Links of the Day 2/7/16

There is some sort of football game on this evening. (34-21, Panthers)

Before that happens, take a look at the 2016 NFL Hall of FAme class. 

Here’s what the Big Ten tournament would look like if the season ended today. 

Yesterday was Hockey Day in Minnesota. Take a look at some pictures from the statewide event. 

SCOREBOARD
Football League Championship
Blackburn 1, Middlesbrough 1 – Jordan Rhodes is completely irrelevant.
NCAAB
Kansas 75, TCU 56 – The one easy game on the Big 12 schedule.
Maryland Eastern Shore 73, Hampton 70 – The Hawks are stringing together a few wins. That’s something to be proud of.
Maryland 72,, Purdue 61  – Not a great showing for a team looking to make an impact against the best teams in the Big Ten.
North Dakota State 62, IPFW 46 – Massacre the Mastadons.
Notre Dame 80, North Carolina 76 – Oklahoma lost too, so the Tar Heels missed a chance to get back to #1.
NHL
St Louis 4, Minnesota 1 – Now losers of 10/11.

The BEST NFL Team of all time

After a couple of days of simulation, we have reached the battle of the best. To quickly recap, ESPN introduced a post about a week ago, naming the best teams in franchise history for every single team in NFL history. Since there were 32 franchises now, I sorted them all into a tournament, wherein the oldest team in a division played the youngest, then sorted through until I had the best AFC and best NFC team of all time, simulating the game using whatifsports. Those teams: the 2000 Tennessee Titans and the 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

So I simulated the game. It was a defensive battle, which you have to imagine given the teams involved, with the Bucs featuring one of the best defenses of all time, with the Titans… well, their defense was enough to slow down an offense led by Brad Johnson. Indeed, there were NO touchdowns scored in this game. Not a single one. This game was won, however, on a last second field goal. The best team EVER according to this simulation, was decided by Al del Greco’s leg

2000 Titans

Do you remember when Tom Hanks returned after being at sea for so long in Castaway? A Memphis resident because of his career with FedEx, he returned to find out that not only did his state now have an NFL team, but they had been to the Super Bowl. Now, I have to break it to him… he missed out on the greatest NFL team of all time.

HanksCastaway

Links of the Day 2/6/16

It’s Saturday morning, and there are probably a bunch of football players in the Bay Area that won’t be sleeping tonight.

Speaking of the Super Bowl, it will be wonderful weather out there. Real advantage for… I don’t Coldplay, probably.

This is weird. The Indy 500 had never had a sponsor before this year. 

The Reds are out there looking for a work stoppage. Reds indeed.

SCOREBOARD
Nooooooothing.

What is the best team of all time? (NFC edition)

Recently, ESPN put together a an article of the “best team ever for all 32 NFL franchises”. I thought it would be fun to see which of those teams was the best in a tournament format.  You know, a super Super Bowl. This is where my mind goes instead of investigating the post or putting any constructive criticism to do. Tournament! As I am wont to do, I set up a tournament at simulated it via WhatifSports. I had divisions play each other to find a champion, seeding the oldest team versus the youngest team, then reseeded when a top divisional champion was selected. So let’s see who the best team of all time was. The superest of Super Bowls.

NFC EAST
1993 Dallas Cowboys 38, 1960 Philadelphia Eagles 17 – Just like how they dominated the early 90s, the Cowboys jumped out to a big 21-0 lead
1991 Washington Redskins 23, 1986 New York Giants 19 – So many field goals. There were 7, including 5 in the 4th quarter.

1991 Washington Redskins 24, 1993 Dallas Cowboys 6 – The 93 Cowboys actually lost the first two games of their season before going on a rampage. If they had just gotten past Washington, they could have really done something.

NFC NORTH
1985 Chicago Bears 17. 1957 Detroit Lions 14 – I think the real surprise was that this game was so close. The best Lions team ever was 8-4.
1962 Green Bay Packers 26, 1969 Minnesota Vikings 0 – The Vikings best team ever getting shut out when it really counts is hilarious, and perhaps a little close to home.

1985 Chicago Bears 19, 1962 Green Bay Packers 10 – The Bears crushed the competition in 85, but they had a tough slog through the NFC North.

NFC SOUTH
1998 Atlanta Falcons 26, 2015 Carolina Panthers 23 – Say what you will about how good the Panthers are this year, they are no match for Chris Chandler.
2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17, 2009 New Orleans Saints 15 – A classic game between one of the best defenses and the best offenses came down to a failed 2 point conversion. Pretty incredible.

