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Archive for the 'Totally Useless' Category

From the gut: thoughts on week 2’s games

14th September 2011

When it comes to grading teams or analyzing games, I like to do so by looking at past performance and key statistical indicators. Objectivity is the name of the game. After one week, though, that's not really an option. So I figured I'd change course and, if you guys don't mind, shoot straight from the gut, giving my thoughts on each of the 16 games this weekend. (If you guys do mind, that's why this was placed in the 'totally useless' category.) I may not even do this next week, but that won't stop me from structuring this article in such a way to make it look like an every week column.

Games I like

Seattle @ Pittsburgh (-14.5): As everyone knows, the Seahawks are running into a buzzsaw this week. Cross-country road trip traveling west to east, 1:00 game, and against an angry and focused Steelers team. The last time Seattle went to Pittsburgh was four years ago, with that game also scheduled with a 1:00 kickoff. Coincidentally, 2007 was also the last time the Seahawks were respectable (SRS score of +1.8; they've had an SRS score of -7.5 or worse every year since then). That game was still an ugly 21-0 Pittsburgh victory, and I expect the same on Sunday. SRS said Pittsburgh was 19.6 points better than Seattle last year, which roughly translates to a 24 point-line, in my opinion, given the location and time of the game. Pittsburgh looked terrible against Baltimore, but I'm more than willing to give the Steelers the benefit of the doubt. Pittsburgh won't have 7 turnovers again this week, and while Vegas is trying to elicit action on the Seahawks thanks to that extra half-point on the line, I'm not falling for it. Pittsburgh covers and wins easily.

Kansas City @ Detroit (-9): Nine points is a lot for Detroit to give: the Lions haven't been favored by as much as a touchdown since week 17 of the 2000 season. On the other hand, most of those games were started by someone other than Matthew Stafford. The Lions had a very difficult schedule in 2010, while the Chiefs had an easy one; as a result, Detroit's SRS grade was 2.6 points higher than Kansas City's in 2010. Tack on HFA, and a line of 9 isn't unreasonable given what we saw in week one. Jamaal Charles indoors could be scary, but I don't like anything that's going on in Kansas City. The Lions should win this one easily -- although I can't say I'm not frightened at the prospect of taking the Lions.

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Posted in Totally Useless | 10 Comments »

YouTube Finds: Watch Drew Bledsoe Throw a Record 70 Passes vs. Minnesota

28th April 2011

On November 13, 1994, New England's Drew Bledsoe set an NFL record with 70 pass attempts in a single game:

Rk Player Age Date Tm Opp Result Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD Int Rate Y/A AY/A
1 Drew Bledsoe 22-272 1994-11-13 NWE MIN W 26-20 45 70 64.3% 426 3 0 95.3 6.09 6.94
2 Vinny Testaverde 37-041 2000-12-24 NYJ @ BAL L 20-34 36 69 52.2% 481 2 3 66.2 6.97 5.59
3 Jon Kitna 29-100 2001-12-30 CIN PIT W 26-23 35 68 51.5% 411 2 1 73.8 6.04 5.97
4 Brian Griese 33-187 2008-09-21 TAM @ CHI W 27-24 38 67 56.7% 407 2 3 66.0 6.07 4.66
5 Chris Miller 24-137 1989-12-24 ATL DET L 24-31 37 66 56.1% 334 2 1 73.7 5.06 4.98
6 Steve Young* 34-087 1996-01-06 SFO GNB L 17-27 32 65 49.2% 328 0 2 51.3 5.05 3.66
7 Rich Gannon 36-269 2002-09-15 OAK @ PIT W 30-17 43 64 67.2% 403 1 2 76.5 6.30 5.20
8 Bernie Kosar 23-039 1987-01-03 CLE NYJ W 23-20 33 64 51.6% 489 1 2 69.1 7.64 6.55
9 Dan Marino* 34-106 1995-12-30 MIA @ BUF L 22-37 33 64 51.6% 422 2 3 63.4 6.59 5.11
10 Rich Gannon 25-304 1991-10-20 MIN @ NWE L 23-26 35 63 55.6% 317 1 0 74.6 5.03 5.35
11 Elvis Grbac 31-041 2001-09-23 BAL @ CIN L 10-21 33 63 52.4% 326 1 3 52.7 5.17 3.35
12 Vinny Testaverde 35-023 1998-12-06 NYJ SEA W 32-31 42 63 66.7% 418 2 1 89.3 6.63 6.56
13 Chris Weinke 29-152 2001-12-30 CAR ARI L 7-30 36 63 57.1% 223 1 1 63.1 3.54 3.14
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 4/28/2011.

And for some reason, somebody uploaded a video of all 70 attempts at YouTube:

Posted in Checkdowns, History, Quarterbacks, Totally Useless, YouTube Finds | 6 Comments »

YouTube Finds: UConn QB Johnny McEntee’s Trick Passes

11th February 2011

Fun video here of Connecticut backup Johnny McEntee, showing off his best passing tricks:

I have a feeling he was inspired by UConn women's basketball player Caroline Doty's trick shot video from 2 weeks earlier.

(H/T: Huffington Post.)

Posted in Totally Useless, YouTube Finds | 8 Comments »

Which QB is Likely to be Best in 2011?

10th February 2011

File this under Chase's "Insane Ideas/Rants/Almost deleted before hitting Publish" category...

In light of the research Chase & JKL have done about the consistency of passing stats between seasons, I was wondering which quarterbacks were likely to be best in 2011 -- assuming there is a 2011 season -- if we take their 2010 numbers and strip away the factors that were heavily influenced by luck or other elements beyond a player's control.

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Posted in Insane ideas, Quarterbacks, Rant, Statgeekery, Totally Useless | 18 Comments »

PI Finds: Patriots Shellack Jets

8th December 2010

In honor of the Patriots' vicious beatdown of the Jets Monday night, here are some stats from the Team Game Finder...

New England's romp featured the 2nd-biggest margin of victory in any 2010 game:

Rk Tm Year Date Opp W# G# Day Result PF PA PD
1 OAK 2010 2010-10-24 @ DEN 7 7 Sun W 59-14 59 14 45
2 NWE 2010 2010-12-06 NYJ 13 12 Mon W 45-3 45 3 42
3 DET 2010 2010-10-10 STL 5 5 Sun W 44-6 44 6 38
4 GNB 2010 2010-11-07 DAL 9 9 Sun W 45-7 45 7 38
5 ATL 2010 2010-09-19 ARI 2 2 Sun W 41-7 41 7 34
6 NYG 2010 2010-11-07 @ SEA 9 8 Sun W 41-7 41 7 34
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 12/8/2010.

It also tied the 2nd-biggest rout in Monday Night Football history:

Rk Tm Year Date Opp W# G# Day Result PF PA PD
1 BAL 2005 2005-12-19 GNB 15 14 Mon W 48-3 48 3 45
2 MIA 1986 1986-11-24 NYJ 12 12 Mon W 45-3 45 3 42
3 NWE 2010 2010-12-06 NYJ 13 12 Mon W 45-3 45 3 42
4 SEA 2005 2005-12-05 @ PHI 13 12 Mon W 42-0 42 0 42
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 12/8/2010.

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Posted in PI Finds, Play Index, Simple Rating System, Site Features, Totally Useless, Trivia | 11 Comments » Reset

22nd November 2010

Those of you paying close attention to PFR noticed that an hour or so ago, the site's look and feel was tweaked ever so slightly. got a similar reset about a month ago and we will be moving onto our other sites at some point soon as well.

These are not huge changes, but there are some.

