Friday, July 31, 2009

Magazine Review

I recently subscribed to ESPN: The Magazine. I subscribed because I wanted to read ESPN Insider, both for Football Outsiders articles (more, alas, is apparently going behind the pay wall this coming season, which sucks) and for other stuff. I subscribed through Amazon for $15/year, halved to $7.50 thanks to some other purchase I'd made, and was able to extend that for another year for $1 thanks to a promo on the initial issue I received today. It's a good thing it comes with Insider and is so expensive because otherwise, because the cost per level of enjoyment ratio is pretty freakin' awful. The best piece in there was a short one by Mike Tanier that was maybe, at tops, half as good as yesterday's Walkthrough column, and the second best one was on athlete's restaurants. This, coming from somebody who last ate dinner in a restaurant in February, and not because it was a particularly engrossing article. I thought SI, which I only glance at because we have it in the lobby at work, was bad, but, even as a hollow shell of its former self, it's better than ESPN Mag.

Total Titans

I have a new post up on Total Titans, this one predicting the 53-man roster as training camp opens. I should have written this post last night, but didn't. Posts will be updated as I feel like, hopefully after each of the 5 preseason games, and may include fancy-dancy tables of locks, bubble in and out players, and "thanks for showing up" guys.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Miscellanea

It's been a solid month since I've gone through and dropped a bunch of links, so it's past time to do it again.

A couple video links: Titans S Michael Griffin talks smack about his golf game and beating S/NB Vinny Fuller. On a more football note, though, Ahmard Hall talked about playing fullback and getting work as a tailback. Nothing hugely insightful, but it's a little bit of a changeup to see a player talk about changes in the FB position over the past 10-20 years and (general) talk about blocking schemes on special teams. Thanks to the interviewer, whose voice I didn't recognize.

Year of Sports Death: Charlie Batch told rookies there's 100% chance of a lockout. I think that's a little pessimistic-I'd probably say 98%. See also this WSJ piece on DeMaurice Smith's efforts to teach players more about the NFL's economics. Florio is, of course, more optimistic, and may be right. The "optimistic" scenario, such as it is, may be a lockout beginning March 1, the NFL holding a draft without the NFLPA, and then a deal in July or August.

Maybe doing this now isn't a good idea-reading this great breakdown of Georgia Tech's offense didn't hold my interest. HT to Smart Football, who writes his own post on the subject.

Sadly unprophetic words from Adam Schefter: "There's not a quieter day or NFL time than July 4. Which means only one thing. Brett Favre is about to ruin it." If only it had been Brett that ruined it...

Chase Stuart of PFR Blog picked a 90% of the All-Decade Team, pseudo-mocking ESPN doing the same but actually thinking about it seriously. Wait, you mean ESPN was serious when they put together their All-Decade Team and ignored 10% of the Decade? See also Chase's post on the All-Decade Team of the '70's: offense and defense.

Sporting News Today previewed the Titans a couple weeks ago. The most interesting bit comes from the opposing coach. The tag, "To be honest, they've just about always outcoached us every time we've played," is quite flattering.

McNair link detritus: Chris Brown and Justin McCareins talked to a local rag about Mac9. Titans Online had this bio piece, and see the links therein. Jamie Dukes wrote about marriage difficulties among athletes. Brad Hopkins had probably the best athlete interview I saw on Mac-9 (video link). Jason LaCanfora broke down McNair's most frequent targets. Steve could have been a Carolina Panther or a Seattle Mariner.

Chris at Smart Football had a very useful post on the NFL Offense, and touched on the reason the NFL is tactically less interesting to talk about than college football. At a basic level, this is why I stopped doing UFR, and wouldn't do it if I even had 10 extra hours a week-unless I got hard-core into grading individual performances, I'm not sure I was learning much valuable. This is also why I picked up Play Football the NFL Way-individual player technique is something I know too little about, as someone who never played organized football, and an important part of the game. See also Chris's follow-up post on Spurrier in the NFL.

