Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics - An Exremely Early and Extremely Misguided NFL Prediction

Things occur to me from time to time. Like, I really enjoy milk. Or, making the bed is stupid.

Recently it occurred to me that the NFL team I cheer for, the Kansas City Chiefs, are potentially the worst team in the league. What am I basing this on? How about the fact that on the Official Kansas City Chiefs Store there are 4 (FOUR!) replica jerseys for sale. And three of those players haven't even played a game for Kansas City yet - Matt Cassel, Mike Vrabel and Tyson Jackson.

When I first saw this yesterday I was outraged by the low jersey total, but then I actually though about it - whose jersey from this team would you actually want? Larry Johnson is the only name missing from that list who could actually sell some jerseys.

Ok, so Kansas City is probably going to be terrible and they have almost no players whose jersey you'd want to wear. Fine, I can live with. But certainly Kansas City can't have the lowest number of jerseys for sale, can they? Surely there must be another team more miserable and worse off.

No, no there's not. Trust me, I looked into it.

Because I was curious as to what other teams had for sale I decided to look into it and check out all 32 teams. But before I share the results, here are a few ground rules I used in my not-so-scientific study:

- The jersey type I used for calculating the totals for each team were Home Replica jerseys, because they are the most common and what kind of jagoff pays 250 bucks for an authentic jersey?

- Only the home jerseys were counted, no aways, throwbacks or alternates.

- Only the jerseys of players currently on the team were counted, with two exceptions - Sean Taylor and Pat Tillman.

- The jersey totals were taken from each team's official store website. The official NFL.com store was not used.

And here are the winners and loser (by team and number of applicable jerseys for sale):

1.(tie) New England Patriots - 19
1.(tie) Pittsburgh Steelers - 19
These two are not really surprising - tons of recent success, superstar players, fans who think the Earth revolves around their team
3. Washington Redskins - 16
Washington scores high on the fan-arrogance scale, but not so much in recent success category
4.(tie) Indianapolis Colts - 15
4.(tie) Buffalo Bills - 15
4.(tie) Green Bay Packers - 15
Ok, Indy I understand - what with their decade of success, at least in the regular season. But Buffalo? What the crap is going on there? And no, 14 of those jerseys do not have the name Owens on the back. And Green Bay just seems to be selling jerseys for their whole team - including the kicker
7. Carolina Panthers - 14
That seems a little high, doesn't it? I can't imagine there's too much call for Dwyane Jarrett jerseys.
8. New York Jets - 13
9.(tie) Philadelphia Eagles - 12
9.(tie) Baltimore Ravens - 12
Those ones seem about right to me.
11.(tie) San Francisco 49ers - 11
11.(tie) Detroit Lions - 11
San Francisco seems fine, but Detroit? C'mon! Somebody's got delusions of grandeur. Let's face it, people in Detroit are worried about finding couches to burn for warmth, not buying Larry Foote jerseys.
13.(tie) Chicago Bears - 10
13.(tie) Atlanta Falcons - 10
13.(tie) Cleveland Browns - 10
13.(tie) Tennessee Titans - 10
13.(tie) San Diego Chargers - 10
I would have thought the Charges would have had more for sale. And I think the Cleveland total will be dropping to 9 soon, as I can't imagine they're going to sell the Donte Stallworth jersey for much longer. Also, I can't even name 10 Tennessee Titans - what's going on there?
18.(tie) New York Giants - 9
18.(tie) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 9
18.(tie) Seattle Seahawks - 9
18.(tie) Cincinnati Bengals - 9
18.(tie) Oakland Raiders - 9
Seems like the Giants should have more, at least double digits. Cincinnati wins the award for the most poorly designed website in the league - not surprising if you've ever read this site. I'm serious it took me quite awhile to find the jersey selection - not a good business plan to confuse and enrage your customers.
23.(tie) Dallas Cowboys - 8
23.(tie) Minnesota Vikings - 8
23.(tie) Arizona Cardinals - 8
I'm shocked that the Cowboys fell this far. I suppose they don't have the star power they used to but this was surprising to me. Arizona and Minnesota being down here was not surprising to me. And Minnesota will have another one to add as soon as the corpse of Brett Favre signs with them
26. Jacksonville Jaguars - 7
Can you name 7 Jacksonville Jaguars? I can't and I just looked at their website.
27. Miami Dolphins - 6
28.(tie) New Orleans Saints - 5
28.(tie) St. Louis Rams - 5
28.(tie) Houston Texans - 5
28.(tie) Denver Broncos - 5
Hmmm, seems like these teams have something in common - not much success lately.
32. Kansas City Chiefs - 4
Somebody pass me a tissue.

