Saturday, September 20, 2008

THIS WEEK IN PETER KINGSANITY: An occasional feature in which I point out that Peter King is the worst football columnist in America. This is, what, my fourth post on this topic? So I might as well call it a regular feature.

Gregg Easterbrook, in his Tuesday Morning Quarterback column, has mocked at length and for a long time the practice of newspapers and sportswriters trying to predict exact scores of games, pointing out that after picking over 250 games a year, the pickers generally get no more than one right every two or three years. So I'm not going to plow that field again.

It's one thing to try to guess the exact result of a game, though; it's another to make exotically strange guesses. Guessing 17-14 or 24-21 is boring, but more likely to be right than, say, 18-4. King's exact-score picks are often so weird that I wonder if he even understands how the game of football is scored. This week, for instance, he apparently thinks that the Bears, Texans, Colts, Giants, Niners, Rams, Browns, Ravens, and Chargers -- nine teams -- will combine for 32 field goals (including four by Indianapolis and five each by San Diego and Houston). Now, granted, King might be focusing on last week, when eleven teams kicked three or more FGs. A paid football analyst should know, though, that that is extremely infrequent -- it has only happened one other time in the last year-plus. NFL teams kick, on average, 1.5 field goals per game; the kickingest team in football kicked just under 2.2 per game last year. Since the beginning of 2007, there have been only two weeks where nine or more teams kicked at least three field goals, only five in which three teams kicked at least four, and none in which two teams kicked at least five. In fact, out of the last 542 regular-season chances, only nine times has any team kicked five field goals -- but King thinks that both San Diego and Houston will both do it this week. So King thinks that not only does he know that this is going to be a historic week for kicking multiple field goals (essentially a random event), but he knows exactly who is going to do it.

It is possible, of course, that King is not predicting FGs but rather 2-point conversions and safeties. That, of course, would be batshit insane: there were only 30 2-point conversions and 18 safeties in 512 team-games in 2007, for example.

So this is a little like turning on the TV and hearing your weatherman tell you that he thinks that nine tuesdays from now he has a gut feeling that your city will experience a record low temperature. It might be helpful if based on actual analysis, but because it is not, it is just some dipshit flapping his lips. Conclusion: Peter King is a lip-flapping dipshit.

ETA: Spaceman Tremendously Precise Amateur Four-Team Tease Prediction, Guaranteed to be Exactly as Accurate as Peter King's Remunerative Predictions:

Kansas City 18, Atlanta 4
Buffalo 1,946, Oakland 1,943 (OT)
Tampa Bay π, Chicago ξ
New England 3 vowels, Miami 2 vowels

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