NFL Picks - Super Bowl XLVII

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.

In 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:

The 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 there.

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?

49ers 27-20

Pretty 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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