NFL Lineal Title History
Current Holder:
Def. Seahawks 28-24 in Super Bowl XLIX
This week: v. Steelers, 9/10 8:30pm ET, NBC
Non-DeflateGate claim: Seahawks | This week: @Rams, 9/13 1pm ET, FOX

Do I HAVE to update the lineal titles every September?

I said last year that I was thinking of no longer tracking the lineal titles and I meant it, even though I could desperately use the extra content. This time I’m actually most of the way through the opening Saturday of college football season before I even bother to update everything. I’ve updated the NFL lineal title history but not the actual category pages, and you’ll notice that the non-DeflateGate title I said I was going to track isn’t reflected in the history at all, because the Patriots started the season undefeated for a long time while the DeflateGate title changed hands a bunch, and the main title went into the playoffs and starts the season with the Broncos while the non-DeflateGate title starts it with the Saints of all teams. (At some point I may make the format of the site more consistent across the subsites, and I may get rid of the special category pages for the lineal titles entirely at that point, so here’s a link to the NFL lineal title history should that happen.)

On the college side, the anticipated unification of 2009 Boise State with the Princeton-Yale title did in fact happen as TCU and Oklahoma State went into their game against one another undefeated, but even though the Cowboys won that game it’s TCU that enters the new season with the title, and it’s the 2006 Boise State title that returned to the College Football Playoff and starts the year in the hands of Alabama.

Football season approacheth!

I suppose I should probably get this site ready for football season. To be honest, I’m tempted to stop following the lineal titles; I haven’t done anything with them outside of these introductory posts in a few years and here I am putting up this post with the start of the college football season literally hours away. Besides, the advent of a true college football playoff makes those titles more likely to see unifications and less likely to see split titles in the first place and thus less fun. But we charge forth into the breach regardless.

(I’ve had a few people ask me on Twitter when the Flex Schedule Watch starts. It has always started four or five weeks into the NFL season, whenever CBS and Fox’s protections are due.)

The NFL title is pretty straightforward, bouncing around a few different Western teams over the course of last season before winding up back with the Seahawks heading into the playoffs; I’ll be tracking a “DeflateGate” title that remains with the Seahawks. On the college side, Florida State went undefeated until the Rose Bowl so Ohio State starts the season with the 2006 Boise State title; Michigan State lost 2009 Boise State to Oregon in their second game of the season, but after Oregon lost to Arizona the title bounced around the Pac-12 for a while and never made its way back to Oregon, ending the regular season with Washington, so it starts with Oklahoma State and could be unified with Princeton-Yale, now in the hands of TCU (although TCU has to avoid losing to Minnesota first).

An important announcement on plans for Da Blog and my life going forward

Except for around Christmas (including the annual blog-day post), this is the last post I will make on Da Blog from the Seattle area for the foreseeable future.

In my last blog-day post, I mentioned the possibility that my work on Da Blog would be “directly supported and nurtured”; now I can say a bit more about what that was referring to. Over the Labor Day weekend, I will be moving down to live with my dad in Los Angeles. We’ve been talking for several years about this; the plan is for Dad to support me and allow me to work on Da Blog without being distracted by school, a job, the people I live with, or the school I’ve lived across the street from for the past three years, with Dad as my “boss” to keep me focused and try to actually get an audience going and increase exposure to my writings. (While this is going on, the “Da Blog in LA” category will only be used for LA-specific posts I couldn’t have made if I weren’t there, which is to say it probably won’t be used at all.) At one point we talked about us living together for about two years; I don’t know if that’s still the plan, but I have the site’s hosting locked down through June of 2016, and if we still don’t have anything going by then – if we’re at the same place we’ve always been throughout what will then be nine and a half years of Da Blog – it may be time to give up on actually making anything of Da Blog.

Some things have been settled already, but most of the details will be fleshed out on the drive down. I may have another post after the weekend is over detailing any substantial changes coming to Da Blog in the near term as a direct result of this move.

In the meantime, I’ve updated the lineal titles in preparation for football season. It seems I never actually updated the lineal titles before last year, despite what I said in last year’s post. Both of last year’s new college football lineal titles got merged with others; the BCS title was merged with 2006 Boise State pretty quickly, while Ohio State’s claim was merged with 2009 Boise State at the Rose Bowl. This year starts with three lineal titles; Alabama went undefeated until the Miracle at Jordan-Hare and Auburn went on to the BCS Title Game, so 2006 Boise State starts the year with national champion Florida State. You can see what happened to the NFL lineal title on the history page accessible from the category page.

