Football Outsiders
Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis

2007 Football Outsiders Awards Part II

comments by Aaron Schatz

Welcome to the second half of the results from our fifth annual awards balloting. If you missed it, Doug Farrar went through the first half of the results last week, and this page has links to the awards results from previous seasons.

Which is your choice for Game of the Year in 2007? (New category)

32.0% Week 9: Patriots 24, Colts 20
24.5% Week 13: Patriots 27, Ravens 24
17.1% NFC Championship:Giants 23, Packers 20 (OT)
7.7% Week 2: Browns 51, Bengals 45
5.6% NFC Divisional Round: Giants 21, Cowboys 17
5.5% Week 12: Bears 37, Broncos 34 (OT)
4.2% Week 7: Titans 38, Texans 26
3.3% Week 10: Chargers 23, Colts 21

Hey, remember "The Game of the Century?" In the "comment box" at the end of the awards, a few people asked why we didn't include the Week 17 game between the Giants and Patriots. The FO staff picked plenty of Patriots or Giants games for this category, and I guess we just thought these other games were a little more memorable. Of course, if we had done this a week later, we would have included a Patriots-Giants game, because Super Bowl XLII was the real Game of the Year and one of the most exciting Super Bowls ever. The media still talks about the Super Bowl as if we should expect a blowout, but six of the past seven Super Bowls were close in the fourth quarter.

Which is the best announcing team in the NFL? (top eight listed) (Last year's winner: Madden/Michaels)

25.8% John Madden and Al Michaels, NBC
22.3% Mike Tirico, Tony Kornheiser, and Ron Jaworski, ESPN
8.0% Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, CBS
8.0% Gus Johnson and Steve Tasker, CBS
7.4% Bryant Gumbel and Cris Collinsworth, NFL Network
7.4% Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, FOX
4.8% Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon, CBS
4.6% Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, and Tony Siragusa, FOX

That's two straight years for NBC's Sunday Night team. They stay ahead of the Monday Night crew because, based on your comments, it looks like negative feelings about Tirico and Kornheiser do enough to cancel out all the Jaworski love. Buck and Aikman continue to plummet; they were first in 2005, and are now down to sixth. FO readers may not be the most accurate sample of standard viewers, but this is one group of fans who are clearly sick of Joe Buck.

The surprise this year is Jim Nantz and Phil Simms jumping up from eighth to third, which seems strange because I've seen a number of complaints about Simms in the discussion threads. (Don't worry, they also get plenty of votes for "worst team.") Gus Johnson and Steve Tasker are the highest of the low-profile teams for the second straight year. Perhaps CBS should think about moving these guys up the ladder of game assignments so more people can enjoy them?

Other than replacing Joe Theismann with Ron Jaworski, the biggest move of the year was FOX breaking up the Dick Stockton-Daryl Johnston team. They led all Sunday afternoon teams in votes for "best announcing team" last year, and hardly received any votes for "worst announcing team" during the first four years of our balloting.

I was surprised there weren't more votes for Ron Pitts and Tony Boselli, but I guess most of you just don't get to see them, because unlike me you aren't filling holes in game charting by watching lots of Arizona and Atlanta games. Boselli is a cliché machine before things get going, but after kickoff the guy is really, really good.

Once again, we added a space for readers to tell us what they like best about these teams. Here's a sampling of comments.

John Madden and Al Michaels

  • Unlike the rest, Madden and Michaels each provide their stamp on the game without stepping all over each other for soundbites.
  • Madden actually breaks down the plays and tries to tell me things I don't know.
  • Michaels is, hands down, the best play-by-play man in history, and Madden, for all his faults, is good at explaining elementary concepts to the "non-football fan."
  • Insightful commentary, no mention of celebrities, and very few clichés. Plus, Madden has great stories.
  • John Madden is just hilarious and Al Michaels is really, really tiny.

Mike Tirico, Tony Kornheiser, and Ron Jaworski

  • Tirico does a passable job with play-by-play, Jaworski's analysis is great, and I even like Kornheiser's humor. Next year, ditch the interviews, please!
  • Jaworski's knowledge is unsurpassed. Kornheiser is actually very good in this role: he provides some perspective, and knows how to ask good questions. He tees up Jaworski well. Tirico is serviceable as a play-by-play man.
  • Jaworski has more insightful comments than the rest of the color commentators combined.

Most of the comments on this team just said "Jaws" or "Jaworski" without further explanation. (No further explanation needed, right?)

Jim Nantz and Phil Simms

  • Nantz does efficient play-by-play with few errors, Simms does a good job concisely breaking down why certain decisions are made. They don't have much tolerance for the navel-gazing a lot of other announcing teams take part in when they run out of material.
  • Everyone has flaws, but these guys have been around a long time, don't say too many stupid things, and are at least likable.
  • Insightful at times, and understated.
  • While Simms is often an egregious blockhead, he occasionally does find interesting things to say, and Nantz is by far the best play-by-play man on the list; Michaels has lost a step and Joe Buck is simply intolerable.

Gus Johnson and Steve Tasker

  • Gus Johnson could make a snail race exciting.
  • Gus Johnson alone is enough. That's it. He could be selling me drapes on QVC and I'd be enthralled.
  • Gus Johnson is the one announcer who actually increases the adrenaline rush an NFL game provides simply by his presence. He made the "search for the 50-yard line" in the Cleveland-Buffalo game an exciting event.
  • Gus is a fan and it shows in his broadcasts. Tasker is just spot on with his analysis. They also do a better job with the lower tier games then the upper end teams do with the major games.

