Sunday, January 09, 2005


Well I am now officially O-for-2 on my NFL postseason picks. And I gotta tell you, it feels pretty good. Most of you didn't think I could do it, and I'm proud of myself for pulling it out.

Now we have two teams that really shouldn't have won based on math and common sense...and they both won. This bodes well for my prediction of Minnesota over Green Bay. And it bodes really poorly for my prediction of the Colts over the Broncos. I'm going to hope (in a Colts fan kind of way) that the underdogs don't sweep this first round of the playoffs.

But this all leads me to a point I was making to a friend the other day. Take all the radio shows, the beat writers, the television pundits....they're all crap. I've decided that 99% of these people's jobs is just making crap up. It's all just mindless muttering. None of them has any clue what they're talking about.

One week, perhaps the week that Miami beats New England or something like that, all we hear from these "experts" is how much parity there is in the league. Parity this. Parity that. The basic premise of the parity argument is that in this age of salary cap woes and escalating star-player team can be counted out. Each of the 32 teams is capable of winning any given week because they are made up, after all, of professional football players. The difference between the best team and the worst team is smaller than ever before.

But then they all ignore parity anytime there's not an upset. It's like parity only matters whenever a lesser team triumphs. Then they go back to spouting endless statistics. "An 8-8 team has never won a playoff game!" Shocking! "Minnesota is 2-20 in outdoor games over the last four years!" Really?! "Pennington's been struggling this year." Well golly, I had no idea!

They all have their theories and speculations and statistics and data and.....wait for's all worthless! It doesn't mean a thing. Not a thing. And they make millions of dollars to make these predictions and guesses. Years upon years of NFL experience and they don't have any more insight into the matter than you and I do. And why? Because of parity. It is not a ghost. It's not a phantom. It's not a made-up's real, baby, and it's rearing its ugly head. Underdogs can win, and they're doing so at a much higher rate than in years past.

So it leads me to a series of questions and comments that follow below:

-Is it really so believable that the Patriots or Steelers are unbeatable? Aren't they beatable any given week, just like the other 30 teams? I mean, the Pats lost to Miami just a few weeks ago and I heard just this evening a national radio host say they were unbeatable, that the Pats were going to win no matter what--and this on the night that parity landed a solid one-two punch of upsets.

-All this talk about the AFC being better than the NFC. Is that really so? I mean, don't teams play within their own conference more than outside of it? Is it possible that St. Louis, at 8-8, is really better than the record suggests? Maybe the NFC is actually a much better conference, with fierce competition leading to more losses for the top teams....and the AFC is maybe a much worse conference, leading to five or six stand out teams and the rest a pile of slop? Isn't that at least possible? Maybe St. Louis lost 8 games because they played really tough teams and had to take a few lumps, and maybe the Colts only lost 4 because the majority of their opponents were crap (Tennessee and Houston twice each for example). Just think about it. I'm not convinced the NFC is worse...and I'm almost inclined to suggest they might be better. But mostly I don't think it's fair to judge the conference based on the average record of its playoff teams. Not in the age of parity.

-Indy could easily lose to the Broncos. Denver is made up of professionals, after all, and have enough talent to win a game. And that has me very scared.

-The Colts could easily win the whole thing....and so could the Rams. It's all about parity folks, and there's so darn much of it that you simply cannot count out any team.

-I should go into NFL-analysis business, because I'm as smart or dumb as any of them (and clearly smarter than Tony Siraguso).

-What burns me up the most about all this is the smugness some of these analysts carry. I'm speaking specifically about Chris Collinsworth, who to me always seams to spew cockiness with every breath. He's got that grin that creeps into his comments and I just hate listening to him. He's not all that insightful, and I had people who think they're smarter than they are. And now that I know he's just guessing like the rest of us, it makes his smarmy routine a bit more unbearable. I mean, did he do anything special in his career anyway? Geez, I'd let it slide if Dan Marino wanted to be smug....or Phil Simms. At least those guys won big games and broke big records. Collinsworth is just a punk. (Boy, I've really digressed here, and I'm sorry about that.)

-I'm half tempted to pick the Rams for the Super Bowl. Their defense isn't horrible (like Minnesota or the like) and they have a potent offense when they click. And parity, man....parity.

-I don't think I'm going to listen, read, or watch any more analysis about NFL games prior to those games taking place. It's all meaningless.

-Maybe the reason we watch and read and listen to all these pundits (thereby creating a reason for their astronomical salaries and smug attitudes) is because we do the same thing.....we guess. We wonder, we predict, and we analyze, and to see the experts agree with our assessment makes us feel all warm inside. Or maybe we like to see them wrong when we ourselves are right. Either way, they have jobs because it's a basic need of the NFL fan to obsess and employ conjecture.

-I've already written far too much. I'm going to bed.


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