Preparing Da Blog for football season

Football season is just moments away, and that means the busiest period on the site. I’ve finally belatedly updated the lineal titles and here’s what you need to know:

  • Despite the 2010 TCU title being merged with Princeton-Yale fairly early last season, we enter 2013 with one more linear title than we entered last year with, although it probably won’t stay that way for long. Texas A&M took the 2006 Boise State title from Alabama last year in the Tide’s one loss, so Alabama picks up a new 2012 BCS title, and while Ohio State were ineligible for bowls last year they did go undefeated and that at least gives them a claim to a linear title; call it the “Screw the NCAA” title. Unlike with 2009 Boise State in 2011-12, this one will never be “split” because its very existence hinges on bowl-ineligible teams being eligible for linear titles.
  • On the NFL front, the replacement officials led me to keep track of five different NFL lineal titles by the time I dropped off: the main version of both titles, versions of both titles where the replacement-ref games didn’t count, and the Packers’ Super Bowl XLVI title counterclaim. The main and no-replacement-refs Super Bowl XLVI titles were unified by a Dolphins-Colts game Week 9 the Colts won; the Packers counterclaim was unified two weeks later when the Patriots beat the Colts. All three remaining claims made the playoffs, so the Ravens enter the new season with the sole NFL lineal title.
  • Due to circumstances I will not be participating in the FantasySharks leagues this year, and I’m severely cutting back in the other leagues to 6 each for NFL.com, ESPN, Yahoo, and Fox, and one each for CBS and Fleaflicker, for 26 in all, though I reserve the right to add more ESPN/Yahoo/Fox teams as I see fit.
  • I’ll tweet when the first college football rankings of the last season of the rankings are due to come out at a later time, but to be honest I’m not looking forward to dealing with this year’s round of realignment and teams moving up to FBS to chase money and fill spots in depleted conferences.

Why not even the Debacle in Seattle will bring the real refs back

By now you’ve heard all about the controversial play at the end of Monday night’s Packers-Seahawks game, the nadir of the NFL’s ongoing Replacementgate. With the entire country blowing up around it, surely this is the incident that forces the NFL’s hand and gets them to finally bring the lockout of the real refs to a conclusion.  Surely with the replacement refs backfiring so horribly, Roger Goodell has egg on his face and is desperately trying to end this before the replacement refs do any more damage, right?

Meanwhile, as many people are watching the games as ever.

The replacement refs backfired? On the contrary, everything is going exactly according to plan. Roger Goodell knows that the refs have zero impact on whether or not you watch. People don’t watch the NFL because the “integrity of the game” is so strong; hell, people watch pro wrestling knowing that it’s all staged. The NFL is first and foremost entertainment, the ultimate reality show; people watch for all the football action they’ve come to love, for the drama the sport brings, because their sense of self-worth is bound up in the fortunes of their favorite team, because of their fantasy players. Those things would have been affected by the arrival of replacement players, but with replacement officials the action is all the same, only the outcome is different. And ultimately, we don’t really care that much how the outcome is derived. It’s just one more thing for us to talk about around the watercooler.

And ultimately, that’s what the replacement refs debacle comes down to, and why Roger Goodell couldn’t be happier. It’s one more thing for the massive ecosystem of shows debating the NFL to discuss ad nauseam, one more way for the NFL to be at everyone’s lips at watercoolers around the country, a way that doesn’t involve the word “concussions” (a far bigger threat to the long-term viability of the NFL). That’s why all the wailing and gnashing of teeth for the real officials to come back simply leads Goodell to lean back in his chair, twiddle his fingers, and mutter “Excellent” like Mr. Burns.

Perhaps what happened in Seattle will cause some owners to start revolting and wondering whether the issues the NFL is holding its ground on in the lockout negotiations are really that big a priority that they justify what the league has turned into. But if it isn’t enough of them, the lockout will end when the real officials start feeling the very real pain of not collecting their checks, and not a moment sooner.

The Super Bowl XLVI lineal title was on the line in Monday night’s game. The Packers could very easily say they have a claim to it.

Starting Da Blog’s 2012 football season with a whimper

It is with a heavy sigh that I have begun the process of preparing the site for the 2012 football season (last week’s fantasy draft didn’t count). I’ve been dreading this because of all the stuff I wanted to get done this summer that didn’t get done. Both lineal titles have their respective first games updated, and sometime before Thursday I’ll tweet out when you can expect the first rankings. Because of the Fantasy Football Fifty Challenge, those and the SNF Flex Schedule Watch may be the only things I do this year.

