Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The Streak, 2.0

So after my little posting break to begin 2013, I was all set to talk about a personal achievement when I suddenly realized that I'd basically written the post already, two-plus years ago.  You see, I recently completed a rare 17-0 season in a survival (or "suicide," if you're less PC) football league.  I don't want to rank myself amongst the great streaks in sports history, but let's just say that if Rocky Marciano was around today, even he would say his perfect boxing record was garbage in comparison.  Managing to always beat some of history's greatest boxers versus picking one football game a week from the comfort of my home laptop?  Pfft, no contest.  Take a seat, Rocky.

But remember, it was back in December 2010 when I wrote about my 15-week run in a suicide football pool.  Many of my strategies that I wrote about then were duplicated this year --- I identified early who the best teams in the league were and who were the worst were and just rode those teams accordingly.  Especially the worst teams.  Of my 17 wins, over half came from picking against the Jaguars, Chiefs, Eagles and Raiders alone.  You may recall that I picked the Raiders to make the playoffs in my preseason NFL picks but yeah, I leapt off that bandwagon quickly.  (By the way, going perfect in a survival league essentially counters my Raiders pick, leaving your appreciation of my football knowledge at exactly the same level as it was before looking at those two posts.  Even steven.)

The rules of survival football: you have to just pick the result of just one game per week, just a straight win-or-loss without a point spread involved.  If you get your game wrong, you're out.  The trick is that you can only pick a team once per season, so you have to be somewhat clever with how you apportion your use of the league's top clubs.  For instance, whereas in past years I just stuck to a 'pick the best team and worry about it later' strategy, this year I purposely avoided a couple of the better clubs until nearer to the end of the season.  For instance, I didn't use the Broncos until Week 12 or the Patriots until Week 16, giving me a couple of big bullets left in the proverbial chamber.

Two caveats to my extraordinary, once-in-a-lifetime 17-0 season.  Firstly, I was in three survival leagues this year and crashed early out of the other two.  Secondly, SO MANY of my 17 wins were too close for comfort.  Of those 17 wins, only three were by more than 10 points.  There were way, way too many weeks when my picks played with fire, even when it was a terrific game against an utter dog.  Those Broncos and Patriots picks, by the way, were Denver's 17-9 win over the useless Chiefs and New England's 23-16 victory over the worthless Jaguars, so my "brilliant" idea to keep good teams in storage almost backfired horribly.

Part of me wants to just retire from survival leagues now that I've dreamed the impossible dream of 17-0 but nuts to that.  The challenge will now be to carry this streak into the 2013 football season and see just how long I can get.  Twenty wins in a row?  Twenty-five?  Thirty?  TWO STRAIGHT perfect seasons?  If I do that, I believe I'll win a five percent share of Yahoo stock, though I may have to re-check the rules and regulations of Yahoo fantasy sports.  If I do manage two perfect seasons and end up rubbing elbows with Yahoo's board of directors, I probably won't forget about it and write another post in two years about another meaningless fantasy sport achievement.

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