Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Super Bowl Signage

I'm sure you've seen this tasteless number from the NFC Championship:

Perhaps this will be more appropriate for Super Sunday:

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Every 6 Months

December 2004: Graduated
June 2005: Moved to Chicago
January 2006: Became a Copywriter
July 2006: Got Married
January 2007: ...

A week ago I acknowledged that I had been married for 6 months, and had my job for 12. It's hard to believe that I've been living in Downtown Chicago for over a year and half. I remember when I moved up here and was alone in Chicago, watching the Spurs-Pistons NBA Finals. And it was only a couple months before that I graduated, started working at Gameday, and went to the Final Four.

It's too early to tell, but perhaps January 2007 will hold a bigger life change than moving to Chicago.


One of the most amazing things is that my body functions just fine and dandy on less than 1,500 calories a day. And without being hungry. And yet when I was eating over 3,000 calories a day, I would feel hunger more often.

In fact, amazingly (this isn't a new revelation, but is somewhat counter-intuitive at least) my body functions and feels even better than how it did when I was overeating. I recently had some restaurant style fries (as opposed to my homemade fries cooked in PAM) and they tasted extraordinarily salty. Just like pure salt. And afterwards my stomach felt heavy.

And it's very tempting to complain that the progress in my body is too slow. After a month of reduced eating, my mind thinks that I should be a completely new person. But really, the progress has been outstanding. Considering how long I've eaten crap and how slowly my body got to shape it was, a month of smart eating has done wonders.

I was watching an interview with overweight kids who were at an exercise boot camp. And one kid said that they "were going to exercise until they got in shape." And the news clip acted as if that was just fine. The problem with most diet plans is even if they work, people can't wait to go back to their old habits, once they reach their goals. So my goals are not weight loss targets, but rather to maintain healthy habits forever.

That doesn't mean a life of deprivation - in fact I've been having delicious homemade lean cheeseburgers twice a week, BBQ chicken dinners, whatever I want and still getting healthier.

Also, this whole journey might not have been possible without my vacation to Paris. The combination of eating a lot less while in France, walking around so much, and seeing a culture that doesn't encourage overeating made it feasible to start my new habits. My hunger levels had adjusted so then when I did get back and started eating healthier it wasn't as impossible as it would have been back in 2006.

The Queen Trap

Again, I'm white. The black Queen has been agressively attacking, so I boxed her in. It took a lot of moves to get to this position:

If I move my knight from D6 to C4, I will force black to surrender the Queen while keeping my own. In the next picture the Queen captures my bishop, but will be taken by either my king or queen. You can write game over in your notebook.

Monday, January 29, 2007

What if...3rd place game

First thing it would need is a snazzy name...and it can't be the Loser Bowl. But anyways, here's what would/could have happened:

Conference Finalists: Falcons vs Steelers
Falcons 1st round pick: Roddy White, 27th
Steelers 1st round pick: Heath Miller, 30th

Players available at the 5th pick:
Cadillac Williams, 5th
Pacman Jones, 6th
Demarcus Ware, 11th
Shawne Merriman, 12th
Derrick Johnson, 15th

Conference Finalists: Eagles vs Colts
Eagles 1st round pick: (to Panthers) Chris Gamble, 28th
Colts 1st round pick: (to Falcons) Michale Jenkins, 29th

Players available at the 5th pick:
Sean Taylor, 5th
Kellen Winslow II, 6th
DeAngelo Hall, 8th
Ben Roethlisberger, 11th
Jonathan Vilma, 12th

Conference Finalists: Eagles vs Titans
Eagles 1st round pick: (to Chargers) Sammy Davis, 30th
Titans 1st round pick: Andre Woolfolk, 28th

Byron Leftwich, 7th
Troy Polamalu, 16th
Willis McGahee, 23rd
Dallas Clark, 24th
Larry Johnson, 27th

I know the draft is a crapshoot, but I think this is enough evidence that the teams would be motivated to play for the #5 draft pick.

Freedom in Video Games

This might get a little complicated, but stick with me.

In the late 90's, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater , a skateboarding video game, was released. The format was you had a list of goals to complete and were allowed to skate for 2 minutes at a time to complete one or all of these goals.