2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16, 1998 Atlanta Falcons 3 – The Bucs crushing defense kept on crushing.

NFC WEST
2015 Arizona Cardinals 16, 1989 San Francisco 49ers 13 – The Cardinals got a last second field goal to win it. That was not what I was expecting.
1999 St Louis Rams 24, 2013 Seattle Seahawks 7 – Immediately, I suspect a 99 Rams 00 Titans Super Super Bowl is on hand.

1999 St. Louis Rams 31, 2015 Arizona Cardinals 7 – Yeah, this is more representative of the Cardinals Super Bowl experience.

NFC Championship Rounds
2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10, 1985 Chicago Bears 7 – A battle of two phenomenal defenses was won by a 61 yard Joe Jurevicius touchdown. What a legend.
1991 Washington Redskins 13, 1999 St. Louis Rams 6 – The idea of Washington piecing together a playoff run is a real throwback to a different era.

2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13, 1991 Washington Redskins 9 – The Bucs defense continues to crush the life out of everyone. The best part is that they don’t have to score at all. I’ll string this out a bit longer and post the winner tomorrow.

Links of the Day 2/5/16

Happy Friday! Super Bowl Friday, actually. Is that a thing?

Johnny Manziel is in so much trouble now. The second coming of Ryan Leaf is all the worst ways.

6 Overtimes? Maybe they should have just had a shootout.

The Texans-Raiders game will be in Mexico City next year. 

SCOREBOARD
NHL
New York Rangers 4, Minnesota 2 – The Wild allowed 4 unanswered goals. I think Mike Yeo won’t last the week.
NCAAW
Indiana 79, Iowa 74 – The Hawkeyes blew a big lead in the 3rd quarter for a frustrating loss.
NCAAB
North Dakota State 67, Oral Roberts 63 – These two were regularly the top teams in this conference, but they have both been surpassed.
Northwestern 82, Minnesota 58 – Remarkably bad.

Maybe John Ryan Murphy is the answer at catcher

JR Murphy

Terry Ryan said something that made me think for at least a second that Terry Ryan might be a little bit unhinged. Then, I looked into it, and I think that Ryan indeed has all his hinges attached. Here’s the quote from La Velle: 

“[John Ryan Murphy] ‘s a very similar catcher to Jonathan Lucroy with the Brewers,” Ryan said. That’s kind of who we match him up with.”

Well, hey, that’s a specific name to compare Murphy to. It just so happens to be a player that many people wanted the Twins to make a move for during the season last year and even as the Twins entered the off-season. Yes, there is no shortage of people who thought at some point Jonathan Lucroy should be a Twin. And here is Terry Ryan, addressing that idea directly.

Basically, he’s begging me to compare Murphy to Lucroy to demonstrate how crazy it is to compare a backup catcher to a former all star. As you might have guessed, I took the bait. I said that Lucroy was a middle of the order bat. This implies that he has some power, right? OK, let’s look at slugging percentage

Source: FanGraphsJonathan Lucroy, JR Murphy
Hmm. Murphy has better power than Lucroy did at age 24, and not just by a little bit. I guess that’s also important. Murphy is 5 years younger than Lucroy. This is also important.

Source: FanGraphsJonathan Lucroy, JR Murphy
Well. Not only was age 24 JR Murphy better than age 24 Jonathan Lucory, but age 29 Lucroy as well. The slugging percentage for Murphy has been buoyed all through his career by his proclivity for doubles so it’s not like he has over-the-fence pow– wait. That’s what Lucroy does too. He led the NL in doubles in 2014.

OK, so that’s power. Let’s check out, oh, let’s say OBP and wOBA.

Source: FanGraphsJonathan Lucroy, JR Murphy


Source: FanGraphsJonathan Lucroy, JR Murphy

Age 24 JR Murphy is better than age 24 Jonathan Lucroy. This is just statistics. Murphy is also rapidly improving as a defensive backstop, which is another of Lucroy’s strengths. The more I look into it, I think Terry Ryan did exactly what people had been clamoring for, and he did it far more cleverly, and with the potential for a much greater payoff.

Links of the Day 2/4/16

Hi, it’s Thursday, but it feels like next Tuesday, this week has been so long.

