Daily Archives: January 18, 2009

Playoff fairy tales and perversions, NFL style

Surely this must be a misprint:

… Quite frankly, the widely criticized BCS offers a better system than what the NFL has given us since 2002.

To put it most bluntly, the NFL acts as if it could not care less about the blood and shattered bodies scattered across pro football stadiums for 17 weeks from September to December.

A playoff system that devalues the regular season?  Get outta here.  Worse than the crap the BCS peddles?  Somebody needs to alert Congress.

After all, what’s the problem, officer?

… Consider the chaos of the past four years, and the unlikely champions it’s yielded:

• The 2005 Steelers were the first No. 6 seed to win a Super Bowl and the first team to win the Super Bowl without the benefit of a home playoff game. The 2005 Steelers, in other words, were an anomaly by historic standards.

• The 2006 Colts entered the playoffs with the worst run defense the NFL had seen since the expansion Vikings of 1961 (Indy surrendered an awful 5.33 YPA) and a unit that surrendered 360 points that year. It was the worst defense of any Super Bowl champion. The 2006 Colts, in other words, were an anomaly by historic standards.

• The 2007 Giants were a 10-6 team that outscored opponents by a mere 22 total points over the regular season. Yet, as a No. 5 seed, the Giants won three straight road games before winning the Super Bowl. Their +22 scoring differential is the lowest of any Super Bowl champion and only the 2006 Colts (360 points) gave up more points than the Giants (351). The 2007 Giants, in other words, were an anomaly by historic standards.

• The 2008 Cardinals are the latest Team Nobody Saw Coming — the anomalous Super Bowl contender that not only lost seven games this year, but lost many of them badly. The Cardinals were blown out by 21 points or more four times this year. They scored just one more point than they surrendered (427-426) and if they do win Sunday — remember, they get to play at home — they’ll easily be the worst team and the worst defensive club that’s ever reached a Super Bowl.

As ol’ Louis Renault would say, I’m shocked, shocked to find out that lesser teams can prevail in a single elimination tourney.

Captain Renault is officially neutral in the BCS/playoffs debate.  Pay him his winnings, though.

Captain Renault is officially neutral in the BCS/playoffs debate. Pay him his winnings, though.

Cinderella fans, evidently sometimes you can have too much of a good thing, according to the author.

… If one team upsets the apple cart every so often, rising from the statistical abyss to unexpectedly capture a championship, then you have a nice little story to celebrate for years.

But when it happens year after year, it’s no longer a nice little story. It’s a sign of structural problems within the league and its playoff system in particular.

The moral of the story here isn’t that playoffs per se suck, of course.  It’s that there’s no guarantee they’re an improvement over the status quo.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Stats Geek!

Hey, he said it, not me.

Former Tennessee wide receiver Josh Briscoe, on why the Clawfense crashed with such a resounding thud:

“… It was too much thinking going on instead of just playing ball.

“We had to do a lot more thinking as a whole. We weren’t able to go out and just play as much.”

There’s an old cliché about not being paid to think that comes to mind here.  Along with several other not so flattering comments that I won’t express.

But I will share Briscoe’s sentiments about his former offensive coordinator’s ability to land a head coaching job after everything blew up in Knoxville.

Briscoe was asked if he was surprised that after the way the offense performed, Clawson got a better job.

“I don’t think ‘surprised’ is the word,” he said. “He must be a great interviewer.”

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Filed under The Glass is Half Fulmer