Bryant Gumbel and Cris Collinsworth

  • As I said last year, it seems like a conversation between the two people. I think Gumbel helps more than he hurts, and Collinsworth is allowed to actually analyze and even criticize his bosses if he chooses.
  • Collinsworth is willing to point out changes in formation and personnel as part of adjustments, and he does a pretty good job explaining what happened on the play. Regarding Gumbel, his miscues are always good for some cheap laughs, and he is willing to admit his shortcomings, which I didn't expect from a TV celebrity.
  • Cris Collinsworth often says things that increase my understanding of the game. The dulcet tones of Bryant Gumbel's voice allow me to occasionally ignore what he says.
  • Collinsworth provides real-time, thoughtful analysis that no one else (unfortunately, Jaws included) even approaches. Bryant Gumbel sucks.

Joe Buck and Troy Aikman

  • I like Troy Aikman as an analyst. I like his insight, and I like his lack of fluff.
  • Aikman is the best out there. He's so good he makes up for how bad Buck can be.
  • I enjoy Troy Aikman's breakdowns of pass defense and offense, and Joe Buck has a good sense of the moment. Plus, he is one of the few people on earth who understood the brilliance of Freddie Mitchell.

Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon

  • Harlan's play-by-play is generally exciting, and Gannon usually gives actual insights on things that happen, instead of brainless gushing.
  • They call formations and particularly substitutions much more regularly than others.
  • I don't feel the need to stab myself in the ear with a power tool when Rich Gannon is talking about football.

Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, and Tony Siragusa

  • Albert is unobnoxious, Moose occasionally knows what he's watching and Siragusa occasionally gives you something different from the sideline, although it usually descends into fat jokes pretty quickly.
  • Against all odds, I actually kind of like Tony Siragusa.
  • They actually offer enlightening commentary as to what is happening on the field. Also, I have to say that it is Johnston and Siragusa who make this team work. I actually liked this group better last year when they had Dick Stockton doing the play-by-play.

Who wins the Three Stooges Award for worst announcing team in the NFL? (top eight listed) (Last year's winner: Tirico/Korenheiser/Theismann)

26.1% Bryant Gumbel and Cris Collinsworth, NFL Network
13.7%  Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, CBS
13.5% Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, FOX
13.3% Mike Tirico, Tony Kornheiser, and Ron Jaworski, ESPN
7.5% Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, and Tony Siragusa, FOX
5.6% Al Michaels and John Madden, NBC
5.4% Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf, CBS
3.5% Dick Enberg and Randy Cross, CBS

I happen to like Bryant Gumbel's more laid-back approach to the game, but seriously, dude, learn the names of the players. Al Gore does not play football, and Rick Romo doesn't even exist. I think next year we may separate the play-by-play guys from the color analysts; given the results of a later question, I don't think a lot of people have a big problem with Cris Collinsworth. I understand that brother Greg isn't moving down from the second spot in the CBS lineup, but I would love to see CBS make Rich Gannon his new partner, and then move Johnson and Tasker up to the third spot, past Enberg and Cross.

Who is the best pregame personality? (top ten listed) (Last year's winner: Ron Jaworski)

22.5% Cris Collinsworth, NBC
8.8% Bill Parcells, ESPN
8.6% Tom Jackson, ESPN
7.6% Kenny Mayne, ESPN
5.5% Steve Young, ESPN
5.3% Howie Long, FOX
4.9% Terry Bradshaw, FOX
4.7% Marshall Faulk, NFL Network
4.7% Deion Sanders, NFL Network
3.7% Frank Caliendo, FOX

See what I mean when I say that the problem with the NFL Network's broadcast team does not seem to be Cris Collinsworth?

Who is the worst pregame personality? (top ten listed) (Last year's winner: Michael Irvin)

28.7% Emmitt Smith, ESPN
19.4% Shannon Sharpe, CBS
7.6% Deion Sanders, NFL Network
7.4% Tiki Barber, NBC
5.2% Terry Bradshaw, FOX
5.2% Frank Caliendo, FOX
4.7% Keyshawn Johnson, ESPN
2.9% Peter King, NBC
2.3% Barry Switzer, FOX
2.3% Boomer Esiason, CBS

Emmitt Smith is the greatest malaprop machine since Norm Crosby, and everything Shannon Sharpe says sounds like "garble garble hrkgskhsdgskdghghgth." I'm not sure why people have a problem with Sanders. Now that Sanders has grown up and matured, his "Prime Time" machine is built to promote the game itself rather than his own ego, and the guy knows his football. (Anyone who watched the "Dick Vermeil loses his voice" game in 2006 knows that the Dr. Z column which slagged Sanders and Marshall Faulk was just plain ludicrous.) Barber is just inoffensive and vanilla, but he really seems to be mailing it in on Sunday nights, doing what NBC wants in the hope that they'll eventually let him do straight news.

Who is the best pregame host? (Last year's winner: James Brown)

39.5% James Brown, CBS
19.8% Rich Eisen, NFL Network
17.8% Chris Berman, ESPN
15.1% Bob Costas, NBC
3.9% Sal Paolantonio, ESPN
2.9% Curt Menefee, FOX
1.0% Stuart Scott, ESPN

James Brown widens his lead. Rich Eisen is a consummate professional. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks Chris Berman's schtick still works when it is being done by Chris Berman and not another ESPN anchor who thinks he's Chris Berman. Oh, and yes, I totally forgot Keith Olbermann in this category. Or the personality category. Either way, I forgot him. Sorry about that, Olbermanniacs.

Who is the worst pregame host? (Last year's winner: Joe Buck)

38.1% Stuart Scott, ESPN
22.3% Chris Berman, ESPN
13.6% Curt Menefee, FOX
9.9% Sal Paolantonio, ESPN
9.5% Bob Costas, NBC
3.9% Rich Eisen, NFL Network
2.7% James Brown, CBS

Dear Stuart Scott. Please feel free to continue your medical leave indefinitely. Love, the readers of Football Outsiders.

Last year's winners for best and worst commercial were memorable enough that, from this point forward, we've actually named our awards after them.