I miss the old run-and-shoot Houston Cougars. See this post by Dr. Saturday, comparing current Coog QB Case Keenum's stats with those of Andre Ware and David Klingler. Man, college football is different than it was two decades ago.

If I were a player, I'd really be wondering if I could trust my coach when he apparently lies whenever he wants to.

And that's all I have for now, though enough links remain I'll probably do this again in the next couple days.

Blogroll Update

Welcome to Prolate Spheroid, a recent discovery of mine that features some actually-researched posts. See O.J. Simpson, this one on I-AA scheduling over time, or this one on Steve McNair. It makes this site even in its more sporadic times seem frequently updated, but is a worthy addition to your RSS reader. And goodbye to DGDB&D. Announce you're shutting down your blog and I'm taking you off the blogroll. Yes, I know Dr. Z is still on there and not writing anything, nor is he likely to write anything any time soon. Consider his continued presence my best wishes for recovery.

Connecting the Dots

Today, Jack Bechta of NFP wrote an article on why rookies don't have deals done in time for training camp that included the following observation:

There is also a growing concern and frustration among general managers about one large agency that’s working at its own pace and disregarding camp opening dates. Four GMs and three team negotiators I’ve spoken to over the past seven days have told me that this firm is dictating its own timetable for getting deals done based on the order of draft picks they represent and the location of those picks in the first round. I’m being told that there’s no sense of urgency from this firm and that it won’t start talking seriously until camps open. My problem is that this strategy is not openly disclosed to players when they sign with the firm. The deals will ultimately get done, as they always do, but players may miss a week or more that they don’t have to.


Irrespective of the very real agency problem Bechta writes about (which is important), there's a very specific accusation there: that one firm (which Bechta doesn't identify by name) is playing a hold-up game with the entire NFL. Of course, on reading this, I wondered just who that firm was.

And thus I turned to PFT's handy-dandy Signing Status of First Round Picks page and this SBD article, which have the agent information for each of those 32 gentlemen and the agency affiliations (PFT's info is the up to date one). Now, Bechta tells us the firm is doing deals "based on the order of draft picks and the location of those picks in the first round." So, what agents are representing multiple first round picks:

CAA (Tom Condon, Ben Dogra, etc): #1 Matt Stafford (signed pre-draft), #2 Jason Smith, #7 Darius Heyward-Bey, #12 Knowshon Moreno, #13 Brian Orakpo, #14 Malcolm Jenkins, #15 Brian Cushing, #17 Josh Freeman, #19 Jeremy Maclin

Athletes First (David Dunn, etc): #5 Matt Sanchez (signed), #9 B.J. Raji, #26 Clay Matthews, #27 Donald Brown, #28 Eric Wood (signed 7/28)

Todd France: #16 Larry English, #25 Vontae Davis, #30 Kenny Britt

Octagon: #4 Aaron Curry, #20 Brandon Pettigrew, #32 Ziggy Hood

Eugene Parker: #3 Tyson Jackson, #10 Michael Crabtree

BEST (Joel Segal): #11 Aaron Maybin, #22 Percy Harvin


Looking at this list, there's only one real candidate that fits Bechta's criteria, and that's CAA. Plenty of picks, forcing teams to go in order is quite possible, and enough range and volume to drive the market. Athlete's First doesn't have the middle-weight strength to be a player, and Todd France and Octagon don't have the depth. Plus, the top heavy nature of CAA means they can wait for the later first round picks to sign and then set their own market. So far, the only top 20 picks to sign are the two quarterbacks, so those are some very pleasant deals to do year-to-year comps off of. So, if your team's first round pick doesn't make it to camp on time, blame CAA.