For example, say the goals were 100,000 points and collect 5 items placed across the level. You could play for 2 minutes to find the items. Then play for another 2 minutes to try and get the points, or you could try and complete both at the same time. The system worked well and that was that. (There was also a free skate mode where you weren't bound by time, but you couldn't complete any goals either)

Then Grand Theft Auto 3 came out and changed everything. Previously, games like GTA had levels or missions that you played in order, and you couldn't do anything outside of those levels. But GTA created an entire city, with missions that you could choose to do when you want. You could play GTA for hours without playing a mission.

This format proved so popular that many games copied the format, including the Tony Hawk series. Now you could roam the entire area and then skate over to mission objectives and complete them in the order that you want. Of course when you start a mission there was usually a time restriction on it anyways.

Presumably, this move was to create more freedom. But it made less. This meant that you could now only attempt to complete one goal at a time, and it de facto forced you to play that goal until you completed it, since you were already at that spot.

Under the two-minute rules, you had more freedom as you could do whatever you wanted, including complete multiple goals at the same time. And you could change your objectives on the fly. If you're trying to collect 5 items and then you realize that you've got 90,000 points, you could forget about the items and then focus on points, etc.

Is there anything that could be learned from this? The way to provide the most freedom is by giving the goals that need to be accomplished, without setting any restrictions on the order or means to accomplish them.

Imagine a GTA clone that instead of having missions, there were just goals. Raise $100,000, kill these 10 guys, take over these businesses, control this neighborhood, etc.

The idea of "missions" has always felt a little artificial, with the arbitrary time limits and whatnot. I expect a game to follow my proposed format within the next 5 years. And I want a cut.

Copyright Dave Fymbo Jan 29, 2007.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

A great idea that could work

Using Mark's solution from the comments, the winner of the 3rd place game could receive the 5th pick in the Draft. This plan would still give the help to the absolute worst teams, but would provide even a better reward for making it to the Final Four.

Under the current system, the Chiefs who lost in the first round of the playoffs will have a better draft pick than the Patriots who almost reached the Super Bowl. It's easy to say that that's the way it should be, since New England is clearly a better team. But since the 06 season is over, Chiefs could now be happy that they didn't go farther than the Pats, since they have the better pick. Having a 3rd place winner be rewarded with a high draft pick provides an extra reward for reaching the Final Four but not the Super Bowl.

So here's the plan:
The week before the Super Bowl, the Conference finalists play on a neutral field, perhaps the site of the Pro Bowl, or heck how about the Superdome.
The winner gets the 5th pick in the next year's draft.
It prevents a Sunday without football and gives fans of the finalists something to cheer for, even though they didn't make the Super Bowl.
With the draft pick on the line, it should at least get as good of ratings as the Pro Bowl.
I like this idea more and more.

I have a great idea that won't work

The problem with the Super Bowl bye week is that it kills the momentum of the NFL playoffs. Why not take a cue from the World Cup and have a 3rd place game?

Personally, I'd love to turn on Saints vs Patriots, live from Honolulu tomorrow to satisfy my football fix.

There are two problems with this.

1. The teams won't care
2. The fans won't care

1. If Belichick doesn't care and Tom Brady's not playing, the game's not going to be worth watching. The only thing I could think of is to award the winner of the 3rd place game, with the better draft pick. But even that--the 29th instead of the 30th pick--isn't worth the risk of
injury of playing a game once you're eliminated from the playoffs. I'm not sure how to make the teams care--perhaps you could make a deal with a car company and give every player a brand new car. Would they care about that? Probably not.

2. The other problem is that fans don't generally care about preseason games, so I'm not sure how many would care about a postseason exhibition game.

The World Cup works because countries are playing for national pride and 3rd place is viewed as much better than 4th. But the same doesn't work in the NFL--"If you're not first, you're last."

So I know that it can't work, but I still wish it could. If there's something that I'm missing, maybe we can make a proposal to Mr. Goodell.

Friday, January 26, 2007

When All Appears Lost

So here's the situation. I'm white. I'm losing pretty badly. Black has 2 more pawns, 1 more knight, has my rook under direct attack from the black queen without any defense, and has a stranglehold on my king, keeping me in check for most of the game. At this point, I'm not sure what to move. What move would you make?

I could move my rook out of danger, but that doesn't do me any long term good. I decided to move my bishop from a8 to c6. The black queen moves from f6 to h8, taking my rook. So now what should I do?