The "Get Your Story Straight" Award for best commercial during NFL games this year goes to:

24.4% Mastercard "Peyton Manning Priceless Pep Talks"
18.6% Southwest Airlines "Guy throws game controller through TV"
17.9% Nike "Shawne Merriman/Steven Jackson"
13.5% NFL Network "Joe's Diner"
10.9% Bud Light "Dude"
7.9% Toyota "World of Warcraft"
4.5% Old Spice "Softball Slide"
2.3% Miller Lite "More Taste League"

What an upset! Pretty much the whole FO staff was in awe of the Shawne Merriman/Steven Jackson ad. I guess good humor trumps amazing cinematography.

The "John Mellencamp Must Die" Award for most annoying commercial during NFL games this year goes to:

26.3% Viva Viagra!
13.3% Dr. Pepper "Fat lineman dances after touchdown"
13.1% Coors Light ruins Dennis Green press conference
7.9% Macintosh iPod ruins Feist's "1-2-3-4"
7.3% Sprint "Manning's Mind"
6.9% Heineken "Techno Keg Chick"
6.8% Cadillac "In Today's Luxury Game"
5.6% Miller Lite "More Taste League"
5.3% Bud Light "Dude"
4.3% Macintosh iPod "Music is my Boyfriend"
3.2% Mastercard "Peyton Manning Priceless Pep Talks"

I'm not sure why "Viva Viagra" was chosen as the worst ad, since it was so true to life. I mean, don't many of the football fans you know spend their free time sitting around an old barbeque joint, singing about how they can't get erections?

What is your favorite team-specific website or blog? (top nine listed) (Last year's winner: Reiss's Pieces)

Field Gulls
Reiss's Pieces
Jacksonville Jaguars official site
Patriots Daily
Heels, Sox, and Steelers
Big Blue Interactive
Blogging the Boys
Philadelphia Eagles official site
Purple Pride

With so many blogs getting one vote, there's no point in listing percentages here. Once again this year, I forgot to say "independent website" in the question, so I decided to just say "screw it" and list the top sites receiving votes, even official team websites. A lot of people consider the best and most independent team website, but I was surprised at the votes for the Philadelphia Eagles' official site.

I know John Morgan likes to link to us and use FO stats a lot, and he shows up in the comment threads, but still, I was a little shocked at the number of votes for Field Gulls.

With Mike Sando gone for, the Tacome News-Tribune Seahawks Blog dropped from second in 2006 to a tie for tenth in 2007. Also tied for tenth:, Extreme Skins, Packers News, Pewter Report, The 700 Level, and Two Bills Drive.

Bias admission: Heels, Sox, and Steelers is run by our very own Ryan Wilson, and Bill Barnwell has done a weekly column for Patriots Daily for two years now.

Which local NFL writer do you feel deserves a more national profile? (Last year's winners: Mike Reiss and Mike Sando)

And, lo and behold, one of last year's winners got that national profile.

The winners in this category get even fewer votes than the winners in the previous category, but Mike Reiss (still with the Boston Globe) got more than twice as many votes as anyone else. If history is a guide, one of the big national websites should be scooping up Reiss soon, just like they scooped up Sando a year ago and Tom Curran the year before that. In second place is Vic Ketchman from the Jaguars' official site, but I don't think I would consider him a "local writer," as he is technically an employee of the team. Getting at least four votes:

  • Albert Breer, Dallas Morning News
  • Mike Carlson,
  • Matt Maiocco, Santa Rosa Press-Democrat

Getting at least three votes:

  • Rick Gosselin, Dallas Morning News
  • Bob Kravitz, Indianapolis Star
  • Jason LaCanfora, Washington Post
  • Bob McGinn, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

The funniest thing to happen during the 2007 NFL season was: (Last year's winner: Dennis Green post-MNF press conference)

22.4% Punt sticks in ground during Steelers-Dolphins "Mud Bowl"
18.3% Brian Billick blows a kiss to Rodney Harrison
18.2% Phil Dawson's double-boink field goal against Baltimore
17.4% Josh Brown's geeked-up celebration after tackling Devin Hester
14.7% Jimmy Kimmel's "Where's Joe?" routine on Monday Night Football
9.0% Chad Johnson's aborted Lambeau Leap

As they say around the Internet, that Steelers-Dolphins game was "teh awesome."

Finally, for the third straight year, we asked readers about their favorite team. Here's a look at the top 15 teams, along with rank last year in the top 15.

Favorite Team of FO Readers, End of 2007 Season
Rk Team Pct LY x Rk Team Pct LY x Rk Team Pct LY
1 NE 15.6% 5   6 CHI 4.6% 4   11 WAS 3.3% 8
2 PHI 8.1% 1   7 NONE 4.4% --   12 MIN 3.2% --
3 SEA 7.9% 6   8 NYG 4.4% 7   13 SF 3.0% 10
4 PIT 6.1% 2   9 GB 4.2% 9   14 BUF 2.6% 12
5 IND 4.9% 3   10 DAL 3.5% --   15 DEN 2.5% 11

Hmmm. I know winning teams attract more fans, but that's a bit ridiculous. What's strange is that over three years of asking this question, the percentage of Patriots fans on the site has gone from 11.4 percent to 6.5 percent to 15.6 percent. Were all the New England-based readers just asleep during last year's balloting? Anyway, we're tired of writing about this, but the whole "Patriots bias" thing really has more to do with the readers than it does with the writers. (In fact, when it comes to either stats or teams in general, a lot of statements that "FO said X" should really be "FO readers said X.") Otherwise, we continue to be popular in Pennsylvania, the Pacific Northwest, and that area that WGN viewers know so well, "Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana." On second thought, make that all of Indiana.

For the third straight year, the team supported by the fewest FO readers (well, the fewest award-voting FO readers) is Arizona. And hey, Jets fans, wake up and represent. The Giants fans are kicking your ass.

