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06 Dec 2011

Week 13 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

After 13 weeks, the Football Outsiders DVOA ratings still have the Houston Texans number one, although their overall rating drops this week. Green Bay is still number two, and Pittsburgh is the big mover of the week, climbing up to number three. In fact, in Weighted DVOA, which lowers the importance of early games, the Steelers are now second behind Houston and ahead of Green Bay. Remember, their worst game of the year by far was in Week 1.

So, let's talk about Green Bay some more. Their narrow win over the Giants actually drops their overall season DVOA slightly. I'll admit, the whole Packers situation is a bit frustrating. The majority of the football commentariat describes Green Bay as unbeatable, as head and shoulders ahead of the rest of the league. Those of us who look at things a little closer know that the Packers have flaws. We know there is a difference between "unbeatable" and "unbeaten." And yet... let's face it, it just looks weird to not have an undefeated 12-0 team on top of the DVOA ratings. It's even worse now that they've dropped to third in Weighted DVOA. Doesn't Green Bay look like the best team in the league to all of us, even if we don't think they should be ranked among the best teams of all time? 

In order to talk about Green Bay properly, I think we need to separate the concepts of "greatness" and "dominance." The Packers are by no means a dominant team. They are fairly one-dimensional; that dimension just happens to be performing off the charts. (Although as of this week, the Packers have fallen behind the 2007 Patriots for the best passing DVOA ever.) The defense has lived off turnovers, but that element isn't as sustainable as preventing yardage. The DVOA ratings suggest that the Packers aren't much different from two other teams, New England and New Orleans. The difference is primarily one of degree -- the Packers are just a little better on offense and a little better on defense.

TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
2 GB 26.5% 37.3% 1 12.4% 24 1.5% 12
5 NE 24.0% 34.5% 2 13.4% 26 2.9% 7
8 NO 19.1% 34.3% 3 14.8% 29 -0.4% 19

Some readers have suggested that perhaps total DVOA is not the proper measure to use when a team is so superlative in one area of the game. That's the "defense doesn't matter, because Aaron Rodgers can outscore anybody" theory. The problem with this theory is that it doesn't explain any team in the past. It's not an issue with the 2007 Patriots or 2010 Patriots, each of which ranked first in total DVOA as well as pass offense DVOA. It's not really an issue with the 2004 Colts either, who are fourth all-time in passing DVOA and were fourth in total DVOA in 2004. It's easy to argue that the Colts were better than the No. 3 Buffalo Bills that year, but hard to argue that they were truly better than either New England (14-2) or Pittsburgh (15-1). As far as total offensive DVOA goes (as opposed to just passing DVOA), the team that ranks fourth historically in offensive DVOA is the 2002 Kansas City Chiefs, who were the opposite of the Packers -- they finished fourth in the league in total DVOA but went just 8-8.

Is there something in the way DVOA is built that is missing an indicator of Green Bay's dominance? I don't think so. Instead of looking at Green Bay with DVOA, let's look at Green Bay with a fairly simple measure: points scored and allowed. Most readers know that we can estimate a team's wins and losses based on points scored and allowed, known as the Pythagorean projection. And here's the thing: By Pythagorean wins, Green Bay is not the best team in the league this year. Both San Francisco (9.6) and Houston (9.2) are ahead of Green Bay. Green Bay's totals of 420 points scored and 262 points allowed work out to a Pythagorean win percentage of .754, or 9.0 wins. The difference between Green Bay's actual win percentage and Pythagorean win percentage is the second-highest since the merger, behind only the 1992 Indianapolis Colts. And here's something perhaps more surprising: By Pythagorean projection, the 2011 Packers are no better than the 2010 Packers. The 2010 Packers had a Pythagorean win percentage of .757. It just so happens that last year's Packers fell far short of their Pythagorean projection, and this year's Packers are far ahead.

And now, a digression. We've been writing about the Pythagorean projection since we launched in 2003. We've always used 2.37 as the exponent in the equation; this is the exponent that now-Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey found was most accurate for the NFL when he worked for Stats Inc. two decades ago. However, that exponent is based on the offensive environment of the league. We all know the offensive environment is a bit different now. Teams are scoring more points and allowing more points. So the exponent has changed, and 2.37 is not the most accurate way to estimate Pythagorean wins anymore. Actually, if we want to be as accurate as possible, each team plays in a different offensive environment. Saints games feature lots of points. Jaguars games feature fewer points. The exponent should be different for each team.

Baseball Prospectus discovered this a few years ago and started replacing Pythagorean wins with something it called "Pythagenport" (after writer Clay Davenport). I've figured out a similar method to get better results for the NFL. Pythagenport finds a different exponent for each team based on their offensive environment. The equation that works best in the NFL is 1.5 * log ((PF+PA)/G). The improvement is slight. The correlation between Pythagorean wins and actual wins for 1990-2010 is .9120. The correlation between Pythagenport and actual wins for 1990-2010 is .9134. However, the improvement from Pythagenport is bigger in recent seasons because scoring has been higher in recent seasons. (In particular, it helps with the Colts, who have continuously outperformed the standard Pythagorean projection all decade.) We'll probably use the new method to update all the listings of Pythagorean wins on the site this offseason.

OK, digression ended. Let's get back to the Packers. No team this year has played in a stronger offensive environment than the Packers. Their Pythagenport exponent ends up as 2.63, and this gives us a more accurate projection of wins: 9.3 instead of 9.0. That moves the Packers ahead of Houston, but still they don't have the highest projection in the league. Here's a list of the top teams in the league this year by Pythagenport wins:

TEAM W-L PF PA PYTH PYTH
WINS
PPORT
EXP
PPORT PPORT
WINS
SF 10-2 288 161 .799 9.6 2.36 .798 9.6
GB 12-0 420 262 .754 9.0 2.63 .776 9.3
HOU 9-3 310 189 .764 9.2 2.43 .769 9.2
BAL 9-3 296 192 .736 8.8 2.41 .740 8.9
NO 9-3 393 269 .711 8.5 2.61 .729 8.8
NE 9-3 362 247 .712 8.5 2.56 .727 8.7
PIT 9-3 268 195 .680 8.2 2.38 .681 8.2
DET 7-5 333 277 .607 7.3 2.56 .616 7.4
CHI 7-5 291 242 .608 7.3 2.47 .612 7.3
DAL 7-5 283 244 .587 7.0 2.46 .590 7.1

Two notes. First, the Packers are better than last year if we use Pythagenport instead of Pythagorean (.776 to .759). Second, the lowest Pythagenport exponent, for those curious, belongs to Jacksonville at 2.27.

If the Packers are not a dominant team, how have they managed to go 12-0 this season? The main answer is consistency. The Packers have been absurdly consistent. After this week, the Packers lead the league with 3.3% variance. If that number holds until the end of the season, it would be the lowest variance of any team in the DVOA era, surpassing last year's Atlanta Falcons who were at 4.9%.

