Posts Tagged ‘american football’

This is how the 49ers can make the playoffs

Thursday, November 9th, 2017 | Sport

At 0-9 this year, some would say that things are looking pretty bad for the San Francisco 49ers.

But all hope is not lost. Indeed, there is still a chance we can make the playoffs. Here is how:

  1. The 49ers win all of their remaining games, taking them to 7-9. Not a likely result for playoffs, but possible. I think it was always Kyle Shanahan’s plan to build dramatic tension before going on a winning streak, anyway.
  2. The LA Rams, currently at 6-3, go on to lose all of their remaining games. This takes them to 6-10.
  3. The Seattle Seahawks, currently at 5-3, go on to lose all of their remaining games except for one (they have to beat the Rams). That takes them to 6-10, too.
  4. The Arizona Cardinals, currently 4-4, go on to lose all of their remaining games except for two (they have to beat the Rams and the Seahawks), which also takes them to 6-10.

Thus the division ends with San Francisco on top with 7-9, and everyone else below at 6-10.

It’s a fair bit to ask, I’ll admit. First, we need to win all seven games. Then there are another 16 games were not involved in that need to go exactly our way. Which is every other game that everyone else in the division is involved in with no margin for error.

NFL offer refunds to European customers

Friday, October 13th, 2017 | Sport

On Tuesday, the NFL announced they would be partially refunding all of their European Game Pass customers because of the problems people experienced with the streaming service.

The announcement comes just six hours after I published my article setting out the problems. I’m not saying my blog post was solely responsible for their announcement, but the timing is clearly too similar to ignore.

They’re giving everyone 20% back, which is fair, though not beyond expectations.

However, the real test will be whether they sort the streaming issues out. Roll on Sunday…

NFL Game Pass: A story of broken promises

Tuesday, October 10th, 2017 | Reviews

NFL Game Pass is an internet streaming service. You pay around £140 per year and get access to live streams of all of the games. Except if Sky Sports is showing them, in which case they’re blacked out. You also get on-demand replays of the games.

Or that is the theory. Except, this year more than most, the NFL has been unable to deliver on their side of the bargain.

Broken TV apps

Let’s start with Apple TV. The app just doesn’t work anymore. At all. If you try and use it, it just says that they are migrating to a new app. But there is no App Store on the old Apple TV, so it doesn’t work, that’s just tough luck.

And broken tablet apps

The iOS app does not seem to be fairing much better. Here is the endless spinning of the login screen:

This is probably one of the many reasons why they have managed to score a total of 1 star on the App Store reviews system:

Browsers not working

I used to use Firefox to watch the video streams on my desktop. But that is no longer an option because the sound doesn’t work any more. So, I’ve been forced to switch to Chrome instead.

Video streams constantly freezing

In week four, as customers often experience, the video streams would often freeze up or drop to an unwatchably low quality. Yet, when you contact the NFL about this, they blame it on your connection.

In fact, we have become so used to this now that we are forced to run a speed test alongside the stream in preparation for the NFL blaming it on us. Here is mine:

With enough speed to watch 30 simultaneous Netflix shows, it seems unlikely that the problem is at my end. Or the many other ends from which people are complaining.

Video streams not working

Week 5, things got worse. The website wouldn’t load and nor would any of the streams. You either got stuck on accessing the website itself:

Or, if you were lucky enough to get through, you got no video:

It eventually started working at 7:23 pm, almost an hour and a half after kick-off, and four scores into the game.

Customer service not even responding

After week 4, I send out a full and detailed complaint setting out why I thought the NFL’s service was unacceptable and that they were failing to provide the service I was paying for.

I would post it here, in full, except I cannot because the NFL did not give me a copy of it, or ever respond to it. You have to use their online contact form to send your message, and they do not seem to respond to them or even acknowledge their existence.

I’m not the only person they are ignoring:

Fake reviews

BBC journalist Mark Simpson has been on the case to the NFL. He questioned them about it, and they said: “we have a 99.3% reliability”. Which is terrible, of course. Data centres typically offer you a 5/9 reliably, which is 99.999%. 99.3% does not cut it, especially when the .7 is when the games are actually on.