UPDATE (7/28/09 2315 CT): Per PFT, #28 Eric Wood still hasn't signed. This doesn't affect my point, though, that CAA is very likely the agency Bechta's talking about.
UPDATE #2 (7/29/09 2358 CT): Matt Bowen of NFP in today's late column identifies CAA as the agency causing the problems.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Total Titans

Another Total Titans post, positional analysis series, on centers. Actual post here tomorrow, probably.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Total Titans

I have a new post up on Total Titans, this one the latest in our positional analysis series look at the offensive guards.

Friday, July 24, 2009

I Buy Too Many Books

Since I wrote this post at the end of May detailing the books on football I own but have not yet read, here's what I have acquired in terms of football books:

The already reviewed 2009 NFL Record and Fact Book

The already reviewed Playbooks and Checkbooks

Play Football the NFL Way by Tom Bass

The End of Autumn by Michael Oriard

Dixieland Delight by Clay Travis

The Anatomy of a Game by David Nelson (for the record, I paid several hundred dollars less than the current Amazon used price of $414.62)

Run It! And Let's Get the Hell Out of Here! by Jonathan Rand

The previously reviewed One Knee Equals Two Feet by John Madden

All Madden by John Madden

Hey, Wait a Minute by John Madden

Oiler Blues by John Pirkle

Oh, and I'm still waiting on a couple others, like a hard copy of Football Outsiders Almanac (I won't read the entire thing in PDF, so no review until I get that). I've finished 6 books this month, probably 8 or 9 by Sunday, though alas Playbooks and Checkbooks is the only sports one (I don't really count the Record and Fact Book). Guess it's time to get cracking.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Total Titans

I have a new post up on Total Titans, this one a positional analysis of the Titans' fullbacks.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

PFW's Best Titans

I almost turned this into a Total Titans post, but decided this post on Titans among the Sporting News's list of best at their position was too similar. So, it's here.

Top 50: Only one Titan here, LT Michael Roos at #32.

QBs: No Titans among the top 25. VY is listed as being among the "Top Veteran Prospects", a list that also includes Leinart, Brady Quinn, JaMarcus Russell, and Tyler Thigpen. If I'm Henne or Kolb, I'm insulted to be part of that grouping. KFC probably deserves to be like #23-I'll take him over Orton or Rosencopter.

RBs: CJ28 is #10, and has huge upside. 8th is as high as I'd go, and CJ's at the top of the trio of rookies, so I won't complain too much. LenWhale is not among the top 31, shockingly enough. This is the same as the SN ranking.

TEs: Scaife, #10 in SN's ranking, comes in at #13 here. Olsen is 8th and Zach Miller 10th, so PFW agrees with me more.

WRs: No Titans among the top 31. Nate Washington is listed as a "Top Veteran Prospect."

Cs: Kevin Maware is the #2 center, though on the downside. I'm really having a hard time seeing that. Leroy Harris is a "Top Veteran Prospect." Pats' center Dan Koppen is 13th, which seems low.

OGs: Jake Scott is #17, which seems reasonable.

OTs: Roos is #1. Check out PFR page, baby! Yeah, money well spent! David Stewart didn't make the top 27, and gets dinged in the Titans' chapter for struggling against speedier players. Yes, the list is LT-dominated, but c'mon, Orlando Pace at #15, Diem at #24, and Stewart not on the list?

DEs: KVB is #13. Another ranking I won't complain too much about. William Hayes and Jacob Ford are both "Top Veteran Prospects."

DTs: Tony Brown is #19, Jovan Haye #27, Jason Jones a "Top Veteran Prospect." I'll be curious to see just how good Tony Brown is without Albert next to him for a full season, but with players like Haye and Jones who should be competent.

ILBs: Tulloch is not among the top 27, which I don't have a problem with.

OLBs: Bulluck is #11, and the #4 4-3 OLB (counting Karlos Dansby as such). Aside from Dansby (who may be too high) and Briggs, Bulluck is also behind Chad Greenway of the Vikings. I'm not sure that's right based on last year's production, but will be right based on 2010 production.

CBs: Finnegan is #9. Who the heck knows. Champ is still #2, which seems high. Corey Webster I didn't expect to see at #7.

