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March 11, 2007


Grant Fogel

As I was sitting on my couch last night during my nightly dose of Sportscenter, I was looking at the records of each team, and a lot of it just did not make any sense at all! The Saints, who finished last year with ten wins and played in the NFC championship game, are winless after four games. The Bears went from giving the Colts a run for their money in the Super Bowl to having just two wins on the year so far. The Packers have only one loss after an average .500 season in 2006, and the Raiders already have as many wins as they did last year! As the great Vince Lombardi once said, "What the hell is going on out there!"
I would like to begin attempting to answer this question by saying that the NFL is very unique when compared to the other major sports leagues on account that only 16 games are on the schedule. With the NBA and NHL each playing 82 games and MLB playing 162 games, the NFL could be compared to a 5 question final exam in rocket science! Now, I am not at all suggesting that the NFL needs to add more games on the schedule. They have a great system, and I know how much wear and tear each player goes through every Sunday. I am simply asking the question---do the best teams enter the playoffs every year?
This is a very interesting question, so with the MLB postseason currently in progress, I decided to check out the standings back in April when each team was 16 games into the season. I was astonished! Boston, with a record of 11-5, was the only team that would have been in the postseason, who actually made the postseason, if the regular season would have come to an end on that day.
So, does this really mean that the records of each team don't reflect their success? Well, in my opinion, kind of. There are always exceptions to the rule---teams like the Patriots and the Colts, who don't need "luck" on their side. Teams as dominant as these are like the geniuses who know every aspect of rocket science and cannot be tricked or need the right questions to be asked on their exam. However, the majority of the teams in the NFL are so close in talent that it's almost like drawing names out of a hat, and as a result, many surprise teams come out of the woodwork each year.
Also, we have all heard the common cliché that football is a game of inches, and this is all more supporting evidence that is relevant to this question. Many games are decided by a fumble, a costly penalty, or a botched field goal. I guess that this is just the way the ball bounces! But does it always bounce the right way?
-Grant Fogel, please give feedback at [email protected]

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