Thanks to everyone for participating in the awards again this year. Each year we get more votes than the year before, a nice sign of our growing readership.


91 comments, Last at 05 Mar 2008, 3:00pm

1 Re: 2007 Football Outsiders Awards Part II

Out of curiosity, do we have any Jacksonville fans? They have to exist somewhere. It's not even like they're a bad team or anything, and yet nobody likes them.

3 Re: 2007 Football Outsiders Awards Part II

What’s strange is that over three years of asking this question, the percentage of Patriots fans on the site has gone from 11.4 percent to 6.5 percent to 15.6 percent. Were all the New England-based readers just asleep during last year’s balloting?

Doesn't the vote usually take place right after the championship games? It seemed to me that a good percentage of the Patriots-fan contingent stayed away from the site for some time after last year's Championship Game loss to the Colts, and more were here this year after the AFC-C because the Patriots still had a game to play and discuss. This seems to be the norm - the Colts and Bears each had 8% of the vote last year, while the Steelers had 10% two years ago (the Seahawks percentage, for some reason, has gone up.)

4 Re: 2007 Football Outsiders Awards Part II

Actually, considering the challenges of the product, I think the "Viva Viagra" commercial was pretty good. I mean, could you do a better commercial to sell Viagra to football fans? I didn't think so.

6 Re: 2007 Football Outsiders Awards Part II

"(Anyone who watched the "Dick Vermeil loses his voice" game in 2006 knows that the Dr. Z column which slagged Sanders and Marshall Faulk was just plain ludicrous.)"

Yup. Sanders is incredible in the booth, where for the most part he turns off the Primetime act and offers a lot of very precise and thoughtful analysis. It's infuriating that I still have to listen to Phil Simms while these guys are available.

MNF is still the worst crew to me; Jaws' level of analysis was a bit disappointing relative to what I expected, and he's consistently drowned out by Kornheiser and the whole celebrity dog and pony show.

I saw a lot of Falcons games this year, but I have to say Boselli never really registered with me. A lot of the time I just ended up muting it and turning on the radio PBP tho; I'll give him more of a shot next year.

7 Re: 2007 Football Outsiders Awards Part II

Field gulls is awesome. And I didn't even vote, so its fans might be underrepresented in the poll. The trick to Field Gulls is that we don't entirely know whether what John says is right, but he's really detailed and well-argued, so that he sounds darn good saying all that stuff.

8 Re: 2007 Football Outsiders Awards Part II

Jets fans, wake up and represent. The Giants fans are kicking your ass

Do Jets fans know of anything other than getting their asses kicked?

9 Re: 2007 Football Outsiders Awards Part II

You've got a bit of a confusing typo near the end of the article.

"For the first time since Football Outsiders launched in 2003, the New England Patriots are _not_ the most popular team among FO readers."

That not should be a now or the chart is really wonky. :)

10 Re: 2007 Football Outsiders Awards Part II

Morgan has done a great job in picking up the slack as the post-Sando TNT blog has absolutely gone down the tubes. I don't agree with everything John writes, but I know that there's a lot of work put into whatever is up there.

11 Re: 2007 Football Outsiders Awards Part II

Out of curiosity, do we have any Jacksonville fans? They have to exist somewhere. It’s not even like they’re a bad team or anything, and yet nobody likes them.

I really don't have a team for the most part, but I do kind of like the Jags. Hell, you have to admire them, honestly. They won a lot of games last year with the terrible triumvirate of assistants including Mike Shula, Mike Tice, and Dave Campo. That's impressive.

As for the fans, though, it is such a young team, relatively speaking, and it is also such a small market. The Jags aren't even one of the more highly publicized teams in their own state, muchless the country. I mean this is the same team that struggles to avoid blackouts despite having a damn good football team. I think the main reason you don't see many Jaguars fans is because there are simply not that many Jaguars fans.

12 Re: 2007 Football Outsiders Awards Part II

i am surprised Simms rated so high with his color commentary because he seems to have an i told you so attitude half of the time despite contradicting what he previously stated in the first half. I think if Jaws or Aikman were set up with a great play by play guy like Nantz, they would blow Simms analysis in big AFC games out of the water.

Wow, the fan percentages really help explain those "most underrated" special teams player votes from last week.

13 Re: 2007 Football Outsiders Awards Part II

I spent a couple of minutes staring at the last table wondering how 4% of the people who visit this site can be fans of the Saints and the Patriots equally.

Not my brightest moment.

14 Re: 2007 Football Outsiders Awards Part II

"Were all the New England-based readers just asleep during last year’s balloting?"


15 Re: 2007 Football Outsiders Awards Part II

The Jags will be out of Jacksonville within 10 years. They get little local support, play in a sub-par stadium and the NFL still wants an LA team.

16 Re: 2007 Football Outsiders Awards Part II

Like the poster a little ways above, I was expecting a bit more from Jaws in the booth. He's just fabulous breaking down plays, yet for whatever reason that doesn't really come across during the game. Whether he can't do it off the cuff or they wanted him to dumb things down for the casual fan, I don't know.

Any idea why the Seahawks have so much love in the fan poll?

17 Re: 2007 Football Outsiders Awards Part II

""For the first time since Football Outsiders launched in 2003, the New England Patriots are not the most popular team among FO readers.""


19 Re: 2007 Football Outsiders Awards Part II

Between Doug Farrar running and John Morgan with Field Gulls, I'm not surprised Seahawks fans are getting channeled to Football Outsiders.

21 Re: 2007 Football Outsiders Awards Part II

I'm thinking the line about the Patriots is a cut-and-paste from last year.

I'm a proud Simms hater, by the way. I have no idea how his team ranked 3rd.

22 Re: 2007 Football Outsiders Awards Part II

I appreciate the recognition. If not for Football Outsiders, I wouldn't be writing football. This site is the standard bearer for intelligent football analysis.

