Why are Bill Simmons and Peter King talking about the Week 15 Giants/Eagles game?

New York Giants Matt Dodge dives for Philadelphia Eagles DeSean Jackson who returns a punt 65 yards for a touchdown with no time remaining on the clock in the fourth quarter at New Meadowlands Stadium in week 15 of the NFL in East Rutherford, New Jersey on December 19, 2010. The Eagles defeated the Giants 38-31. UPI /John Angelillo

I just listened to Bill Simmons’ post-Super Bowl podcast and he said that if the Giants had held on to beat the Eagles in Week 15, the Packers wouldn’t have made the playoffs. Peter King also said that the Packers have the Eagles to thank for their playoff berth.

Green Bay finished 10-6, the last Wild Card team and sixth seed in the NFC, by virtue of winning tiebreakers with the 10-6 Giants and 10-6 Bucs. We all know the Giants story: Up 31-10 over Philly at home with eight minutes left in the game, the Giants gave up 28 points in the last half of the fourth quarter and lost 38-31. The killer was punter Matt Dodge blowing the game and keeping a punt to DeSean Jackson inbounds with 14 seconds left in a 31-all game. Jackson returned it 65 yards for a touchdown. Who knows what would have happened if that game went to overtime, but that’ll stay a mystery.

Maybe I’m missing something here because, clearly, I’m not in the same league as Bill Simmons and Peter King. It appears that Simmons and King are counting the Giants’ win in Week 15, but aren’t considering the Eagles’ loss. If the Eagles lose that game in Week 15, they don’t win the East. The Giants win it at 11-5. Assuming Philly beats Dallas in Week 17 (a reasonable assumption since they didn’t play many of their starters in a 14-13 loss), the Eagles would have finished 10-6 and would have been tied with Tampa Bay and Green Bay for the 6th and final spot in the NFC. This assumes the Eagles would have still lost to the Vikings in Week 16, which is a fair assumption since they played their starters.

The first tiebraker between three teams is a head-to-head sweep, which isn’t applicable because the Bucs didn’t play either the Packers or the Eagles. The second tiebraker is conference record. The Bucs and Packers went 8-4 while the Eagles would have gone 7-5 (with a loss against NYG but a win against DAL), so the Eagles would have been eliminated at this point.

The next tiebraker is record in common games. Both teams were 2-3 in common games. The Packers beat the 49ers and the Lions, and lost to the Lions, Redskins and Falcons. The Bucs beat the 49ers and Redskins, and lost to the Falcons twice and the Lions.

The next tiebraker is strength of victory. I’m not sure how this is calculated or where I can find it, but acccording to CBSSports.com, that was the tiebraker that gave the Packers the No. 6 seed over the Giants and Bucs:

Green Bay is the No. 6 seed over the N.Y. Giants and Tampa Bay based on strength of victory (.475 to the Giants’ .400 and the Buccaneers’ .344).

So the Packers would have gotten the No. 6 seed over the Bucs. They would have played the Giants in the first round of the playoffs. Maybe they would have won or maybe they would have lost, but either way, they would have made the postseason.

So Bill Simmons and Peter King (and anyone else), please stop talking about the Week 15 Giants/Eagles game with regard to the Packers’ Super Bowl win. Thank you.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Correcting Bill Simmons, Part 6: Bill’s not-so-great NFL overtime idea

In his retro-diary of the second half of Super Bowl XLIV, Bill Simmons explains his seemingly infallible NFL overtime idea.

9:25: Two straight first-down throws. Suddenly we’re on the Saints’ 36. I remember thinking, “Great, they’ll tie it, then whichever teams wins the coin toss will march down and score, and we’ll have to hear about how to fix overtime for the next nine months. Shoot me.”

(FYI: I know how to fix it. Win the toss and score a touchdown, game over. Make a field goal on the opening drive and the opponent gets one possession of its own. From there, sudden death rules. Find a hole in that idea. You can’t.)

Um, yes I can. Doesn’t his idea have the same problem as current system? The team that wins the toss still has the advantage. If Team A drives down and kicks a field goal, and Team B kicks its own field goal to tie the game, and now the game is decided by sudden death, doesn’t the team that gets the ball first (Team A) still have the advantage?

Sure, if Team A kicks a field goal, Team B has an opportunity to win the game with a touchdown, but they still are at a disadvantage if the game is tied after each team gets a possession. This isn’t fair, seeing as both teams were equally effective on their first overtime drive.

I like the blind bid idea. On a note card, each coach writes down the yard line at which he’s willing to take the ball, and whichever team that is willing to take the ball closest to its own goal line gets possession. Each team has an equal opportunity at possession and there is strategy involved. Do you have more faith in your offense or your defense? Would you rather take possession at your own 15-yard line or give the ball to to the other team at the 18-yard line?

It’s fair and fun.

Correcting Bill Simmons, Part 5: Bill hates Charley Casserly

In Bill Simmons’s most recent mailbag, a reader asks a question about former Redskins and Texans GM Charley Casserly…

Q: I’m taking Sports Leadership taught by Charley Casserly at Georgetown next fall. What percentage of the class is going to be on “How to draft a defensive end from N.C. State even when a running back from USC is available”?
— Rawiri, Washington

SG: Hold on, hold on, hold on … Charley Casserly is teaching at Georgetown??? This is the last straw! What’s next — Trevor Ariza’s agent and Lamar Odom’s agent teaching a class in sports law? For years, I’ve been waiting for some college or university to approach me about teaching a class called “Sports Column Writing 101,” “How to be Lazy and Succeed” or “Weaving Pop Culture and Sports to Your Own Literary Detriment.” Did I get one offer? Did UCLA ever say, “Let’s give Simmons a class, I bet 30 kids will be dumb enough to sign up?” Noooooooooooooo! But failed GM Charley Casserly gets to teach kids at Georgetown, the school I wanted to attend that brutally rejected me in 1988? This makes me want to skin sheep in front of a PETA rally. I’m so bitter right now.