Well, I moved my queen from c8 to d7, taking the black knight, and putting the black king in check...and mate! From being down 4 pieces, I mate with a queen and 2 bishops. Bravo.

Super Bowl 36

I'm not saying I'm glad that 9/11 happened. I'm not.

But the attacks did make the Super Bowl logo a lot snazzier.

pre-9/11 mentality

post-9/11 mentality

Super Bowl Exly

Or XLI, if you prefer.

I've been avoiding coverage of it as much as I can because I remember how oversaturated I was last year.

Both Chicago and Indianapolis has won one Super Bowl.

Although, Indy does not have a Super Bowl MVP--they won Super Bowl V 16-13 against the Cowboys, but the MVP was Chuck Howley, with 2 INT and a fumble recovery.

Chicago will be the designated home team, presumably wearing dark colors. I think this suits both teams well. I think Chicago looks better in blue then they do in white.

Also, and I think the Colts look better in white then they do in blue.

Looking at the list of teams who have won at least one of the 40 Super Bowls, there is only 17 teams. Almost half of the league has never won one. So even after 41 years, it seems like a pretty special club.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Food as Fuel: 1.25.07

I've often thought about starting a separate blog to record all of my thoughts about dieting, eating healthy, and things like that--I even checked to see if foodasfuel.blogspot was taken (it was)--but figured I could record them here just as well.

I've been making progress. And I remember that I've made this type of progress before. In the summer and fall of 2003 I weighed a lot less than where I am now. But how I got there was different. I got there by limiting my total caloric intake, by any means neccessary. Which meant that I could still eat pizza for dinner, as long as I had a super low-fat breakfast and dinner.

And that works. It's the total calorie count that matters. But I didn't change my eating habits. I still wanted fattening foods, I still liked to eat before I went to bed, I didn't really want to control my portion sizes, I wasn't eating any when I reached my goal what happened? I didn't have any healthy habits to stick to. I felt like I could eat what I want since my "diet" was over.

And the weight didn't come back immediately, but it did come back. Now it's 2007 and I had to start over. But now I've got the habits to stick to. I'm eating lots of fruit, and lean meat. I have protein for breakfast, and a fruit or salad at every meal to fill me up. And I don't snack.

Most nights for dinner I eat some form of chicken, never fried, but with different flavors. Barbecue, General Tso sauce, chipotle and lime sauce. And I have a decently large portion, but it's lean and that's it. It's not like pasta where I make half the box and eat everything I make.

I was thinking if I'd be able to eat pasta again, once I've met my goals. But even if I measured out a healthy portion, I don't know if it would fill me up and satisfy me like the lean meat does.

Two days ago, there was catering left overs in a conference room. Sandwiches and desserts. In 2006, I would have had a sandwich, a brownie, and maybe a cookie as I was leaving. But I didn't have anything. And at the time it felt like I was giving something up. But then today, looking back on the event, what would that food have done for me? It would have tasted good, but that taste would be long gone by now.

That's probably the biggest realization that I had to come to. That as much as I love food.
Food is fleeting. Flavor is fleeting. Even the moment after you've swallowed your food, you're no longer enjoying it. And that's why I view food as fuel.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Look Back

Making preseason NFL predictions isn't worth much unless you go back and look how you did.'s how I did in Part One and Part Two.

Division Winners
I had the Pats, Colts, Bears, and Seahawks. Also, I had Steelers, Broncos, Giants, and Panthers.

Playoff Teams
Hmmm...not exactly Nostradamus over here.

Last Place Teams
Hooray for the Texans, Raiders, Lions, Bucs and Redskins for being so reliable.

AFC South
During the season having the Titans as a second place team didn't make a lot of sense, but they pulled it out.

And in every division, I picked at least one team's standing correctly, but overall I wasn't that hot. 15/32 overall.

What about in the playoffs? With only 6 of the 12 teams correctly my playoff picks were likely to be destroyed...

The NFC I had completely wrong with the Panthers beating the Giants to go to the Super Bowl. But the AFC...I had the Colts beating the Patriots in the Championship game. And the Colts winning the Super Bowl.