The Super Bowl is on Sunday. The lead up has been pretty tame. Here is a recap of the stories. 

Yesterday was national signing day, and the Gophers did pretty good.  Meanwhile, Purdue is cancelling football forever.

Hey, go for it, Los Angeles, you bunch of weirdos. (The Rams want Peyton Manning)

SCOREBOARD
NCAAB
Miami 79, Notre Dame 70 – The Irish losing is always a feel good story.
Kansas 77, Kansas State 59 – This qualifies as a drubbing.

What is the best NFL team of all time? (AFC edition)

Recently, ESPN put together a an article of the “best team ever for all 32 NFL franchises”. I thought it would be fun to see which of those teams was the best in a tournament format.  You know, a super Super Bowl. This is where my mind goes instead of investigating the post or putting any constructive criticism to do. Tournament! As I am wont to do, I set up a tournament at simulated it via WhatifSports. I had divisions play each other to find a champion, seeding the oldest team versus the youngest team, then reseeded when a top divisional champion was selected. So let’s see who the best team of all time was. The superest of Super Bowls.

AFC East
2007 New England Patriots 24, 1968 New York Jets 14 – Tom Brady had three touchdown passes to hold off a late Jets rally.
1990 Buffalo Bills 14, 1972 Miami Dolphins 13 – This is the 72 Dolphins’ first loss ever. They were dropped by two Thurman Thomas touchdowns.

2007 New England Patriots 37, 1990 Buffalo Bills 6 – The Patriots were apparently built better for the Bills than the Dolphins were. I’ll point out that Scott Norwood hit two field goals, so it’s not his fault.

AFC North
2000 Baltimore Ravens 23, 1950 Cleveland Browns 9 – The Browns were from the 1950 and have several players that awards are named after, but they couldn’t keep up with the more modern team.
1988 Cincinnati Bengals 16, 1975 Pittsburgh Steelers 15 – Have you noticed that the most recent team has won every game so far? Definitely expected a Steelers win here, though. They started with a 12-0 lead, too.

1988 Cincinnati Bengals 17, 2000 Baltimore Ravens 13 – James Brooks and Ickey Woods scored the two touchdowns on this previously impenetrable Ravens D to get the first win for the old timers.

AFC South
2011 Houston Texans 26, 1999 Jacksonville Jaguars 14 – The Texans, the 10-6 Texans absolutely dominated, running for 270 yards.
2000 Tennessee Titans 16, 2005 Indianapolis Colts 10 – Much like the real life version of this team, they choked in the playoffs.

2000 Tennessee Titans 24, 2011 Houston Texans 17 – The Titans didn’t score at all in the second half, but they withstood the Texans to win the AFC South.

AFC West
1998 Denver Broncos 24, 1969 Kansas City Chiefs 20 – The Broncos jumped out to a big lead at the end of the first half and held off the slow steady charge of the Chiefs.
1983 Los Angeles Raiders 27, 1994 San Diego Chargers 24 – The Chargers kept Marcus Allen at bay, but the Raiders were able to find other ways into the end zone.

1983 Los Angeles Raiders 27, 1998 Denver Broncos 9 – The Broncos couldn’t seal the deal against the hated Raiders, and they couldn’t stop Marcus Allen

AFC Championship rounds
2007 New England Patriots 33, 1983 Los Angeles Raiders 10 – The Raiders defense looked paper thin in the 1st and 4th quarters, and the Patriots 3 touchdowns covered over 45 yards apiece.
2000 Tennessee Titans 23, 1988 Cincinatti Bengals 22 – When you watched them lose the Super Bowl to the Rams, weren’t you thinking “this is one of the best teams of all time”? No? The Bengals were done in by 2 missed extra points, which is so Bengals.

2000 Tennessee Titans 13, 2007 New England Patriots 9 – BEST AFC TEAM OF ALL TIME.

That’s pretty weird. Stay tuned Friday as we finish this thing off.

Links of the Day 2/3/15

I hope you can dig yourself out today. If not, stay in and read some links.

Mercer basketball player Jibri Bryan was shot and killed yesterday. He was a freshman when I visited campus a few years ago.

If you aren’t able to pay attention during the commercials, you can watch the Super Bowl ads on Youtube

The best and worst NFL coaching hires this season. 

SCOREBOARD
NHL
New York Islanders 5, Wild 3 – Oh, now the one good thing the team had is back to garbage. (Dubnyk, I mean)