Monday, November 17, 2008

Statisticians, Start Your Boners

Yesterday, not only did my beloved Steelers beat the Chargers, but they ensured their spot on at least one more Trivial Pursuit card. The final score of 11-10 was the first 11-10 final in the history of the NFL. Does this matter to anyone? Apparently, it does. Otherwise, the final score would have been 18-10.

In the last seconds of the game, San Diego's last-ditch attempt to move down the field resulted in a baubled lateral that Troy Polamalu snagged and returned for a touchdown. After review, the TD was overturned when the officials claimed there was an illegal forward pass - a call that would've made anyone watching question their vision or the meaning of the word "forward."

Now, in the grand scheme of things it doesn't really matter because it didn't affect the ultimate outcome - the Steelers won. However, you'd have to be an idiot to not realize that someone from the Nerdery flipped out and frantically called up to the booth, begging them to call back that TD to preserve the historic score...especially since the announcers couldn't stop blathering about how there had never been an 11-10 game before. So, congrats sports stat-lovers. Your brains are almost full.

This made me wonder, just how much trivia does one person really want or need to know? I mean, I know way too much useless pop culture info, but at some point my memory banks get flooded. If you want to know how many brothers and sisters John Travolta has, I can tell you. (Five.) Want their names? Fine. (Ellen, Ann, Margaret, Sam, and Joey.) But if you want to know what color underwear he was wearing when he attended the premiere of Urban Cowboy, I can't help you. Believe me, I wish I could.

Sports trivia hounds are a whole different kind of breed. That stuff is so much harder to remember than movie or music trivia. There are teams, players, positions, numbers, trades, monthly stats, yearly stats, lifetime stats, off-season crimes and misdemeanors, etc, etc. But are there guys who could tell you what Carlester Crumpler's* college major was? You betcha. My brother, J-Fred, is one of these guys. If I'm ever in a situation where my life depends on knowing which mustachioed running back holds the record for most rushing yards in a Thursday night game under a full moon, he's the guy I'd want there with me.

*For non-sports fans, I'm not making that name up. He plays for the Vikings. Is that not the greatest football player name ever? When your last name is Crumpler, you're pretty much guaranteed to have a kick-ass name, unless your parents name you Ira. Hell, even then, you'd probably grow up to be the most feared accountant on your block. Carlester's brother, Alge, might seem a little less fortunate, but "Alge Crumpler" is still pretty cool. It's like some sort of highly toxic, extra-strength aquarium cleaner.

UPDATE: People, the name Dick is hilarious, no matter what. That doesn't make Dick (insert last name here) a great FOOTBALL name. Yes, Dick Butkus is fun to say, but it has nothing to do with football. It would be a truly great name for a porn star or a proctologist. See what I mean? Of course you do. Therefore, I stand by my assertion that Carlester Crumpler is a much better footballer's name because he crumples people.


words words words said...

I have to admit, I'm one of those guys. Just reading this entry made me feel funny in my bad place. Carlester Crumpler is my favorite sports name ever, with the possible exceptions of Dick Trickle and Dick Pole.

But I have to say, the officials make the right call in that case. Unlike when they allowed Troy Polamalu's "interception" earlier in the game. A bad day for football all around, as the Eagles TIED the Bengals. The BENGALS.

Random sports geek fact that may have larger appeal: Former Arizona Cardinals cornerback Aeneas Williams' father was a professor of classics, and named he and his brother Achilles after his favorite classical heroes. This is 100% true. Also, legendary placekicker/sportscaster/alcoholic Pat Summerall, who worked a countless number of Williams' games during his career, always pronounced his first name "Anus". Always. See the kinds of things you're missing when you don't watch sports?

I'm kind of surprised that Blogger has not cut off my comment at this point. I wonder if there's not even a maximum length? New sports stat! "Longest blog comment": words words words on "The Pop Eye".

JJ said...

"Is that not the greatest football player name ever?"

Best football name ever: Dick Butkis

Dr Zibbs said...

I'm more of a tv and movie fan than sports fan and I wonder as well how some of these people remember all the stats.

pistols at dawn said...

I love sports, but hate math and thinking about other people, so I'm terrible at remembering these things. My friends can name every world champion in every sport for the last 30 years or so, while at best, I can get two or three just by guessing the same team for an entire decade.

As for individual players and using SABREmetrics or whatever it's called to turn something athletic into math? Forget it. Example: I know Moss set the record last year for TD receptions, but have no idea what that number is. It's probably less than a million, though.

Lastly, no sports name will ever be funnier than "Dick Butkus."

Red said...

Poor Phillip Rivers. No one will ever stop posting that picture.

I don't understand how sports stat heads can remember all that crap either, but I think it's really hot that they can. I heart nerds.

SkylersDad said...

Your label of my ass itches made me snort, quite loud, I startled my dogs.

That is all.

pistols at dawn said...

Sure, he crumples people, but does he have an award named after him?

How does that have nothing to do with football? Every year, people get together to kiss the butt of the best collegiate linebacker by giving him the Butkus Award.

Also, James Thrash's last name is pretty funny, because it's a verb, and that's awesome.

Candy's daily Dandy said...

Beeaaauuutttifuuul post!
Win, loose or draw we love it because it's always gives us "the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat"
I am also a prodigy of my older brother and, of course, when the need arise, can call him on a tie breaking stat or some rediculous sports fact. He holds the mental edge though, and if he's in the mood, can reduce me back to "chickville" at a moments notice. Bastard.

Tony Alva said...

"you say fuck that, yo holmes fuck this, I'm the king Ad Whammy, you're Dick Butkis..."

Without the name, you'd never have that, the greatest lyric ever written!

Andy said...

First of all, you're a Steeler fan, too? Nice. Bonus point.
Second, did you know there is a NASCAR driver named Dick Trickle? For real.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

What a man-trap this post was! Just look at all the boys who wrote in, you vixen.

Alice said...

heh, i was all titillated a few weeks ago when the giants had scored 14 points at one point in a game, but NONE OF them were from touchdowns (4 field goals and a safety). hilarity!

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

this is the second blog in a ROW bragging about the Steelers beating my Chargers !!!

Anonymous said...

As much as I like Phillip Rivers he looks like my wife's ex so I have a hard time with him. I saw that game and wondered to my self if that score was going to be an oddity. I actually thought it when SD screwed up in the endzone and gave to to the Steelers. That was a brutally physical game.

As far as the stats thing. I agree sports stuff is amazing. You should read "Money Ball" and delve into how statisticians changed the face of baseball. You wouldn't believe how involved it gets.

Personally, the people who can remember music trivia amaze me. Who played on what song on what album on what label and what studio was it cut in? And what guitar and effects did he use?


Paticus said...

I still think World B. Free is the best sports name ever.

Anonymous said...

I also found out that you can end a football game in a tie. What is this - third grade?

dguzman said...

Wow, Beckeye, I've always thought your knowledge of trivia was staggering, and now I think your knowledge of which trivia is more trivia-ier is also staggering.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

My favorite sports name ever is Rusty Kuntz, pitcher for the Seattle Mariners.

Also, anytime Philip Rivers gets beat is a good day, whether it's by one point or by 8.


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