(For those of you who wonder how variance is computed, it's just the "VAR" function from Excel used on all individual single-game DVOA ratings for each team.)

Of course, there's a reasonable chance that the Packers' variance will change with four more games to play, any of which could be particularly good or bad. So I went back to compare the Packers' variance through 12 games with every team's variance through 12 games, rather than through the end of the season. Using this measure, the Packers finish second. Surprisingly, this year's Atlanta Falcons finish third. But the team that ranks first is even more interesting:

Lowest Variance after 12 Games, 1992-2011
Year Team Var. DVOA W-L
2005 IND 3.1% 39.2% 12-0
2011 GB 3.3% 26.5% 12-0
2011 ATL 3.4% 17.6% 7-5
2007 JAC 3.4% 15.1% 8-4
2006 SD 3.6% 28.1% 10-2
1994 PIT 4.0% 23.0% 9-3
2002 NYG 4.0% -9.0% 6-6
1999 OAK 4.3% 23.3% 6-6
2003 CAR 4.5% 2.0% 8-4
1999 MIN 4.5% 0.4% 7-5

 

Yes, that's the also-undefeated 2005 Colts who were both more consistent and more dominant than the 2011 Packers. As we all know, that team didn't end up going undefeated, and it didn't win the Super Bowl. The Colts lost to San Diego in Week 15, lost to Seattle (while resting starters) in Week 16, and then lost to Pittsburgh in their first playoff game. Like Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning was a pretty darn good quarterback. But he eventually did run into a couple of defenses that could slow him down a little bit.

The 1999 Raiders provide an interesting look at how even a team with both quality and consistency doesn't necessarily get all the breaks. The Raiders played very well but faced the second-hardest schedule in the league (through Week 13 of 1999) and played almost nothing but close games. Their six losses were all by a touchdown or less. Four of their six wins were by a touchdown or less, and another one was by just nine points. The team ended up third in overall DVOA for the season and didn't even manage a winning record, finishing at 8-8.

So, let's circle back to the issue I brought up a few paragraphs ago, that we need to separate the concepts of "greatness" and "dominance." I think it's fair to say that the Packers are a great team, even if they aren't a dominant one. If the Packers manage to consistently play well like this over the next four games, that's a great accomplishment. And if the Packers actually manage to go 19-0 and win the Super Bowl with a bunch of seven-point wins, there is going to be an interesting argument over whether they truly qualify as "the greatest team in NFL history." Does the greatest team need to be the most dominant? However, the toughest tests the Packers will face will not be in their remaining four games. The toughest test will be the playoffs. That's why our current playoff odds report suggests the chances of the Packers going 16-0 are about 10 percentage points higher than the chances of the Packers winning the Super Bowl.

One other thing to consider when pondering the Packers' chances of going 16-0 or 19-0:

  OFF DVOA RK DEF DVOA RK ST DVOA RK TOTAL DVOA RK
Weeks 1-7 40.5% 1 7.9% 19 -0.1% 16 32.5% 1
Weeks 8-13 32.9% 2 18.6% 29 3.8% 10 18.1% 9

Speaking of the playoff odds report, once again this week we've produced two versions: one which gives each team's Weighted DVOA as it currently stands, and one that attempts to adjust for the injured quarterbacks in Chicago, Houston, and Kansas City. In past weeks, I've reduced weighted DVOA by our rough estimate of the general difference between an average quarterback and a replacement-level quarterback, -13.3% DVOA. However, that's not how things have worked out in the two weeks since these teams changed quarterbacks. The Houston and Chicago offenses have declined significantly, while the Kansas City offense has barely declined at all. So it makes sense to adjust our ratings a bit more for Houston and Chicago, a bit less for Kansas City. What I ended up doing this week was figuring out the difference between each team's offensive DVOA before the quarterback change and after; then I reduced each team's Weighted DVOA by half that amount. It's a bit of a conservative estimate, but there's also no guarantee that just because Caleb Hanie had a horrible game this week, that means he's going to have a horrible game every week.

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings through 13 weeks of 2011, measured by our proprietary Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) system that breaks down every single play and compares a team's performance to the league average based on situation in order to determine value over average. (Explained further here.)

OFFENSE and DEFENSE DVOA are adjusted to consider all fumbles, kept or lost, as equal value. SPECIAL TEAMS DVOA is adjusted for type of stadium (warm, cold, dome, Denver) and week of season. WEIGHTED DVOA represents an attempt to figure out how a team is playing right now, as opposed to over the season as a whole, by making recent games more important than earlier games.

As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE.

To save people some time, please use the following format for all complaints:

<team> is clearly ranked <too high/too low> because <reason unrelated to DVOA>. <subjective ranking system> is way better than this. <unrelated team-supporting or -denigrating comment, preferably with poor spelling and/or chat-acceptable spelling>

TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
WEIGHTED
DVOA
RANK W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
1 HOU 31.0% 1 33.6% 1 9-3 19.8% 5 -9.6% 5 1.7% 11
2 GB 26.5% 2 23.5% 3 12-0 37.3% 1 12.4% 24 1.5% 12
3 PIT 25.8% 6 32.3% 2 9-3 20.0% 4 -3.4% 9 2.4% 9
4 BAL 24.2% 5 20.5% 6 9-3 8.7% 12 -19.4% 1 -3.9% 28
5 NE 24.0% 3 23.2% 4 9-3 34.5% 2 13.4% 26 2.9% 7
6 NYJ 21.3% 4 21.1% 5 7-5 4.0% 18 -13.0% 2 4.3% 4
7 SF 20.3% 8 19.1% 9 10-2 0.8% 20 -11.3% 3 8.2% 2
8 NO 19.1% 7 19.8% 7 9-3 34.3% 3 14.8% 29 -0.4% 19
9 ATL 17.6% 10 19.8% 8 7-5 8.7% 13 -8.5% 6 0.4% 17
10 CHI 12.6% 9 13.1% 10 7-5 -8.3% 25 -10.6% 4 10.3% 1
11 TEN 11.5% 12 10.5% 12 7-5 7.9% 15 1.9% 12 5.5% 3
12 NYG 9.3% 14 11.7% 11 6-6 13.9% 7 5.8% 18 1.3% 13
13 DET 8.3% 11 8.5% 13 7-5 8.6% 14 -6.1% 8 -6.4% 32
14 DAL 4.5% 13 4.0% 15 7-5 8.8% 11 2.9% 14 -1.4% 23
15 PHI 1.2% 16 2.1% 16 4-8 10.1% 9 10.6% 22 1.8% 10
16 CIN 0.9% 15 1.1% 17 7-5 5.6% 17 5.5% 16 0.9% 14
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
WEEK
WEIGHTED
DVOA
RANK W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
17 MIA 0.6% 18 4.3% 14 4-8 2.9% 19 3.2% 15 0.8% 15
18 OAK -2.9% 17 -6.0% 21 7-5 5.9% 16 8.2% 20 -0.6% 21
19 DEN -4.3% 20 -1.8% 18 7-5 -2.9% 23 5.6% 17 4.2% 5
20 CAR -5.6% 24 -3.3% 19 4-8 18.6% 6 18.6% 31 -5.6% 30
21 SD -5.7% 22 -5.5% 20 5-7 13.1% 8 16.2% 30 -2.6% 27
22 BUF -5.8% 19 -14.2% 23 5-7 9.4% 10 13.7% 28 -1.6% 25
23 SEA -9.1% 27 -7.0% 22 5-7 -8.3% 26 1.2% 11 0.4% 18
24 TB -11.5% 21 -14.9% 24 4-8 -0.3% 21 13.6% 27 2.4% 8
25 WAS -11.8% 25 -15.5% 27 4-8 -10.3% 27 1.1% 10 -0.5% 20
26 CLE -16.0% 26 -15.1% 26 4-8 -6.2% 24 9.0% 21 -0.8% 22
27 MIN -16.4% 28 -20.7% 29 2-10 -1.8% 22 12.2% 23 -2.4% 26
28 JAC -17.7% 23 -17.8% 28 3-9 -21.4% 31 -7.6% 7 -3.9% 29
29 KC -20.3% 29 -15.0% 25 5-7 -18.1% 30 2.6% 13 0.5% 16
30 ARI -22.9% 30 -22.3% 30 5-7 -13.8% 29 12.6% 25 3.6% 6
31 STL -36.1% 31 -34.3% 31 2-10 -26.8% 32 7.9% 19 -1.5% 24
32 IND -38.9% 32 -40.0% 32 0-12 -12.7% 28 20.3% 32 -5.9% 31
  • NON-ADJUSTED TOTAL DVOA does not include the adjustments for opponent strength or the adjustments for weather and altitude in special teams, and only penalizes offenses for lost fumbles rather than all fumbles.
  • ESTIMATED WINS uses a statistic known as "Forest Index" that emphasizes consistency as well as DVOA in the most important specific situations: red zone defense, first quarter offense, and performance in the second half when the score is close. It then projects a number of wins adjusted to a league-average schedule and a league-average rate of recovering fumbles. Teams that have had their bye week are projected as if they had played one game per week.
  • PAST SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents played this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative). It is not adjusted for which games are home or road.
  • FUTURE SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents still left to play this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative). It is not adjusted for which games are home or road.
  • VARIANCE measures the statistical variance of the team's weekly DVOA performance. Teams are ranked from most consistent (#1, lowest variance) to least consistent (#32, highest variance).



TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
1 HOU 31.0% 9-3 33.9% 8.5 5 -1.4% 25 -8.0% 29 16.2% 23
2 GB 26.5% 12-0 28.3% 9.7 1 -1.1% 24 -0.6% 19 3.3% 1
3 PIT 25.8% 9-3 25.9% 8.5 4 -0.3% 22 -12.0% 31 15.8% 22
4 BAL 24.2% 9-3 22.0% 8.8 2 4.8% 3 -14.9% 32 22.8% 29
5 NE 24.0% 9-3 23.5% 8.8 3 -0.9% 23 -5.4% 27 10.1% 10
6 NYJ 21.3% 7-5 20.0% 7.3 9 1.9% 11 -2.3% 24 13.4% 18
7 SF 20.3% 10-2 25.9% 7.8 8 -3.9% 32 -10.6% 30 4.9% 3
8 NO 19.1% 9-3 18.6% 8.1 6 -2.8% 28 1.8% 16 13.1% 15
9 ATL 17.6% 7-5 14.0% 7.9 7 2.4% 10 -3.9% 25 3.4% 2
10 CHI 12.6% 7-5 11.9% 7.0 11 1.5% 14 -0.9% 20 13.3% 16
11 TEN 11.5% 7-5 15.9% 7.0 10 -0.1% 21 -1.6% 23 17.5% 25
12 NYG 9.3% 6-6 6.9% 6.9 12 0.5% 19 4.6% 9 18.1% 26
13 DET 8.3% 7-5 8.8% 6.9 13 3.1% 9 0.4% 17 8.2% 8
14 DAL 4.5% 7-5 9.3% 6.4 15 -2.5% 27 2.1% 15 18.3% 27
15 PHI 1.2% 4-8 1.4% 5.9 19 0.6% 18 3.6% 12 13.5% 19
16 CIN 0.9% 7-5 6.9% 6.6 14 3.2% 7 -1.0% 21 6.5% 5
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PAST
SCHED
RANK FUTURE
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
17 MIA 0.6% 4-8 1.4% 6.4 16 1.9% 12 10.2% 4 13.3% 17
18 OAK -2.9% 7-5 1.7% 6.1 17 1.9% 13 2.2% 14 23.9% 31
19 DEN -4.3% 7-5 -2.5% 6.0 18 1.5% 15 2.6% 13 7.2% 6
20 CAR -5.6% 4-8 -2.5% 5.4 21 -3.4% 31 14.0% 1 16.8% 24
21 SD -5.7% 5-7 -0.2% 5.1 23 0.1% 20 5.9% 8 10.7% 11
22 BUF -5.8% 5-7 -6.1% 5.7 20 4.2% 4 3.6% 11 27.3% 32
23 SEA -9.1% 5-7 -6.9% 5.4 22 0.6% 17 -6.5% 28 12.1% 13
24 TB -11.5% 4-8 -18.7% 5.1 24 12.0% 1 -0.3% 18 20.9% 28
25 WAS -11.8% 4-8 -15.3% 5.0 25 -3.2% 30 4.5% 10 12.6% 14
26 CLE -16.0% 4-8 -10.3% 4.8 26 -3.0% 29 13.2% 2 5.1% 4
27 MIN -16.4% 2-10 -14.5% 4.4 28 3.2% 8 7.0% 7 13.8% 20
28 JAC -17.7% 3-9 -19.4% 4.3 29 8.2% 2 -5.3% 26 15.1% 21
29 KC -20.3% 5-7 -19.5% 4.4 27 0.7% 16 10.1% 5 23.3% 30
30 ARI -22.9% 5-7 -16.7% 4.1 30 -2.5% 26 -1.0% 22 8.5% 9
31 STL -36.1% 2-10 -39.9% 2.8 31 3.8% 5 9.5% 6 7.6% 7
32 IND -38.9% 0-12 -43.9% 2.1 32 3.3% 6 12.2% 3 10.8% 12

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 06 Dec 2011

359 comments, Last at 11 Dec 2011, 12:50am by JCD

Comments

314
by Eddo :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 10:35pm

The 1996 Packers were - pardon my French - a fucking awesome team. Favre in his prime was much better than the average fan remembers, and their defense was tremendous. I would not argue with Will's "best team of the salary cap era" statement.