So what should we learn from all this?

First, I have too much time on my hands.

Second, and more important, I think these numbers can be used to predict the future. From what I can tell, the outcomes look a lot like the divisional standings will at the end of the year. By most jerseys available by division, the teams break down like this:

NFC East
NY Giants

NFC North
Green Bay

NFC South
Tampa Bay
New Orleans

NFC West
San Francisco
St. Louis

AFC East
New England
NY Jets

AFC North

AFC South

AFC West
San Diego
Kansas City

I think that all looks pretty good to me - Detroit might be a stretch, but who knows. I'll have to compare this list to the final standings at season's end. And you know what the Chiefs at the bottom means - Kansas City with the #1 overall pick in the draft next year, baby!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Top Five Friday

I won't lie to you, I'm incredibly bored. And completely out of ideas - like literally nothing to say about anything. So until I actually come up with something interesting to write about, every Friday I'm going to do what bored and lazy writers the world over do - make lists! The specifics of the list will change but two things will always be constant - it will always contain five items and it will always be about music (yeah yeah I know, sports blog - shut your mouth). This week's list:

Top Five Songs Named After Women
This one is pretty straightforward, because... well, I'm sitting at my desk and I don't think very well at work - imagine that. The criteria for the list was simply this: the song title must contain only a woman's first name. This was done for the sake of simplicity, even though it disqualified songs like Billie Jean and Eleanor Rigby.

5. Gloria - Them
I love how raw Van Morrison's voice is - hard to believe that was 1964, seems to be a little ahead of it's time.

4. Cecilia - Simon and Garfunkel
Did you ever think to yourself, "Man, I wish I could see two German dudes cover Simon and Garfunkel"? Well guess what - today is your lucky day!

3. Amie - Damien Rice
Question my masculinity all you want (many have), but this is a phenomenal song. On a related note, Austin City Limits is the reason television was created - there is no higher form of programming.

2. Angie - The Rolling Stones
This was almost a 1(a)/1(b) situation, but I decided to put this one at 2. Phenomenal guitar and a life-altering chord change just before, "You can't say we're satisfied."

1. Bernadette - The Four Tops
Until last week, I bet I hadn't heard this song in 10 years. Possibly a perfect song. The song that really got me thinking about this list.

Honourable Mentions:
Beth - Kiss
Suzanne - Leonard Cohen
Roxanne - The Police

Dishonourable Mention:
Mandy - Barry Manilow

Make sure to kill me in the comments for anything I unforgivably forgot.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

An Off the Cuff Offseason Presents: The Continuing Misadventures of Napoleon in Rags, Vol.3

To fill some space during the offseason I’m going to be running a series of stories about the “hilarious” mishaps that I am growing ever more accustomed to. My days are generally filled with fraudulent attempts at professionalism, lame attempts at humour and staggeringly transparent attempts to fit in with the normal humans. It’s mostly gaffes, apologies and dizzying social awkwardness – just ask anyone who has had the misfortune of being romantically linked to me. Don’t worry, not everything is 100% accurate or 100% hilarious. Here is today’s installment:

Stupidity in Spades

I don't consider myself old enough to complain about the youth of today, but seriously what the crap is up with the youth of today? It's not the Twilight, the Facebook or the unbearable air of entitlement... well it is those things, I just don't have the energy for them today.

Today is about the stupidity. So, so much stupidity.

More specifically stupid kids working in the retail industry. Can someone please explain to me what exactly the qualifications are to be employed these days?

As far as I can tell, you simply have to be breathing to be employable. And, I mean just breathing - a functioning motor system is a luxury. People skills? Meh. And complex brain activity, forgetaboutit.

Let me set the stage for you as to why this has suddenly set me off. As of late I've had the distinct displeasure of frequenting certain big-box retail establishments on a fairly regular basis. And I would say the level of engagement from the staff at these stores ranges from catatonic to palpable hostility.