So I feel pretty good about those preseason playoff picks.
Overall, not good, not bad, not a particularly well spent chunk of time.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Rex Grossman could win a Super Bowl

I mean we've seen bad/mediocre quarterbacks win Super Bowls, but Rex Grossman?
How bad can he be? This year the Bears went 12-2 to secure HFA and won 2 playoff games with Rex as their quarterback.

And his stats for the year?

His passer rating on the season was 73.9, 24th in the league.
The lowest of any quarterback in the playoffs.
He ranked 30th in interceptions, with 20.
He ranked 28th in completion percentage, with 54.6%.

How does his Passer Rating for the season rank among other Super Bowl QB's?

Instead of looking up the rating for every QB ever, I'm perusing the list to find any names that might stand out as not being a great QB.

Jake Delhomme had a 80.6 rating in 2003, Lost with Panthers
Rich Gannon had a 97.3 rating in 2002, Lost with Raiders
Brad Johnson had a 92.9 rating in 2002, Won with Bucs
Kerry Collins had a 83.1 rating in 2000, Lost with Giant
Trent Dilfer had a 76.6 rating in 2000, Won with Ravens
Steve McNair had a 78.6 rating in 1999, Lost with Titans
Chris Chandler had a 100.9 rating in 1998, Lost with Falcons
Drew Bledose had a 83.7 rating in 1996, Lost with Patriots
Neil O'Donnell had a 87.7 rating in 1995, Lost with Steelers
Stan Humphries had a 81.6 rating in 1994. Lost with Chargers

Before the 1990's finding passing ratings gets a little hazy. Unless I've overlooked something, it appears that Rex Grossman can at least lay claim to having the worst season by a QB and getting to Super Bowl, in the last 15 years. Perhaps he's had the worst season ever by a QB in the Super Bowl, but I can't say that for sure without a couple hours with the Elias database.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Championship Sunday: Overtime

I'm not sure why anyone was complaining about Peyton-Brady 8 before the game. Even before the game, I thought that both championship games were going to be thrilling. Turns out, the first game had a good first half, and the second game had a great second half. It never fails that when championship games look to be an even matchup, at least one will turn in to a blowout. And both games almost turned into blowouts.

But how can you complain about a rivalry that features 2 elite quarterbacks, with players switching teams, and potent offenses that play games that come down to the last possession. If you have a problem with the media coverage, and sometimes I do, that's when you turn off the SportsCenter or even mute the announcers, but don't complain about the teams.

Ha Ha

I'm sure that when it was 21-3, the Sports Guy was laughing it up, and when it was 38-34 he was confident that "ice-water Golden Boy" could get it done. I'm really happy for Peyton. He's shown that when he has the supporting cast he can win the big game. And knowing that the Super Bowl quarterbacks are Rex Grossman and Peyton Manning, makes me feel a little better about the next 2 weeks, when I'll be surrounded by co-workers and the Chicago media lovefest of Da Bears.

Madden Simulat...Aw Screw It

I realized in the 4th quarter of playing the Patriots vs the Colts that these simulations come down more to the variables in my playing, than the variables in the teams. I was a little rusty after not having played Madden since before Paris, and if I played the Saints vs the Bears again, I could beat the Bears by 40.

For what it's worth, in the 4th quarter the Pats were leading 44-10. Maroney had 176 rush yards on 14 attempts (2 rush TD) and 142 receiving yards on 7 receptions (2 rec TD). Brady had 4 touchdown passes as well. Manning threw 2 picks including one that I picked off in the endzone. But even on the All-Pro difficulty setting, I could play as the Colts and still whoop the Pats.

So I did 2 quick computer sims just to see the final scores:

Pats 34, Colts 17
Pats 20, Colts 7

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Madden Simulation #1b: Bears vs Saints

When I controlled the Saints the final was 24-14, Saints. Could the Bears beat the Saints by more than 10, with me at the helm?

Well, the Bears won the toss, chose to receive, and Rex Grossman threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown on the game's opening play. 14 seconds into the game, and it doesn't look good for the Bears.

They started a 10-play drive that took up most of the first quarter and ended with a 4th and goal pass to Thomas Jones out of the backfield. 22 seconds later, the Saints ran a passing play with only one receiver. I controlled Urlacher the entire time, picked off the pass, and returned it for a score. (Gould would shank the XP) Late in the first quarter, it's 13-7 Bears.