Ss: Michael Griffin is #6 and Chris Hope is #10. Normally, you see those rankings reversed, as they were in the SN rankings. Thankfully, Roy Williams is not ranked.

Returners: No Titans among the top 5. No complaints.

Kickers: Bironas is #2, behind Josh Brown. I'd flipflop Brown and #3 Gostkowski, but no complaints with where Rob is.

Punters: Hentrich not among the top 5, nor should he be.

Oddly enough, this is the first year I've picked up PFW's preview magazine. Coming of age, in some sense, in the Chicago area, it seems weird to see guys like Nolan Nawrocki, who I learned of from relatively low-rent shows on the local sports network (which may have been Midwest Sports Channel or somesuch other nonsense name), spoken of with some respect, but it's a fairly decent. It won't replace Football Outsiders Annual as my go-to preview, and I'm not sure the Yahoo! partnership adds much, but it's still a reasonably intelligent work and more likely to be picked up by a casual fan.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Book Review: Playbooks and Checkbooks

Aside from one post commenting on a post of maxims by college basketball blogger Ken Pomeroy, the focus here has been pretty monomaniacally oriented toward the gridiron game. I've put a rare non-strictly football item in a links post, and there's one other exception: sports economics. This has been mostly about how stupid it is for municipalities to spend their tax dollars on building stadiums for pro sports teams, but the field is larger than that, as a perusal of Stefan Szymanski's Playbooks and Checkbooks: An Introduction to the Economics of Modern Sports would indicate.

Playbooks and Checkbooks is Szymanski's approach to give a general overview of sports economics, unsurprisingly. Sports and the public purse is merely one chapter (out of six-this is a fairly slime volume), with the others being on sports as a business, organizing competition, antitrust issues, incentives, and broadcasting. Szymanski is a Professor of Economics at City University London, and so provides more of an international flavor than an American scholar probably would-one thing I hadn't thought about is sports leagues were very much a bottom-up creation in the UK and also relatedly the US, where they were one of a number of other voluntary associations, while most of the continental countries they were much more of a top-down creation of a goal-oriented state. Szymanski dates this to the 18th century, but the same sort of threads are present a half a millennium before that, as a perusal of The Origins of English Individualism by Alan Macfarlane would indicate.

Getting back to the topic of sports, it is interesting to see how the development of sports leagues proceeded differently in the US v. Britain, but Szymanski seems to tell a half-story. The British Football Association, governing body for soccer, forbade a professional club from paying profits to its owner or a salary to its director, whereas clubs in the National League (baseball) had no barriers to be profit-oriented. As an early 21st century American, it seems quite curious that 19th century Brits would accede to rules of that sort, but the Brits have always been funny people. Still, those sorts of restrictions explain why a system of promotion and relegation is possible. So, American soccer fans, that's how we'll get promotion and relegation-ban profits and payments of any stripe to people who own teams, make them have prestige as their only option.

Of course, if you're having these competitions, you need to figure out how much you want to limit competition, and what victorious competitors should receive. Sometimes, you want to reward a single competitor triumphant over its foes (e.g., Super Bowl), sometimes you want to give increasing rewards for the top competitors (e.g., Olympic medals), and Szymanski, drawing heavily on Gordon Tullock, cogently explains why and when you might want to do each.

But, of course, sports leagues are these weird hybrids of competitors who are working together, which when done by normal businesses draws antitrust scrutiny. As the recent American Needle case indicates, though, when a sports league is a single entity competing in the marketplace against other entities and when a sports league is a group of competitors acting together in restraint of trade can be a tricky issue. I, uh, didn't get much out of this chapter other than Szymanski hasn't read The Fifty-Year Seduction on the aftermath of the 1984 NCAA v. Board of Regents. There's a great deal more college football on television now than there was before then, but it's not quite so unambiguously clear that sports leagues are better off (yes, illegal antitrust cabals can be revenue enhancing for the conspirators).

