Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Couple of NFL Thoughts (sport, gambling)

A few things caught my eye today.

First of all, I was watching the Giants-Saints game, and there was a play where the Saints caused an Eli fumble and recovered. When the Saints player with the ball hit the ground, the ball came out. The interesting thing to me about this play was that even though the ruling was that the Saints player was down by contact, the play was allowed to continue and no whistle was blown until the Giants recovered the loose ball in the endzone. The head official who had the call? Ed Hochuli. Once bitten, twice shy.

The New England Patriots were up 45-0 at the half, and the halftime line was Pats-2.5, meaning that they were expected to add to their lead. Of course they did, with Tom Brady coming out in the second half for one more touchdown drive before he was taken out and the game ended 59-0. The line is difficult to set with such a big lead not only because of the third-fourth string players you expect to be playing, but also because of the different conditions. For example, you could easily expect that New England might kick field goals in the first half of the third quarter, but Tennessee will pretty much be going for it on every 4th down in Patriot territory.

The concensus number on the Philly at Oakland game reached almost 80% for Philly, meaning that almost 80% of the bets for the game were bet on Philly. Usually they say that when the public is over 70% on one team is when one should be careful. Of course I was an idiot and followed the crowd into a miserable, miserable, Philly loss. One of the stories going in was that McNabb was going to pull JaMarcus Russell aside before the game and give him some advice on dealing with booing fans and other pressures. Guess he probably should have waited until after the game.


Anonymous said...

Hi Henry,

What is your take on what causes 59 0 blowouts. One team stops caring before the other stops playing? Or just random luck?

I wonder if there should be rule that allows a team to concede after 3 quarters, like in bridge.


The Pretender said...

A 59-0 blowout in a football game is really not that unlikely in general. Just look at college football games. The reason it happens so rarely in the NFL is that these are all trained professionals and so it is hard to imagine one team being that much better than another team. In the case of NE vs Tenn, so many of Tennessee's regular starters were hurt that they just were not able to compete at an NFL level.

There is no mercy rule in professional sports because the money comes from spectators. Even though they play a sport, they are in fact entertainers and make their money by playing their sport to entertain crowds (and tv viewers).
In bridge, the money is paid by the participating teams, and so it is up to them whether they wish to withdraw or not. It brings up an interesting question. Let's say you have an insurmountable lead against a world class team. They want to withdraw, but you don't get to play against world champions that often so you want your money's worth. I don't know what the ruling on that is since I doubt it's ever happened before.