0-2 start tough to overcome
September 20, 2007
With a short 16-game schedule, a poor start usually spells doom for teams in the National Football League.
Historically, teams that have started 0-2 have reached the playoffs just 13 percent of the time. Last year Kansas City was the only one of eleven to overcome this huge hurdle, with the Chiefs being the first to do so since Philadelphia in 2003. That does not bode well for this year’s Eagles and New Orleans, teams with high expectations now among the ten who lost their first two games.
As one might imagine, starting the season 2-0 is a good indicator of who will be in the postseason, but the trend is not nearly as strong. Seven out of eleven got in last year, and 66 percent have made it overall. That means three or four of the ten teams who won their first two games likely will fail to make the playoffs.
As far as winning the Super Bowl is concerned, only two teams have ever started 0-2 before hoisting the Lombardi Trophy, and those did it under bizarre circumstances. Dallas’ Emmitt Smith held out for the first two games of one year, and Tom Brady took over for an injured Drew Bledsoe in the other.
Even though the NFL will never come out and admit it, the main reason extra efforts are always made to disclose player injuries is for the gambling industry. Of course that would normally be great for us bettors, but it would be even better if all the information given to us was actually correct.
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Last week it was reported by various sources that Daunte Culpepper would start, Steve McNair and Chad Pennington were fit enough to play, and Eli Manning would be out for one month. None of that happened.
After numerous complaints by head coaches about rules changes in 2006, college football reverted back to 2005 for this season. The game clock stops after changes of possession, and on kickoffs it doesn’t start again until a receiver touches the ball.
To the chagrin of the television networks, games are lasting close to fifteen minutes longer now than they did last year. But last season’s change of possession rules were terrible. Too often coaches, and more importantly the fans, were cheated out of possible last-minute rallies and heroics while the clock ticked way.
If there was ever a time to be a fan of Major League Baseball, this would be it. Never have so many races been so close so late in the season. With less than two weeks remaining, four divisions and one wild card are still up for grabs, not to mention the races for each league’s best record.
Next Thursday play begins in golf’s Presidents’ Cup, being hosted for the first time by Canada, at Montreal. Although this United States vs the World (excluding Europe) matchÐplay competition and rivalry is nowhere near as intense as the Ryder Cup is against Europe, the Presidents’ Cup guarantees drama and a star-studded field for golf fans.
Prediction – As much as International Team captain Gary Player should be admired, you can’t go against U.S. captain Jack Nicklaus and his team, led by the incomparable Tiger Woods. The United States, most likely as a heavy favorite, is the bet.
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