The Saints got back into field goal range, but Marques Colston fumbled after a decent reception. Grossman led them down the field and found Desmond Clark on an 11-yard fade route. 20-7 at the half.

In the second half, the Saints offense couldn't get anything going, and the Bears added a rushing and passing touchdown. The game was iced at 34-7 when Urlacher (user controlled again) intercepted another pass.

The moral of the story is that the Bears defense was good enough to shut down the mighty Saints offense, and when I controlled the Saints I didn't score enough or stop Sexy Rexy.

Key Stats:
Grossman: 16/26 for 168, 3 TD, 1 INT
Brees: 7/16 for 84, 0 TD, 2 INT

Bears rushing combo: 23 attempts for 78 yards, 1 TD
Bush: 6 attempts for 25, no receptions
McAllister: nothing

Yards: Bears 246, Saints 98
Turnovers: Saints 3, Bears 1
3rd down conv: Bears 4/8, Saints 0/4 (Bears 2/2 on 4th down)
Red Zone: Saints 0 attempts, Bears 4 attempts/4 touchdowns

Part of the blame has to go to the computer not utilizing the Saints' dual backs, or using Reggie Bush as a receiver. But even when I was using that, the Saints only won by 10. This was total domination.

Total Final Score for both simulations: Bears 48, Saints 21

Realistic Average Prediction based on simulation: Bears 24, Saints 10

Coming Up: The AFC simulations

Madden Simulation #1a: Saints at Bears

In order to fairly simulate the Conference Championship games, I'll have to play each game twice, controlling both teams.

I started with the road team, the Saints, to give the Bears the home field advantage of going last, to know the point differential they will have to overcome. I'll play both games with updated rosters, fairly short quarters, and with Chicago as the home team.

Results of simulation controlling the Saints:

Saints 24, Bears 14

The score doesn't tell the whole story of this one--including a wild fourth quarter.

There was no scoring until Brees threw a 12 yard TD pass to Bush with 1:31 left in the 2nd quarter. Down 7-0, the Bears decided to come out throwing and were forced to punt with about a minute to go in the half. With all 3 timeouts, Brees led the Saints down the field and threw another TD with 28 seconds left. 14-0 at the half.

The Saints took control with a scoring drive that lasted almost the entire 3rd quarter. Carney made it 17-0 with 22 seconds remaining in the 3rd quarter. The Bears offense finally got moving in the 4th quarter and Grossman found the endzone with 2:35 to go. The Bears successfully recovered the ensuing onside kick when a Saint knocked a ball that was going out of bounds, back in to play. A 48 yard deep ball to Berrian led to a Bears TD and got them right back in the game, with 2:15 left in the game.

The Saints took over and wanted to add to their lead, knowing the point differential would matter for comparison in the next game. They could have run the clock out, but ended up attempting a 49-yard field goal with about a minute remaining. The attempt was wide left, and the Bears had a chance to win the game. The Saints defense forced a turnover on downs and padded their lead with a last second TD pass to Bush.

The game probably should have ended 17-7, so having it end at 24-14, makes it seem reasonable to declare that with me controlling the Saints, they are 10 points better than the Bears. We'll see if I can beat the Saints by more that 10 when I control the Bears.

Key Stats:
Saints: rush 76 yards, pass 187 yards
Bears: rush 45 yards, pass 126 yards

Brees: 19/25, 3 TD, 0 picks
Grossman: 9/19, 2 TD, 0 picks

McAllister: 6 rush for 12 yards
Bush: 12 rush for 64 yards, 8 rec for 72 yards, 2 TD
Berrian: 5 rec for 96, (long of 48)

Friday, January 19, 2007

All Eyes on Peyton

This was his breakout year as one of the elite QB's.
He had a Passer Rating of 99. (his highest at that point)
He won Co-MVP. (with Steve McNair)
He led the Colts to a 12-4 record.
The Colts beat Denver and Kansas City in the playoffs and then...
Lost to the Patriots in AFC Title Game--Pats go on to win Super Bowl.

So he came back and had the best season that a quarterback has ever had.
Set a record with 49 touchdowns, only 10 interceptions.
Over 4500 yards and a passer rating of 121.1 -- highest ever.
He won sole possession of the MVP award and led the Colts to a 13-3 record.
The Colts beat Denver in the playoffs and then...
Lost to the Patriots in AFC Divisional Game--Pats go on to win Super Bowl.