Thank you all.

24 Re: 2007 Football Outsiders Awards Part II

I'm actually a little surprised at how highly "Manning's Mind" ranked for worst commercial. I thought it was, at least, significantly better than "Dude."

25 Re: 2007 Football Outsiders Awards Part II

Whoops. That Pats comment was a leftover from last year, that I forgot to edit... sorry about that. That paragraph is now updated.

27 Re: 2007 Football Outsiders Awards Part II

#1: There are a few - I know Sam! is a pretty active poster, and there are others as well (and of course I count myself). From what I can tell, the Jags' support is basically centered in Jacksonville and surrounding counties. The suburbs are (or were pre-housing crisis) growing quickly, and there is a new generation of young Jaguar fans growing up which will help. I think the wider area's saturation with NFL teams (Atlanta, TB, Miami) and the lack of any marquee Jacksonville players or media attention has helped keep them local. With fantasy hero MJD and the recent love, that may change somewhat in future.

28 Re: 2007 Football Outsiders Awards Part II

Emmitt Smith as the worst pregame personality? Anyone that can apply the, um, 'word', "debacled", to almost anything, deserves better.

29 Re: 2007 Football Outsiders Awards Part II

I can't remember - was Rooster Teeth's never-aired, Dallas Clark Is Awesome "ad" from this season, or last season?

31 Re: 2007 Football Outsiders Awards Part II

re Jacksonville ...

they barely have the Internets there you know... just not that many fans, period. that franchise is SO not going to survive there.

32 Re: 2007 Football Outsiders Awards Part II

I don't understand how anybody can listen to Phil Simms, and not feel like their slowly becoming more stupid. Now that Theisman is off the air, he has to be the single worst commentator on the air.

Also, I'm surprised by how low Dallas is. Aren't they America's Team? I guess their not FO's team.

33 Re: 2007 Football Outsiders Awards Part II

Man, Matt Maiocco getting some love. Awesome.

The "Gus Johnson can make a snail race exciting" comment basically sums the guy up. I have been entertained by basically every game I get the chance to watch with him. It's not like he some dumb-but-excited guy, either. He sums up the big moments better than any broadcaster in the business today. I'm with the the other Johnson fans in saying that if he had been somehow calling the Super Bowl, the Eli/Tyree play would have been that much better. Joe Buck basically comatose response to it was absolutely horrible.

34 Re: 2007 Football Outsiders Awards Part II

I had to change my name because the ! was disallowing me from posting. Jaguars fans are just busy, you know, working. At their jobs.

wrt to "C" who claims that the Jaguars will be gone within 10 years... well... you're a little late to the party. It was much more probably a year ago. We are growing much closer to selling the stadium out on a season-ticket basis. Jacksonville is not a particularly wealthy market and remember that is a very, very small market. The proportion of stadium seats to market population might very well be the highest in the league. And there's absolutely no historical tradition to speak of. Given all that, the team is doing well. Support is growing and the national profile is increasing, having made the playoffs two of the last three years.

wrt to the subpar stadium, I'd like to know more about this. Have you been here recently, or ever? It was good enough to host a super bowl, I would imagine it's good enough for you.

36 Re: 2007 Football Outsiders Awards Part II

14 - Not wanting to defend Pats fans, but as a Packers fan I understand completely. The week after the NFC Champ Game, I wanted nothing to do with football. I didn't go to sites. I didn't read the mail at my yahoo group. I just wanted to think about anything else. So I missed the survey this year. It wouldn't surprise me to see more Packers fans next year.

37 Re: 2007 Football Outsiders Awards Part II

15 - The NFL doesn't really want an LA team. As long as there is no team in LA, any team that wants a new or improved stadium can threaten to move there. Once a team is there, teams can only threaten to move to Fresno. Or San Antonio. Or Birmingham. Somehow, that's not going to be as big an impact.

The NFL also knows LA fans are notoriously fickle. They only follow winners and will leave games early even if the game is close. Regardless of what any NFL exec might say, the NFL really don't care if LA ever gets another team.

39 Re: 2007 Football Outsiders Awards Part II

Every time someone starts dissing Philly fans, I keep pointing out how well read they are when it comes to sports.
The fact that so many Philly fans show up here at FO just furthers my point.

I agree there is an element of bad fan in Philly. But as a Philly fan who has attended MANY, MANY New York Giants games (far more than in Philadelphia), I can categorically say the fans in New York are just as bad, if not worse, in many respects. And frequently less well informed.

I have seen New York fans hit a teen girl in the halls of Giants stadium for wearing the wrong shirt. I have been harassed by New York fans while at a game with my KIDS (not verbally harassed, either...the ushers would've tossed me simply because they usually toss opposing team fans, until they saw my kids in the aisle and all the crap that was being thrown at us).

As a result, I always laugh when I invite my Giant fan father in law to Philly for a game and he politely declines, citing "the worst fans in the world". The one game he attended, he was well treated and walked out pleasantly surprised.

I do believe Philly fans get a bad rap because of the crappy "journalists" in Philly who incite the lousy fans to do stupid things, as well as the perpetuation of some stupid myths.
By and large, however, I've always enjoyed visiting Philly and having sports conversations at corner bars...these people do read alot of sports, and it would surprise me if alot read Football Outsiders.

40 Re: 2007 Football Outsiders Awards Part II

Philly and Raider fans always get the 'worst fans in the world" award, but I think the front runner Washington Redskins fans are the worst.

I see Giants and Philly fans more similar, and Redskins and Dallas fans more similar.

Philly/Giants fans are usually pretty informed, and if the Eagles/Giants suck they will be the first to tell you that. There is no illusion.

The Redskins/Dallas could be 4-12 and their fans still run their mouths and talk about how they are better.

Every offseason the Redskins sign/trade for players and their fans run around as the paper champions of the world. It gets old fast. I vote Redskins fans as the worst.

