Baltimore vs. San Francisco
After a long season of middling to above average success at predicting
the results of NFL games, I felt I'd be doing a disservice to all(?) of
my loyal(?) reader(s) by not breaking down the Super Bowl. Also, my pick
has national implications that are a bit hard to explain, but let's
just say I owe it to America to give it my best effort for one more
week. So let's get started, or more importantly, get this over with.
recent years a lot has been made of the increased parity in the NFL.
Personally I keep hoping that the last few weeks turn out to be a parody,
like one of those fake endings to a Wayne's World movies; we'll find
out it was just a goof, rewind a few weeks and get back to reality. Just
in case that scenario doesn't come to fruition I decided to take a
closer look at this parity deal. Here's a few things that stood out:
49ers have had what most would consider a good season, compiling 11
victories, including blowout wins of 34 and 42 points that would suggest
that parity is a myth. However, they were also beat down by 23 at home
and crushed, I mean just absolutely dominated, by 29 late in the season
(video of said domination can be seen here). Meanwhile, the Ravens
ran the gamut of win/loss margins to the tune of 35 and 30,
respectively. So, as you can see, with such parity even the "best" teams
can be beaten badly. If you ask me, a great team should never lose a game by more than seven points, but that's neither here nor
Parity has reared its ugly, socialist head in the Super
Bowl particularly. Over the last nine years (XXXVIII - XLVI) the average
margin of victory for the Super Bowl winner has been under a touchdown
(6.7 points per game). In the nine preceding Super Bowls (XXIX - XXXVII)
that margin was over two touchdowns (14.8 ppg). And if we want to look
even nine years further back than that, Super Bowls XX - XXVIII were
decided on average by over three touchdowns (22.4 ppg). So as you can
see, the league's championship game is getting closer by a touchdown
every decade, more or less. Clearly we're headed towards a nine year
stretch in which the average margin of victory will be zero. That's
right Donovan McNabb, nothing but ties!
Here's one last factoid
in support of the parity argument: this is the only Super Bowl to be
played following a full 16 game season in which neither of the teams has
at least 12 wins.
So I suppose it's time to make my pick. I've
thought long and hard about this (because, like I said before, it has
national implications) and one score keeps flashing in my mind like
a florescent Dirk Diggler sign, and that score is 27-20. As I explained
earlier, the average point differential in the last nine Super Bowls is
just about 7 points, furthermore, the average score is 26-19. So I
figured I'd just normalize those scores a bit and trust mathematics,
because I no longer have the capacity for emotion. So who's winning?
lame huh? What won't be lame is when the Seahawks ruin San Francisco's
first night as defending champs on Thursday, September 5th. There ya go,
that's like a three-tiered prediction, that should last you for the
next seven months you vultures.
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