Posts Tagged ‘nfl’

Super Bowl LIV

Saturday, February 15th, 2020 | Sport

It has been six years since the San Francisco 49ers made it to the play-offs. They made it there every year under Jim Harbaough, until we went 8-8, and he got fired.

Obviously, that was a stupid decision. Over the next few years, we became only the second-ever team to fire three head coaches in three years. And, for the record, the other team was also us a few decades ago. Finally, Kyle Shanian came in and after two okay-ish seasons, we were hot again. Coming in the top NFC seed, we beat our way past the Vikings and the Packers, both convincingly.

But, alas, the big day was not to be. It was going so well and we build up a commanding league. But Patrick Mahomes did his thing and ended up stealing the victory with only a few minutes to go.

At least it was an exciting game. Which makes up for last year that was officially the most boring Super Bowl in history.

And Shakira rocked the half time show. I still haven’t got Whenever, Whereever out of my head.

The 49ers are hot again

Saturday, December 28th, 2019 | Distractions, Sport

Back in the day (like ten years ago) the 49ers were good. We had Jim Harbaugh at the helm and he was ace. He took us to the championship game consistently, and almost won the 2013 Super Bowl.

Then we went 8-8 and the 49ers fired him. And we entered the dark ages. 5-11 under Jim Tomsula, 2-13 under Chip Kelly, and 6-10 and 4-12 under Kyle Shanahan. Luckily, by the third coach in three years (we’re the only NFL team to ever do that), they decided it might be best to pick one coach and give him a chance.

Third season in and Kyle Shanahan’s team is on fire. We went 8-0, with the only unbeaten team being the Patriots, and even our losses have been close: a missed field goal in overtime allowed the Seahawks to finally deliver us a loss. And the Ravens and Falcons only managed to take the lead at the last minute.

So, it’s great to be a 49ers fan again.

With one distinct downside. I pay a lot of money for NFL GamePass, which allows me to stream all of the games. However, Sky Sports show two on Sunday evenings and these are blacked out on GamePass. When we were crap, nobody wanted to show our games. But now we’re got again, Sky Sports are once again showing the 49ers games. You can’t have it all, I guess.

Super Bowl LIII

Tuesday, February 26th, 2019 | Sport

Super Bowl III saw the New England Patriots face off against the Los Angeles Rams.

Picking a side was difficult. I don’t like the way US sports teams sometimes just move and leave their fans behind. So, cheering on the Patriots to beat the St Louis Rams seemed the obvious choice. However, a few days before, Patriots owner Robert Kraft came out and said Trump was doing a wonderful job and Rupert Murdoch was the best human being alive. Not sure how to respond to that.

As it was, we were treated to quite possibly the dullest Super Bowl ever. The game finished 13-3 to the Patriots. There was only one touchdown for the entire game. I mean Super Bowl XLVIII was massively one-sided but this was the lowest scoring Super Bowl in history.

Still, every Super Bowl is a chance to party, and party we did. In many ways, it is nice that the sport did not get in the way of conversation.

Can we have Jim Harbaugh back yet?

Friday, October 19th, 2018 | Distractions, Sport

In 2013 the San Franciso 49ers went to the Super Bowl. Despite going down in the first half, they staged one of the greatest comebacks in Super Bowl history before heartbreakingly failing to convert on a 1st and goal from the seven-yard line and lost the game 34-31.

In 2014, head coach Jim Harbaugh was hired by Jed York because they couldn’t get on. We knew at the time that it was a massive mistake, and now we have the numbers to prove it.

Here is a graph showing the 49ers win percentage. I’ve also included the win percentage of the Michigan Wolverines, who Harbaugh went on to coach after leaving the 49ers.

You’ll notice that we’re not doing very well until 2011 when we hire Jim Harbaugh. Things turn around instantly and for the next four years we not only make the playoffs but make it all the way to the championship game (and once, the Super Bowl). In 2014, we go 8-8. Not great, but not a losing record either.

Harbaugh is fired and we go through three head coaches in three years: Jim Tomsula, Chip Kelly and Kyle Shanahan. All of which are losing seasons, and we’re losing this one, too.

Meanwhile, Michigan, who, to be fair, was never a bad team, go from inconsistent results to having a winning season every year under Harbaugh.

In fact, the 49ers have never had a losing season under Jim Harbaugh. Neither have Michigan. Can we have him back yet?

Super Bowl LII

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018 | Sport

This is what a Super Bowl party looks like when you grow up and lose all of your friends:

Venla, my sole companion for the evening, fell asleep two hours before kick-off.

Which is a shame, because it was a great game. It felt like the narrative had gone a bit off the rails when the Patriots didn’t win. I’m not used to that happening in Super Bowls. It also means that Brady had now lost three Super Bowls: one more he’ll match the record (I’m not bragging, but I haven’t lost any).

The Eagles finish the season on a high, and while it’s not quite the five straight wins that the 49ers finished the season with, the Eagles can be proud of what they have achieved.

And now Elina can enjoy a blissful six months of no NFL.

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.

NFL coverage will resume

Monday, October 2nd, 2017 | Distractions

The title card says:

Coverage will resume momentarily

Which, of course, means that coverage will return but only for a moment. Which sounds about right with the number of adverts they have in the US.

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.