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Re. # 39:

I have to giggle at that post, for several reasons. One of the worst days of my sports-watching life occurred at the urinal cake formerly known as the vet. I wore a Giant jacket to the 700 Level, and on my way up, I was greeted with a serenade of "As..." from both sections surrounding my flight of stairs, till I sat down. The halftime bathroom break (four on the whole level, if I recall correctly) consisted of my being approached by a kid (16/17 yrs. old) in nothing but a t-shirt - it was 10 degrees at kickoff - who came to within an inch of my face, said "Die", then stumbled away. Given the scenery - four guys peeing in a sink as they couldn't get close to the trough - it was tame. This was all after the pregame, when a. A mob of samaritans attempted to tip over my portable toilet and b. As I approached the gate, a small kid cursed at me loudly, as his proud father stood behind him, flipping me off with both hands. Philly fans are seen as notoriously despicable for a reason. The highlight, though, was the drunk woman several rows behind me, who called Kerry Collins "Tom Collins" for four quarters. Among the only words that didn't start with "mother..." to leave her lips, that made me laugh. Are you sure it wasn't a Jet game to which you're referring?

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Honestly, I think anyone who didn't vote for the Merriman/Jackson ad should go to their rooms and think about what they've done... Without supper.
Regarding Jacksonville, link in my name, the Jaguars bit was pretty funny, I thought.

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I have to agree. My father is an Eagles fan, and growing up we went to a lot of Eagles games, and what I saw go on at that stadium is like nothing I have witnessed at any other stadium, in any sport, not just football.

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Hey, what happened to the FFHOF inductions?

#40 - I think the Merriman/Jackson commercial lost because they stopped running it sometime mid-season, and people forgot about its awesomeness. It's not on the same level of travesty as last season, when the Bruce Campbell Old Spice commercial didn't even get nominated.

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#40 - yea, my thoughts exactly. Boston is pretty bad too. I'm no Yankees fan but apparently my NY plates scream - desecrate me with permanent marker, as I left a rest stop to find "Yankees Suck" on my door.

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Hey, did you guys hear that in philadelphia, they sacrifice the children of cowboys fans? Seriously, we've all heard horror stories from every stadium, and if you were dumb enough to go to the 700 section in full giants regalia, I don't know what you were thinking. That place was basically a hellhole and the Vet in general was terrible. The doesn't mean that Eagles fans are all boorish drunks. I talk fottball almost everyday with my boss who happens to be a lifetime dallas fan and it never gets ugly.

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I live with two philly fans, and I'm a cowboys fan. We've never had cross words (other than the good natured ribbing, obviously) and they're generally very well informed fans.

On the other hand, a lot of the philly supporters on the net are so full of vitriol and constantly bashing the Cowboys that it's come to the point that I never listen to them anymore.

And to be fair, Cowboys fans on the internet I've found are the least informed fans, so there's that.

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Call me crazy, but all I can think of when I watch Merriman/Jackson is, "well, of course he can tackle seven guys when he's 'roided up from here to next Tuesday." A commercial is affected by the man in it.

I like Jackson's half though, even if he does run over four Steelers. (/homer)

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I didn't care for the Merriman/Jackson ad at all. I thought it was contrived and over the top, not to mention unimpressive and cheap. I also didn't care for any ad that had nothing to do with football--except for the Toyota one. Video games and football both speak to me on similar mental levels, I guess.

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Well, color me disgusted that someone actually likes Kornheiser.

I also think Jaws provides good analysis, but his voice gets too annoying for him to be considered one of the best.

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RE: 37 -- As a So Cal resident, I believe there are too many outside factors in successfully returning a team here. One, the local politicians are consumed with returning a possible team to the Coliseum. No other sites are seriously considered. They might say they are, but the mayor and council always, always push for a team in the Coliseum. That is one place you never want to take a family. Two, the fan base can be spotty as you describe. You gave a perfect description of a Dodgers game. I believe a franchise moving here from another place is set up for failure. The only way to have the fan support is by starting a new franchise here, and there's zero chance of that. Third, the NFL fans in the area are more of a mix of fans than anywhere else I've been. Of the 9 football fans in my office, there are eight different teams supported. I think it's time we forget about bringing a team back to L.A.

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I'm a Jax fan.

I even voted for Daryl Smith as an underrated defensive player.

And Vic Ketchman is doing a very good job, he is very entertaining if not always right with his theories "Run the ball, stop the ball" and I love his humour.

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Sorry for the double post but I wanted to know if some of our Indy fans (bobman, Yaguar...) were reading, and especially Ask Vic.

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So, who does the best play-by-play? Michaels or Nanz?

One "is, hands down, the best play-by-play man in history".

The other "is by far the best play-by-play man on the list".

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Re: #37 etc.

As a former resident of Los Angeles (who will likely find himself back there someday), I can say that I didn't really care that there was no NFL team there.

I enjoyed the fact that I could turn on the TV on a Sunday and, most of the time, be assured that, generally, I'd see a good game. I didn't know anyone there that really missed having an NFL team. Everyone was a fan of a different team. And I can say this - no one would have supported some "loser team" that moved to LA. An expansion team would attract support, but a team that moved there would be a one-year novelty unless it was winning.

As a current resident of Washington, DC, I can say it sometimes pains me to look at the schedule on Sunday and see that the only two afternoon games I'm getting are a Redskins early game and a Ravens late game, and all the marquee matchups may as well not exist (something TMQ, who lives in Maryland near the District, has often complained about).

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Except for the "Reason the St. Johns River flows north" theory*, why don't people use the same arguement towards Buffalo? They both don't have stadium naming deals, they're both "small" markets. Buffalo's market's relative size is decreasing, and Jacksonville's market is increasing quickly.

Also, I thought the current rumor/theory is that the Rams will move back to LA due to the ownership's ties to LA?