  • Column headers can still be sorted, but clicking three times returns you to the default table
  • The tooltips have been improved in their appearance.
  • There is a glossary link above the stats tables that will show you all of the stats in the table in one place
  • All of the tables on the site are now shareable. Clicking that SHARE link above the stats tables brings up a dialog that lets you create custom reports from the table. You can delete columns and rows and then get the output as html, a link, plain text, text for your favorite bulletin board and more
  • Player pages now have a newsfeed at the top of the page that shows latest injury reports, news from KFFL, and player mentions in various blogs. You can add your blog to our newsfeeds and get links from your player mentions to PFR all in one feel swoop.
  • Player navigation to things like gamelogs, comebacks, splits and the like have been modified to be more in line with what you might know from They now appear just above the player stats on the player pages.
  • The site should be faster now as we've tweaked the way the css and js is downloaded.
  • Every player, team, and box score now has a Facebook "Like" button, so that you can let the world know your favorite players. Go crazy.
  • The blog template has been tweaked a bit as well and you can have an image appear by your comments setting up a universal avatar at
  • Box scores got an updated look.
  • The search engine got an updated look and now also appears in a larger block on the front page.
  • There are now more links to the College Football Site.
  • Feedback is always appreciated and you can directly file a bug via our Feedback Form.

Posted in Announcements, Insane ideas, P-F-R News, Totally Useless | 15 Comments »

The WCB Tournament Final Four

7th June 2010

It's been since April that I have had a free moment, so I apologize for the delay in getting back to this. For those that don't know, during March and April, I embarked on a non-sensical journey of playing a tournament using the What If Sports website, between the best teams that failed to win a Super Bowl. Here are the previous results:

the opening round results
the first round results from the Tampa/New Orleans regions
the first round results from the Los Angeles/Houston regions.
the second round results from the Tampa/New Orleans regions
the second round results from the Los Angeles/Houston regions
the regional semis and finals from the Tampa/New Orleans regions
the regional semis and finals from the Los Angeles/Houston regions

Today, we pick up with the Final Four teams: 1997 Green Bay Packers, 1967 Los Angeles Rams, 1968 Baltimore Colts, and the 1970 Minnesota Vikings. I wrote a little something about the Fearsome Foursome and its origins as it relates to the 1967 Rams, so I'll give a brief recap of the other teams before we put a bow on this series.

1997 Green Bay Packers: The only defending Super Bowl Champion to make the Final Four, the Packers finished in a tie in the NFC with San Fransisco 49ers at 13-3, and went on the road to win the conference championship at San Fransisco. They then lost to Denver in the Super Bowl, becoming the first NFC team to lose in that game since the 1983 Redskins. The Packers most infamously lost a game to 3-13 Indianapolis in which they surrendered a season high 467 yards, but that game awoke them, as they won their next seven games to reach the Super Bowl. Brett Favre was selected as AP MVP for the third consecutive year.

1968 Baltimore Colts: Johnny Unitas suffered an arm injury in the preseason, and veteran journeyman Earl Morrall led the Baltimore Colts to one of the greatest NFL regular seasons. The Colts' only loss came against the Browns in a game in which Unitas tried to come back and threw 3 interceptions on 11 passes. Playing in the tougher NFL Western Division, the Colts outscored their opponents by 258 points and avenged their only loss with a 34-0 drubbing of Cleveland in the championship game. Earl Morrall's Cinderalla season as NFL MVP came to a crashing end in the Super Bowl III defeat against the Jets.

1970 Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings followed up a dominant 1969 season in which they lost to Kansas City in the Super Bowl with an equally dominant 1970 season, when they lost to San Fransisco in a game in which the offense, and particular the passing game, let them down. The Purple People Eaters were at their peak in 1970, and Alan Page would win his AP MVP selection the following season.

Now, to the matchups. The first semifinal features the 1997 Green Bay Packers against the 1967 Los Angeles Rams. Here is the path that each took to the Final Four.

1997 Green Bay
Defeated 1976 Los Angeles 34-12
Defeated 2005 Indianapolis 26-13
Defeated 1996 Denver 28-26
Defeated 2007 New England 28-21

1967 Los Angeles
Defeated 2000 New York Giants 10-3
Defeated 1984 Miami 27-21
Defeated 2000 Tennessee 13-10
Defeated 1976 Pittsburgh 24-10

FIRST QUARTER: both teams exchange punts throughout the quarter, as the defenses dominate early. The quarter closes with the Rams facing 3rd and goal after taking possession in Packer territory. Tied 0-0.

SECOND QUARTER: Reggie White sacks Gabriel on the first play of the quarter to hold the Rams to a field goal. Later, the Packers go for it at the Rams' 35, but Favre is sacked, and the Rams get another field goal on the ensuing possession. The Packers manage to put together an extended drive right before the half, and get a field goal. Los Angeles 6, Green Bay 3.

THIRD QUARTER: The defenses dominate the third, as the Packers come up with a goal line stand inside the five to keep the game in range. The Packers take that momentum swing and move into Rams territory as the quarter ends. Los Angeles 6, Green Bay 3.

FOURTH QUARTER: Dorsey Levens scores the first touchdown at the start of the fourth. The Rams then go three and out and look to be in trouble, but a fumble gives Los Angeles hope. The Rams go on a lengthy drive, capped by Les Josephson's touchdown run with just under 3 minutes left. Favre is sacked on back to back plays, including fourth down, and the Rams add an insurance touchdown inside the two minute warning. The Packers add a late touchdown, but the onside kick is unsuccessful. Los Angeles 20, Green Bay 17. Full Boxscore

The second semifinal features two powers from the late 1960's and early 1970's. Here were their roads to Miami.

1968 Baltimore
Defeated 1995 Pittsburgh 20-0
Defeated 1997 Kansas City 21-7
Defeated 1991 Buffalo 40-17
Defeated 1967 Oakland 20-12

1970 Minnesota
Defeated 1980 Atlanta 28-6
Defeated 2005 Seattle 24-17
Defeated 1973 Los Angeles 15-7
Defeated 2001 Saint Louis 20-0

FIRST QUARTER: The Colts take the opening kickoff and put together an efficient drive, ending with a Jimmy Orr touchdown catch. The Vikings punt right away, and the Colts go on another long drive, ending with a field goal. The following kickoff is returned deep into Colts territory, giving the Vikings their first scoring chance as the quarter ends. Baltimore 10, Minnesota 0

SECOND QUARTER: The Vikings score on the second play of the quarter, then the defenses bear down and force several punts. Right before the end of the half, the Vikings tie the score with a field goal from Fred Cox. Tied at 10-10

THIRD QUARTER: Cuozzo throws an early interception, and neither team comes close to threatening after that, and the score remains the same.Tied at 10-10

FOURTH QUARTER: Neither team can do much offensively, but when Cuozzo throws his second interception at midfield with a minute left, the Colts move into scoring range. Lou Michaels attempts a 48 yard field goal, but it goes wide and the game goes to overtime. Tied at 10-10

OVERTIME: The Colts win the toss, but do nothing. The Vikings return the favor. On third down of the second possession, Morrall hits a big pass to Richardson that puts it across midfield, then Tom Matte breaks through the line on the next play to get inside the Minnesota 20.
The Colts center the ball, and the field goal attempt is good. Baltimore 13, Minnesota 10.
Full Boxscore


The final game features an old division rivalry. In fact, it was Los Angeles that knocked the undefeated Colts out of the playoffs in 1967 with their final week victory.

FIRST QUARTER: Morrall throws an interception on his first pass of the game, and the Rams immediately turn it into a field goal. When Morrall throws his second interception one series later, the Baltimore fans collectively groan and begin to have visions of Super Bowl III. Los Angeles 3, Baltimore 0

SECOND QUARTER: The Los Angeles offense does nothing, but the Fearsome Foursome hold firm. With Baltimore threatening right before halftime, Morrall throws his third interception. Los Angeles 3, Baltimore 0

THIRD QUARTER: The Rams squandered chances to extend the lead, and Gossett's missed field goal keeps Baltimore within range. As the quarter closes, the Rams face a crucial third down at the Baltimore 36. Los Angeles 3, Baltimore 0

FOURTH QUARTER: Gabriel hits Jack Snow on the first play of the fourth for a touchdown on third down. Baltimore then finally puts a drive together, but in a move that sends stat guys reeling, Shula opts for a 33 yard field goal on fourth and one at the 16, trailing by 10 with 10 minutes left. Michaels misses it, and Baltimore is in trouble. The Colts do get the ball back a few minutes later, and aided by a personal foul and a Jimmy Orr catch, get into the end zone with 5:39 left. The Rams punt it back to the Colts inside the two minute warning, and it is downed at the 3. The Colts cannot get out of their end zone, and the Rams add a late field goal to seal the victory. Los Angeles 13, Baltimore 7

Full Boxscore

Congratulations to the 1967 Rams, and Rest in Peace, Merlin Olsen.

