Stolf’s Blog 11/18/2010

OK, regarding stats…Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal reports the Detroit Lions are on a pace to become what they call the “unluckiest” team in NFL history…that is, have the worst record of teams that had a losing record despite out-scoring their opponents. Currently they are 2-7, outscoring opponents by 13 points. Well, I wouldn’t call that “unlucky”…it’s interesting, certainly, but I doubt if it’s that significant. I did a kitchen table review of all seasons back to 1938…that means no computer, so if anything, my counts are low. Sure, if I were the WSJ, I’d double-check and triple-check, but I’m doing this for free, after all…so here’s what I found…

There have been 43 cases of “unlucky” teams, and 56 cases of “lucky” teams, that is, having a winning record but allowing more points than they scored. Now if you take away what I call “turnaround” teams, where changing one loss to a win or vice versa would negate the losing or winning season, the numbers drop to 14 and 13 respectively, pretty much what you’d expect.

The worst record for an unlucky team, as WSJ reports, is 1971 Bengals, 4-10, outscoring opponents by 19. That +19 is the highest on their list, which is only 6 teams deep. Had they gone just a little deeper, they would have encountered 1963 Lions (!!) 5-8-1 +61, and more recently, 2008 Packers 6-10 +39, and 1990 Chargers 6-10 +34. Among turnaround teams, the most extreme case I found was 1963 Chiefs 5-7-2 +84.

For lucky teams, the worst non-turnaround team is 1962 Steelers 9-5 -51, and the record among turnarounds is 1992 Colts 9-7 -86. I should also mention that since 1978, 3 Division champions have had winning records but were out-scored. So what does it all mean? Probably next to nothing, beyond the obvious fact that winning is more important than scoring. But then, that’s the WSJ sports page for you…numbers, numbers, numbers…

B*A*K*E*R*S  D*O*Z*E*N

(1) ~~~~~ I’m not aging, I’m marinating. ~~~~~

(2) Samuel Goldwyn said: The next time I want some idiot to do it, I’ll do it myself!

(3) Welcome to 2010…a panhandler down the street now takes direct deposit…

(4) Modesty is defined as the type of pride least likely to offend.

(5) Word-O-Day…Dysphemism…making something sound worse than it is…
the opposite of Euphemism…like the print version of an on-line magazine
being called the “dead tree edition”…or children as “rug rats” or “ankle-biters.”

(6) Noel Coward said: “Certain women should be struck regularly, like gongs.”
(Yes, it’s a terrible thing to say, but I’m sure you know some women…bang! zoom!)

(7) My brother-in-law Ray…he’s like a piece of Swiss cheese without the cheese.

(8)  Sloppy old bachelor wants to know: How do you vacuum a vacuum cleaner?

(9)  >>>>>> II Kings 18:27…I’m just prayin’… <<<<<<

(10) My goal is to be completely unspoiled by failure. So far, so good…

(11) Been a while since I checked a book out of the Public Library…now they
give you a printed receipt with the due date on it…save it for tax purposes?

(12) One of the core principles of Wikipedia is “No Original Research.” This is
explained as “The threshold for inclusion is verifiability, not truth.” Food for thought.

(13) Or as they say in the jacuzzi trade: different soaks for different folks…


Here is an astonishing photo…it shows Abraham Lincoln’s funeral procession in New York City, April 24th, 1865. The house on the left, on the corner of 14th St. and Broadway, is that of Cornelius Roosevelt, and the 2 young boys looking out of the window are Teddy Roosevelt and his brother Elliott, the future father of Eleanor. This has all been confirmed…the Roosevelt family clearly remembered and wrote about watching the funeral from that mansion.

But hold on, Lincoln’s funeral in NYC? Oh yes, in fact, as you can see in this map of his funeral train, Lincoln had 13 funerals in all, before he was ultimately buried in Springfield, Ill. If you only count 12 stops, starting with Washington DC, that’s because there was an unscheduled service in Michigan City, Ind. But more than that, mourners lined the tracks along the entire route. For example, in Richmond, Ind., an estimated 15,000 people turned out, greater than the city’s population, at 3:15 in the morning. Depending on conditions, the Lincoln Special travelled at between 5 and 20 miles per hour.

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