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Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006

San Diego Chargers Power Rankings, Week 11

Although it becomes increasingly obvious to me that I am still a neophyte football fan*. I have put quite a bit of time this season searching the Internet for a metric that recognized my favorite team. At first I relied on oddsmakers, but then I found that (what turned out to be) ephemeral grading – the Power Rankings. Since neither of these gave me satisfaction after I had gone and seen the team at training camp, I chose instead to relish in the knowledge that I was sitting on a sleeper – the 2006 Chargers were SuperBowl contenders, and noboby seemed to realize it. After what I had seen, I found that I had discovered my own personal appreciation for the skill set that went into NFL football.

So here we are after Week 11, looking at the record, and trying to assess the potential that has already been revealed in predicting the outcome of the season. Other people, far more experienced than me, are trying to do so as well. I can’t eliminate my prejudice, and I know now that nobody can foresee the future in a game that only counts winning, when winning is an outcome determined by too many factors to calculate. But we still keep trying to – I guess that’s human nature.

What I can do is show how others have started falling in line with my way of thinking (I tried making a neat table, but it’s too much of a pain):

Fox – #1
NFL – Aikman Efficiency – #2
Sports Illustrated – #2
Football Outsiders – #2 (statistics junkies)
NBC – #3
USA Today – #3
CBS – #4 (Stupid Prisco!)
NFL – Vic Carucci – #4 (Stupid Carucci!)

Keep in mind that many of these links will go to the current week, so their life is limited.

*I was born and raised in Australia, coming to the USA at the age of 14 in 1979. As a native of the Melbourne area, I grew up with Australian Rules Football, and was a dedicated Carlton fan back when the club featured Alex Jesaulenko. (Yes, I’m sure I watched The Mark during the 1970 Grand Final against Collingwood!)

During my bumbling adolescent years [193 cm (6′ 4″), 66 kilos (145 lbs), with the grace and coordination of a (insert most uncoordinated image you can think of here), and totally lacking the most basic skill set in any US game], I exhibited a distinct lack of interest in sports. A pity, since, after my US Army years, I had bulked up enough, and became physical enough, that during my 20th high school reunion, I had all the ex-football players walking up and looking quizzically at at me, wondering why they didn’t remember me. Maybe I could have made a great tight end or defensive end. Ironic that my broken nose is a result of an Army scratch football game.

Gradually, I overcame the scorn that I felt for American football (they’re just big guys running into each other!) and became a fan. Scorning local loyalties (I went to high school in a suburb of Philadelphia), and living in the borderline state of Delaware, I chose to become a Washington Redskins fan. That served me well during the rest of the eighties, but after getting out of the Army in 1991 and moving to San Diego, there were few Skins games I could watch, and few there were worth watching.

After over a decade of indifference, in 2003 I decided to switch allegiances and affiliate myself with the San Diego Chargers. That year was a disappointment, but at least I was watching football again. My timing turned out to be precipitous. The team was rebuilding, and I caught the fever – seeing the rebuilding of the team, and having escaped the “bandwagon” misnomer, I became a real fan. Since then, the team has grown in leaps and bounds, and my allegiance has been rewarded. Go Chargers!

Hmmm. This postscript has grown to the point that it merits transfer to the “About Me” section.

Posted by Greg in Football

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