321
by TomC :: Thu, 12/08/2011 - 12:54am

Furthermore, they were easy to root for. Bunch of likeable guys and some future HOFers and other quality veterans that hadn't won anything yet. I think it says a lot that I and a lot of Bears fans I know---barely 10 years removed from the Forrest Gregg/Charles Martin era---were pulling for that GB team in the playoffs.

344
by DisplacedPackerFan :: Thu, 12/08/2011 - 7:07pm

Bears fans rooted for that Team!? Wow!

I have a love hate relationship with the 96 team. Basic Training started Aug 96, then when it got done (just before Halloween) I went straight to AIT, which got done early Jan 97. I only lived 21 miles from post (Fort Lost in the Woods), and starting in late Nov I got leave most weekends from Friday at 6pm till report back by Sunday at 4pm. So I only got to see like 3 of the regular season games. I was still on post for the San Fran play off game and didn't get to see it live either. I did get to see the conference finals, but I was hospitalized for the Super Bowl due to insanely severe strep that I picked up when I had to go back on post a couple days before.

Now family did record all the games on VHS (since they were still in WI) and mailed them down to me so I did get to watch all of them eventually (my then fiance was also a Packers fan so we would try to watch one or two of the games during some of those weekend leaves but often got distracted :) ).

So a lot of my following that team was from newspaper clippings in letters which I had to be careful about as you weren't allowed newspapers while in basic they were fine in AIT. Also while mail was sent from friends and family every week, the military didn't always deliver it every week and some of it came out of order.

It was an interesting way to follow the team and while it was awesome to hear about it sucked that I didn't really get to "participate" in it. I realize my beef should be with the military but I'm still glad I served so it gets deflected a bit. :)

But yeah that was a great great team.

208
by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 9:08am

What I want to know is Karl Cuba's angst about Green Bay. WHenever the NFC championship game comes up as a topic its Karl, not Bears fans, who takes the stance that Chicago could have won that game easily if not for x, y, and z. And this season it's posts about what Green Bay is not versus what GB is.

Did Mike McCarthy spit in his Cheerios?

And while somewhat biased I don't see posts here by Packer fans crowing about the team. Cripes, I read posts criticizing Packer fans for not enjoying the team and to stop b*tching about the defense. There is no recurring "Packers ROOOL!" nonsense

Unless I am missing something written in code

214
by milo :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 9:54am

Buy a mirror.

215
by Mr Shush :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 9:57am

Karl Cuba's brother is a Bears fan, so I guess there could be some homerism-by-proxy.

I think his posts are largely pretty reasonable, though.

219
by Karl Cuba :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 10:32am

I really don't like the post facto narrative that often gets attached to Superbowl winners. The playoff system that determines the champion rewards what is basically a winning streak. You have to be good to make the playoffs and then you have to be very good and often a bit lucky to win three or four games in a row against the other good playoff teams. Winning the superbowl doesn't automatically mean that you are the 'best' team in a given year. Superbowl wins should be enjoyed and can never be taken away from the winners but I find the attribution of inevitability to be misconstrued on some occasions.

As for last year's NFC Championship game, I think I might have mentioned it three, maye four times and each time it was in response to somebody saying either that Caleb Hanie gave the Bears a better chance to win, which is just silly (I also got annoyed with people questioning Cutler's toughness, which anyone who has seen him get beaten to hell the past three years knows is daft) or in response to assertions that the Packers were clearly the better team in a game where their offense was pretty much shut down after the first quarter by an outstanding effort from the Bears' defense, Chicago was without their quarterback and the winning score was an interception return by a defensive tackle. If it helps I thought the Pack would beat Pittsburgh because they had two great coaches, McCarthy and Capers, to Pittsburgh's one in Lebeau in a contest between two teams of approximately even talent. I think I might have brought it up in preseason when people were writing the Bears off as not even being a playoff contender. In that case I was mystified as to why the team that won the NFC North and was beaten in the championship game was being dismissed and I think that their run of success before losing Cutler vindicated that comment. It was more about disrespect for the Bears than a dislike of Green Bay. I also thought that the Packers should have been favoured for the NFC North this year because they are the younger team, which I felt gave them a better chance to improve and avoid injury.

I really don't have an issue with the Packers or McCarthy and I don't eat cheerios. I admire their offensive precision and think Rogers is playing at a level I haven't seen since before Steve Young hurt his shoulder, which is about as high praise as I can give considering when I first began watching the NFL. I have tried to point out what I see as misguided attempts to find fault in DVOA for not lauding them as much as some of their fans would like.

I think the Pack have been lucky a few times this year and are closer to a 10-2 team than a 12-0 team but in my idea of how the NFL works that means that if they had been unlucky they could be at 8-4 right now if they had been unfortunate with injuries, bad officiating or importune bounces of the ball. In my opinion any team on a winning streak like the one the Packers are currently enjoying will have benefitted from good fortune. If it helps, I think that the 49ers have also been a bit lucky and are more like a 9-3 team than their 10-2 record.

I'm not trying to gripe and I don't have an axe to grind, I just like to discuss football in an attempt to further my own understanding of football and how the game works. Perhaps I've been posting too much recently as a result of procrastinating to avoid getting some rather tedious work done.

224
by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 10:54am

Got it.

I agree that GB is more of a 10-2/9-3 team. This whole 'defense plays better when needed' may be supported by the numbers, but I think it's nonsense as to being a real and tangible skill.

In baseball teams stress 'up the middle' defense. right now the Packers up the middle are atrocious. Nose tackle/two inside backers and safeties all stink.

And all the talk of depth has me a bit puzzled as does Capers being some sort of maestro. Because one would think that a combination of real depth and a guy being a whizerati would have the same things NOT happening on the field. That is the crux of the concern. that the same plays keep succeeding.

227
by Will Allen :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 11:01am

I largely agree, which is why I have a special category for championship teams which make their three playoff games completely noncompetitive contests. There's an element of luck in that as well, of course, but it really is quite an accomplishment to win the most games in the regular season, and then just destroy three teams in the divisional, conference championship, and Super Bowl rounds.

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by QQ (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 5:53pm

Winning all 3 Games on the Road and then Winning a Super Bowl is a pretty good indicator of more than just getting hot at the right time:

1997 Denver-Won all 3 Road Games in Playoffs and then Super Bowl, Repeated in 1998

2005 Pittsburgh-Won all 3 Road Games in Playoffs and then Super Bowl, key players on team served as foundation for 2 more SB trips (1 Win, 1 Loss)

2007 Giants-Won all 3 Road Games in Playoffs and then Super Bowl, was rolling in 2008 and then Burress shot himself, finished 4th in DVOA

2010 Packers-Won all 3 Road Games and then SB, so far 12-0 in 2011

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by Will Allen :: Thu, 12/08/2011 - 11:22am

I think you are largely discounting the role of luck in a victory which is by a margin of 7 points or less. It is safe to say that if you fail to win a championship, if one penalty flag is not thrown, or thrown, or one fumble bounces one way instead of another way, or one easy interception is dropped or not dropped, you simply were not an extremely dominating team by historical standards.