Posted in Insane ideas, Totally Useless | 16 Comments »

Approximate Time of Knockout

14th May 2010

In December 2008, Doug talked about a metric called "Time of KO," measuring the time of knockout in any football game. Dr. Saturday, our favorite college football blogger, has been keeping track of this metric for a few years now. Like the simple rating system, it's just another way to measure and rank dominance; it's not designed to be the mother of all rating systems, but it is designed to provide another look at how each particular game unfolded. What it lacks in precision it makes up for in simplicity -- when did a knockout occur?

The short theory is that we look at how much time was remaining in every game when the winning team first scored more points than the losing team ultimately scored by the end of the game. In this past Super Bowl, that would be the first score of the 4th quarter, when the Saints went up 24-17 (ultimately winning 31-17). In the Eagles season opener against the Panthers, Philadelphia won 38-10. DeSean Jackson's punt return touchdown in the 2nd quarter made it 17-7, which would have been the knockout score in that game.

Unfortunately, we don't have data on how much time remained in the game during each score in NFL history; what we do have is the number of scores in each game and quarter. So we have to do a bit of a fugde -- hence the name, Approximate Time of Knockout. If there were four scores in the 2nd quarter of a game, we'll stipulate that the scores came with 12, 9, 6 and 3 minutes remaining in the quarter. In the Broncos 27-6 week 2 win over Cleveland, there were three scores in the first quarter; Cleveland kicked a field goal, then Denver scored a touchdown, and then Cleveland kicked another field goal. Therefore, the Broncos are given an approximate time of knockout of 52 minutes, 30 seconds -- there were three scores in the first quarter, and we assume that they came with 11:15, 7:30 and 3:45 remaining. In the Texans victory over the Bengals this season, Cincinnati scored 17 points; the Texans scored a touchdown to go ahead 21-17 on the first of two scores in the third quarter; therefore, we assume the time of knockout in that game was with 25 minutes remaining.
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Statgeekery, Totally Useless | 13 Comments »

The WCB Tournament: Los Angeles and Houston Regional Semis and Finals

17th April 2010

We now turn to the final two regions to get the last two teams in the Final Four of the WCB tournament. Here are the previous results:

the opening round results
the first round results from the Tampa/New Orleans regions
the first round results from the Los Angeles/Houston regions.
the second round results from the Tampa/New Orleans regions
the second round results from the Los Angeles/Houston regions
the regional semis and finals from the Tampa/New Orleans regions


#1 1968 Baltimore Colts vs. #13 1991 Buffalo Bills

The game was a close contest for a quarter and a half. Then, Jerry Logan intercepted a Jim Kelly pass and returned it 35 yards for a touchdown, to make the score 17-10 in favor of Baltimore. The Colts would never look back. Kelly threw five interceptions (to five different defenders) on the day, and the Baltimore defense held Buffalo to 2 for 12 on third down.

Baltimore 40, Buffalo 17

#2 1992 San Francisco 49ers vs. #6 1967 Oakland Raiders

The first game between these two ended in a flat-footed tie after neither team scored in overtime, so much like old time World Cup Soccer, we just had a replay. In the second game, the 49ers dominated the offensive statistics, but to no avail. Oakland got an opening kickoff return for touchdown to start the game, and then frustrated San Fransisco all day. George Blanda made all three of his field goal attempts, while Mike Cofer missed both of his. The Raiders put the game away with a Clem Daniels touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

Oakland 22, San Fransisco 7

#1 2001 Saint Louis Rams vs. #5 1987 San Francisco 49ers

The Niners get off to a great start, holding Saint Louis to punts in the first quarter, then going to the goal line before getting stuffed inches short on fourth down. The goal line attempt pays off, though, as the Niners sack Warner in the end zone for a safety, then take the next possession and add a touchdown for a 9-0 lead. The Rams continue to struggle offensively, but manage two second quarter field goals by Jeff Wilkins to go to the half at 9-6. In the third quarter, the Rams block a Niners punt to put themselves in good position, but Warner throws an interception two plays later, which results in a Rice touchdown and a decisive 16-6 lead at the end of the third. Well, except that it's the Rams, and the offense finally scored a touchdown to start the quarter with Faulk catching a Warner pass. The Rams still trail 16-13, though, but get near field goal range at the two minute warning. Faulk then breaks a touchdown run to give the Rams a four point lead. The Niners march all the way down the field, getting to the 11 for one final play, but it is intercepted as time expires.

Saint Louis 20, San Fransisco 16

#3 1970 Minnesota Vikings vs. #10 1973 Los Angeles Rams

The Rams went on a 71 yard drive in the first quarter, converting two key third down conversions, and took a 7-0 lead. They had 36 total yards the rest of the game, as the Vikings' defense held McCutcheon and Bertelsen to 21 yards on 20 carries. The Vikings dominated the game from that point on, but couldn't get into the end zone, settling for field goals in the second and third quarter, so the Rams still held the 7-6 lead with one quarter left despite doing nothing offensively. The Vikings finally broke through with a Clint Jones touchdown run in the fourth to take the lead. The Rams gain no first downs after that score, and Minnesota holds on.

Minnesota 15, Los Angeles 7


#1 1968 Baltimore Colts vs. #6 1967 Oakland Raiders

This regional final featured the teams that lost Super Bowls II and III, in an AFL versus NFL battle. Defense ended up dominating this game. The Colts and Raiders both got an early field goal, and then there was no scoring until Blanda hit a 54 yard field goal at the halftime gun to give the Raiders a 6-3 lead. The Raiders got the ball first to start the second half, but Lamonica threw an interception that the Colts immediately turned into a Mackey score to take the lead. Lou Michaels then missed two field goals that could have extended the lead, while Blanda hit a third to make it 10-9 entering the fourth. The Colts then went on a key 7-play, 85-yard drive in the early fourth to take a 17-9 lead. In what has to be one of the most questionable coaching decisions of the tournament, John Rauch elects to kick a field goal with 3 minutes left and 4th and 4 at the Baltimore 10. The Raiders did hold the Colts on the ensuing kickoff, but failed to pick up a first down and gave the ball back to Baltimore, who added a late field goal.

Baltimore 20, Oakland 12

#1 2001 Saint Louis Rams vs. #3 1970 Minnesota Vikings

In what has to be the most interesting stylistic matchup this deep in the tournament, the offensive-minded Rams meet one of the most dominant defenses of all-time. Will the fact that this game is played on the turf help the Greatest Show, or will the Purple People Eaters gobble up Warner and company?

While the Minnesota Defense versus Saint Louis Offense got all the pre-game hype, the Minnesota offense took the opening kickoff and went on an efficient drive capped by a clutch third down touchdown catch by Gene Washington. The Rams offense responded with a good drive, moving the ball to first and goal from the 2. The Vikings defense made a stand, though, holding Faulk out of the end zone on three tries as the Rams' fourth down attempt came up short. The Vikings added a Cox field goal in the second quarter. The Rams were frustrated again after a nice drive, when Az-Zahir Hakim fumbled while trying to stretch for a first down at the Minnesota 17. The Rams got to the Minnesota 35 again right before the half, but Warner was intercepted by Wally Hilgenberg, so Saint Louis was shut out despite three scoring opportunities.

Playing with the lead, the Vikings could go to a heavy dose of Dave Osborn, and he carried the ball three times for 48 yards on the Vikings' first possession, scoring the key touchdown to make it 17-0. From that point on, the Vikings D harrassed Warner and intercepted him once, as Minnesota shuts out the Rams.

Minnesota 20, Saint Louis 0

The Final Four is now set:

1997 Green Bay Packers versus 1967 Los Angeles Rams
1968 Baltimore Colts versus 1970 Minnesota Vikings

In the Final Four installment, I will do a quick blurb on some aspect of each of those four teams, maybe finding an interesting story, or event from the archives, as well as having the final games.

