Real or Fake?: Jazz Mascot Gets Revenge on Rockets Fan

I’ve been through the before, trying to figure out if the stuff being shown on the video board at a sporting event is authentic or just some act put on to help a team get some attention in the media. Either way, it’s working, and it’s hilarious.

In this case, despite how real the kerfuffle between the Rockets fan and the cop trying to remove him seems, I’m hard pressed to believe that the whole incident is real. More facts are needed, for sure, but here’s why I think this is all a bunch of theatrics: If you look at the seats directly behind the two gentlemen sporting Houston gear when the Jazz Bear mascot (yea, I’m confused about that too) sprays string foam, they’re pretty full. Once you jump ahead to the bucket of water portion of the show—and this is where more information is needed, because I’m not sure how long it was after the initial skirmish that this went down—those seats are completely empty, which leads me to believe that those individuals were asked to move or face the consequences of an enraged mascot, seeking revenge, charging up the steps with a large bucket of water.

That’s just me, though. Let me know what you think down there in the comments.
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Update: I may have found the evidence that I was once looking for and partly disproved my theory.

jazz bear mascot sign

Still fake IMO. Any mascot that gets the green light to make this sign, grab a bucket of water, fake out some ushers and a cop, and throw said bucket on two “spectators” is a mascot conducting some shady motha effin’ business.

The Jaguars Can Still Make the Playoffs. No, I’m Not Batshit Crazy.

jags playoff hopes alive

Now, the probability of this actually happening is somewhere in the low single digits percentage-wise, but the fact is, after their win over the Houston Texans in the Toilet Bowl last night (which, ICYMI, resulted in the firing of Gary Kubiak today), there is still a mathematical chance that the Jacksonville Jaguars, current owners of the longest winning streak in the AFC (!!!!), could make the playoffs as the six-seed in the absolutely putrid American Football Conference.

Before getting into that, though, consider this: After starting the season 0-8, that Jags have won four of their last five and now, at 4-9, have a better record than four teams—including playoff teams from last year like the Washington Redskins (3-9), Atlanta Falcons (3-9), and those Texans (2-11)—and they could be tied with three others by the end of the week.

For them to make it, a hell of a lot of things have to happen, per ESPN’s NFL Playoff Machine (which is a great way to waste half of a workday, b-t-dubs). First and foremost, the Jaguars have to win out; their next three games are at home against Buffalo, home against the Titans, and what could turn out to be a critical Week 17 matchup at Indy, who will probably be looking to rest their starters ahead of Wild Card Weekend. This is completely doable.

Now things get slightly complicated.

  • Tennessee loses to Denver on Sunday (which is practically a foregone conclusion) and only wins one of two against the Cardinals and Texans (they may lose both).
  • Baltimore can beat Minnesota, but then drops its next three against the Lions, Pats, and Bengals.
  • Same thing with Miami, except the first game is critical. They have to beat Pittsburgh on Sunday, then lose its last three to New England, Buffalo and the Jets.
  • Pittsburgh has to lose to Miami and then drop at least one of its remaining three games (vs. Cincinnati, at Green Bay, vs. Cleveland).
  • The Jets (who somehow remain in contention as well) lose two of three against the Raiders, Browns, and Panthers, and then beat the Dolphins in Week 17.

If all of that plays out like so… BOOM! The Jacksonville Jaguars are your 6-seed in the AFC. It’s as simple as that.

I may be slightly bat shit crazy for thinking that all of this is going to go down, but, hey, anything could happen. The Jags can pray for a miracle, which might’ve come a little easier had they signed a certain saintly quarterback (who’s still on the market, I might add). But even without him they’ve managed to fight their way back into relevance and still have a sliver of hope that they could be playing football in January (which I think I may be rooting for). That alone should be seen as a huge win for this team moving forward.

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I Have Absolutely No Idea What To Make of This Eagles Video, But I Think I Kinda Like It

You be the judge.

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The Perfect (Sports-Related) Tribute to Nelson Mandela

ESPN Cancelled Ron Burgundy’s Guest Spot On SportsCenter For Some B.S. Reason

Ron Burgundy, who was scheduled to appear on the 6pm edition of SportsCenter with Champ Kind, had his appearance on ESPN’s flagship program cancelled because of “breaking news involving the Jameis Winston investigation.” The show announced the decision last night via Twitter:

ESPN made clear why the appearance was cancelled, but what I’d like to know is why this was cancelled. The “breaking news” ended up being that Winston will not be facing rape charges a year after a female student accused the Florida State quarterback of sexually assaulting her. The decision was announced by Willie Meggs, the state attorney for the Second Judicial Circuit, during a press conference at 2 p.m. this afternoon—four whole hours before Will Ferrell was to appear on SportsCenter as Burgundy.

