Friday, January 29, 2010

Things That Won't Impact The Super Bowl's Outcome

I’m hearing/reading some things about the upcoming Super Bowl that are not true. It’s too long between now and the game for analysts to resist trotting out the same old, tired analysis. The fact of the matter is… these are the two best teams in the league all season long, and it should be a close game.

Here, for your reading pleasure, is my list of things being talked about that will have no impact on the game:

1. The Citizens’ of New Orleans love for their team

You cannot tell me—with a straight face—that the will of the citizens of New Orleans for their team to win can have any actual impact on whether their team wins or not. Ditto for the Katrina disaster playing any part. It’s a great story… great city… plenty of things to like about the Saints. But suggesting there is some karmic payday coming their way because of the hardship they’ve faced is dumber than dumb. And if New Orleans is owed any karmic payday—as they probably are—the idea that it should come in the form of a professional sporting victory is laughable. Stupid in fact. Would a Super Bowl victory for the Saints have any positive effect on the city? Sure… probably… in the form of hope and pride and bonding. But in terms of providing housing for people? Jobs? Not so much. Sometimes we greatly exaggerate the power of sports… and this is one of those times.

2. The Colts running game

I think the Colts have won enough games without stellar rushing numbers to warrant the assumption that they don’t need to run to win, at least this year. Also, they just beat the best defense in the league against the run—who is also the team with the NFL’s best rushing attack… and they outrushed them and averaged nearly 5 yards a carry. Please stop suggesting the Colts rushing attack is an important factor… it’s not. Also, even if it does matter, the Saints are 21st in the league against the run. Against the pass, if you’re curious, they are 25th.

This game is Peyton Manning versus the Saints… for the most part. If he has a bad game, which is rare this season, there’s probably nothing the Colts can do to win. If he has a good game, which is frequent this year, it can overcome a lot of possible mistakes in other areas of the Colts performance.

3. The color of the Colts jerseys

The hot comment to make now—last night on ESPN radio, this morning in Sports Illustrated—is reminding everyone that the Colts are undefeated in the Super Bowl when they wore the white jerseys… but lost the only time they wore the blue jerseys (the famous “guarantee” game against the Jets). The Colts will be wearing blue for the upcoming Super Bowl.

I’m perfectly willing to continue believing that colors on shirts have no bearing on sporting event outcomes… but if you have some sort of argument or proof that leads you to believe otherwise, I’m all ears.

4. The location for the game being Miami (where the Colts won last time)

I don’t think these players care one bit where the game is played. And I’m not sure there’s any scientific evidence that a team can get a “good vibe” off a stadium just because they won there recently.

5. The Colts travel plans and jetlag

A lot is being made of the Pro Bowl requirements the NFL is holding the Colts and Saints to—they have to be there and make an appearance. But the Colts want to travel to Miami together as a team. So some of the Colts will be flying to Miami for the Pro Bowl, flying back to Indy to meet the team and turn right around and fly back to Miami for the Super Bowl preparations. That’s kind of stupid. But I’ve read some suggestions that there will be jet lag that might affect the Colts players in the big game. But that’s almost stupider than the Colts flying arrangements. Jet lag doesn’t last for seven days. I think their bodies will acclimate long before the Super Bowl.

6. Whether or not I wear my Colts jersey

I received an awesome Peyton Manning jersey for Christmas from some awesome in-laws. It’s the only football jersey I’ve ever owned. I have a few friends who seem to seriously believe that I can jinx my team by not being careful about the timing and occasions I choose for wearing that jersey. Those friends are idiots.

7. The fact that a few players involved in the game have relatives in Haiti

I could simply say that both teams have a Haitian on their roster, so the effect is cancelled out. But I’m not sure there’s much to the idea that “players whose minds are on family that might be in trouble will play out of their minds” theory anyway. But even if you do… it’s cancelled out… offsetting penalties. No effect.

I could probably think of more, but I don’t want this to be some gigantic thing. It just annoys me that so much talk is wasted on stuff that doesn’t matter… and so many useless stats are thrown out as some sort of evidence of something. My favorite stupid stats are the historical ones that cover multiple decades… like Team A hasn’t won a playoff game when the weather is below 30 degrees in over 85 years!! Idiots. I hate that crap.

Thanks for reading my rant.

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At 1/30/2010 05:08:00 AM, Blogger Chris said...

I'm really glad I don't watch ESPN that much anymore, because I would have lost my mind by now. Their statistics department tries to find every nonsensical angle to everything.

The one that you bring up that bothers me the most is the records over decades of play, where the teams that played fielded entirely different rosters, and besides the fact was an entirely different era. I remember when the Mets made the World Series in 2000. ESPN makes a point that the Mets are 2-0 all-time in the Series...yeah, in 1969 and 1986. And then the Yankees promptly defeated those previously untainted Mets in 5 games. I admit, the Mets looked really unbeatable that year, considering all that recent history, and ignoring the fact that the Yankees had won 3 of the 4 most recent Series and were basically the most dominant team going.

Or they'll bring up something like "this QB is 0-4 versus this other QB," even though QB's don't face each other, they face defenses.

My favorite nonsense of all-time was perpetrated by Braves announcers in the 80's. Nick Esasky of the Reds had some amazing numbers at Fulton Counfy Stadium, and Braves guys would remark how, "Man, if he became a Brave and played half his games here, he'd break some records. Actually guys, Esasky would only have challenged big offensive records had he been able to face Braves pitching all year. It's not the stadium, even though FCS was known as "The Launching Pad,"'s the pitching you face AT the stadium.

At 1/30/2010 06:08:00 PM, Blogger Mike said...

I think the whole one hour jet lag will affect them for days and days. When I drive to Knoxville the lag it TORTURE!

And, like Chris, I seldom watch ESPN either. Lowest common denominator stuff.


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