Here is the interview:

And it turns out that to try and cover up how poor the apps were, staff have been faking reviews to make it look better than it was:

The Independent covered the story, as did NBC Sports.

An army of disappointed fans

A quick search of Twitter shows how many people are having problems. While the NFL put out insulting tweets saying:

We are aware of an issue that some users may be having. We’re working to get it fixed as quickly as possible.

Note that “some users” seems to be the whole of the UK and Europe. 20 tweets a second were appearing from angry users during Sunday’s 6pm kick-off.

Super Bowl LI

Thursday, February 9th, 2017 | Sport

Ah, I was so close again! Last year I predicted a Carolina Panthers vs New England Patriots Super Bowl (this was before the playoffs started, not before the regular season). The Denver Broncos beat the Patriots in the AFC championship game to knock me off by one.

This year, I predicted a Green Bay Packers vs New England Patriots. Alas, the Atlantic Falcons convincingly beat the Packers in the NFC championship game to once again knock me off by one result.

Still, it made for a good Super Bowl. The first three quarters were so-so. It looked like the Falcons were firmly in control. But then Tom Brady did a Tom Brady and suddenly we had a game on.

Turn out was good too: six of us, not counting Elina, Venla and Kearny who were all here, but had gone to bed. For once, I managed to make a reasonable amount of food.

NFL: Who are the real franchise quarterbacks?

Saturday, January 28th, 2017 | Sport

The term “franchise quarterback” is thrown around a lot in the NFL. There is an official meaning: teams can use their franchise tag to keep one key player at the club. However, more often when referring to QBs it is used to label quarterbacks who people expect to be at the teams for a long-run without any enforcement.

But who exactly is a franchise quarterback?

Philip Rivers, for example, is probably not the first person to come to mind when you think about the legendary quarterbacks of the NFL. However, Rivers has now been at the San Diego Chargers for 12 years. Only Tom Brady has been at his current club for longer.

Quarterback tenure in data

Below, I have tabled all of the NFL teams and their starting quarterbacks. I have included the year that they joined the club, and the team’s 2016 record.

Note that this is slightly different to the year they became starting quarterback. Many sat on the bench for the first season, for example. However, as it is a measure of how long the teams have kept them around, tracking it from the time they joined the team makes more sense in this instance.

It also does not include how long they have been in the NFL. Alex Smith, for example, was at the San Francisco 49ers for several years before moving on to the Kansas City Chiefs. Again, this makes more sense for what we are discussing.

The data

Team Starting QB Year joined team 2016 record
Patriots Tom Brady 2000 .875
Chargers Philip Rivers 2004 .313
Giants Eli Manning 2004 .688
Steelers Ben Roethlisberger 2004 .688
Packers Aaron Rodgers 2005 .625
Saints Drew Brees 2006 .438
Falcons Matt Ryan 2008 .688
Ravens Joe Flacco 2008 .500
Lions Matthew Stafford 2009 .563
Bears Jay Cutler 2009 .188
Panthers Cam Newton 2011 .375
Bengals Andy Dalton 2011 .438
49ers Colin Kaepernick 2011 .125
Colts Andew Luck 2012 .500
Seahawks Russell Wilson 2012 .656
Dolphins Ryan Tannehill 2012 .625
Redskins Kirk Cousins 2012 .531
Chiefs Alex Smith 2013 .750
Cardinals Carson Palmer 2013 .569
Raiders Derek Carr 2014 .750
Jaguars Blake Bortles 2014 .188
Titans Marcus Mariota 2015 .563
Bills Tyrod Taylor 2015 .438
Buccaneers Jameis Winston 2015 .563
Jets Bryce Petty 2015 .313
Vikings Sam Bradford 2016 .500
Browns Robert Griffin III 2016 .063
Texans Brock Osweiler 2016 .563
Eagles Carson Wentz 2016 .438
Broncos Trevor Siemian 2016 .563
Rams Jared Goff 2016 .250
Cowboys Dak Prescott 2016 .813

Discussion

I was expecting to see some correlation between the length of quarterback tenture and the results of each team. However, this was difficult to fine.