Posted in Insane ideas, Totally Useless | 15 Comments »

The WCB Tournament: Tampa and New Orleans Regional Semis and Finals

15th April 2010

Today, we get into the Regional Semifinals and Finals and find out our first two Final Four teams, and we start with the Tampa and New Orleans Regions. For those who haven't been following along, here are the previous rounds:

the opening round results
the first round results from the Tampa/New Orleans regions
the first round results from the Los Angeles/Houston regions.
the second round results from the Tampa/New Orleans regions
the second round results from the Los Angeles/Houston regions


#12007 New England Patriots vs. #12 1999 Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars did not have to meet the Tennessee Titans, and have been rolling through the bracket as a 12 seed. That came to an end in this game, though. The Jaguars stayed close early, but the Patriots never punted all game. Brady went 24 of 29 and was never sacked. Maroney vultured 3 touchdowns, and the Patriots pulled away with three field goals at the end of the first half and during the third quarter.

New England 37, Jacksonville 20

#6 1997 Green Bay Packers vs. #10 1996 Denver Broncos

In a near-rematch of XXXII, the Denver Broncos jumped out to a 14-0 first quarter lead. Brett Favre hit Robert Brooks to get Green Bay back in the game, and following an Elam field goal, a William Henderson touchdown reception right before the half brought Green Bay within 3. The only score in the third quarter was another Denver field goal, so Denver held a slim 20-14 lead entering the fourth, with Green Bay on the march. Favre connected with Brooks again early in the fourth to give Green Bay its first lead. After Green Bay held Denver to consecutive three and outs, Favre and Brooks combined for a third touchdown with just over two minutes left. Denver managed to drive for a potential tying score, but Elway's scramble for the goal line in a potential tying conversion came up just short, and the ensuing onside kick failed. Green Bay gets revenge for the Super Bowl loss.

Green Bay 28, Denver 26

#4 1967 Los Angeles Rams vs. #9 2000 Tennessee Titans

The first two regional semifinals featured lots of offense, but not this one. The defenses combined to yield less than 500 total yards, along with 9 sacks and 5 turnovers. The Rams held on to a slim 10-3 lead throughout most of the game, but McNair rallied the Titans for a tying touchdown inside the final two minutes with a pass to Derrick Mason, which sent the game to overtime. The defensive battle then resumed, as the teams exchanged punts for most of the overtime period. The Rams' defense turned in the play of the game, when reserve linebacker Doug Woodlief etched his name into WCB tourney lore by picking off a tipped McNair pass and returning it inside the 10, setting up Bruce Gossett's game winning field goal.

Los Angeles 13, Tennessee 10

#2 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. #3 1994 Dallas Cowboys

Not all teams in the What Coulda Been Tourney failed to win the title--some are the missing link in what could have been greater immortality. This regional semifinal featured two teams that could have had even greater glory if these seasons had resulted in a win in the conference championship games over teams they had owned in other playoff years. The winner of this matchup would have to be considered one of the favorites to win it all.

Pittsburgh grabbed a 7-3 first quarter lead after a Frank Lewis touchdown. The key point in the game was then a series of plays that resulted in Dallas settling for a field goal after a pass that would have put the ball near the goal line was just out of Jay Novacek's reach, followed by the Pittsburgh possession. The Steelers would not muster a lot of consistent offense on this day, but the big play came two plays after Dallas cut it to 7-6. Bradshaw hit the man who always came up big in big games, Lynn Swann, for a 67 yard touchdown. It was the last points scored all game, as both defenses clamped down in the second half. The Steel Curtain held Emmitt Smith to 52 yards on 27 carries, as Pittsburgh advances to set up a defensive slugfest with the Rams for the New Orleans Region title.

Pittsburgh 14, Dallas 6


#12007 New England Patriots vs. #6 1997 Green Bay Packers

The Patriots had been rolling through the WCB tournament, but the Packers and Reggie White must have taken lessons from the Giants. The Patriots had to punt on their first three possessions, and when Green Bay scored in the second quarter on a touchdown, and added a field goal on the next drive, they held a 10-0 lead. Brady found Moss right before the half to get on track and cut it at halftime. In the third quarter, Kevin Faulk added the only touchdown to give New England their first lead. A Packers field goal cut it to a one point game, but a Patriots score with about four minutes left gave them the 21-13 advantage.

Surely the Patriots wouldn't lose another close game that they held a late lead? Well, the Packers scored on the play right before the two minute warning, and then hit on the two point conversion to Antonio Freeman coming out of the break. Still, the Patriots had the ball in a tie game with just under two minutes. They moved it to midfield, when LeRoy Butler gambled on jumping a Welker route and turned the game. The Packers then took the ball into scoring range, and scored a touchdown on what may have been a lay down by Belichek in order to get one last desperation chance. The Pats only got two plays off.

Green Bay 28, New England 21


#2 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. #4 1967 Los Angeles Rams

With the national media already writing the stories about the 2007 Patriots dynasty versus the 1976 Steelers dynasty in the Final Four, Roman Gabriel had something to say. The Rams jumped to a stunning lead on an 86 yard pass from Gabriel to Bass. On his next pass following a Bleier fumble, Gabriel hit Bernie Casey for a 40 yard score, and the Rams were up 14-0. The Steelers managed to close the gap to 14-10 by halftime, and the score would stay there until the end of the third, when Gabriel connected for his third long touchdown of the game, this one to Billy Truax. The Pittsbugh defense shut down the Rams ground game, but Gabriel's three strikes prove decisive. The Rams defense harrasses Bradshaw all day, and the 1967 Rams move on.

Los Angeles 24, Pittsburgh 10

Posted in Insane ideas, Totally Useless | 13 Comments »

WCB tournament, second round, part two

6th April 2010

Here were the opening round results and the first round results from the Tampa/New Orleans and the Los Angeles/Houston regions. The other half of the second round has been played as well, so let's get to the Los Angeles and Houston Regionals, to set the Sweet 16.


#8 1997 Kansas City Chiefs at #1 1968 Baltimore Colts

The Kansas City Chiefs, not realizing that Rich Gannon is on the bench and will soon prove to be better than Grbac, leave Elvis in the building to take 6 sacks and put up 59 net passing yards. Baltimore methodically pulls away with a solid game from Morrall.

Baltimore 21, Kansas City 7

#13 1991 Buffalo Bills at #5 1978 Dallas Cowboys

In what has to be one of the games of the tournament so far, the Cowboys jump out to a 13-0 lead, but do settle for two short field goals. The Bills get one back right before the half, and put up 24 unanswered to take an 11-point lead in the fourth. Captain Comeback then leads two scoring drives as part of a 328 yard, 3 td performance, to give Dallas a 1 point lead with just under two minutes. Thurman Thomas adds to his MVP of the WCB resume, with a 33 yard td run to give Buffalo the victory and keep Scott Norwood on the bench.

Buffalo 30, Dallas 25

#6 1967 Oakland Raiders at #3 1983 Washington Redskins

In a back and forth game that went down to the wire, Lamonica found Biletnikoff for the go-ahead score with about 10 minutes left. Riggins scored with 3:25 left, but the 2-pt conversion attempt failed, and the Raiders were able to hold on for the mild upset.

Oakland 24, Washington 22

#10 1986 Chicago Bears at #2 1992 San Francisco 49ers

Even-year Jerry puts up a hall of fame performance, going for 112 yards and 2 touchdowns. The 49ers pull away late, with Tom Rathman adding the clinching touchdown.

San Francisco 24, Chicago 13


#8 2004 Philadelphia Eagles at #1 2001 Saint Louis Rams

The Eagles got off to a good start, and looked like they would take a lead into the half, with the Rams turning the ball over four times in the half. Then, Bruce took a reverse 45 yards for a touchdown to give the Rams a slim 14-13 lead. After that, it became the Marshall Faulk show, as he scored three touchdowns after halftime as the Rams rolled to the victory.

Saint Louis 38, Philadelphia 23

#5 1987 San Francisco 49ers at #4 2004 Pittsburgh Steelers

In an ugly game where neither team can reach the end zone, Charles Haley sacks a rookie Ben Roethlisberger three times, and Ray Wersching connects on all four field goal attempts.