An Early-Week Super Bowl Preview

Median Expected Score
Giants 26
Patriots 29

Four years later, they meet again. The last time these teams did this it resulted in one of the best Super Bowls of all time, and quite possibly the best game of the entire last decade. Can the rematch live up to the original?

Probably not. Last time, the Patriots were trying to become the second team in NFL history to go completely undefeated in the regular season and postseason, while the Giants were the scrappy underdogs that just barely squeaked into the playoffs and shocked the world in the Super Bowl. This year, the Giants made another Cinderella run, but they aren’t quite shocking the world the way they did four years ago; they actually won their division, more than a few people noted how hot they were playing down the stretch, and they’ve already beaten the team that tried to go unbeaten this year. Meanwhile, the Patriots were the class of a rather inferior AFC, hardly showing the dominance of four years ago and showing a decided weakness on defense, admittedly like most of the league’s best teams. Both teams needed miscues from their championship game opponents to get here, and we already saw this year’s sports movie. None of the context that went into the game four years ago is there, and that alone will probably keep it from living up to that level.

That the Giants are playing as well as they are does throw in a few storylines of its own, however. Probably one of the bigger ones involves Eli Manning. Four years ago, no one thought he would ever be anywhere near as good as his brother. He’s since become one of the league’s better quarterbacks, but still raised eyebrows in the preseason when he claimed that he should be considered an elite quarterback on par with Tom Brady. While he didn’t put up the gaudy numbers Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, or Brady put up this year, he still managed to silence the critics and prove that he really is that good a quarterback, being named the NFC’s #3 quarterback in the Pro Bowl behind Rodgers and Brees. Now he has a chance to actually double his brother’s Super Bowl count, possibly for all time. And who does he have a chance to beat to do it? Why, Tom Brady, of course.

Brady has already cemented a Hall of Fame resume, but it’s still interesting how another Super Bowl would impact his legacy. For the past few years, we thought that night in Glendale was the last night of the Patriots dynasty, as, while the Patriots remained one of the league’s elite teams, injuries and underperforming teams kept them out of even the conference championship game. It’s been something like seven years since Brady’s last Super Bowl, and at his age it’s fair to wonder how many more seasons he has left in him. Seeing Drew Bledsoe, the man whose injury set the stage for his entire career, handing out the Lamar Hunt Trophy, you had to wonder if it was a fitting bookend to his career. How would one last postscript Super Bowl to tie Joe Montana be seen when we look back on Brady’s storied career?

Throw in the game being played in Indianapolis, home of Eli’s brother and the Patriots’ main rival over the past decade, and it’s easy to see why Peyton Manning’s shadow hangs over the game, and why there are still plenty of storylines for Giants-Patriots II.

NFL Schedule: Wild Card Playoffs

One thing I get to do with these schedule posts is show off one of the big advantages of my Playoff Picture format. Sure, the teams are in the wrong order, but still. No Lineal Titles during the playoffs this year; the Chargers will take it into the offseason.

AFC Playoff Picture
DIVISION
LEADERS
WILD CARD
WEST
48-8
512-4 Sun 4:30 PM ET (PIT 13-21½)
Jim Nantz, Phil Simms
SOUTH
310-6
69-7 Sat 4:30 PM ET (HOU 20¾-17¾)
Tom Hammond, Mike Mayock, Alex Flanagan
NORTH
212-4
v. highest remaining
1/15 1PM ET
EAST
113-3
v. lowest remaining
1/14 8PM ET
NFC Playoff Picture
DIVISION
LEADERS
WILD CARD NOTES
EAST
49-7
510-6 Sun 1PM ET (NYG 22¼-25¼)
Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver
SOUTH
313-3
610-6 Sat 8PM ET (NO 24¼-35¼)
Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya
WEST
213-3
v. highest remaining
1/14 4:30 PM ET
NORTH
115-1
v. lowest remaining
1/15 4:30 PM ET