Why is Simmons hating on Casserly? He doesn’t offer any evidence, so I guess that this is all about the Mario Williams-over-Reggie Bush pick in 2006. Only that pick has turned out pretty well for the Texans. Williams was a Pro Bowler last year and Bush has missed 10 games in his first three seasons.

In fact, after a semi-disastrous start in Houston in 2002 (David Carr, Jabar Gaffney and Fred Weary), Casserly rebounded in 2003-2006 by drafting five future Pro Bowlers (Williams, Andre Johnson, Jerome Mathis, DeMeco Ryans and Owen Daniels). Ryans was named Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2006. The Texans went 2-14 in the 2005 season, and Casserly was run out of town resigned after the 2006 Draft. But the team has improved since then, posting a respectable 22-26 record in the three years since his departure. Much of the credit for this leap is given to the aforementioned players that Casserly drafted.

Prior to joining the Texans, Casserly was the GM for the Washington Redskins, where he won Executive of the Year honors in 1999 after fleecing the Saints for all their picks in the draft (as well as a future first and third) while still landing the guy he wanted — Champ Bailey.

While Casserly did have his share of clunkers (Heath Shuler must be mentioned), the guy had his share of good picks as well. Again, I don’t know what Simmons’s beef is here, but if it’s the whole Williams/Bush thing, then he should check his facts — Casserly has been vindicated.

Read the first four parts of Correcting Bill Simmons.

Bill Simmons actually thinks he should get a shot as an NBA general manager

Last year, when the Bucks had a GM opening, Bill Simmons started a campaign to fill the position. Fortunately, the Bucks hired John Hammond.

Fast forward a year, and Simmons is campaigning for the open Minnesota GM job, punctuated by this beauty in his so-called “epic” conversation with author Malcom Gladwell (the guy who thinks all underdogs should utilize the full-court press).

NBA teams rarely, if ever, think outside the box, and that’s one of at least 50 reasons why I could succeed as a GM.

This started out as a semi-joke, but I think over the course of the last year, Simmons’ ego, along with a few thousand emails of support from his readers, have convinced himself that he’s actually qualified to run an NBA franchise.

Look around the league and you’ll find that NBA general managers are usually former players, had front-office experience prior to getting the keys to a franchise, have advanced degrees in business and have an deep understanding of the salary cap and of how the fiscal side of the NBA works. Bill’s greatest strength is his ability to compare an athlete to a character to some random movie from the ’80s. What’s he going to do — sit Kevin Love down and tell him that his game reminds him of Chubby from “Teen Wolf”? How does this get the T-Wolves to the playoffs?

To me, the big question is whether or not Simmons keeps this up. Is he going to campaign for every open general manager position until he gets one (or more likely, dies of old age)? Or is there a certain point when all this I-can-run-an-NBA-team talk becomes so sad that he eventually just gives it up?

There’s no doubt about it — Simmons is an entertaining sportswriter, maybe the best in the stream-of-consciousness/pop-culture business. But he needs a reality check, and there’s no way to give it to him.

Correcting Bill Simmons, Part 4: Bill’s not-so-unique idea and more three-point talk

In Bill Simmons’ latest mailbag, he responds to a number of different reader questions. Most of his answers are fine, but a few are puzzling…

There should be a section on eBay that allows the auctioning of enticing future bets. For instance, a few weeks before the NBA season, I placed $300 on 15-to-1 odds that Cleveland would win the 2009 NBA title. Those odds have dropped to 2-to-1. Not that I would (after all, Cleveland is going to win the 2009 NBA title), but shouldn’t I have the option to sell that $300 ticket on eBay? What if someone bid $1,200 on it (which would be a smart move because, again, Cleveland is going to win the NBA title) and I was guaranteed a $900 return on my investment? Should I take the money? This would be a fun Web site, you have to admit. And if eBay can’t do it, then why couldn’t the casinos themselves build a Web site that allows people to sell future tickets and get a second cut on the action? It all makes too much sense.

Yeah…okay…this already exists — it’s called a “long-term market” and my favorite online sportsbook WSEX.com, has had them for at least five years now. Go to the site, hit “Pro Basketball” on the left, hit “Pro Championship” under “Long-Term Markets” on the main screen — there’s a long-term market where gamblers can buy and sell wagers on who will win the NBA championship. They have 1-pays (where only a share in the winner is worth something) and 4-pays (where shares in the winner, runner-up, and third and fourth place teams are worth something). You can buy and sell these shares throughout the year.

How does a guy that calls himself “The Sports Guy” not know about this? Didn’t he hit up any of his colleagues/friends at ESPN in all the time that he has pondered this eBay idea of his?

As of right…..now…..I’m not going to refer to Bill Simmons as “The Sports Guy” any longer. As far as I’m concerned, he has lost the right to have that nickname.

And then there’s this doozy…

Read the rest of this entry »

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