Football Shrink’s Mental Performance Index Correctly Picked Patriots, Now 78% Successful in Super Bowls

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Mental toughness, as described by Tom Brady after the game, and measured on sports psychologists' patented Mental Performance Index, was the decisive factor in Super Bowl 51.

Dr. John F. Murray at http://www.JohnFMurray.com a licensed clinical and sport performance psychologist (aka the “Football Shrink,” the “Freud of Football” by the Washington Post and the author of “The Mental Performance Index: Ranking the Best Teams in Super Bowl History”) correctly forecast that the New England Patriots and Tom Brady would handle pressure better than Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons and beat the official spread (New England -3) in Super Bowl 51. As predicted, the Patriots executed better under pressure, defeated Atlanta 36-28, and Tom Brady attributed team success to “mental toughness” on national television.

The MPI has now defeated the official spread in 7 of 9 attempts (78% success) made publicly before Super Bowl games. The system has also held up in research looking at over 7000 past NFL games. The book Murray wrote on the MPI in 2011 and revised in 2013 showed overwhelming evidence that mental performance is the most important factor in Super Bowl success. “More than ever, it is clear that mental factors need to be considered at the top of the list in analyzing football games and training players,” stated Murray. “Going without mental coaching is no longer an option for anyone serious about success.”

For an entire week leading up to the big game, Murray tweeted and posted on Facebook about how the Patriots were a superior team mentally and would cover the spread against the less experienced and less mentally savvy Falcons. Murray had predicted Super Bowl games 8 years in a row in previous years in building a case for his book, and went 6-2 against the official spread, but he had not made a public prediction in 6 years. “This seemed to be the ideal time to jump back in and use the MPI data to make a public prediction, so I did it and it was right,” stated Murray.

The inventor of the Mental Performance Index(TM) (MPI(TM)), Dr. John F. Murray, works with NFL players and uses the index to quantify the degree to which a team performs to perfection. See http://www.JohnFMurray.com. He also used it for 4 years in a row in quantifying the performance of Miami Hurricane football games in a weekly column published in Cane Sport Magazine. The 55-year-old Ph.D. licensed sport/performance psychologist in Palm Beach assigns points on each play throughout selected regular season games and the playoffs for “focused execution,” “pressure management,” and “reduction of mental errors,” and game totals range from .000 to 1.000 (perfection). “Scoring at .600 is excellent,” said Murray. Many coaches have said that “on every play somebody screws up” and good football coaches encourage their teams to place their focus on one play at a time.

The MPI measures how well a team does overall including on mental performance. Its power comes from the number of plays in a game (approximately 150) and the inclusion of mental factors in the scoring. While the MPI scores achieved in game ratings almost always predicts to game outcome, the numbers also indicate which teams are performing better, in precisely which specific areas, and regardless of which team won in the past. This gives coaches great insight before their upcoming games as they are able to more clearly see not only how their own team is performing, but to anticipate the fine differences, strengths and weaknesses of their opponents in a scoring system that standardizes performance like a baseball batting average.
In the past few years, Murray has expanded this football analysis to the area of prediction over with extensive statistical historical analysis.

The MPI was invented in 2002 and first accurately forecasted the blowout upset Super Bowl win by Tampa Bay over Oakland (Arizona Republic, Bloomberg Radio). Murray went on national radio and television and conducted hundreds of newspaper and magazine interviews before each Super Bowl for 8 consecutive years. The MPI has been featured by ESPN The Magazine and Murray’s appearances in media are too numerous to mention. Murray provides lectures, mental coaching, and sport psychology services to athletes and teams in many sports. Prior to “The Mental Performance Index” Murray authored “Smart Tennis: How to Play and Win the Mental Game,” endorsed by Wimbledon champion Lindsay Davenport.

Dr. Murray is available for interviews and his website is at http://www.JohnFMurray.com.

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