The chapter on incentives seems a lot like Micro 101 applied to sports-when shirking is attractive, whether or not to use performance enhancing drugs, and free agency as improving the relationship between player quality and player compensation (duh).

The sports broadcasting chapter is kind of lame-the most interesting issue is the antitrust one IMO, and that was more or less settled in the US by the Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961, though it's still more of an open and contentious issue in Europe. There's also some discussion of the effect of television and other media on attendance, but Szymanski cites the NFL's greatly increased attendance during the 1950's and doesn't note (i) the tremendous negative effect teams like the Rams suffered when they first began televising their games (leading to the blackout rule), or (ii) Major League Baseball's average per-team attendance reached a peak in 1948 and didn't surpass that level until 1977.

The last chapter, as noted before, is on sports and the public purse. Alas, Szymanski's discussion of the advisability of this concentrates more on its Keynesian effects and less on the supporters' arguments of economic gain to the region. This seems rather odd, because the argument is never made by its supporters on Keynesian terms, but as being actually growth-enhancing. That this claim is generally bad to the point of fatuousness doesn't mean you should ignore it and look at what would be a better argument.

Actually, the Keynesian argument in the last chapter does a good job of summing up my basic issues with Playbooks and Checkbooks as a whole. It's on point, but is a bit off on emphasis. Keynesianism also generally isn't the sort of thing you talk about in regular conversation-it's the sort of thing only people who took a couple Econ classes in college would nod knowingly about, and too much of the book is like that. You can write a popular economics book in the US, and have people who didn't take econ classes in college read it-see books like Freakonomics, or Discover Your Inner Economist, or The Armchair Economist-but those have been popular because they've been accessible, and interesting to read. Irrespective of any of the content, I never actually enjoyed Playbooks and Checkbooks-no fun, and felt way too much like a textbook with an air of breeziness combined with authorial superiority. I can't really recommend a book like that, though I'm not sure there's a decent alternative.

For a more complimentary review, see this post by Dave Berri, one of the people who blurbed the book on the back.

Three Notes

Thanks to Chris Brown over at Smart Football for including this site in his links and notes post today. I'd love to know if it was the book review or the ambiguously titled interconference records post that drew people, but the referrers aren't nearly so fine.

I'll be doing a Q&A with somebody at Football Outsiders, probably Bill Barnwell, about their Titans-related projections for 2009. If you want questions asked of Barnwell, post them at Total Titans, where I'll also post the Q&A when it goes up.

Speaking of FO, Mr. Barnwell also put up an Extra Point on a wonderful piece I found where Green Bay's offensive coordinator said he'd like to run the ball more often, without apparently recognizing that teams run when they're winning, not win because they're running.

An update of this chart is being prepared, in connection with the follow-up to this post. HTML is annoying, and yes, I'm sure I could find a simpler way to do that.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Book Review: NFL Record & Fact Book 2009

In addition to the books on the current reading list, there are others I own, some updated on an annual or other basis, that are more for research and reference purposes than books. There's a continuum here, of course, from pure narrative (most of the books on the sidebar) to The Pro Football Chronicle to the more pure research/data books. One of those on the more research/data end is the NFL's Record and Fact Book, sold annually to the public since the mid-1980's. My collection goes back to 2004, but this review is about the NFL Record and Fact Book 2009. I know, the official release date is not until July 28, but I got my copy from Amazon Friday.

What sort of information is in there? The basics-team statistics for last season, team single season records, NFL standings for every year, game logs for all team v team results for most of the league's history, playoff game results, most every variety of team and player records you could want, and, of course, interconference records.

