Monday, January 23, 2006



For all who don't know this, I run a football pool for a bunch of friends, which has grown to include people I don't know as well - almost 40 people took part this year, with about 25 of them in the pool for the whole season. Most of the guys in the pool are pretty knowledgeable about their football, so to win a week is not all that easy: There's always going to be a few upsets, it's a matter of knowing where to put your picks and weights so they don't hurt you too much.

Now, I pride myself on being pretty good at picking the winners of games, and which teams have a better chance of being upset than others, etc. Over the 17-week season, I won four times (one of them a tie) - twice when using a system I devised, and twice when I didn't use the system. [Ironically, those were the only two weeks I didn't use the system, but that's another story...] When the playoffs began, though our pool was over, I picked the winners of the Wildcard games - and was 4-0. In the Divisional Playoffs, I was surprised when I went just 2-2, but I think almost everyone was surprised that Indianapolis played so poorly, and most people thought New England should beat Denver.

Then came this week. A couple friends have an apartment nearby, so I went over there to watch the game with a bunch of friends. While many people disagreed with me on who I picked, I don't think anybody expected to see what we all did. Utter embarrassment.

I felt like an idiot, watching the Carolina and Denver offensive lines let people just walk right through them. I was shocked to see Shaun Alexander just run right over the Carolina defense. I was appalled that Jake Plummer, who convinced me last week that he's not a train wreck waiting to happen, was a train wreck extraordinaire. I couldn't believe that Carolina's play-calling was so obvious, we were able to predict what they were doing half the time. I was amazed that Denver fell apart so rapidly after they made mistakes, and that they kept blitzing when it was suicidal.

Overall, I was floored. And humbled. I'm rooting for the Seahawks in the Super Bowl, but I really have no clue who's going to win. As of now, I'll say the Steelers... but who knows, I'm on quite a roll lately.

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  1. Why would you think Plummer got it together? He had a good season, but the guy's been falling apart for years now. He's not a big time QB and never will be. That being said, I personally don't think Seattle or the Steelers are big time teams (although I did pick Seattle to be Carolina). IMO Big Ben is not a great QB, but he's in a perfect situation. The Seahawks offense is overrated and their D is underrated. The bowl I would've liked to see is Indy/Chicago. But they both choked. Whatchagonnado?

    Go Giants! :(

  2. Great, just when the Steelers are on a roll, you have to go and pick them, now what?

  3. R2JB - Heh.

    Shtender - I didn't think Plummer had it together originally, for the exact reasons you said. But then I saw the highlights from the Patriots game, and he was great: Smart, no mistakes... I thought Shanahan was doing a great job of keeping him in check. He's so clearly talented - his escapes yesterday were incredible - he just made a couple incredibly dumb mistakes.

    I don't think the Steelers are a big-time team, nor Seattle. OTOH, I don't think anyone in the NFC is all that good except the Panthers. Roethlisberger is a good, solid QB. He makes few mistakes, he doesn't force balls too much, etc. - but even a Steelers fan sitting next to me noted the same things as me: He has trouble when teams leave 7 guys in coverage (ie DON'T BLITZ!), and on obvious passing downs. The reason the Steelers passed on first down all day is because everyone thought run. That's when he's good.

    And the Giants stink. :)

    David - Heh. :)