental factors too!

From the Fifth Chapter

Is Winning Important?

Anyone seriously interested in football wants to win. This applies to the head coach of an NFL team just as much as it does to the high school player trying to make his varsity team for the first time and to fans in every major city. It applies also to what I do, and it is the main reason why I developed the Mental Performance Index.  I want to help teams win.

If football and other sports did not have this innate competitiveness, I would find a more worthwhile way to spend my time.   Human beings reach their highest states when striving for great achievements. I honestly developed the MPI so that I could one day stand on the sidelines with an NFL team as the head coach was receiving the Lombardi Trophy and know that my contribution played some small role in that team’s achievement.  My fascination with the ultimate accomplishment applies to other sports too. I’d also love to someday do my part to help teams win Stanley Cups, World Series titles, NBA championships and why stop there?  But football holds a special place in my heart and mind, so I developed the MPI for football first. There will be future extensions of the MPI to other sports, but let’s do football first. 

From the Epilogue by Lesley Visser


“Triumph of a Beautiful and Tough Mind”


By Lesley Visser

Pro Football Hall of Fame Broadcaster


The Thinker

His imagination was always engaged.  I remember the first conversation I had with Bill Walsh in about 1983. I was asking about his innovative offense; he was talking about Muhammad Ali. Walsh wanted to know everything about Ali. Where had his skill come from, his motivation? How did Ali sustain it? And how could Walsh apply the answers? A former amateur boxer, Walsh had studied Ali, watched tapes and read books about the champ. He admired Ali’s ferociousness and his grace, the elements Walsh sought in his own 49er team.

In the savage sport of football, Walsh had created and radiated an image of “finesse”, the appearance of intellect over muscle. Walsh’s white hair and professorial approach only added to the persona. But the image belied the reality. His 49er defense was led by the passionate Ronnie Lott, who once famously cut off the tip of his finger to stay in a game. Walsh himself was tough and no-nonsense, just as he was cerebral and calm. 

From Appendix I: 44 Super Bowl Lessons

Appendix I

Dr. John’s Super Bowl Lessons I to XLIV - 1967-2010

Dr. John’s Super Bowl 1 Lesson

“Get away, relax and come back … then have fun and attack!” 

When Max McGee didn’t think he would play he could not over-think or get tight. He took his mind off football the night before and inadvertently prepared for a career performance. When facing pressure, get away for a few minutes or hours, then come back to compete like never before. 

From Appendix II on Super Bowl XLV

Appendix II

How does Super Bowl XLV change the rankings?


This book went to press just a couple days after Super Bowl XLV was played in Dallas between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers. I went to Dallas to promote this book and had a great time fighting the ice and snow, seeing The NFL Experience in the Dallas Convention Center, and meeting some of the truly great players from the past including Nick Lowery and Bill Romanowski. Both gave their wholehearted support for mental coaching and the idea of measuring mental performance. Romanowski went so far as to say that the mental game is what separates the good from the great and I did a video with both Romanowski and Lowery talking about how truly important the mental side of football and sports psychology is today and into the future. I then conducted an interview on several stations including ABC Network Radio with Todd Ant, and did several other interviews as well. 


Did you know that in all of sports history we overlooked one very important aspect of winning in our team performance statistics? It seems impossible but it is true ... until the MPI in this book! The familiar is often the most unknown and most forgotten, and this was the case here! 
"The Mental Performance Index: Ranking the Best Teams in Super Bowl History" will be ready for purchase in 10-15 days.
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