NFL Schedule: Week 17

AFC Playoff Picture
DIVISION
LEADERS
WILD CARD NOTES
WEST
48-7
510-4 TEAMS AT 8-7 LISTED
IN REVERSE ORDER
OF LAST WEEK
(WOULD BE BROKEN BY
STRENGTH OF VICTORY)
8-7
SOUTH
310-5
69-6
CLINCHED
NORTH
211-4
8-7
11-4 8-7
EAST
112-3
8-7
CLINCHED
NFC Playoff Picture
DIVISION
LEADERS
WILD CARD NOTES
EAST
48-7
510-5 NFC EAST LOSER
ELIMINATED;
LAST NFC PLAYOFF SPOT
TO BE DETERMINED
8-7
SOUTH
312-3
69-6
CLINCHED
WEST
212-3
8-7
CLINCHED
NORTH
114-1
CLINCHED

The NFL Schedule post is the first post of 2012, because it took so long for me to find out for sure what Compass was doing that I just gave up. With no SNF Flex Schedule Watch, the playoff picture moves back to the Schedule post; this is one point in favor of putting the playoff picture on this post full-time.

Week 17 never feels like a regular season week, especially with the double double-header, and the NFL has made it less so in recent years. On the other hand, there are a grand total of three games this weekend with no meaning whatsoever other than draft picks no one cares about because they aren’t the Luck pick, and I’ll show you what’s at stake in every one.

If all games go according to the point spread, your playoff teams are, according to ESPN’s Playoff Machine: AFC = byes: Patriots and Ravens; Titans @ Texans, Steelers @ Broncos; NFC = byes: Packers and Niners; Falcons @ Saints, Lions @ Giants.

What is the Median Expected Score?

Away MXS Home Time (ET) TV DTV Announcers SIRIUS Notes
Away Home
#26(5-10) 18¾-26¾ #T15(7-8) Sun 1:00 PM 711 Ron Pitts, Charles Davis 139 92 Aaaaaaand the very first game is one of those meaningless ones as the former Dream Team looks to end on a high note.
#7(10-5) 22¾-18¾ #1(14-1) Sun 1:00 PM 712 Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick, Laura Okmin 85 104 Well, the Lions have no chance to lock down the 5 against the Packers! …what’s that? They aren’t unbeaten and are resting everybody? Oh.
#14(8-7) 18¼-21¼ #23(5-10) Sun 1:00 PM 704 Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf 86 136 Jets are fighting for a playoff spot, but the Dolphins are more dangerous than they look.
#22(6-9) 23¼-30¾ #2(12-3) Sun 1:00 PM 707 Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver 138 125 Yeah, the Saints are playing for a bye, but you know the Fox slate is lame when Buck and Co have the early spot on a doubleheader.
#4(12-3) 23¼-12¼ #32(7-8) Sun 1:00 PM 709 Chris Myers, Tim Ryan 137 117 The Rams should make it easy for the Niners to lock down a first-round bye.
#21(7-8) 19½-21½ #T28(3-12) Sun 1:00 PM 708 Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa 135 94 Another meaningless game as the Bears just try to finish at .500.
#17(8-7) 20½-18½ #9(10-5) Sun 1:00 PM 706 Bill Macatee, Steve Tasker 106 128 The Texans have nothing to play for, but tell me the Titans won’t force a strength-of-victory tiebreaker for the last spot.
#31(2-13) 16¾-20¼ #27(4-11) Sun 1:00 PM 710 Spero Dedes, Steve Beuerlein 113 112 It’s the final resolution of the Andrew Luck Sweepstakes!
#25(6-9) 19¾-30¼ #3(12-3) Sun 1:00 PM 705 Don Criqui, Randy Cross 134 93 The Patriots can lock down the AFC’s #1 seed; anyone want to tell them they don’t deserve it?
#6(11-4) 20-13½ #T28(4-11) Sun 4:15 PM 716 Kevin Harlan, Solomon Wilcots 135 92 The Steelers need a win if they want the division crown and a first-round bye.
#24(6-9) 17-20 #13(8-7) Sun 4:15 PM 717 Jim Nantz, Phil Simms 132 86 For all Tebow’s magic, he needs it to last one more game to get into the playoffs at all.
#5(11-4) 20½-18 #10(9-6) Sun 4:15 PM 715 Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts 134 94 The Ravens want to lock down the division, but Dalton and the Bengals can lock down a playoff spot.
#19(7-8) 19-22 #20(7-8) Sun 4:15 PM 714 Sam Rosen, Chad Pennington 139 112 Our last meaningless game means a second NFC East team will finish at .500 for once!
#30(4-11) 17½-28 #8(9-6) Sun 4:15 PM 713 Dick Stockton, John Lynch 136 117 With only one playoff spot still to go in the NFC, this is what passes for a Fox feature game: Atlanta maybe playing for the 5.
#18(7-8) 22½-25½ #T15(8-7) Sun 4:15 PM 718 Marv Albert, Rich Gannon 85 93 The Raiders could claim the division – but have an outside shot at the wild card if they don’t.
#12(8-7) 22-26 #11(8-7) Sun 8:20 PM Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya 92 93 Final game of the regular season is the NFC East title game.