San Fransisco 12, Pittsburgh 3

#11 2005 Seattle Seahawks at #3 1970 Minnesota Vikings

In a tale of two halves, the Vikings get all the scoring they need in the first half and go into the locker room up 24-0. Seattle claws back and cuts it to 24-17 with just over a minute left, but cannot get any closer. Gary Cuozzo has an efficient game for Minnesota, throwing for nearly 10 yards an attempt and adding a touchdown dive.

Minnesota 24, Seattle 17

#10 1973 Los Angeles Rams at #2 1990 Buffalo Bills

The Rams defense shows up in a big way, and intercepts Jim Kelly five times en route to a methodical victory over the no-huddle Bills.

Los Angeles 18, Buffalo 7


#12007 New England Patriots vs. #12 1999 Jacksonville Jaguars

#6 1997 Green Bay Packers vs. #10 1996 Denver Broncos

#4 1967 Los Angeles Rams vs. #9 2000 Tennessee Titans

#2 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. #3 1994 Dallas Cowboys

#1 1968 Baltimore Colts vs. #13 1991 Buffalo Bills

#2 1992 San Francisco 49ers vs. #6 1967 Oakland Raiders

#1 2001 Saint Louis Rams vs. #5 1987 San Francisco 49ers

#3 1970 Minnesota Vikings vs. #10 1973 Los Angeles Rams

I will probably not get back to this until next weekend (for those who have office pools riding on the results) but there should be some fun matchups. Thirteen franchises are still represented, with only the Rams (with two versions of the Los Angeles version and the 2001 Saint Louis team) and the 49ers ('87, '92) still having multiple entries. Breaking down by decade, we have three teams from the late 60's, three more from the 70's, only one from the 80's, six from the 90's, and three from the last decade. I think what I'm going to do is to post the regional semifinals and finals for the Tampa and New Orleans Regions (six games) in one post, the regional semifinals and finals for the Los Angeles and Houston Regions in another post, then follow up with a more in-depth profile of the final four teams, with those three games.

Posted in Insane ideas, Totally Useless | 8 Comments »

The WCB Tournament, second round, part I

30th March 2010

Here were the opening round results and the first round results from the Tampa/New Orleans and the Los Angeles/Houston regions.

Now, we move to the second round with some fantastic matchups. There weren't many huge upsets in the first round (1991 Buffalo as a #13 seed and 1999 Jacksonville as a #12 were the two lowest to advance), which may just mean that they are due in this round. Today, we will hit the second round games in the Tampa and New Orleans regions.

#12007 New England Patriots vs. #9 1966 Dallas Cowboys

Wes Welker had a big game in the slot for New England, and they win comfortably again.

New England 38, Dallas 13

#4 1990 San Francisco 49ers vs. #12 1999 Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars are the early Cinderella story, following up the win over the 1974 Raiders with a convincing win across the bay against the 49ers. Joe Montana throws 3 interceptions, and San Fransisco is held to 162 total yards, while Taylor and Stewart combine for 192 rushing yards.

Jacksonville 26, San Fransisco 10

#3 2005 Indianapolis Colts vs. #6 1997 Green Bay Packers

In a 3-6 matchup that many might not see as an upset, the Packers go into the RCA Dome and win. The play of the game comes right before the half, when Holmgren decides to go for it on fourth and inches at the two yard line with 19 seconds left and no timeouts. Levens scores on the play, and the Packers go on to pull away in the fourth.

Green Bay 26, Indianapolis 13

#2 1969 Minnesota Vikings vs. #10 1996 Denver Broncos

Denver manages only 107 yards of total offense for the game, but turns two second quarter Joe Kapp interceptions in Viking territory into 10 points. Minnesota manages only field goals, and with the score at 10-9, gets the ball back at the Denver 37 with just over three minutes left. The offense squanders the opportunity again, going backwards, and leaving Fred Cox to try a desperation 57 yard field goal that misses.

Denver 10, Minnesota 9


#1 1998 Minnesota Vikings vs. #9 2000 Tennessee Titans

The first top seed has fallen as the Titans overcome a sluggish first quarter to take a lead at the half. It stretches to 23-13, but then the Vikings get a touchdown from Moss and a defensive stop. Getting near field goal range, Cunningham throws an interception to Samari Rolle with 39 seconds left.

Tennessee 23, Minnesota 20

#4 1967 Los Angeles Rams vs. #5 1984 Miami Dolphins

The Fearsome Foursome frustrated Marino early, intercepting him at the goal line on Miami's best drive, to create a 10-0 halftime score. Miami gets it going in the third, taking the lead with two touchdowns, but the Rams' ground game is the difference as Les Josephson and Dick Bass put up over 280 combined rushing yards against a leaky Dolphins defense.

Los Angeles 27, Miami 21

#3 1994 Dallas Cowboys vs. #11 1998 New York Jets

The new OT rules have not been implemented for the WCB tournament, and Dallas takes the kickoff in overtime and wins with a field goal. Curtis and Emmitt both struggled to get anything going on the ground, and Testaverde outplayed Aikman, but the Cowboys do just enough to send the Jets home and make Chase Stuart cry.

Dallas 20, New York 17, OT

#2 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. #7 2006 Baltimore Ravens

In a game that lived up to its defensive billing, Pittsburgh wins the turnover battle and scores the only offensive touchdown, and then the Steel Curtain came down in the second half, setting up a "What Could Have Been" regional semifinal between two dynasties.

Pittsburgh 13, Baltimore 3

Posted in Insane ideas, Totally Useless | 24 Comments »

The WCB tournament: round one, part II

28th March 2010

Sorry for the delay in finishing the first round. The good news is that over 60% of the games are done after completion of the first round. Here were the opening round results and the first round results from the other half of the bracket. Today we continue with the Houston and Los Angeles regions.


#17 1995 Pittsburgh Steelers at #1 1968 Baltimore Colts

In our alternate universe, Earl Morrall successfully throws to Jerry Hill for a touchdown right before the half, and the Colts go on to dominate.

Baltimore 20, Pittsburgh 0

#9 1977 Oakland Raiders at #8 1997 Kansas City Chiefs

If there is one thing Marty Schottenheimer could do, it was beat the Raiders. Tony Gonzalez' late touchdown catch breaks the tie and sends Stabler home despite a great performance.

Kansas City 24, Oakland 17

#12 2009 Minnesota Vikings at #5 1978 Dallas Cowboys

NOTE: Due to a human error, the original simulation was run with the 1975 Cowboys instead. The Cowboys won that one, and they won this one with the 1978 team in a defensive battle that was clinched with a late Dorsett run.

Dallas 20, Minnesota 9

#13 1991 Buffalo Bills at #4 2006 San Diego Chargers

The Chargers come from 10 down inside the final four minutes to tie it, only to lose another heartbreaking home playoff game on Scott Norwood's field goal with 3 seconds left.

Buffalo 30, San Diego 27

#19 1987 Denver Broncos at #3 1983 Washington Redskins

In a back and forth affair, Theismann scrambles for the go ahead score, then Denver runs out of time inside the Washington 10 yard line.

Washington 17, Denver 13

#11 1988 Cincinnati Bengals at #6 1967 Oakland Raiders

No Ickey Shuffle in this one, but Hewritt Dixon runs for one score and catches another as the Raiders win comfortably.

Oakland 30, Cincinnati 17

#10 1986 Chicago Bears at #7 1976 New England Patriots

Walter Payton totals 217 yards as the Bears jump out to an early 13-0 lead and hold on.

Chicago 20, New England 10

#15 1981 Dallas Cowboys at #2 1992 San Francisco 49ers

In the matchup of the first round thanks to a selection committee error, it is the '92 Niners who avenge the loss against the franchise that defeated them in the playoffs, when Amp Lee's late touchdown run seals the victory.

