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Franklin Chai

The Pro Bowl and Why I Didn’t Watch It

If you came here looking for a Pro Bowl Sunday recap, I’m sorry, I did not write one. I did not watch the Pro Bowl. Well, that is not entirely true. I watched 3 plays: Peyton Manning throwing an incompletion, Peyton Manning handing it off to a running back who jogged quarter speed towards the edge and then ducked out of bounds, and Peyton Manning throwing another incompletion. I turned off the live stream before the punt unit came on, swore, and resigned myself to a Sunday sans football.I really, really hate Pro Bowl weekend for one very simple reason. It’s not that it’s just a marketing ploy to make more money and generate more interest and discussion in football. It’s not that the players put in zero effort whatsoever and probably see this game as a minor inconvenience before they get to the secret Pro Bowl after party. It is because the Pro Bowl lies to me. No, that’s not quite right; the Pro Bowl takes advantage of my emotional vulnerability. Championship Weekend just ended. I’ve grown accustomed to spending Sunday afternoons watching football. Then, suddenly, no football. What ever will happen to me? But wait! There’s the Pro Bowl! The game really does not mean anything but hey, it’s still football right? So I fire up the internet and find a live stream. I wait for the loading bar to fill. And what do I get? I’ll tell you what I didn’t get. I didn’t get bone crunching hits so painful that I cringe in my seat. I didn’t get a quarterback leading his team on a dramatic comeback drive with no time outs and less than a minute on the clock. I didn’t get the return man spinning past 4 tacklers and trucking over the punter on… Read More

Variance in Football

The Super Bowl is over. It was a great game. Green Bay Packers are the new champions. Assuming there will be no lockout, we will be without football until September (CFL and pre-season games do not count). It’s time to watch NFL Replay or consider buying the new Madden game to satisfy your football craving. So what will I do with this newly found soap box? Well, I plan to discuss a football related topic every week in this column and this first week’s topic is variance.Football is a high variance sport.Variance is the difference between expected results and actual results which means the expected results and actual results of football games are often different. It is a widely used term and discussed concept in skill games that involve luck such as poker or backgammon. Variance is often influenced by chance. This concept can also be applied to football. Though football is not a game of luck, luck often plays a factor. Let’s take the Miracle at the Meadowlands for example. How often do Joe Pisarcik and Larry Csonka botch the snap? How often does a team recover their own fumble in the backfield? I wasted a few minutes looking for official stats to answer my two previous questions but was unsuccessful. However, I can safely say that the Eagles forcing a fumble, recovering it, and returning it for a touchdown was a statistically improbable event.There are many factors that contribute to football being a high variance sport. I will cover three that I feel are the most important ones. The Oblong Shape of the FootballInteresting fact to note: in Chinese, football is translated into “Olive-Shaped Ball.” The oblong shape makes it difficult to predict the movement of the ball when it is fumbled. No player can honestly say he could… Read More