The other thing I don’t understand is why this decision was made a whole day in advance. It’s as if ESPN was preparing (hoping?) for Winston to be charged, so they could cover the story, his arrest, his arraignment, and all that fun stuff over the next 72 hours, nonstop, in typical ESPN-fashion. Aaron Hernandez all over again.

Overreacting much?

Now with no charges being brought forth and this breaking news situation turning into a complete nonstory, ESPN just looks dumb. I’m sure they’ll find a way (they always do) to drag this thing through the mud for the rest of the night and well into tomorrow. Good luck getting people to stay tuned as you line up all of your legal experts to talk about a whole lot of nothing, and your college football experts to talk about how Winston still shouldn’t be considered for the Heisman after all of this. If you ask me, it would’ve been more entertaining had Ron Burgundy been hosting the show tonight with all of this going on, whether or not Winston was charged. Poo on you, ESPN.

But, hey, at least we got to see Burgundy get hit in the nuts on the Dan Patrick Show this morning.

NFL Fantasy Football Preview: Week 14

It’s playoff time! (For a good portion of us you anyway…) For those of you that are hoping to case in big over the next couple of weeks, Marc, Max, Seth, and I try to help you get your best lineup out there, free of charge—though small donations from any of your winnings is greatly appreciated. For everyone else, you can use this time to experiment with the junk on the waiver wire and do some scouting for next year’s draft. Either way, hope you enjoy!

The New York Times’ 4th Down Bot Says NFL Coaches Are Too Conservative

(Photo credit: New York Times)

(Photo credit: New York Times)

Not long ago I blogged about a high school football coach who implemented a fairly crazy strategy with his team—well, crazy to those who believe going for it on every fourth down and only kicking onsides kicks is a maniacal way of doing things. In that post I tried to justify why at least a portion of his strategy (going for it on fourth down more often) might have some merit in the professional ranks by using a statistical model developed by AdvancedNFLStats.com.

Turns out I wasn’t the only one who was thinking along those lines.

Using the same model, and working directly with the founder of the site, The New York Times developed what it calls its Fourth Down Bot. The interactive tool (which you should go play around with to get a sense of just how awesome it is) analyzed all NFL games since 2000, including the success rate of fourth down attempts and the value of having the ball at different places on the field—all part of AdvancedNFLStats.com’s expected points concept. The result of the analysis was the production of two charts: One depicting how a coach who looks to maximize points would react to a fourth down from anywhere on the field—whether it would be ideal for them to go for it, punt the ball away, or kick a field goal (chart to the left); the other showing how coaches have actually behaved over the last decade (chart to the right).

NYT 4th Down Bot

(click to enlarge)

It can be seen plain as day that, per the Fourth Down Bot, and consistent with my own analysis, NFL coaches are waaaaayyyyyy too conservative when it comes to fourth down. Their explanation:

The bot’s recommendations may seem aggressive, but they are the results of an analysis of N.F.L. games since 2000, including the success rate of fourth-down attempts and the value of having the ball at different places on the field.

The difference is stark: coaches are much more conservative than they should be if they are truly trying to score as many points as possible. Too often, coaches forfeit the ball through a punt, for instance, when they have a solid chance to make a first down. The field position they gain from the punt is often not worth the missed opportunity to keep a drive going.

Perhaps the most common mistake coaches make is punting or kicking a field goal on fourth and only a few yards. Recent football history suggests teams should often go for it on fourth and short even deep inside their own half of the field. By punting, they guarantee the other team will have the ball with good field position. By going for it, they are risking giving their opponents fabulous field position – but with the potential reward of keeping the ball.

Obviously, the best strategy varies, depending on a team’s strengths and weaknesses. But the overall pattern seems clear: coaches are far too conservative.

I support it all.

This tool does something interesting, though. The model switches with less than ten minutes remaining in the fourth quarter of a game. Rather than making the decision based on maximizing points, the bot switches to maximizing winning percentage. Decision making at the end of a game, given a team’s situation is always going to vary at least slightly when it comes to fourth down, and they factored that in. The Times also said that measuring winning percentage is more useful later in the game because it’s easier to determine the impact of a single play on the game’s outcome.

Like I mention in the old post, I don’t see NFL coaches adopting a more aggressive approach any time soon. Aside from trying to win games, they have a job that they’re trying to hold onto, and making what could be viewed as irrational decisions by going for it on fourth and short on their side of the field every time doesn’t really help to protect that job—unless, of course, those decisions ended up paying off and resulting in a few more wins per year. Then they might see their contract get extended instead of run through a paper shredder.

At the very least, if coaches would go for it on fourth down more often, it would make games more exciting for the fans. Be honest, how much does it suck watching teams punt the ball back and forth to one another and turn the game into a battle for field position?