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They’re what we thought they were

Posted by Doug on October 18, 2006

If you haven't seen Denny Green's postgame tirade following the Cardinals' Monday Night Meltdown, you need to check it out. It's an instant classic, and it inspired this thread at the footballguys message board where folks are collecting audio files of famous coach rants. From Jim Mora's "playoffs??!!" and "diddlypoo" to Herm Edwards' "YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME" to "Larry Bird isn't walking through that door" and a beaut from former Cubs' manager Lee Elia that I hadn't heard before, you'll find some good listening material there.

Classic rants usually become classic not because of what was said, but because of how it was said. But Green's had a bit of substance to it. His main point, I think, was that no one should have been surprised by his team's ability to challenge the Bears because they did so in the third week of preseason. And the third week of preseason, at least for the first three quarters, is just like a real game.

Is that true? I know the starters play, but are the game plans for real? Is the intensity level even close to the same? I decided to check it out real quick: if we look at the first three quarters of the third preseason game, do the results generally match up with what we would later see in the regular season? At least for this season, the answer seems to be yes. Here were the results for those "games."

Giants 10, Jets 0
Vikings 13, Ravens 7
Panthers 16, Dolphins 10
Cardinals 20, Bears 6
Eagles 16, Steelers 7
Raiders 21, Lions 3
Bills 10, Browns 10
Colts 24, Saints 7
Patriots 27, Redskins 0
Cowboys 17, 49ers 7
Falcons 17, Titans 6
Jags 15, Bucs 11
Chiefs 16, Rams 9
Seahawks 20, Chargers 17
Broncos 10, Texans 6
Bengals 41, Packers 10

That's 16 "games." Ten of them were won by the team with the better 2006 record (through six weeks). One was a tie, and one was between two teams with the same 2006 record. So only four games out of 14 would be considered upsets, and the only really surprising games would be the Cards over the Bears (not surprising to Denny Green, of course) and the Raiders over anyone.

I don't have time to check out previous seasons right this minute, but if some of you do, it would make for some good reading in the comments. Here are links to preseason week three in 2005, 2004, 2003, and 2002.