Sure, a lot of the play-off teams have the longest-standing quarterbacks. But then, the Chargers and Saints did not make the playoffs, despite having had the same quarterback for ten years.

Similarly, while there are a lot of rubbish teams with new quarterbacks, there are also the Cowboys, with one of the best records in the NFL, who only replaced Tony Romo, their quarterback since 2003, this year.

Here is the data in a graph:

There is nothing there. As with most of the stats in the NFL it probably suffers from the same critical problem: small sample size. When you only play 16 games per year, and those games only involve 11 minutes of actual play, almost anything can be luck.

A Brit Talks Football has closed

Wednesday, December 21st, 2016 | News

Over the past four years, I have very much enjoyed blogging on A Brit Talks Football. The feedback was positive, especially around the live game blogs. However, all good things must come to an end, and it is time for me to move on. Therefore, the site has closed.

If you still want updates from me, then you may wish to follow this blog, which is my personal one. It is about family, restaurants, technology and of course, the NFL. You can use the form below to subscribe to weekly updates, or follow me on Twitter at @chrisworfolk.

The Blind Side (film)

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016 | Distractions

the-blind-side

The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game is a 2007 book by Michael Lewis. I reviewed it in 2014 and in another post discussed my thoughts about the story.

In 2009, it was made into a film, which, after a recommendation from someone, I finally got round to watching. It shares quite a bit in common with the book, while at the same time concentrating exclusively on the relationship between Michael and Leigh Anne.

That is the whole thing. It is not, to Elina’s relief, a film about American football. Nor is it, to my disappointment, a film about economic theory. It is a drama revolving around those two characters, with almost everything else cut out.

I thought having read the book helped me out on a number of occasions during the film. A lot of things made sense to me because I had read the details in the book. You would miss them if you had not, but maybe you just wouldn’t notice.

Super Bowl 50

Sunday, February 21st, 2016 | Distractions

super-bowl-50

I was so close! In my pre-play-offs event invite to the Super Bowl party I predicted Patriots v Panthers. Denver beat New England in the AFC championship game to knock my predict off by one.

It was interesting to go into a Super Bowl with no real feelings either way. I think was leaning towards Carolina. They have really worked for it this season. However, it was nice to see Peyton Manning go out on a high (assuming he is going, my guess is that he is). In the end, Denver’s defence deserved it.

The half time show was okay. Chris Martin was really enjoying himself. I am not sure the rest of Coldplay were, possibly because they were probably miming on their instruments. Usually the light show is a big part of the half time show, but with it being in California this year, it was in the daylight. This took out a big part of it for me.

Jets v Dolphins at Wembley

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015 | Friends, Life

For what I loosely described as a stag do, I headed down to Wembley Stadium for the Jets v Dolphin NFL game.

The seats were okay. We were in the premium club. I have previously wondered whether being in the lower tier would be better, but you do actually get a good view and can see the entire field. The only issue was that being on the north side we had the sun in our eyes, so being on the other side would have been a lot better. That disappeared after the 4th quarter though, and the view improved.

The merch was not run very well. We got there several hours early and they had already closed the NFL shop saying the queue was too big. Why they could not just run it throughout the entire game was unclear. They had other merch shops inside, but they had all run out of caps, missing an opportunity to make a significant buck out of Norman and I who were not prepared for the sun making an appearance.

The game itself was pretty good. It was nice to follow a game I did not care that much about as I could relax and enjoy it. Last time I saw the NFL at Wemeberly it was the 49ers v Jaguars. Obviously it was the Jaguars, so no chance of the 49ers losing, but it was still a little tense. It got very exciting when the Dolpins looked like they would make a forth quarter comeback but sadly it was not to be.

The food was good too. I had the world’s longest hot dog, which itself was covered in pulled pork. I couldn’t finished it.

A good day all round. Thanks to everyone who came to keep my company, especially my dad who drove there and back!

Trick plays

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015 | Video

The line between insanity and genius is often wider than you think.