The '89 49ers, as an example, and in contrast, simply removed randomness from the equation, by winning three playoff games by the scores of 41-13, 30-3, and 55-10.

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by bravehoptoad :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 10:55am

And while somewhat biased I don't see posts here by Packer fans crowing about the team. Cripes, I read posts criticizing Packer fans for not enjoying the team and to stop b*tching about the defense. There is no recurring "Packers ROOOL!" nonsense

Control-F. QQ. Carriage return.

Carriage return. Carriage return. Carriage return....

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by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 10:58am

Okey dokey

I was focused on stuff from you and other well established Packer fans. didn't make the connection.

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by nat :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 11:45am

I actually did what you jokingly suggest. QQ sees everything through cheese-colored glasses. But taken individually, his comments aren't that over the top.

I don't agree with him. But he's a fanboy with some rationale for his fandom.

As for the great GB dominance debate, I don't see much difference in skill needed to hold on to win a one-score game vs. to come back to win a one-score game. Maybe a little (see the recent Pats/Colts game) when the winning team sends in a lot of scrubs to screw up a blowout. But most close games are close because the two teams' starters played almost equally well.

So QQ's argument that the Packers are dominant because they haven't had to come back to win doesn't hold much water for me. When I compare the 2007 Patriots and the 2011 Packers, I see teams with three or four close games through twelve games. One team had blowouts in all nine other games. The other had three blowouts and five two-score wins.

For me, at least, five more dominating wins trumps the difference in the mere order that scores happened in three or four games. FWIW, the 2005 Colts also look better than this year's Packers by that same measure.

Sure, the Packers can go 16-0. They may do that and win the Super Bowl, too. But the scores so far (and DVOA) point to their being the weakest of the recent 12-0 teams.

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by NYMike :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 4:45pm

You know, as a Packer fan who's old enough to remember the 1962 Thanksgiving game (but not old enough not to have cried during the 1962 Thanksgiving game), I can live with being the weakest 12-0 team of all time.

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by nat :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 5:26pm

Yes, it ain't a bad thing to be, is it?

If they win out through the Super Bowl, it won't matter how dominant they are or aren't. It will still be historic.

The Pats fan in me wants the Packers to lose a game in the regular season. But the Miami-hater wants them to run the table. It'll be fun regardless of how it turns out.

Go Packers! Fail Packers! Whatever Packers!

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by DisplacedPackerFan :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 6:36pm

Go Packers! Fail Packers! Whatever Packers!

Win!

Thanks for the late afternoon chuckle for so succinctly summarizing your rooting situation.

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by Paul M (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 11:26am

If i can presume to speak for Packer fans (I know, that's a dangerous presumption), i would say the following:

1. We're having a lot of fun. Why wouldn't/shouldn't we??

2. We haven't yet been hit by that dread feeling that disaster is sure to be upon us (disaster defined as a playoff or SB defeat-- streak or no streak), though I suspect it (the feeling, that is) is lurking pretty close by;

3. We are simply amazed at our good fortune that this QB has turned out so great after all the hoo-hah with him and the Previous Guy-- it is Montana-Young all over again and, who knows?, maybe even better than that.

4. That said, we know he's not the "greatest of all time" and we get a little squeamish when we hear analysts such as Trent Dilfer, and others who have played the game, say he's playing the position as well as or better than anyone they've ever seen-- Tom Brady and Peyton Manning still walk the earth, not to mention Montana and Unitas before all the rule changes. But we revel in the likes of Skip Bayless trying to knock him down every week, because we know that fuels his desire to win and show 'em even more.

5. We know our team is not dominant in the sense of the 1985 Bears or some other great SB teams-- our eyes are open every week, after all-- but we also know they are perhaps etching their own place in some circle of greatness with the way they win and the fact that they are doing it every week. And while it is technically not the same team, we carry those 6 closing wins last year into this experience-- since all were do-or-die affairs-- and wonder if they can truly win 25 in a row, shatter all the records, consign Mercury Morris to oblivion--and then we have something pretty darn special for all time.

6. Our knock around here-- for those of us who care about something like DVOA and its merits/faults (more former than latter)-- has been that we think our defense has been underappreciated. (I have started to reconsider-- Sunday was a pretty big fact to ignore) And thus our team's prominence/greatness/whatever is being undersold. We remember all those stops last year when it really mattered. And the interceptions.

7. We think our franchise is neat-- not to be insufferable about it, but it has a unique position in American professional sports because of its ownership structure, location and proud tradition. Liverpool without the awful burden of John Henry's money. So we get a little too proud sometimes.

8. I for one will still be here if/when we lose-- and will be fascinated to see how Rodgers' career pans out when the streak is over and we can get back to more normal comparisons. They are a very young team and should be a contender for years to come, just as the Patriots have been and the Colts were until this year.

9. So I hope you can accept us for what we are right now and will be over the next two months (we hope) and realize that this sort of deal only happens so often-- yes, some other team will get on a roll a couple years down the road, but I don't think it will be a roll quite like this one. But we'll have to see and that's all the fun, isn't it??

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by Eddo :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 11:37am

Paul M, I must say that you've really changed your tune, and I commend you for that.

I think that really, most of the people complaining about Packer fans are complaining mostly about QQ's posts. That, and a few drive-by posters, but they haven't been sticking around to re-reply to people.

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by Arnie Herber (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 12:00pm

Thanks, Paul. I'm a Packer fan who wanted to say basically those sort of things; so I'll just concur with you. Its been a fun and impressive season, and even if we lose a game (which is certainly quite possible) it will still be memorable.

I'll add that, as FO makes clear, luck has a role to play in individual games, so no statistic will ever perfectly analyze or predict. Thus, I don't mind if their numbers don't have us at #1 (as long as we're close to it). FO's stats do a pretty good job of helping us understand performance, and thats why I appreciate them.

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by Will Allen :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 11:41am

Please, let us not have any talk of "disaster" from the fan of a team which has won 7 championships in the last fifty years, two in the last 15 years, and is a very good bet to win another this year. There is nothing that could happen on a football field, short of a life-changing injury, which could reasonably fall into that category for a fan of the Packers.

I write this in good humor, as a fan of a team which lost in four straight Super Bowl appearances, and has now has lost in five straight conference championship appearances, two of the last three in overtime. And is now 2-10.