San Fransisco 27, Dallas 16

#8 1997 Kansas City Chiefs at #1 1968 Baltimore Colts

#13 1991 Buffalo Bills at #5 1978 Dallas Cowboys

#6 1967 Oakland Raiders at #3 1983 Washington Redskins

#10 1986 Chicago Bears at #2 1992 San Francisco 49ers


#16 1966 Kansas City Chiefs at #1 2001 Saint Louis Rams

Johnny Robinson's interception return for a touchdown gives the Chiefs' hope after the Rams jump to a 14-0 lead on passes to Bruce and Proehl, but the Chiefs cannot get any closer.

St. Louis 26, Kansas City 16

#9 1970 Dallas Cowboys at #8 2004 Philadelphia Eagles

Brian Westbrook's 65 yard run with just over two minutes left sets up the clinching score.

Philadelphia 24, Dallas 10

#12 1972 Washington Redskins at #5 1987 San Francisco 49ers

Kilmer throws four interceptions and Montana has a great day as the 49ers roll.

San Fransisco 27, Washington 6

#13 1976 Minnesota Vikings at #4 2004 Pittsburgh Steelers

Both passing games struggle in wet conditions, and Aaron Smith's 3 sacks get him player of the game honors as the Vikings lose to the Steelers again.

Pittsburgh 10, Minnesota 3

#19 1980 Atlanta Falcons at #3 1970 Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings dominate on both sides of the ball. Dave Osborn and Clint Jones both rush for 100 yards, and Paul Krause gets an interception (no sacks though)

Minnesota 28, Atlanta 6

#11 2005 Seattle Seahawks at #6 1977 Denver Broncos

If you had Shaun Alexander in your WCB fantasy squad, you are off to a good start. 228 total yards and 2 touchdowns for the 2005 MVP, as the Seahawks jump to a 24-0 halftime lead and cruise to victory.

Seattle 34, Denver 6

#10 1973 Los Angeles Rams at #7 2009 Indianapolis Colts

Art imitates life, as Jim Caldwell sends Stover on to attempt a 52-yard field goal trailing by 8 in the fourth quarter, rather than go for it on 4th and 5, and it comes up short. The Rams control the Colts' anemic ground game, and McCutcheon and Bertelsen run over the Colts and frustrate Manning all day.

Los Angeles 21, Indianapolis 6

#15 1982 Miami Dolphins at #2 1990 Buffalo Bills

In an AFC East battle, the K-gun offense explodes for 20 points in the second quarter to erase an early Miami lead.

Buffalo 27, Miami 13


#8 2004 Philadelphia Eagles at #1 2001 Saint Louis Rams

#5 1987 San Francisco 49ers at #4 2004 Pittsburgh Steelers

#11 2005 Seattle Seahawks at #3 1970 Minnesota Vikings

#10 1973 Los Angeles Rams at #2 1990 Buffalo Bills

Posted in Insane ideas, Totally Useless | 21 Comments »

The WCB tournament: first round games, part I

22nd March 2010

The brackets have been set and the opening round matchups have been played. Today, we move to the first round matchups in the Tampa and New Orleans Regions.


#17 1986 Denver Broncos at #1 2007 New England Patriots

The first #1 seed to take the field rolls as Tom Brady puts up ruthlessly efficient 25 of 29 for 300 yard and 3 td performance.

New England 37, Denver 14

#9 1966 Dallas Cowboys at #8 1973 Minnesota Vikings

Dan Reeves and Don Perkins combine for 164 yards on the ground, and Lilly and company shut down the Vikings' ground game, as the Purple People Eaters take their first loss of the tourney.

Dallas 21, Minnesota 10

#12 1999 Jacksonville Jaguars at #5 1974 Oakland Raiders

Marv Hubbard's early touchdown run gets the Raiders off to a good start, but Stabler throws four picks as the Jaguars roll.

Jacksonville 23, Oakland 7

#20 1992 Buffalo Bills at #4 1990 San Francisco 49ers

Buffalo gets off to a rough start as Kelly throws a pick on the first two possessions, the second of which is returned for a td. Buffalo battles back, and Nate Odomes gets an interception return for touchdown in the second quarter to give Buffalo the lead. Dexter Carter's 30 yard run in the third gives the 49ers the necessary points to win, and they hold off a late Bills drive to tie.

San Francisco 26, Buffalo 19

#14 1975 Dallas Cowboys at #3 2005 Indianapolis Colts

Dallas jumps out to a 16-3 second quarter lead, but the Colts fight back to take a slim lead early in the fourth, and then survive the upset bid where they were outgained significantly, when Fritsch misses a fourth quarter field goal and the Boys are stopped on downs. No Hail Mary to Pearson in this one.

Indianapolis 17, Dallas 16

#11 1976 Los Angeles Rams at #6 1997 Green Bay Packers

Dorsey Levens scores three times as the Packers pull away in Lambeau in impressive fashion, setting up a showdown between Favre and Manning.

Green Bay 34, Los Angeles 12

#10 1996 Denver Broncos at #7 1998 Atlanta Falcons

The game was close at the half, but a huge game by John Elway gives the Broncos an easy victory in the second half. The Falcons do no better against the '96 version of the Broncos.

Denver 34, Atlanta 12

#18 1981 San Diego Chargers at #2 1969 Minnesota Vikings

Cold conditions in the Midwest, and the Vikings defense, hold down Air Coryell, and the neither team scores after the first quarter as the Vikings hold on for the victory.

Minnesota 10, San Diego 7


2007 New England Patriots vs. 1966 Dallas Cowboys

#4 1990 San Francisco 49ers vs. #12 1999 Jacksonville Jaguars

#3 2005 Indianapolis Colts vs. #6 1997 Green Bay Packers

#2 1969 Minnesota Vikings vs. #10 1996 Denver Broncos


#16 1993 Buffalo Bills at #1 1998 Minnesota Vikings

In the game of the tournament so far, the Bills jump to a shocking 21-3 halftime lead with a flurry at the end of the half. The Vikings fight back to within 5, and get a key sack on third down with 3 minutes left to force a punt. On 4th down with the ball at the 7, Cunningham finds Cris Carter in the back of the end zone for the winning touchdown.

Minnesota 22, Buffalo 21

#9 2000 Tennessee Titans at #8 1979 San Diego Chargers

In another tight game, the Chargers jump out to a 13-0 lead, but the Titans fight back. Fouts throws his third interception of the day with the score at 13-9, and the Titans go on an 18 play drive that features two fourth down conversions, and score with less than two minutes remaining. The Chargers get into field goal range, but Benirschke misses a 44 yard attempt that would have sent it to overtime.

Tennessee 16, San Diego 13

#12 2002 Philadelphia Eagles at #5 1984 Miami Dolphins

Marino throws 3 touchdowns, and rookie reserve running back Joe Carter has the game of his career, breaking a 55 yard run and finishing with 169 yards on 11 carries, as the Dolphins roll.

Miami 41, Philadelphia 14

#20 2000 New York Giants at #4 1967 Los Angeles Rams

Eddie Meador's punt return touchdown is the difference in a defensive slugfest.

Los Angeles 10, New York 3

#14 1974 Minnesota Vikings at #3 1994 Dallas Cowboys

Aikman throws four touchdown passes while Tarkenton throws three. The Vikings get one last chance at midfield to tie, but fail to pick up a first down.

Dallas 31, Minnesota 28

#11 1998 New York Jets at #6 1970 Detroit Lions

Testaverde has a huge game at Detroit, hitting Chrebet early for a big touchdown pass. The Jets pull away with two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, as Landry is knocked out of the game.

New York 32, Detroit 10

#10 2003 Kansas City Chiefs at #7 2006 Baltimore Ravens

The Baltimore Defense sacks Trent Green five times in the fourth quarter to preserve the win.

Baltimore 27, Kansas City 17

#15 2002 Oakland Raiders at #2 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh jumps out to a 17-0 halftime lead. Oakland fights back in the third, but Bleier's late touchdown run seals the win.