*(Jacksonville sucks)

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I'm curious if the favorite team question would change depending on when in the season it's done. The reason I say that is because as several have mentioned, after your team is supposed to be good and loses in the playoffs, you sort of walk away for a little while. I had no interest in football until Super Bowl week as a Cowboys fan. I did vote so I'm one of the 4.5% of Cowboy fans, but I would imagine that has something to do with it. I love the Cowboys, but I love football so I was back and voted in the awards.

A couple of comments about the results. I completely agree that next year, maybe breaking down play by play and color commentator out would be good because I couldn't in good conscience vote for Aikman/Buck because Buck drives me nuts, but I love Aikman. For example, if he were on Sunday night with Michaels, I'd think they'd be one of the best in years. Same with Collinsworth. I CANNOT stand Gumbel in this role - he really is perfect in Real Sports but this is not his thing - and couldn't vote for Collinsworth for that reason as well. If you ask me, I think Michaels is the best play by play guy but the color guy voting could be interesting.

I've said this before and I'm glad this site seems to agree, but I think Sanders is absolutely wonderful as a color commentator and I love him on NFL Gameday on the NFL Network - I think his work is very well thought out and entertaining. Him and Mooch work great together - I'm happy Mooch didn't get the Redskins job so I can keep watching that show!

Otherwise, as always, great work FO staff - I love this website and love the work you guys keep putting into it. You guys get ripped a lot but let me say thanks - this is absolutely spot on analysis most of the time. Thanks!

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Re: 57

That survey suffers from a selection problem - only people who have found the site (a minuscule and not-necessarily representative sample of the total fan base) have voted. If a Patriots fan site linked there while a Giants fan site did not, it could skew the results. (The ratio of New York City-area to Boston-area votes on that site is less than 2 to l, despite the NYC area having 4 times as many people.)

The annual Harris Poll, though not perfect, is a much better judge of relative fanbases.

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The Jags were actually 16th.

I hope people understand that the fanbase question is meant to measure the FO readership, not football fans in general.

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"I didn’t care for the Merriman/Jackson ad at all."

Neither did I. Glad I'm not the only one.

Re: Los Angeles

51 hits the nail on the head. As a longtime LA resident, I don't think we'll see an NFL team here for a long time (if ever), and I don't know anyone who really wants one. If we do see an NFL team in the area, it won't be in the city of Los Angeles.

Re: 62/fanbase question:

Perhaps a portion of your survey should be done during the regular season, rather than late in the playoffs. As others have pointed out, fans of particular teams that are eliminated may not be visiting the site nearly as frequently (or at all) by that point. Why not measure it when this selection bias doesn't exist?

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I rather liked the Diet Pepsi Max ad with the Cowboys coach yawning on the play call. Very Three Stooges. Still makes me laugh thinking about it.

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Re #59
I wonder how those results would change if Harris had asked people to name only one team, not two. I strongly suspect the Colts would be significantly lower; I might list them as my second favorite team because I enjoy watching them play, but there's really no comparison between them and the Titans.

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#40, 44

I think another problem is that the awesomeness of the plays the s-jax/merriman make in the commercial didn't accurately portray the players actual play this year.

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Re #35
See what Z wrote this year (linked in name):
Then I thought it through. This is the league's network. It's in its best interest if its broadcast team remained informed. Either Cincy coach Marvin Lewis briefed the boys on the ins and outs of his personnel, or some scout did, because I just don't believe these two announcers would figure this stuff out on their own.
Of course, if it's true that some scout briefed them, then why is NFL Network the only network smart enough to figure out you should have a scout brief your commentators so they can say intelligent things?

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RE: population vs. stadium seats.

It was probably an oversight, but I know Lambeau Field has over 70,000 seats, and the town has just over 100,000 people. I don't know much about Jacksonville, but a quick internet search revealed the population at almost 800,000. So, I'd say even if it is the second smallest city vs. stadium, it is waaaaaaay behind.

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I think they should consider moving the super bowl to LA every year.

Especially if they build/renovate a stadium. I think it would be a big enough deal that people in the area would be willing to go every year. And it is a big enough city to hold support the event. Also it solves the problem of having ever having a home team make the superbowl.

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RE: the Merriman/Jackson commercial
I laughed whenever I saw it because it shows #4 for New England getting taken out. #4 will always be Vinatieri to me.
When you're off the bean, you gotta take out the kicker?

I'd also echo the good Philly fan comments. I mentioned in an earlier thread how I went to the NE/Philly game this year, and Gillette was loaded with Philly fans. I didn't see one fight, and I almost always see fights, every year, practically every game between the visiting section and a nearby section (don't ask why I'm in the nosebleeds, it hurts)

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68: Thanks for the link. In answer to your question, I think Dr. Z is implying that the NFL is instructing team personnel to give its broadcasters a level of access greater than what the other networks get. If that's true, then it sounds like a really good idea.

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#69: Well, a more fair population comparison would be Jacksonville vs. Wisconsin. Of the fans at Packer games, the vast majority live outside little Green Bay, especially in the Milwaukee and Madison metro areas. The Packers just happen to name themselves after their stadium location. Hello, Orchard Park Bills!
A quirk of the city of Jacksonville is that it's enormous geographically. Those 800,000 souls are spread over a massive region, so the city *is* the metro area. And it's not too wealthy. Quick -- name a major company based in Jacksonville.

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70: While LA would be a good city for the Super Bowl, the problem for years here has been trying to build or renovate a stadium. There's always a political obstacle resulting from the fact that the city leaders always push for renovation of the Coliseum (as was pointed out in #51 above). Anyone who has a brain realizes that the idea of renovating the Coliseum is DOA at the NFL offices.

If LA can't come up with a feasible plan to build a stadium for a team that would play 8 home games a year (plus 2 preseason games), how could it be expected to come up with a feasible plan to build a stadium to host one game a year (even if that game is the Super Bowl)?