"Oh, I'm terribly sorry to inconvenience you by making you actually do your job. I know you're pissed that I called you away from chatting up the female in your department - who's actually a 6, by the way, but seems like an 8.5 because she's the only female working with a bunch of dudes - but she's still out of your league, just so you know. Trust me, if I could help it I wouldn't want your help anyway - I mean, would you want to talk to you. But sadly I do not possess the ability to conjure my own bedding plants out of dust and positive thinking - if I did, I assure you I would not be inflicting this unpleasantness on myself. So if you'll help me for literally 15 seconds I'll be out of your life forever and you can get back to failing to impress the sea-hag in aisle 7 with tall tales of the wicked new spoiler you're putting on your Fiero."

So now you're cursing yourself for leaving the house and only just clinging to a few scraps of your sanity. But you've got your [insert item here] and you're making a Bo Jackson-esqe run for the door.
In a perfect world you'd be able to just walk out the door and get on with your life. Sadly, things like morality, commerce and the legal system get in the way and compel you to pay for everything you've taken off the shelves. But good news for you, dear reader, some innovative and technologically-advanced retailers have installed automated check-outs that allow you to pay for your items on your own.

I know some people lament the decline of human interaction taking place in almost all aspects of human society. But not me - I think it's the greatest thing since sliced bread. The less I have to come in contact with moody, unhappy and unpleasant people, the better - and that pretty much describes 98.6% of the service industry.

Automated customer service telephone line? Awesome.

Touch screens and fancy computers helping me check out my purchases? Sign me up.

Robot wives... perhaps I've said too much.

But as it stands now, most retailers still have an honest-to-goodness human manning the check-out line. And "human" is meant only in the most literal sense - I generally get the feeling that there's not a whole lot of cognition happening in front of that till. I think this brief description pretty much sums up the whole experience:

- You walk up to the till and put your items on the counter and await them being scanned.
- Chances of getting a hello: 1 in 15
- The young female behind the till generally looks like she just came off a 13-day meth jag and has the disposition of, "If it meant I could have another hour's sleep, I would tear your face off without a second thought." (Note: It's not my intent to be sexist - these positions are usually staffed by females)
- A total price is mumbled at you
- Money is exchanged
- Have to ask for a bag
- Dirty look in your direction
- Transaction completed
- Over/under on the total number of words spoken by both parties during the entire encounter: 5.5
- Exit

And thus your brief glimpse at the future generations is complete and you're breathing fresh air again.

Don't get me wrong, I'm no rocket scientist so I don't expect everyone else to be cracking the human genome. But man oh man, is a basic level of social interaction and intelligence really too much to ask? I swear I feel like I'm one step away from yelling at kids to get off my lawn - because I genuinely believe that kids are getting dumber and dumber. I'm not sure if this says more about me or them?

One programming note, Sports As Life will be closed next week as your host with the most is on vacation.

Monday, June 8, 2009

I'm Back. But Just For Now, 'Cause You Get on My Case...

... and I'm out of here.

You: Then go. Who needs you?

Me: (Goes to hug you) I missed you!

You: (Stands uncomfortably, not hugging back)

So... yeah, it's been awhile, eh? How ya been?

I won't lie to you, it wasn't you - it was me. I've got a couple reasons I haven't been around these parts lately. Firstly, I've been busy with things you do not care about, so let's not even trouble ourselves with that.

Secondly, I've been bored out of my mind. Let's face it, there's not exactly a whole lot going on in the NFL world these days - and I'm not too interested in the dealing with the daily minutiae of the off-season. But I'll figure out something to write about, most importantly because it will keep me busy at work.

As my first order of business back on the job, I'd like to say a few words about Twitter. Anybody who knows me, knows my thoughts about Twitter. Twitter is stupid. It's for people who think that MySpace is just a little too in-depth. Twitter is Facebook with ADD. It's the latest advancement in an increasingly unbearable, narcissistic society, where everybody is a star and is worthy of attention. Well I've got news for you - you're not and nobody cares.

And with that, I'm proud to announce that Sports As Life is now on Twitter! You can find us right here:

Check out the page early and often to see what is currently enraging me. Since I hate everything and everybody, there will never be a shortage of material.

In summation, I'm back - let's rock.