For purchasers of last year's edition, here's what I noticed looking at the index for each section and flipping through pages:
1. The 2008 Record & Fact Book didn't list a player's DOB, just their age as of some date. The DOB has been restored in the 2009 edition.
2. There's less information about each regular season game. In the 2008 and previous editions, each regular season game had a paragraph or two of AP-type copy describing what happened, plus a line score and scoring plays. That information has been excised completely, and each 2008 regular season game now gets only a final score. This is a big negative change.
3. Similarly, the 2008 and previous versions listed, by week, all 100 yard rushers and receivers and 300 yard passers. Now, you just get the weekly 100/100/300 guys for the playoffs, plus a list of the top 10 rushing, receiving, and passing performances, and a list of guys who had the most 100/100/300 games. Jesse Chatman, be glad you had your 100 yard game in 2007 and not in 2008! Again, a negative change, though less important of one.
4. The previous edition had a list of all overtime game and a sentence or two about what happened. The 2009 book only has the results of all OT games, but details only for the 2008 games. Not that big a deal, but less useful.
5. There are 8 pages of stat projections for fantasy football. Consider this a preview/taste of what you would get if you bought their fantasy football preview magazine. Considering this appears on page 289 of the Record and Fact Book and thus isn't likely to be seen by a casual browser, I'm not really sure why it's in there. You need to be an obsessed yoyo like me to see this information, and an obsessed yoyo either already knows about the NFL.com fantasy football preview magazine or lives under a rock and isn't going to buy the NFL.com fantasy football preview magazine. I know, this is only 8 pages of a nearly 700 page book, but given that actual useful information was deleted from last year's edition, the inclusion of an irrelevancy like this annoys me.
6. The 2008 edition was notorious for including the 2006, rather than the 2007, Redskin team statistics. From my browsing of the book, I haven't noticed any mistakes like that, but that doesn't mean they aren't there.
7. The digest of rules has been removed. This is an annoying and negative change.
8. The 2008 book had v. team stats for some star players like Marvin Harrison, Donovan McNabb, Peyton Manning, Shaun Alexander, etc. This information has been removed, and I don't think I noticed in the 2008 book until doing the comparison.

The index to the current edition does note that additional information is available on the NFL media site, though I haven't perused what you can get there.

One other critique is that pretty much everything in the book is available on the NFL's site. Yes, it is. I find it valuable to have a hard copy-an internet search isn't always available and useful, and I enjoy browsing through the hard copy.

Keep in mind that, if you view these critiques as nit-picking, you'd be quite right to do so. And, nits aside, the NFL Record and Fact Book 2009 will be sitting in the stack on my end table at least until February.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Book Review: Pro Football Chronicle

Ah, the long-delayed book review, for The Pro Football Chronicle: The Complete (Well, Almost) Record of the Best Players, the Greatest Photos, the Hardest Hits, the Biggest Scandals & the Funniest Stories in Pro Football by Dan Daly and Bob O'Donnell. I picked this up upon the recommendation of Travis, who also suggested I do go ahead and read John Madden's books, and he was once again on the money. Pro Football Chronicle, which was published in 1990, isn't so much a book as a massive data dump on the NFL's first seven decades that lives up to its impressive-sounding subtitle. Daly and O'Donnell clearly put a massive amount of research into the book, and it covers everything from the boat that sunk that George Halas was supposed to be on to John Brodie's failure to qualify for the US Open in 1960 to box scores for the 1982 AFC-NFC games put on during the strike by the NFLPA.

Oh, and after they go through each decade, they have yearly stats, including game logs, for some of the greatest offensive players of all time. Want to know Jim Brown's biggest game in 1958? You won't find it on the linked PFR profile, but it is in Pro Football Chronicle (34 carries for 182 yards and 3 TDs at home against the Cardinals in Week 3). Once they go through those 40 players, they show the best years of 39 more offensive stars, along with commentary on each player. Then, after that, there's "stuff you can never lay your hands on." Some of it, you can now, but it's still a useful compendium of information you might want to know, like ownership history for every NFL team and 100 reasons football is better than baseball.