NFL Schedule: Week 16

The Pats, Ravens, Steelers, and Texans are 10-4 or better, despite the inconsistency some of them have shown. No AFC team is 9-5. The Packers are 13-1; the Saints and Niners are 11-3. No NFC team is 10-4. Who wants to bet that your Super Bowl teams will come from that group? Dark horses: Broncos, Lions, Falcons.

Had trouble finding consistent numbers for Rams-Steelers, and no wonder, with a new record low MXS for St. Louis that could be as low as 10¼.

What is the Median Expected Score?

Away MXS Home Time (ET) TV DTV Announcers NTR SIRIUS Notes
Away Home
#7(10-4) 23-17 #32(1-13) Thu 8:20 PM Brad Nessler, Mike Mayock, Alex Flanagan WW1 92 93 Now that the Colts have won, can they keep it up? Not against the division champs on a short week.
#23(5-9) 19½-29 #2(11-3) Sat 1:00 PM 705 Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts USA 125 92 Division? Check. First-round bye and #1 seed? Still some work to do, but the Fins will help.
#27(4-10) 16¼-23¾ #20(7-7) Sat 1:00 PM 707 Bill Macatee, Steve Tasker 127 117 Tennessee is trying to keep hope alive for a playoff berth and hopes a win over a division foe will help.
#29(4-10) 20¼-27¾ #24(5-9) Sat 1:00 PM 711 Sam Rosen, Chad Pennington 136 112 Cam Newton’s escapades have resulted in wins recently – and passing the Bucs for third in the division.
#28(4-10) 12¾-25¾ #5(10-4) Sat 1:00 PM 706 Spero Dedes, Rich Gannon 106 93 Surely the Ravens won’t look nearly as bad playing the Browns?
#T17(7-7) 18-22½ #13(8-6) Sat 1:00 PM 712 Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick, Laura Okmin 139 113 Two teams trying to scratch and claw their way into the playoffs.
#30(2-12) 18¾-25¼ #25(5-9) Sat 1:00 PM 710 Chris Myers, Tim Ryan 128 134 Adrian Peterson says he’s playing for fantasy owners, so people who win their titles because of him, send him a thank-you card.
#10(8-6) 22¼-19¼ #26(5-9) Sat 1:00 PM 704 Jim Nantz, Phil Simms CMP 91 104 The Broncos look to lock down the division against a team in freefall.
#31(2-12) 11-25 #6(10-4) Sat 1:00 PM 713 Dick Stockton, John Lynch 138 85 Rams still very much alive in the Luck Sweepstakes, and an angry Steelers team should help.
#T17(7-7) 20-22 #22(6-8) Sat 1:00 PM 708 Kevin Harlan, Solomon Wilcots 94 137 Fresh off their upset of the Pack, can the Chiefs keep their slim division hopes alive against one of their foes for the crown?
#15(7-7) 21½-24½ #12(8-6) Sat 1:00 PM 709 Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa WW1 132 86 Battle of New York will determine whether Giants-Cowboys is a division title game on Sunday night.
#14(7-7) 24¾-27¼ #9(9-5) Sat 4:05 PM 714 Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf WW1 86 135 Lions look to lock down a playoff spot, while the Bolts look to keep their slim hopes alive.
#19(6-8) 24¼-26¼ #11(8-6) Sat 4:15 PM 715 Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Pam Oliver CMP 92 93 Eagles look to keep their not-as-slim-as-you-think playoff hopes alive against the division leaders.
#4(11-3) 20¼-17¾ #16(7-7) Sat 4:15 PM 716 Ron Pitts, Charles Davis USA 85 94 Can the Hawks’ magical comeback continue against the class of the division?
#21(7-7) 15¾-28¾ #1(13-1) Sun 8:20 PM Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya WW1 92 93 The Pack either seek to bounce back and lock down the #1 seed, or start resting starters, against a division rival.
#8(9-5) 23¼-29¾ #3(11-3) Mon 8:30 PM Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden, Ron Jaworski, Suzy Kolber WW1 92 93 Game of the week sees Falcons trying to steal division from Saints.