Let me start by clarifying a few things: I am not a huge football fan, and this is a baseball blog, but yes – I am writing about football.
Here’s why: I’m getting sick of hearing about the New England Patriots. Everybody on Twitter has given them the Superbowl this year after Green Bay lost yesterday. Everybody is saying that they are a super team, that they are a dynasty, that this year’s incarnation is the best ever.
To which I respond – garbage.
The 2012 New England Patriots played 16 games, and the end of season combined winning percentage of their 16 opponents was a staggering .449. The teams that played New England lost 26 more games than they won. The Patriots played only two (2!!!) games in the regular season against teams that finished with winning records: Pittsburgh and the NY Giants. The Patriots lost them both.
On the other hand, take a team like the poor Cleveland Browns. Cleveland also played 16 football games this season, only the final winning percentage of their 16 opponents was .531. Their opponents won 16 games more than they lost. The Browns played an unbelievable 9 games against teams that would finish the season with a winning record. They went 0 – 9 in those contests.
So on the one side of the equation you have New England, who played 12.5% of their schedule against good teams. On the other you have Cleveland who played 56.25% of their schedule against winning teams. Both of those teams play in the same conference and battle for the same Wild Card spots.
Yet New England, despite playing a schedule softer than Bartolo Colon’s belly, is being touted as the best team in the league and a Superbowl lock.
That’s like Toronto being asked to play 56% of their games against Boston, New York, Tampa Bay, Detroit, and Texas, and the Angels, despite being in the same league and battling for the same Wild Card spot, only being asked to play 12% of their games against those teams, and the rest against Baltimore, Kansas City, and Seattle.
It may not be to the same extent, but this happens already in baseball thanks to the unbalanced schedule.
Poor Blue Jays. Poor, poor Browns.
And that, friends, is the reason why New England doesn’t deserve all the praise they’ve been given. Yes I understand that you only play the schedule you’ve been given, but as us Blue Jay fans can attest to – not all schedules are created equal.