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by Paul M (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 11:56am

Ha! Ha! Point taken, and accepted. We all knew he'd get you in the end-- we'd seen that movie before. Was it worth it? All the disarray of the last two years-- does that outweigh the "almost" that Number Four gave you?? To be perfectly honest, never in my wildest dreams did I think he was capable of that type of season. And to get Shakesperean, or Greek, for a minute, I guarantee you it is eating him alive to see Rodgers doing what he's doing. Seven more wins and he's been trumped-- forever-- and he knows it. There may never be a jersey retirement ceremony, not because the Packers don't want it (and up until now, they haven't) but because Favre doesn't want it.

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by Will Allen :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 12:20pm

Look, they kicked the hell out of the eventual Super Bowl champion, in front of the eventual champ's home, very noisy, crowd, and largely only lost because they dropped the ball, and had some mildly bad fumble recovery luck. People forget that the Saints dropped the ball as well, but had it bounce back to them, or bounce out of bounds, and people who focus on Favre's bad throw at the end of regulation neglect the fact that he DECISIVELY outplayed Brees on that day, who had the good fortune of having club-handed Viking dbs trying to catch his bad throws. Yeah, it was worth it, and my only regret is that Favre did not go full A-hole the year previously, and force his release, rather than accept a trade to the Jets. The 2008 Vikings team was likely the best team in football on the line of scrimmage, or at least as good as the Steelers, and with competent qb play would have been an extremely good bet to win it all, or at leat get to the last game.

They are in shape they are in now because of a disastrous final draft of the old ownership group, and due to a series of bad draft picks over the last few years, which I can only hope was largely due the coach who was fired last year.

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by ammek :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 12:52pm

I concur with most of that, although I've started to have a little less fun watching the Packers recently — it's not just that the defense is bad, but that it's bad in almost exactly the same way, week in, week out. I'm convinced it's going to cost Green Bay the title, and waste a once-in-a-lifetime season from the pass offense. I have other minor gripes too — has a coach ever persisted with a playbook of rushing plays that don't work for as long as McCarthy has? — but the essence of the problem is that I sit down on Sundays ready to watch an offensive show that I know I'll probably never get to see again, and end up obsessing over the defense's inability to do anything useful at all except intercepting the ball.

Again, maybe this says more about my frame of mind than anything else, but whereas you remember the "stops when it really mattered" and the interceptions, I remember all the multi-score leads the Packers had blown beforehand. I probably need to loosen up!

One area where we agree strongly is the desire to silence Mercury Morris. I think that would be my favorite thing about going 19-0.

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by bravehoptoad :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 1:02pm

I like to casually mention that the Dolphins were the second team that went undefeated in a season all the way through a championship. The '48 Browns don't get the love.

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by dryheat :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 1:20pm

The AAFC Days? For good reason. It would kind of be like LSU dropping down to division 3 and going undefeated through the regular season and tournament.

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by bravehoptoad :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 4:42pm

Not at all. The Browns won the '49 AAFC, too, and then the NFL and AAFC merged, and the Browns won the '50 NFL championship with a record of 10-2.

If the AAFC were a bunch of chumps, then the NFL were, too, judging by the Browns at the time.

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by dryheat :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 4:56pm

Did the Browns not win every AAFC Championship? And I believe they were the only successful one after the merger.

I'm not suggesting the 1950 Browns weren't good, I'm suggesting that there's a reason why their undefeated season isn't talked about nearly as much, or given the same weight, as the Dolphins.

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by bravehoptoad :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 7:16pm

Not given the same weight? They're not given any weight at all, or talked about at all.

Didn't the '72 Dolphins play the weakest schedule in the history of the NFL, or something close to that? It's not only the Browns that deserve asterisks.

Another successful AAFC team...SF 49ers! Woo! Million-dollar backfield!

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by Arnie Herber (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2011 - 8:16pm

And along with giving props to the Browns, on our list of "undefeated" teams lets not forget the 12-0-1 Packers of 1929 - or the Canton Bulldogs, who went two straight years, 1922 and 1923, without a loss! (23-0-3).

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by Paul M (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 1:07pm

McCarthy does have some play-calling quirks-- I am charting the team's offense this season and at some point will write it up.

He is very aggressive (i.e, passes on all downs) from GB's 31-50, but, curiously, gets more conservative from the Opposition's 49-30 as the Packers are frankly a poor first down team in that part of the field. Which makes me think there is a lot of "setting up" in those first down calls for a strike toward the end zone or red zone on 2nd down.

But he has basically given up on the run inside the other team's 30-- they did it some in the first 4-5 weeks, but almost never recently. Packers red zone performance is really, really good and a direct product of passing the ball. They are more successful (based on first down conversion rate or TD rate in the case of 1st and goal) from 3rd and short (0-4 yds) inside the other team's 30 than in any other 3rd and short situation, which seems counterintuitive given the short field. Which also speaks to Rodgers' ability to read defenses and his receiver's ability to get to a spot where he can deliver the ball (Driver on Sunday)

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by ammek :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 1:21pm

That's really interesting. Thanks. What a season to be charting the Packers!

Also, it feels good to be discussing the offense again. Phew!

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by Tom W (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 1:28pm

I think one should keep in mind that the Packers played the Giants, the only team they've played that kept the score close against them for the entire game, without starting inside LB's A.J. Hawk and Desmond Bishop, and ended the game without Charles Woodson, who appeared to suffer a concussion. It's not like the Packers supposedly terrible defense has been giving up 35 points every week.

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by Tom W (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 1:40pm

Given that the 1962 Packers, led by Bart Starr, Jim Taylor, Ray Nitschke, Forrest Gregg, etc. in their primes, were probably one of the top five teams in NFL history, it's unlikely that this year's team will even go down as the greatest team in franchise history, whether they lose or not. Maybe I'm an exception, but as a Packer fan, I'm really not all that concerned about that, especially with four games left in the regular season.

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by QQ (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 6:01pm

A Strong Argument exists that 96 GB is greater than 62 GB. In Epstein's Book of Dominance, 96 GB grades out as the Greatest Ever when ranked according to standard deviation.

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by dmstorm22 :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 6:39pm

One out of two teams to lead the NFL in scoring and scoring defense.

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by tuluse :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 5:56pm

Paul, I have to give you credit for being very reasonable. You should enjoy the season the Packers are having. Revel in it. Expect the best, I'm expecting the Packers to win it all.

You can even point out what you think are flaws in DVOA. It's certainly not perfect. I spent a large amount of time and screen space last year arguing DVOA underrated the Bears because it didn't count special teams enough.

The only problem I'm having with Packers fans right now (and not really you), is 1) the argument that the defense "does what it needs to." Which is basically like saying "the Packers are undefeated because they haven't lost." It might be true, but it's not interesting or insightful. And 2) I'm sick and tired of hearing how the Packers haven't trailed in X games in the 4th quarter. It does not need to be brought up in ever single thread 10 times.

