September 2017


I know I’m passing a judgement on fragments of two games I’ve watched, but this is a view commonly held among my peers, a bunch of generic football fans (Update: not just generic fans. See here and here and here and here and here). People feel as if a light has been switched on in their brains, and they can see a lot deeper into the games they watch. I didn’t have a feel that Tony has a mature style just yet. He’s still trying to figure out how best to get his information across. But his ability to break down plays on the fly is far above the average. The only one in Atlanta who can come close to Tony is David Archer, who coincidentally, was also an NFL quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons.

Tony is an analyst, a job separate from a play by play man. What he does generally could not be done by anyone short of a smart player or a good coach. That said, he appears to elicit quite a bit of jealousy among broadcasters, who quite simply, must have wanted the job themselves.

One example is Rick Kamyla of NBA-TV and 92.9 The Game, who upon hearing about Tony getting the gig, immediately announced that “Tony Romo is the most overrated quarterback in NFL history”, when, as far as I could tell, he could have cared less about Tony (unless he was on one of Rick’s fantasy teams).

Then there is Brent Musberger. Best I can fathom, he is of the opinion that the play by play guy runs the show in the booth, and the analyst is there to fill in audio gaps that the play by play guy cannot handle by himself. Maybe that’s the way it was back in the day, when Brent Musberger and Bryant Gumbel and Bob Costas were a trio of young “Turks”, arrogant and full of themselves. Over time most of this bunch mellowed. Perhaps Brent has been bothered enough to feel 30 all over again. Perhaps he doesn’t want to be best known for making a fool of himself over Katherine McCarron. I’m partial to the idea he clings to a notion of HOW THE SHOW SHOULD BE that’s defunct, or as Mark Twain might put it, ‘bai now jast a memori in the maindz ov ould doderez’.

Just as the pundits decided that the NFL was boring, some truly epic games were played. The Thursday night game was good, Rams-49ers 41-38, the Atlanta – Detroit game was the kind people will remember for many years to come. On the back of a ferocious defensive rush Dallas got out of its Denver malaise and began playing football again. Even at 37, Larry Fitzgerald is a monster player.

I should warn people that simple rankings are not much to be believed at this point. It takes a few games to have enough results to be tame. You can add in games from the previous year, but then people might not recognize just how pathetic the New York Giants have been.

The nature of the recent sports scene has made me realize how much I miss Bill Simmon’s Grantland and Brian Burke’s Advanced NFL Stats. Both of these were edgy and ambitious, understanding of the new analytics and doing their best to apply it to games. Quite the opposite of the Sports Illustrated football preview, which was parochial and stodgy and the entire opposite of fearless. No, they were a dull recitation of how orthodox and Northeastern US focused they have become, statistically/sabermetrically illiterate in ways that all-22 will not fix. It read like a Frank Caliendo parody of Sports Illustrated, a bit senile and stuck in their ways.  So I cancelled my SI subscription.

I suspect I bought into Sports Illustrated because of how much I hated the form factor of ESPN the Magazine, which was foisted onto me without my wanting it for being a ESPN Insider. The classic ESPN cover was always an angry black man with his arms crossed who looked like he wanted to mug readers in a dark alley. They never seemed to get that Magic Johnson had hit on an incredible formula for being popular, which was to smile. I much prefer the look of people who seem as if I could share a meal with them.

But I guess people want numbers at this point. I can ponder the desert of cutting edge sports analysis later.

Global Statistics:
Games  Home Wins HwPct Winning_Score Losing_Score Margin
47         27     57.4      27.87        15.70     12.17

Calculated Pythagorean Exponent:  3.41


Rank  Team    Median  GP   W   L   T  Pct   Pred   SRS    MOV   SOS
------------------------------------------------------------------------
1     KC      14.0     3   3   0   0 100.0  84.1  17.10  12.00  5.10
2     ATL      6.0     3   3   0   0 100.0  71.9   3.66   7.00 -3.34
3     JAX     22.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  87.0  13.38  12.67  0.72
4     BAL     14.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  45.1  -6.79  -1.00 -5.79
5     DET     12.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  73.5   0.36   7.33 -6.97
6     DAL     11.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  52.7  -5.56   0.67 -6.22
7     OAK     10.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  70.2  14.77   6.00  8.77
8     MIN     10.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  62.5   4.42   3.33  1.09
9     BUF      9.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  73.6   6.50   4.33  2.17
10    WAS      7.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  64.0  14.20   3.67 10.53
11    TEN      6.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  67.9  14.25   5.67  8.58
12    CAR      6.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  59.9   2.74   1.67  1.08
13    NE       3.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  53.5   6.19   1.33  4.86
14    DEN      3.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  70.0   5.91   6.00 -0.09
15    PHI      3.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  60.4  10.34   3.00  7.34
16    GB       3.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  50.0  -4.42   0.00 -4.42
17    PIT      3.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  69.9  -1.26   4.67 -5.93
18    LA       2.0     3   2   1   0  66.7  77.1   6.48  10.67 -4.18
19    TB       2.5     2   1   1   0  50.0  59.7   1.73   2.50 -0.77
20    MIA     -6.0     2   1   1   0  50.0  20.8  -7.68  -6.00 -1.68
21    HOU     -3.0     3   1   2   0  33.3  24.3  -5.31  -7.00  1.69
22    IND     -3.0     3   1   2   0  33.3  14.1 -20.69 -12.33 -8.35
23    SEA     -6.0     3   1   2   0  33.3  33.1  -2.41  -3.67  1.26
24    CHI     -6.0     3   1   2   0  33.3  21.3  -5.95  -7.33  1.38
25    NYJ     -9.0     3   1   2   0  33.3  24.8  -2.14  -6.67  4.53
26    NO     -10.0     3   1   2   0  33.3  44.4   2.78  -1.67  4.45
27    ARI    -11.0     3   1   2   0  33.3  26.1 -15.29  -6.67 -8.63
28    CLE     -3.0     3   0   3   0   0.0  26.1 -16.24  -6.67 -9.58
29    SF      -3.0     3   0   3   0   0.0  20.4  -6.06  -8.33  2.27
30    LAC     -3.0     3   0   3   0   0.0  24.3  -1.22  -6.33  5.11
31    CIN     -4.0     3   0   3   0   0.0  11.5 -14.51  -9.00 -5.51
32    NYG    -14.0     3   0   3   0   0.0  10.2  -9.29 -11.00  1.71