Pittsburgh 29, Oakland 13


#1 1998 Minnesota Vikings vs. #9 2000 Tennessee Titans

#4 1967 Los Angeles Rams vs. #5 1984 Miami Dolphins

#3 1994 Dallas Cowboys vs. #11 1998 New York Jets

#2 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. #7 2006 Baltimore Ravens

Posted in Insane ideas, Totally Useless | 10 Comments »

The WCB Tournament: the opening round games

20th March 2010

I talked about the general idea here, and then set the field of 80 here, so you will want to glance at those or this will make little sense. Today, we start the games with the opening round matchups between the teams seeded 13 through 20 in each region. You should be able to click on each matchup and see the What If Sports box score and play by play. As we know, games aren't played on paper, they are played inside tiny computers, so let's get to the action. We'll start in the Tampa Region.


#20 1992 Buffalo Bills at #13 1980 Philadelphia Eagles

The score was 10-7 in favor of Buffalo in the third quarter when Mark Kelso intercepted Ron Jaworski, leading to a Thurman Thomas TD catch. Philadelphia fought back in the fourth quarter, getting to within 3 points when Tony Franklin missed a 43 yard attempt that would have tied it right before the two minute warning. With the Eagles blitzing to stop the run and get the ball back, Thomas sealed the game when he broke through the line and found the endzone 63 yards later.

Buffalo 24, Philadelphia 21

Next up: at #4 1990 San Francisco 49ers

#19 2008 Arizona Cardinals at #14 1975 Dallas Cowboys

Swirling winds in Dallas made life difficult on the offenses, and the kickers combined to miss all three field goals beyond 40 yards. The Cardinals turned in a gutty performance on the road, and had first and goal trailing by 4 points right before the two minute warning. Lee Roy Jordan stepped in front of Kurt Warner's pass on third down to save Dallas.

Dallas 17, Arizona 13

Next up: at #3 2005 Indianapolis Colts

#18 1981 San Diego Chargers at #15 1999 Tennessee Titans

Rolf Benirschke's 49 yard field goal as time expired saved Kellen Winslow from having to come up with overtime heroics, sending Air Coryell on against the Purple People Eaters.

San Diego 13, Tennessee 10

Next up: at #2 1969 Minnesota Vikings

#17 1986 Denver Broncos at #16 1987 Cleveland Browns

The Drive. The Fumble. Revenge for Cleveland?

No. Elway hits Orson Mobley for Denver's only touchdown of the game with less than a minute left to win another close one.

Denver 10, Cleveland 7

Next up: at #1 2007 New England Patriots


#20 2000 New York Giants at #13 1981 Cincinnati Bengals

Kerry Collins throws for over 300 yards as the Giants jump to an early lead that they never relinquish.

New York Giants 27, Cincinnati 10

Next up: at #4 1967 Los Angeles Rams

#19 1985 New England Patriots at #14 1974 Minnesota Vikings

Fred Cox and Tony Franklin have a field goal battle. Minnesota was shutout through three quarters, but Tony Eason throws two costly interceptions, the last one coming at midfield with a minute left in a tie game, and Cox nails the game winner. Chuck Foreman goes for 165 total yards.

Minnesota 12, New England 9

Next up: at #3 1994 Dallas Cowboys

#18 1989 Denver Broncos at #15 2002 Oakland Raiders

Gannon outduels Elway as the Raiders jump to an early lead.

Oakland 26, Denver 14

Next up: at #2 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers

#17 1999 Tampa Bay Buccaneers at #16 1993 Buffalo Bills
The Bucs defense holds the Bills out of the endzone, but the Bucs offense cannot score. Andre Reed has 138 yards receiving on 3 catches.

Buffalo 15, Tampa Bay 0

Next up: at #1 1998 Minnesota Vikings


#20 1979 Los Angeles Rams at #13 1991 Buffalo Bills

Thurman Thomas is already on his way to the WCB rushing title with another strong performance, as the Bills move to 3-0 in the opening round.

Buffalo 17, Los Angeles 13

Next up: at #4 2006 San Diego Chargers

#19 1987 Denver Broncos at #14 1971 Miami Dolphins

Elway does his best Bob Griese impersonation, throwing only 13 passes as Denver tries to hold on to a lead. Miami fails twice in the red zone in the fourth and time runs out on Miami.

Denver 21, Miami 17

Next up: at #3 1983 Washington Redskins

#18 2003 Carolina Panthers at #15 1981 Dallas Cowboys

Jake Delhomme throws 3 interceptions, and Dallas cruises to a comfortable victory.

Dallas 30, Carolina 11

Next up: at #2 1992 San Francisco 49ers

#17 1995 Pittsburgh Steelers at #16 1979 Houston Oilers

If only the Luv Ya Blue Oilers didn't have to play the Steelers. Mike Reinfeldt of the Oilers gets 4 interceptions of Neil O'Donnell, but the offense can't get in the end zone, and the Steelers make their red zone trips count, pulling it out with a fourth quarter touchdown.

Pittsburgh 15, Houston 12

Next up: at #1 1968 Baltimore Colts


#20 1994 San Diego Chargers at #13 1976 Minnesota Vikings

Tarkenton throws for 3 touchdowns, and Foreman has another huge game, as the Vikings roll the Chargers.

Minnesota 30, San Diego 3

#19 1980 Atlanta Falcons at #14 2006 Chicago Bears

A 16-point second quarter is enough for the Falcons to take control of the game.

Atlanta 19, Chicago 13

Next up: at #3 1970 Minnesota Vikings

#18 1996 New England Patriots at #15 1982 Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins score two touchdowns in one decisive minute in the fourth quarter, on either side of a Bledsoe interception.

Miami 27, New England 17

Next up: at #2 1990 Buffalo Bills

#17 1993 Houston Oilers at #16 1966 Kansas City Chiefs

A spring snow storm hits the Midwest just in time to wreak havoc on the run-n-shoot Oilers. Moon throws three interceptions in bad conditions, while the Chiefs keep it on the ground for 231 rushing yards. The Oilers still have a chance because of four missed field goals by Kansas City (look for them to draft a Danish Norwegian kicker as a result), but come up two yards short of the goal line as the game ends.

Kansas City 17, Houston 10

Next up: at #1 2001 Saint Louis Rams

Posted in Insane ideas, Totally Useless | 39 Comments »

The WCB Tournament: the Field of 64, er, 80 is set

18th March 2010

Okay, so I looked at all the great comments and decided that I couldn't decide between teams. 20 at-large entries was not enough. On the other hand, I have to draw the line somewhere. So I expanded it to 80, so there will now be 36 at-large (non-Super Bowl) entries along with every Super Bowl losing team. Of course, this still means everyone will be disappointed by something. I settled on the 36 entries by some general combination of the following:

1. Find the teams with the best records not to make it (so, everyone that went 14-2 in a non-strike year should be in);
2. Then find the teams with the best SRS performance not to make the Super Bowl (so teams like 1970 Minnesota get in even though they were also just in the year before);
3. Then find teams that were really good for a three year stretch but never made the Super Bowl during that time (think Rams of the late 60's and 70's, or the 13-3 Chiefs from the mid-90's). I chose a representative year for these teams; and finally . . .
4. The last 9 entries were entirely based on commenter votes and adding teams from franchises not represented. I decided that the Texans would not get in (when your best team is 9-7, sorry), but the city of Houston is represented by the run-n-shoot and luv ya blue Oilers. The only other franchise not in is New Orleans. I could have gone with the 2006 Saints but decided that Saints fans can just bask in the glow and ignore this silly exercise. So, commenters pushed in teams like the aforementioned Oilers, the 1977 Raiders, and the 1976 New England Patriots (a very solid choice by all the numbers plus the way they lost, by the way).

Then, I had to seed this darn monstrosity. Trust me, I claim no expertise in this matter. I just set up a rough formula based on win percentage, SRS rating, and margin of defeat and distance from the SB winner in terms of points for each of the 80 teams. I gave myself the liberty to move a team up or down a line or two from what that kicked out. Then I seeded the teams by making sure no franchise could play itself before the Elite 8, and also tried to have a balance across eras. If your team got a bad seed, well they can play their way out.