So he came back and lead the Colts to a 13-0 record and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
This was a team bordering on "Greatest Team Ever" and the only 16-0 regular season.
They finally beat the Patriots in the regular season.
Then on 1/14/06 the Patriots lost to Denver.
The Colts roadblock was removed.
On 1/15/06, all the Colts had to do was beat the 6th seed Steelers, and they would play Denver at home.
This was going to be the year and then...
Lost to the Steelers in AFC Divisional Game--Steelers go on to win Super Bowl.

So he came back and led them to another 8-0 start.
He had a 3rd consecutive seeason with a Passer Rating over 100.
They got Vinatieri from the Patriots.
They beat the Patriots again in the regular season.
They beat Kansas City and Baltimore in the playoffs to get back to the AFC Title game and then...
The Patriots come back to beat the Chargers, a game they shouldn't have won.

Could this year really be the year?

I doubt it.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Vegas Action: Round 2

After the divisional round, here's where we stood, using real Vegas situations:

Dave: Up $33.64
Mark: Down $61.82

We'll get another $100 out of the ATM, bring our wallets to (investments of $200)

Dave: $233.64
Mark: $138.18

The updated rules are: there are no minimums, or maximums for any bets, but if we don't at least make a return on our investment, a bookie will break our legs.

The lines are Bears -3 and Colts -3.

I'm taking the dogs:
$80 on Saints +3
$70 on Pats +3

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Manning vs. Brady: The Rundown

Manning-Brady I: The Replacement
September 30, 2001 - Foxboro Stadium
Brady was not yet a name. He replaced the injured Bledsoe and relied on his defense to get their first win on the season against their then division rival.
Brady: 13/23 for 168
Manning: 20/34 for 196, 1 TD, 3 INT
Pats 44, Colts 13

Manning-Brady II: The Triple Threat
October 21, 2001 - RCA Dome
Brady was seen as a decent replacement and David Patten was the star for the Pats: running, catching and throwing for a touchdown. The question after the game: "Is Jim Mora's job in jeopardy?"
Brady: 16/20 for 202, 3 TD
Manning: 22/34 for 335, 1 TD
Pats 38, Colts 17

Manning-Brady III: The Goalline Stand
November 30, 2003 - RCA Dome
After Brady led the Pats to a 31-10 lead in the 3rd quarter, Manning came back and had 1st and goal from the 2, in the final minute, trailing 34-38. Three failed runs and one incomplete pass, and the Patriots had beaten the Colts yet again.
Brady: 26/35 for 236, 2 TD, 2 INT
Manning: 29/48 for 278, 4 TD, 1 INT
Pats 38, Colts 34

Manning-Brady IV: The Playoffs
January 18, 2004 - Gillette Stadium
Manning was riding 2 playoff wins against Denver, and at Kansas City, but couldn't overcome the Patriots. This was New England's 14th straight victory and set up their second Super Bowl appearance with Tom Brady. The Pats led 15-0 at halftime, riding Peyton's 4 interceptions to the big game.
Brady: 22/37 for 237, 1 TD, 1 INT
Manning: 23/47 for 237, 1 TD, 4 INT
Pats 24, Colts 14

Manning-Brady V: The Rematch
January 16, 2005 - Gillette Stadium
Bad weather, and another bad performance by Peyton Manning. This game was all Patriots. Manning is now 0-7 all-time in Foxboro and Brady is currently 7-0 in the playoffs. Once again, Manning came in after beating Denver -- the Patriots went on to beat the Steelers and then the Eagles in the Super Bowl.
Brady: 18/27 for 144, 1 TD
Manning: 27/42 for 238, 1 INT

Manning-Brady VI: The Revenge
November 7, 2005 - Gillette Stadium
Manning finally beat Brady, the Pats, and won in Foxboro to top it off. This made the Colts 8-0 and chasing immortality. Both quarterbacks played well, but this time the Colts had the better team. Unfortunately for the Colts, this year their playoff obstacle they could not overcome was the Steelers.
Manning: 28/37 for 321, 3 TD, 1 INT
Brady: 22/33 for 265, 3 TD
Colts 40, Pats 21

Manning-Brady VII: The Surprise
November 5, 2006 - Gillette Stadium
Brady really is human. And the Colts got the better of him. Even in Foxboro, Brady was the one throwing interceptions, not Manning.
Manning: 20/36 for 326, 2 TD, 1 INT
Brady: 20/35 for 201, 4 INT
Colts 27, Pats 20

Manning-Brady VIII
January 21, 2007 - RCA Dome
After 7 meetings, Brady is 5-2, but Manning has won the most recent games. But in the playoffs, Brady is 2-0. This will be the first home playoff game for the Colts against Brady's Patriots. The Colts are early 3 point favorites, but anything can happen. Here are the QB's stats, head to head.