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by 0tarin :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 6:14pm

Seconded on the last paragraph. I don't know if Pack fans are as infuriating this year as the Pats ones were in 2007, and I suspect that much as others have suggested, any fans who taste such success get to be their own particular brand of insufferable. However, the arguments I'm most weary of seeing repeated are the "haven't trailed in the 4th" and "have a chance to win x (where x is greater than 16 or 19) in a row". The former stat doesn't really lend itself to objective analysis (as far as I can think, and god knows, it's been debated to death over the last couple weeks) and the latter just reeks of cherry-picking for the sake of stating a streak. The only win streaks that ever should matter are those in a given season--your team's undefeated this year; you don't need to try and build upon that by expanding your scope to last year as well.

But again, I'm sure I'd be the same way, were the Ravens undefeated and had that offense. A man can dream...

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by Paul M (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 10:05pm

We all get the point. One season is different from another. BUT.... the nature of the Packers' success that has spilled over into this season is what makes it resonate so deeply for we GB fans. Every one of those 6 games was do-or-die: if they lost either of the first two, they don't make the playoffs; any of the next four, they don't win the SB. The quality of the opposition was first rate-- a Giant team that missed the playoffs due to a stupid decision by its punter, the #2 seed in the NFC (twice), the #3 seed, the #1 seed, and a team that had won 2 SBs in the previous 5 years. And none of those last 4 games were at home. And this was a team that had been nearly devastated by injury throughout the first half of the season, and would lose 2 key performers in the SB itself.

It was a special ending to one season, and a special set-up for the next: and as others have observed, teams that get to the SB exclusively on the road and then win it usually are in for even greater things the subsequent season. So we take the now 18 games-- it will become the 2nd longest streak in league history with a victory over the Raiders-- as something more than a garden-variety, cherry-picked set of events. And 7 more not only would brand the Packers as the only team to win 19 in a row, the first team since the 72 Dolphins to not lose a game all season, but would mean that for the equivalent of over one and a half seasons, and, by September of 2012, for a period of 22 months (and counting) the Packers would not have lost a game. That's worth something.

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by 0tarin :: Thu, 12/08/2011 - 2:18am

Leading that off with "we all get the point" seems a bit condescending, but I guess it's the nature of these arguments. To address your end point: yes, I agree it would (or will?) be worth something. To fans. To the rest of us, it may be worth something, but that will require a bit more analysis to see just what we're witnessing. In the end, it could very well be that something astounding happened, but in my book, that'll be the fact that somehow none of us saw this coming (aside from the devout, of course). The interesting part will be assessing that after the fact. But again, by all means, I think fans of GB should be reveling in the success story. Just try to accept the arguments from those of us looking on it from an objective viewpoint, too.

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by Humil (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2011 - 5:01am

Can't believe I've read on to the 2nd page of comments and still felt compelled to make another in spite of my better judgement..

When the saints went 13-0 only a couple of years ago, they seemed pretty dominant, too. And surely there were some obnoxious homers, but man, if any fanbase "deserved" to really revel, it was the aints fans having a jazz funeral for the aints. Makes me think some of these GB fans are acting like they hadn't been there before, which is just completely without humor.. they're one of the most successful franchise ever (and for good reasons)!

QQ's comments are not that delusional, but have long passed tiresome; i.e. they haven't provided a modicum of insight since the 3rd one or something like that. Starting to sound like some Fraudlanta fan boy. [I really don't like calling people out either, because this is the most civil/informed football site I've seen yet, but f it.]

QQ: say something about some other aspect of the pack that might add/contribute, rather than beating the greatness junk! (If erection lasting more than 4 hours, please contact doctor.]

If the giants D had not gambled on the Finley sideline pass and missed, and if they had played contain better, you might not have the hutzpah to be waxing on/off now.

Oh, and packs fans: the 18/25 back/forward-looking thing just make you sound petty. Come on, I respect your club and how it's done right to get here, stop that crap! (So there is no nagging irrational reasons to dislike the show they've been putting on...ever heard of being humble makes more likeable??)

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by Perfundle (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2011 - 8:25pm

Yep, you should've stuck to your better judgment. For someone who claims to not liking calling people out, that's all you've done in your two posts here: calling out individual posters, entire fanbases (so far, GB, Atlanta, New Orleans, NE), you name it.

As for "being humble makes [one] more likeable," the original post here was an excellent, humble, confident post that everyone liked, except apparently you. As Tanier said about the "ridiculous humility, the absurd self-denigration to which great players succumb when they avoid expressing satisfaction or joy at achieving anything short of seven straight Super Bowl championships," that seems in line with want you want the Packer fans to be like as well. Did you have a problem with Woodson saying that he wants to go 19-0?

I have a hard time believing you would be humble if it was your team doing this.

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by Humil (not verified) :: Fri, 12/09/2011 - 3:00am

Hey man, I'm a New Orleanian, a saints fan. Was referring to how some of my beloved city's fanbase had some obnoxious things to say when we were riding high in the sky. So I was using our own humbling as an example...but you didn't have any prior info, so, sorry.

One can only be judged by what has been said, i suppose---no hard feelings. But as much as love reading material here, I generally do not comment, despite having opinions. (Hence the mumbo-jumbo about all that stuff you took issue with...)

Altanta fans are especially obnoxious to NOLA fans, if you know anything about that dynamic; therefore I do not feel at all bad to snub them as Fraudlanta, given that all we heard last season was how they would take the whole league by storm...(and soon they would start to consistently win SBs going forward) when lots of indications were that they overachieved and was not likely elite as claimed.

Understand your defensiveness, but QQ's comments were not "excellent, humble, confident post[s]". Nor did I trash the article itself. Just felt annoyed by the homer comments (as many here have expressed as well), especially took issue with the whole 18/25 winning streak material---will definitely not argue about packers' extraordinary excellence, but the "we're won more in a row than anyone else ever!!!!" thing... (though we're only counting 1/3 of the season before, when they started winning, and looking ahead to a weakish schedule, where they'll probably crush the remaining opponents. It'll happen, I swear!!) I would be much more ok with the narrative of: "despite injury and youthfulness, the 2010 packers managed to leverage their resources and talents to come on as darkhorse team, succeeded through extraordinary circumstances with perseverance and built an even better team the following season to the effect of a 12-0 team which might run the table and have the best shot at repeating as champs." That would be very unlikely to get people annoyed. On the other hand, "we might create the most historic of historic streaks (streaks which tend to have plenty of luck factored-in, mind you)", not humble or even useful much at all.

BTW, how did you read that I wish the packers fans to be creepy like the pats/fans? Wow, this is starting to get personal with the insults, eh?

