Monday, February 04, 2008

GDP Growth in Europe : Latvia Leads the European Union (EU) Member States in the Dynamics of Country Economies

The blog EU for US links to a CBS (.nl) graph showing GDP growth in the European Union Member States since 2005. These growth statistics say a lot about the future of Europe and indicate clearly that the older economies of the EU are being surpassed in dynamics by the rapidly expanding economies of the newer European Union countries.

We have converted that graph to a list showing the relative rank of the EU countries by GDP growth and have appended the approximate growth rate:

1. Latvia (ca. 12% growth)
2. Estonia (over 11%)
3. Slovakia (over 8%)
4. Romania (nearly 8%)
5. Lithuania (over 6%)
6. Luxembourg (just over 6%)
7. Bulgaria (about 6%)
8. Czech Republik (about 6%)
9. Ireland (about 6%)
10. Poland (between 5% and 6%)
11. Finland (between 5% and 6%)
12. Slovenia (between 5% and 6%)
13. Greece (between 4% and 5%)
14. Sweden (just over 4%)
15. Hungary (about 4%)
16. Spain (about 4%)
17. Cyprus (about 4%)
18. Belgium (about 3%)
19. Denmark (about 3%)
20. Austria (about 3%)
21. Netherlands (about 3%)
22. Malta (about 3%)
23. Germany (just under 3%)
24. United Kingdom (just under 3%)
25. France (about 2%)
26. Italy (about 2%)
27. Portugal (over 1%)

Superman Exists Only in Comic Books and Warner Films : 42nd Super Bowl : New York Giants 17 New England Patriots 14

People affiliated one way or another with Waterloo, New York (the birthplace of Memorial Day) and Waterloo High School (like one of my family) are dancing in the streets because of native boy Tom Coughlin and his New York Giants Super Bowl victory yesterday over the New England Patriots 17-14.

Super Bowl XLII is over. Sometimes you are meant to win (if you have done all the right things), and sometimes not (if you have not done all the right things).

New England had won 18 straight times this year in regular season and playoff play, and in spite of their loss is still surely the better overall team, but were clearly not meant to win this one, as they were ultimately beaten by "The Catch II" (see the photograph on the right and view the NFL Video of the Play here - you have to endure an unnecessarily long and thus very boring 30-second commercial first).

Copyright by Getty Images - linked straight from ESPN and Greg Garber's article
'Supernatural' catch by Tyree a play for the ages

As we suggested in our previous posting, the 12 points by which the New England Patriots were favored over the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII (42) was much too much. In this game as in the previous game between the two National Football League (NFL) teams, the New York Giants had the better NAYPPA (net average yards per play advantage) at 5.4 to 4.0 and won deservedly by means of a defense that was superior in this game - against the NFL's best offensive team ever - and it is defense that wins football games.

Terrific coaching strategy by head coach Coughlin of the Giants was at the core of the win, as the Giants adopted a defense designed to harass Patriot quarterback Tom Brady at every turn (see the great analysis by John Clayton of ESPN here) - the only way to beat the Patriots and top quarterback Brady, who otherwise picks defenses apart, given enough time to do so. Brady did not have that time in this game, being sacked 5 times, as compared to only 21 sacks during the entire season. Normally non-starter defensive end Justin Tuck had two of those sacks as he played the game of his life. Tuck is quoted as follows by Bart Hubbach at the New York Post:

""We weren't going to let him rest, because we knew getting to him was the only way we were going to win this game," Tuck said."

As it was, the Patriot team is so good that sheer determination in the last analysis was the key to the win, as Giants quarterback Eli Manning - with 59 seconds left in the ball game - almost miraculously escaped what looked like a sure sack by no fewer than 3 Patriot defenders who had a hand on him and then completed a history-making pass to David Tyree (who just like head coach Couglin played at Syracuse - it was the day of the Orange). Tyree had the ball knocked out of his hands by Patriot safety Rodney Harrison but managed to retain possession by pinning the ball with one hand to his helmet as he fell down backwards on the play.

The lesson of the 42nd Super Bowl is that human will is a variable that is difficult to quantify. This game reminded us of Stanford's incomparable 24-23 victory over USC this past football season. The game also reminds us that pride comes before the fall, a lesson learned not only through this loss by the Patriots, but also illustrated by several college football teams this season whose stellar win streaks were brought to a halt in the 2007 college football season: the 40-game winning streak of Grand Valley State in Division II, the 37-game winning streak of Mount Union in Division III, and the 27-game winning streak of Sioux Falls in the NAIA. The breaking of the New England Patriots 18-game winstreak falls into this pattern.

Superman only exists in comic books and in Warner films. On any given day, with the right determination and the right coaching, any team can win. The Stanford win over USC in the 2007 college football season proved this convincingly. The New York Giants win affirms that principle.

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