Sunday, January 10, 2010

Football's Not Quite Over, 2010 Edition

Caption: Somewhere in the first half, the Philadelphia Eagles are already in over their heads, and the Cowboys are stepping on the down marker, even though it's the easiest thing to see on the field.

Image credit: Screenshots of NBC telecast by Cujo359

What with that two week long orgy of bowl games that just happened around New Years, you might think that the football season is now over. Unfortunately, that was just the college football season that ended. The professionals are going to be at it for a while longer.

There's an old saying in professional football - it's hard to beat the same team three times in a row. Even though I had the sound off for most of the game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles, I heard this repeated several times. So it's either an old saying or the commentators didn't know anything else about the game. I think this saying fails to take a couple things into account:

First, in the NFL, if you're playing another team three times in a row, that other team is good enough to get to the playoffs.

Second, it assumes that the other team is about as good as yours is.

On paper, the Cowboys and the Eagles are similar quality teams. They play in the same division, and had 11 - 5 records. The problem with that thinking, of course, is that this year the Cowboys, to borrow an expression from baseball, have been playing the Eagles like they owned them. In their previous two games, the Eagles scored a combined 16 points. That's not a good showing even in their division.

Needless to say, the Eagles lost again, by a lot.

Caption: Where did the yellow line go? Click to enlarge if you want, but trust me, it's not there.

Don't ask me why this is the case, I don't know. Heck, I'm still trying to figure out how those magical markings that show what down it is and where the offense needs to be to get a first down can appear in the view at the top of the article, and yet not be in the way when we see things from this view.

Football is much more confusing than it used to be.

Still, I think we can deduce two things from all this - that football truisms are often not all that profound, nor particularly true, and that if you see something in one view but not in another, it's probably a special effect.

What I know for sure is that my two hometown teams, the Eagles and the Seattle Seahawks, are now ineligible for this year's Super Bowl, which means that I can now stop paying attention.

Just three or four more weeks, and all this will be over.

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