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74. Yeah, I agree. But they could make a bid to hold the olympics there again or something.

There will be a new stadium there. It is just a matter of when. But if LA were to maybe win a bid for the 2016 olympics, I think they would build a stadium somewhere there.

I don't even pretend to know about LA politics, so that might not even be on thier radar, but I don't think it is too far-fetched either.

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75: Good point, but I believe L.A. already lost out on being the U.S. city in the running for 2016 to Chicago.
I think a lot of the L.A. talk is just wind. The NFL has always seemed to hold tradition to a higher standard, at least lately. The Packers will never move, despite being in the smallest market in professional sports. Cleveland was given a new franchise with the old one's history before Art Modell could unpack in Baltimore. Even giving the Bills some games in Toronto, as one poster pointed out, likely keeps them in the area despite taking games out of the actual city of Buffalo (or Orchard Park).

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Joe Buck needs to be shot out of a cannon, I've rarely heard a more lackluster play call for great plays than Joe Buck. Eli throws it and Tyree, catches it.

Wow, NFL films will be dubbing that one.

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This year there has been accusation of Patriots bias, which you dismiss based on the poll results ("whole 'Patriots bias' thing really has more to do with the readers than it does with the writers"). I completely disagree with that conclusion. It seems more logical that as the Patriots bias increased (among the WRITERS), more Patriots fans would be drawn to visit and stick with the site, while other fans would leave.

In fact you implicitly supported this theory by saying that "winning teams attract more fans." The question is then why did the Super Bowl Champion Giants drop from 7th to 8th overall. Obviously, winning is not the predominant factor (or the Giants would have gone up). Also, contrary to several commenters suggestions, selection bias from the vote timing (post-Championship game) is not the predominant factor (or the Giants would have gone up). Both of those are likely factors which contribute to the Giants maintaining around 7th/8th overall despite the numerous anti-Giants articles and both contributed to the Pats rise. But to say that this proves a lack of bias is simply not true.

I hope this is taken as constructive criticism, since I love the site. And you can't say that this is an inappropriate comment, given that you opened yourselves up for it by assuming a conclusion from the fan results. I think the only conclusive lesson is that people like reading about their teams when they reading something positive. That happens far more often when your team is winning (which makes sense) but the Pats and Giants poll results also point to something else, which may very well be bias.

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I think the word 'bias' gets thrown around way too often. Bias implies starting from a given position, then selectively sampling the data to justify it after-the-fact. This is not something I've ever seen from FO.

As a whole, FO was high on the Pats and down on the Giants all season long - based not on bias, but on their model for analyzing the game. Even if you disagree with the conclusion, this does not imply bias - it simply means you disagree with the analysis. The problem is that many critics immediately jump to the bias charge based on nothing more than simple disagreement.

Many raised the very valid possibility that DVOA could possess a systemic bias based on the method used (sampling of official play-by-play data). This is a serious argument worthy of examination, and I don't think anybody has ever dismissed any of these criticisms; everyone recognizes that DVOA is an evolving system, with lots of room open to improvement. However, the people claiming this systemic bias were not the ones screaming about a pro-Pats bias. There's a huge difference between claiming that a statistical model is undercounting/overcounting a variable, and saying that it's being done in an attempt to elicit support for a particular team. There's a legitimate case to be made for the former, and not much for the latter.

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#77 - actually, NFL Films used the audio from the radio broadcast, which was excellent. The announcer actually called Eli as having been sacked, then corrected himself mid-sentence. I can't imagine what it must have been like to hear that on the radio.

Actually, based on my (admittedly limited) experience with FieldPass, I've noticed that the radio broadcasts seem to be uniformly excellent. In particular, I remember the Denver and Pittsburgh teams being outstanding.

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no, the official play by play predicts the past.

DVOA is useful in that it takes the most useful information from that to give a more accurate forecast of the future than traditional statistics.

It's not perfect, but it's better than what we've had previously. Hopefully there will be further refinements to continue to improve it.

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I would say that DVOA doesn't predict the past, but measures it. Now if you have a better way of predicting the future than looking at past performance, I would (and I'm sure Aaron) be very interested to hear it.

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RE: 54

So, who does the best play-by-play? Michaels or Nanz?

One “is, hands down, the best play-by-play man in history”.

The other “is by far the best play-by-play man on the list”.

Those were comments from two different readers.

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I would tend to agree with you. With that said, there has been a tendency here for threads that have nothing whatsoever to do with the Pats being taken over by people talking about the Pats. It isn't a bias, certainly not one by the authors of this site anyways. But I can sort of see how people might get that impression, especially if they are new.

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just my 2 cents, but I also enjoy Boomer on the radio - definitely makes unavoidable sunday car trips more tolerable

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You got the name of the award wrong. It should be the "John Cougar Mellencamp Must Die" award. The Cougar is to remind us of our country.

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hof broadcast heaven network on the Radio game of the week: Jack buck and Hank Stram please.... OTHERWISE THE MUTE BUTTON for all telecasters today. there are enuf ongoing text, camera angles, replays and graphics to follow SANS annoying fill talk with no real descritive game on the field insights .

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The most infuriating aspect of each Networks telecast of the NFL are the useless sound effects that accompany the introduction of informative graphics. I could tolerate a feature film on that god-awful E.D. band before suffering the continued confusion of things that sound like inadverdant whistles and ditched fighter jets in my backyard. Does anyone fondly recall the experimental Dolphin Jet game?

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How can one discern "good" pre-game from "bad". The formats are indistingishable from one network to the other except for the level of contempt engendered by the "personalities". Is this a contradictory observation? I would glue myself to a pre-game offering in the form of a quiz program pretaining to trivial aspects of current league happenings as well as interesting facts relevent to that particular weeks matchups. True or false?