Brady: 137/210 for 1,453 yards, 10 TD, 7 INT, rating = 87.26
Manning: 169/278 for 1,931 yards, 12 TD, 11 INT, rating = 79.59

This Headline Should be in Futura

I know that my headlines look right on my Mac at work, but not on my own PC at home. So if my own computer doesn't have the fonts I want, how can I expect everyone else to?

Anyways, this is what the headlines should look like:

If they always look like that, congrats. If not, join the club.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Mark and Me in Vegas

So we started with $100 at the Divisional Round. Once we collect our winnings (and Vegas takes their cut) here's where we stand:

Dave: $133.64
Mark: $38.18

But that's not enough to bet with for the Championship Games. So let's go to the ATM and get another $100. (We'll do the same for the Super Bowl.)

Since there are only 2 games, the rules are:

minimum $25 bet on each game, you must bet all your money.

We'll make the picks later in the week.

Friday, January 12, 2007

C'mon Saints

I'm no sports bigamist, but I would love to Saints win a playoff game at home. (They've only won one playoff game ever, a wild-card game against the Rams, at the Superdome in 2000).

They should be/are America's team more so that the Dallas Cowboys ever should have been. And they're not just a good story, but an exciting team to watch. Winning this game would be huge, (as would getting to the Super Bowl, but let's not get ahead of ourselves), for the team and the city.

P.S. I'd also love to see Grossman blow the Bears game, but I bet they squeak by this week.

Posting Error: Filled Tubes

There might be limited posting over the weekend, as I'm afraid the tubes might get filled up. Uh oh.

I'll be rich by the year 2134

In September 2005, I attempted to upload a bunch of my new digital pictures to iStockphoto, a stock photography website that sells cheap royalty free photos to people who need them -- typically an ad agency on a budget who can't hire a real photographer. Every time someone downloads one of my pictures, I get 30 cents.

Well, my plan caught a snag when iStockphoto rejected all of my pictures but one. Today I checked to see how my account was doing. Over the last 16 months, a whopping 4 people have downloaded my picture. That's right, I made a cool $1.20 for hardly any effort.

So of course, I just hit "request payment" and they sent me my $1.20, right? "There must be $100 in your account to request payment."

If I start uploading some Paris pictures, maybe I'll get to $100 by the time I retire.

Feeling Lucky: Playoff Picks and a Public Service Announcement

Let's say I've got $100 and I'm headed to Vegas. (min. $10 bet per game)

$30 on Ravens -3.5
$20 on Eagles +5
$35 on Seahawks +8.5
$15 on Pats +5

Let's see how much money I have on Monday, and if you can do any better.

Plus, be ware of this devious Credit Card Scam - I've been lucky to avoid it this far.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

"Oh wait..."

That One Guy in North Dakota

I love looking at ESPN's polls before the whole nation gets to weigh in. This way you can really look at individual responses.

For example, on the news that Beckham is headed to play soccer in the MLS, ESPN asked if this will increase your interest in soccer. With 12,000 national votes, the verdict is about 60/40 no. And it will probably stay that way, since 12,000 is a big enough sample size. But what about individual states?

In North Dakota, only 25 people have voted already. And the results are in:
24 didn't care about soccer, and still won't.
But there is one guy, that 4% out of 25 votes, that is sitting in front of his computer fired up saying, "Awesome! David Beckham! I'm totally going to watch some MLS, eh?"

Playoff Price Gouging

What can you get for $60?

That can buy you one ticket to a regular season game at Arrowhead.

What does that get you in Chicago, come playoff time?

