Tag Archives: Eli Manning

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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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 New NBA: Preserving the Freedom of Free Agency


“I want my freedom. My goal is to control my own destiny. And as you’ve seen in my career, I’ve never been in a position to do that. I know some teams out there are saying, ‘Oh, Chauncey will be great in mentoring’ and I’m tired of that. I’ve got a few good years left to play, and I’m not trying to come in and sit on the bench, or be a mentor. I’m not going to be that guy. I want to go somewhere and win. I want to choose.” – Chauncey Billups

Welcome to the players’ revolution. The tide is changing in the NBA and across professional sports, and the result is players taking an increasing role in deciding where they go and who they play for. At the heart of this sea change is that central desire – to have that freedom to choose.


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