For the record, NO problem with Woodson saying he wants 19-0. Although there might be some scenarios where go for it might in some way diminish the packs' best chances to make their best playoff run (probably not though). Moreover, do really like the current packs team---no egomaniac characters like Favre or dirty players like some other teams. So please understand that it's not about bashing people who essentially amounts to be celebrities (don't care about them enough) or dispensing "hate" on some geographic region, it's about the pettiness of those homer comments. But I've been remiss in engaging/getting sucked-in to the hoorah, and that's my stupidity.

Not trying to be a dick, or bash packers just because some of its fans feel like they deserve to gloat. Do apologize for that. :)

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by Mr Shush :: Thu, 12/08/2011 - 9:18am

You were doing so well until you got to #7 - the Scousers aren't even unique in their nauseating combination of entitlement and defensiveness. They just won a lot in the 70s and 80s, and consequently have a lot of middle aged glory fans.

But congratulations on your general reasonableness.

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by Paul M (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2011 - 11:03am

OK, I am, in my Premiership fan infancy, going to try to deconstruct where you are coming from in that shot. (Which, by the way, I have no reason to dispute-- I give you the advantage of being there, which it sounds as if you were when Liverpool was never walking alone under Shankly and Co.)

Would a Manchunian (God-- I love that term) call them 'Scousers? I think not-- it sounds like a Londoner, not a fellow resident of the North. Could be a Londoner who roots for Man U, since that is the age-old rivalry-- sort of their Bears-Packers-- but my experience is that there aren't a whole lot of them. But there's intensity in your voice, which must mean...... the Goon... oops... the Gunners!!

Am I right?? (BTW, I have decided-- and even before their latest run of excellence-- another streak!! 9 games, I believe-- to pull for Spurs. It is a long story and I won't bore people here with the reasoning. Gareth Bale is part of it, but not the biggest)

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by Karl Cuba :: Thu, 12/08/2011 - 1:55pm

I can help you out with some of those points:

1) It's Mancunian.

2) A Mancunian and any other resident of the UK would call them scousers. That is if we weren't using a number of other well deserved titles ie. thieving scumbags with irritatingly loud, orange-tinted women. The only thing that unites northerners is their hatred of southerners, each other and pretty much anyone from continental europe.

3) A Man U fan from the south is referred to as a 'glory supporting prawn sandwich eater.

4) Spurs, Bwaaaa Haaaa haaa haaaa! You do know their chairman is the UK's version of Donald Trump?

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by tuluse :: Thu, 12/08/2011 - 2:45pm

So Liverpool is the Jersey Shore of the UK?

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by ammek :: Thu, 12/08/2011 - 3:21pm

No, that would be Essex, which is to London as Jersey Shore is to New York. The British version of the TV program Jersey Shore is set on Tyneside (Newcastle: north east England).

Alan Sugar hasn't been chairman of Spurs since 2001, and sold his last shares in 2007. He described his time at the club as "a waste of my life".

This waaaay off topic!

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by Karl Cuba :: Thu, 12/08/2011 - 3:34pm

I would have nominated The only way is Essex as our Jersey Shore even with the benighted existence of Jeordie Shore as you have mentioned.

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by Mr Shush :: Thu, 12/08/2011 - 5:26pm

Gooner? Moi? Blech - only team I may possibly dislike more than Liverpool! I've a nasty feeling the otherwise admirable Mr Cuba might be one, but not me, no sir.

You're right about the Londoner bit, at least in the sense that it's where I live now, and while I wasn't born here both my parents were and I support my father's club. Shankly died 18 months before I was born, and by the time I really got serious about (our) football Dalglish was in Blackburn and Liverpool were Never Winning Again. My grandfather was a Spurs fan, and my uncles still are, but my Dad, for reasons that vary depending on when you ask him, switched his allegiance to Chelsea when he was 10, and his sons never got (nor wanted) much choice in the matter. It's fair to say that I was lucky to be born a Chelsea fan when I was, not 15 or 20 years earlier. Unlike just about everyone else who can be found in Stamford Bridge on a Saturday, though, I actually have a bit of a soft spot for Spurs, and they're definitely a fun team to watch these days, so you'll get no stick from me on that score.

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by Karl Cuba :: Thu, 12/08/2011 - 6:05pm

I'm a silkmen fan.

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by Mr Shush :: Thu, 12/08/2011 - 7:45pm

Ok, I'll admit I had to look that up. Macclesfield, huh? Blue, white and gold, lion on the crest, what's not to like?

I think they may also be the only team ever to let Jon Obi Mikel score against them, which was generous.

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by Paul M (not verified) :: Fri, 12/09/2011 - 12:01am

Thanks, Chelsea were/was (I still can't figure out the tense issues with the British announcers) my 2nd choice. I am not Jewish, but Spurs' Jewishness is one of the reasons I'm backing them. But again it is far too long of a story. Any chance that I would support Arsenal went out the window when I heard Piers Morgan calling for Wegner's head back in September.

And thanks Mr. Cuba for the "Mancunian" correction. So much to learn, so little time. I met Sir Alex without realizing it last summer (on a Socttish golf course)

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by Mr Shush :: Sat, 12/10/2011 - 10:18am

My feeling on the singular/plural issue is that I would lean towards the singular when I'm talking about the organisation, but always use the plural when I'm talking about the team. So "Chelsea is a London club" but "Chelsea were the better team against Valencia on Tuesday, despite the lack of possession". That's a guideline at best, though: I would probably say "Chelsea are considering a move to a proposed new stadium on the Battersea Power Station site" - maybe because it involves intent and hence people. Sticking to the plural at all times may be safest - I can't think of a context where that strikes me as actively sounding weird.

Oh, and be careful about just going with whatever the announcers do: some of them are, uh, not super-educated, and may use singulars where an educated speaker would use plurals in all sorts of contexts.

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by Tom W (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 12:58pm

I only hope the city of Houston has adequate police and security resources to deal with what is likely to be a riotous celebration if/when the Texans endgibberish the season as the NFL leader in DVOA.

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by Tom W (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 1:02pm

I'm fairly certain the word gibberish did not appear in my actual post.

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by bigtencrazy (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2011 - 10:48pm

I cannot find the exchange in all this nested nonsense but wanted to acknowledge that Tim Masthay was named NFC Special Teams player of the week for his efforts against the Giants.

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by TomC :: Thu, 12/08/2011 - 1:03am

Wow, this is the first multi-page thread I've seen in quite some time. Bravo, lads.

And whoever brought up the 2005 Falcons FOMBC needs to go back and read that series of threads. We're not even in that ballpark here, and there's no GB fan anywhere near the JustAnotherFalconFan level of obnoxitude.

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by cd921 (not verified) :: Thu, 12/08/2011 - 3:46pm

Isn't it possible that GB would look more dominate in the DVOA numbers if they wouldn't start running the ball and being too conservative when they are up? Obviously if they aren't coaching optimally that hurts their chances to win, but say if someone does play them tougher and GB throws the ball more like the should (imo) then they maybe do have more of an advantage over other top teams?