That can buy you one ticket...for your car. The Chicago Red Eye has reported that the Bears are raising the parking rates from $40 (!) to $60 for this weekend's home playoff game against the Seahawks. Sixty dollars just to park! For the same amount of money, you could get a 21-day CTA pass. Ridiculous. It's almost as if the Bears are tired of getting screwed, and are now screwing their fans.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Breaking My Dependence on Foreign Oil Food

This is day 4 of eating food as fuel, and not as pleasure. The key is that I am enjoying the tastes, and I've been making lean versions of some of my favorite dinners (burgers, chicken sandwiches, general tso's chicken and rice). My goal is not to lose a certain number of pounds, but to sustain eating healthy and enjoy eating my food.

Any joy from food is so fleeting that it's not worth being unhealthy. If I want to make it to day 4000 of eating food as fuel, it's going to take changing my habits, not one month of willpower.

Monday, January 08, 2007

12 Hours of Football

Between the first 2 weekends of the NFL playoffs, and the first 2 weekends (4-day weekends) of March Madness, it doesn't get any better. This past weekend was a semi-dud with blowouts in 2 games, and a game featuring NFC East teams that just that aren't compelling. The bright spot was clearly the wild finish at Dallas-Seattle, and not just on the botched hold. There was the Cowboys stop on 4th down, the crazy fumble safety play, the ensuing touchdown, the overturn on 1 yard line and then the botched snap.

But this weekend looks to be incredible. Here are my quick thoughts on the Divisional Round:

Colts at Ravens, Saturday 3:30 CST, CBS
Big O vs Big D
Peyton and his playoff struggles vs (arguably) the #1 defense
I wasn't sold on the Ravens all year, but they've proven me wrong
People were writing off the Colts, even as they were 8-0. But their defense is healthier and could play well enough to win.
Intrigue Factor: 9.0

Eagles at Saints, Saturday, 7:00 CST, FOX
Jeff Garcia? The Saints? In the playoffs?
The Saints only have one playoff win. Ever. They've never had a playoff bye. Can they really succeed in the playoffs?
What about Reggie Bush? First year and he could have a huge impact in the playoffs. Is this the start of a Hall of Fame career?
The Garcia led eagles are on a 6-0 streak. Can they keep it up?
Seriously, though. The Saints? Katrina and all?
Intrigue Factor: 9.5

Seahawks at Bears, Sunday 12:00 CST, FOX
Rex Grossman stinks. Bears D can't be beat.
Shaun Alexander still not in his '05 form.
Will Grossman blow the game for the Bears?
Intrigue Factor: 8.5

Patriots at Chargers, Sunday 3:30 CST, CBS
The Best Team vs The Best Coach
The Coach that blows it in the playoffs with the best player
The Quarterback that doesn't lose in the playoffs against a top defense
Brady's 11-1 in the playoffs
LT is the MVP
Martyball vs Bellicheck
The Chargers look like a clear cut favorite, but the Patriots have everything you want (except LT)
Intrigue Factor: 9.5

Here's to a weekend of great games.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Hell of a Ride

Week 17
Dave: 10-5 = Up $100
Mark: no picks
Sports Guy: 9-7 = Up $40
Sports Gal: 7-9 = Down $40

On the Season
Dave: 129-126 = Up $60
Mark: 90-103 = Down $260
Sports Guy: 128-121-7 = Up $140
Sports Gal: 129-120-7 = Up $180

Of course, all this figures are for $20 bets at an imaginary Sportsbook where they don't take a commission. If we were actually in Vegas, and they took the standard (-110) on all winners, (you would only make back $18.18 per $20 bet) here's what would have happenned in real life, betting 20 bucks on every NFL game this year:

Dave = Down $175
Mark = Down $424
Sports Guy = Down $93
Sports Gal = Down $45

The moral of the story: Don't quit your day job.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Quick Picks

Chiefs +7 over Colts
Cowboys +2.5 over Seahawks
Pats -8.5 over Jets
Eagles -7 over Giants

They Hate Us For Our Freedom

I leave the country for one week, and the whole world turns upside down. Saddam gets the noose, the New Congress starts, and somehow the Chiefs make the playoffs. It's amazing how much you feel like you're out of the loop, when you stop using the internet for just a week.

I've got to recap my season NFL picks, and make playoff picks. And I haven't really had time to think about the playoffs yet. So, uh, I guess this was a crappy post but there's more on the way.