The #1 seeds are:

2007 New England Patriots
1968 Baltimore Colts
1998 Minnesota Vikings
2001 Saint Louis Rams

All these teams rated highly in every category--outstanding win percentage, high power rating, and lost in close fashion in memorable games (the Colts being the only ones who lost by more than 3). Without further ado, here are the seeds in each region:

The Tampa Region
1 2007 New England Patriots
2 1969 Minnesota Vikings
3 2005 Indianapolis Colts
4 1990 San Francisco 49ers
5 1974 Oakland Raiders
6 1997 Green Bay Packers
7 1998 Atlanta Falcons
8 1973 Minnesota Vikings
9 1966 Dallas Cowboys
10 1996 Denver Broncos
11 1976 Los Angeles Rams
12 1999 Jacksonville Jaguars
13 1980 Philadelphia Eagles
14 1975 Dallas Cowboys
15 1999 Tennessee Titans
16 1987 Cleveland Browns
17 1986 Denver Broncos
18 1981 San Diego Chargers
19 2008 Arizona Cardinals
20 1992 Buffalo Bills

The New Orleans Region
1 1998 Minnesota Vikings
2 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers
3 1994 Dallas Cowboys
4 1967 Los Angeles Rams
5 1984 Miami Dolphins
6 1970 Detroit Lions
7 2006 Baltimore Ravens
8 1979 San Diego Chargers
9 2000 Tennessee Titans
10 2003 Kansas City Chiefs
11 1998 New York Jets
12 2002 Philadelphia Eagles
13 1981 Cincinnati Bengals
14 1974 Minnesota Vikings
15 2002 Oakland Raiders
16 1993 Buffalo Bills
17 1999 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
18 1989 Denver Broncos
19 1985 New England Patriots
20 2000 New York Giants

The Los Angeles Region
1 1968 Baltimore Colts
2 1992 San Francisco 49ers
3 1983 Washington Redskins
4 2006 San Diego Chargers
5 1978 Dallas Cowboys
6 1967 Oakland Raiders
7 1976 New England Patriots
8 1997 Kansas City Chiefs
9 1977 Oakland Raiders
10 1986 Chicago Bears
11 1988 Cincinnati Bengals
12 2009 Minnesota Vikings
13 1991 Buffalo Bills
14 1971 Miami Dolphins
15 1981 Dallas Cowboys****
16 1979 Houston Oilers
17 1995 Pittsburgh Steelers
18 2003 Carolina Panthers
19 1987 Denver Broncos
20 1979 Los Angeles Rams

The Houston Region
1 2001 Saint Louis Rams
2 1990 Buffalo Bills
3 1970 Minnesota Vikings
4 2004 Pittsburgh Steelers
5 1987 San Francisco 49ers
6 1977 Denver Broncos
7 2009 Indianapolis Colts
8 2004 Philadelphia Eagles
9 1970 Dallas Cowboys
10 1973 Los Angeles Rams
11 2005 Seattle Seahawks
12 1972 Washington Redskins
13 1976 Minnesota Vikings
14 2006 Chicago Bears
15 1982 Miami Dolphins
16 1966 Kansas City Chiefs
17 1993 Houston Oilers
18 1996 New England Patriots
19 1980 Atlanta Falcons
20 1994 San Diego Chargers

Okay, so there is the bracket. Tampa Region winner will play New Orleans winner; Houston winner will play Los Angeles winner. Next up is the opening round games between the #13- 20, #14-#19, #15-#18, and #16-#17 teams.

****see comment about 1981 Cowboys below

Posted in Insane ideas, Totally Useless | 20 Comments »

The What Coulda Been (WCB) Tournament: the at-large selections and seeding

12th March 2010

I suppose I could have titled this the March Sadness tournament as well.

Here's the idea. To mirror the NCAA Basketball Tournament that is going to be taking place over the next several weeks, we are going to do a 64-team field simulation tournament of NFL teams. I could have chosen any number of criteria, but this tournament is going to be for all those teams in the Super Bowl era who came up just a little short. It's the best of the not-quite-best. The woulda-shoulda-couldas. The "close only counts in hand grenades and horseshoes" crowd. Or if you prefer, the Vikings and Bills chance at redemption (or additional heartbreak).

History only remembers the victors, but here at the PFR blog we like to shine the light on some of history's other teams. So here is how it is going to work. Much like the NCAA tournament has several automatic selections that go to teams that win their conference, even if they would not be strong enough to get in as an at-large, every team that won its conference (or league from 1966-1969) and then lost in the Super Bowl gets an automatic bid into the tournament. That fills forty-four of our sixty-four slots.

The remaining twenty slots are going to be filled by at-large selections with teams that lost before reaching the Super Bowl. I have several somewhat loose criteria for making my at-large selections:
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Insane ideas, Totally Useless | 68 Comments »

Super Bowl III Play by Play

20th January 2010

With another championship game coming up between the heavily favored Colts and the brash, young Jets (with a coach named Ryan on the sidelines), I decided to pop in my Super Bowl III DVD and provide a running play by play of the game. This blog has never done a full play-by-play report of a game before, and I think it's fitting that we start with a game that was played over 40 years ago. I'll warn you in advance that this is not intended for those who crave short, thought-provoking or exciting reading. In fact, this post is almost certainly bad. If you're okay with that, grab your popcorn.

Super Bowl III Boxscore

"NBC Sports presents the third AFL/NFL World Championship Game.... the Super Bowl. The American Football League champions the New York Jets against the National Football League champions, the Baltimore Colts.... at the Orange Bowl."

Your sponsors for the game: Chrysler, Plymouth and Dodge, Schlitz, Gilette (selling the new adjustable, Techmatic razor) and TransWorld Airlines.

72 degrees, 15 mile per hour winds, 20% chance of rain.
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Posted in Rant, Totally Useless | 7 Comments »

Running back Personality Types, part two

1st September 2009

Yesterday, I explained exactly what the heck running back personality types were. Today I'm going to take a look at the top RBs in all 16 personality types.

For each group, I'm listing the running backs from most extreme (i.e., most representative of the group) to least extreme. Recall that the four categories are:

Exciting/Plodder: Was this running back's YPC average better or worse than most good running backs?

Vulture/Yardage: Was this running back better at gaining rushing yards or scoring rushing touchdowns? Remember that this is all relative to each runner. A guy can be an all-time great at rushing and a scoring, but he has to still be either a vulture or a yardage eater.

Catcher/Runner: Compared to the other top running backs, how valuable was this guy in the receiving game?

Big/Small: Was this guy heavier or lighter than average?

After each running back's name, I've also listed his rank in each of the categories. Suppose RB X is an E-V-C-B, and his rank is 1-4-66-25. That would mean that he was the best ever at yards per carry and had the 4th highest rushing TD/rushing yards ratio. Remember there are 134 RBs in the study, so 67 running backs are in each group. If this guy was a 66 in catching, that means he was essentially neutral, i.e., he was the 66th best pass-catching running back. Note that you can't have a 68 -- at that point, you'd become a 67 in the other category. If a guy that was a 63 in the big category was 10 slots lower (i.e., a little lighter), he'd be a 63 in the small category. So RB X being a 25 in size means he is heavier (for his era) than over 100 other backs, but only a little bit heavier on average than a typical RB in the big category.

Let's go to the results.
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Posted in Totally Useless | 13 Comments »

Running back Personality Types, part one

31st August 2009

A couple of weeks ago, Jason wrote two interesting posts on Passer Personality Types. If you haven't read them, be sure to check out Part I and Part II of that series. I decided to steal his idea and do something similar for running backs.

I looked at all RBs who:

  • had rushed for at least 2,000 yards since 1950.

There are 134 running backs who meet those descriptions. I then split the sample into two groups of 67 runners for each of the following four categories:

Exciting or Plodding?: Does the player average greater or fewer yards per carry than the average RB? To measure this, I compared each runner's YPC average to the league average for each season of his career. I then computed a weighted, career average for each RB. If a RB's career average was 4.8% above league average, he gets the label "exciting." Anything under that, and he gets the label of "plodding." Why 4.8%? As you might expect, on average, the 134 runners in this sample were better than average in most things, including yards per carry. To make sure I had an even number of high and low YPC guys, I chose to split the group in half as opposed to simply seeing who was above or below average. There were sixty-seven running backs who averaged 4.8% yards per rush above average for their careers, and 67 who had career averages below 4.8% more yards per rush than average.
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