Monthly Archives: February 2012

The NFL: What Goes Into Luck?


I was struck by a BloggingTheBoys article asking Who Were The Luckiest NFL Teams In 2011? I encourage you all to read the article if you haven’t already. The short answer is that comparing predictions based on a teams points scored and points allowed versus actual wins and losses indicates that teams like the Packers, Chiefs, and Broncos were fortunate in that they amassed more wins than their on-field performance would predict. It also suggests that, conversely, teams like the Vikings, Eagles, and Dolphins were not in Lady Luck’s good graces this season. Our Fair Cowboys were in the middle of the pack, as the 11th unluckiest team with a -0.6 variance. But beyond 2011, one of the other statistics mentioned by BTB writer One.Cool.Customer really caught my eye.

For most teams, these numbers tend to change from year to year. But not for all. The Cowboys have had a negative variance for the last three years in a row. No team has had more successive years of ‘bad luck’, with the Texans and Panthers the only other teams to also have had three consecutive years with a negative variance.

On a personal level, I have long felt that the Giants are the luckiest teams in sports and 2011 was certainly no exception. The Giants finished with a positive variance for the seventh year in a row. The next closest teams are the Cardinals with four consecutive years and the Saints with three consecutive years. Only once in the last ten years (2004) did the Giants have a negative variance. The Giants are lucky on a metaphysical level that transcends rational numbers.

These statistics raise an interesting question. Is there anything more to these trends in “luck” than just random chance? Is there a reason why the Cowboys have been so consistently unlucky according to this formula when the Little Boys Blue have been so fortunate?

Here are five possible answers to that question.



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Applecarter Alert: Grantland’s Hua Hsu on M.I.A.

Recently, I concluded the Top Five Terms Made Up By Yours Truly series with one of my favorite terms: Applecarters. In essence, Applecarters are people who love watching the when unplanned, unscripted, or unexpected happens. They love it when something “upsets the apple cart.”

Apparently, Grantland’s Hua Hsu is, in fact, an Applecarter. He did a great story on M.I.A. and the Impossibility of Selling Out, and described his expectations and excitement about watching pop star M.I.A. at the Super Bowl thusly:

As I watched M.I.A. at the Super Bowl, looking slightly awkward, I felt a sense of anticipation — or was it hope? Was she simply going to go through the motions? Was she going to look purposely stilted and bored, as though to lampoon this self-important event? Would she reach into the crowd and pull a scraggly 99 percenter onstage with her? There are those rare moments when you watch live television and you feel something  is about to happen. You notice opportunities when things could go off-script — like when Mike Myers threw to Kanye West on the Katrina telethon, or any moment from a late-’90s Rage Against the Machine performance on MTV. At the end of her pro forma stint on a moribund new Madonna tune, M.I.A. looked in the camera and flipped the bird. Along the continuum of public controversies, a middle finger probably ranks somewhere between the S-word and the F-word, far below a cogent political statement or a bared breast.

Sounds like the yearnings of an Applecarter to me. Welcome to the club, Mr. Hsu.

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Why The Patriots Losing the Super Bowl in 2012 Was Different Than in 2008











Four years ago I explained Why I Was Glad To See The Patriots Lose Super Bowl 42, tracing much of my NFL fandom up to that point along the way. The article was the culmination of my path from being a fan of a particular team to becoming a fan of the game. There’s a great deal packed into a pretty expansive article, but the gist of it is this:

While I was a Dallas Cowboys fan from childhood, my NFL fandom really began in middle school, when I started to play football myself. Like all twelve year olds at the time, I was awed by rags-to-riches Kurt Warner and the St. Louis Rams’ “Greatest Show on Turf.” Accordingly, when the Patriots beat the Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI, it irked me.

It seemed obvious to any kid at the time that the Rams were one of the best teams to ever take the field. Between the notorious Tuck Rule snowbowl against Oakland, and the Rams not playing like themselves for most of the Super Bowl, New England seemed undeserving somehow. It felt like these flukes allowed a pack of unwitting beneficiaries to deny a historically great team their vindication, and it began my distaste for the Pats.


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Why I Was Glad To See The Patriots Lose (Reposted from 2008)


In 2008, I wrote an article describing why I was pleased to see the 2007 New England Patriots lose Superbowl XLII to the New York Giants. The article not only described my joy at seeing the Pats denied, but traced much of the path of how I became a football fan. With the Patriots and the Giants meeting in the Superbowl again last night, I planned to write a follow up, analyzing the match up, the sentiments of a Pats-hater after another New England Superbowl loss, and the evolution of the game four years later. But I thought it would be interesting to revisit this article first and to take a look back at what it was like to see a team that almost had a perfect season fall just short.


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The 5 Greatest Captains in Outer Space


Space…the final frontier. Only a brave few have had the courage, the fortitude, and the SAG cards to lead a crew into the far reaches of the universe. We here at The Andrew Blog decided to salute the five finest on-screen captains to ever command a space-faring vessel. There were only two simple rules: 1. The characters had to be in charge of their ships, whether they formally held the title of captain or not. 2. Only one captain per franchise; one of the biggest problems on spaceships is overcrowding. With those grand limits in place, we present to you the five best captains that the galaxy has to offer.



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