Then, you have the raisin in the sausage end, a bibliography longer than my sidebar and my spreadsheet put together, and the bibliography is:

Dedicated to New York Giants general manager George Young, who, when asked if he'd read Lawrence Taylor's controversial 1987 autobiography, LT: Living on the Edge, remarked "I never read a book without a bibliography."


That may be a little bit extreme of Mr. Young-I don't think The Brothers Karamazov would be improved much by a bibliography-but dangit, using that quote is a sign you're in the right place. Oh, and there's an Index, too, but that would be more conspicuous by its absence in a book like this one.

Ah, but nitpicker that I am, I have two complaints about Pro Football Chronicle. First, stuff has happened since 1990. We could use a new edition, maybe after the 2009 season. Second, the book is almost too much of a data dump. A story is rarely more than 2 or 3 pages, but these are big, 8 1/2" x 11" pages. When I mentioned this book, I said I was reading it in a very episodic manner-reading 20 or 30 pages at a time is nothing for most books, but here you're being assaulted with information. This is a book for browsing and delving, not for mass consumption, but it's still an incredibly impressive data dump, the likes of which you won't find elsewhere on the sidebar. Strongly recommended to people to whom that sort of book sounds interesting.

Site News

The exclusion of Trojan Football Analysis from the blogroll has been remedied. I also went through and edited the posts on the main page. I have a bad habit of what I like to call "disembodied hands syndrome" where I saw the right thing in my head, but my hands type something similar but wrong. Were I a better person, I'd have done all the edits I just did right after the respective post went up. I'll try to be a better person in the future.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

You're Watching Inferior Football and Probably Don't Know It

The last year the NFC had a winning record against the AFC in the regular season was 1995. Since then, the AFC has won 444 of 806 regular season games between the two, or 55.1%, with a high water mark of winning 44 of 64 interconference games in 2004.

Over the 1983-1996 seasons, when "everybody" knew the NFC was so much better than the AFC because the NFC won the Super Bowl every year, the NFC had a winning regular season record against the AFC in 5 of those fourteen seasons. Overall, the NFC had a cumulative regular season record of 377-360-1 against the AFC during that run of Super Bowl dominance. Their high-water mark was 1991, when they went 33-19 against the AFC. Outside that year, though, the NFC was a mere 3 games better than the AFC in the regular season over the remaining thirteen years.

Overall, since the merger, the AFC has a record of 1058-951-11 against the NFC, or a .527 clip, and has a yearly record of 23-8-8 against the NFC. To put it even more starkly, the NFC has been clearly better than the AFC for two separate stretches: 1970-71, when the AFC was still reaching parity, and 1989-95, when the NFC went 5-1-1 against the AFC. In the other 30 years, though, the AFC is 22-1-7 in interconference games. The facts are pretty simple: since 1972, if you've been watching the NFC more than the AFC, you've been watching inferior football. You have my sympathies for your past mistakes, but are welcome to repent at any time.

Thanks to the 2008 NFL Record & Fact Book for interconference records for 1970-2007 (p.584). 2008 interconference records were calculated by yours truly from 2008 standings.

UPDATE (7/8/09 0009 CT): Fixed a typo-replaced the wrong number.
UPDATE (7/10/09 1947 CT): Actually bothered to edit post.
UPDATE (12/20/09 1941 CT): Fixed some math errors I'd been meaning to for months.

Total Titans

New post up, a remembrance of Steve McNair. Haven't decided yet if the look at the PIT playoff game after the '02 season will be a full UFR-probably not, just highlighting some key plays and/or plays at key moments.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

RIP

Steve McNair, Feb. 14, 1973 - July 4, 2009.

I'm shocked, just shocked right now.

UPDATE (7/4 1835 CT): Steve Young on ESPN: "I don't want to think about these things." What he said.

Total Titans

New post up on Total Titans, on the Titans being 29th in spending. This is the post I promised when I linked to the LaCanfora piece in my latest link collection. One thing I didn't try to tie in is this roundtable on the lack of postseason success of some of the top spending teams, but I don't think my post is any the lesser for it.