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Saturday, December 24th, 2005

Aaaaaaaaaaaarrrgh!

Posted by Greg as Football at 13:20 PST

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Wednesday, December 21st, 2005

Football Traffic

I was getting an unanticipated level of traffic to my football writings (that’s American football, not the FIFA or Australian versions), so I checked the same Google search that someone had as a referrer.

For some unfathomable reason, I’m the 15th result out of 800,000 when searching for chargers playoffs, and most of the sites ahead of me are commercial ticket-selling enterprises. My site comes out ahead of nfl.com and even chargers.com! And it’s been that way for two days now! Yet, if you enclose the search terms in quotation marks, indicating a search phrase, I get no placement out of 707 results.

Do so few people think we have a chance that my enthusiasm stands out? Nah – there are 800,000 results, although technically, all of them except mine could be saying “the Chargers don’t have a prayer of making the playoffs…”, but that idea is anathema to me, and I reject the possibility.

Just when I thought I was starting to get a basic understanding of how Google ranks its search results, little anomalies like this pop up. I was recently reading Newsweek and noticed a side comment within an article mentioning that the Google infrastucture is the most likely place for artificial intelligence to get a foothold. Is it possible that there is already something stirring within the Google servers, and that he/she/it is a Chargers fan?

Posted by Greg as Football, My Website at 06:03 PST

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Tuesday, December 20th, 2005

Chargers Playoffs Scenarios – Week 16

The San Diego Union Tribune did a better job than me figuring out all the options for the San Diego Chargers to make the playoffs with two regular season games to go – there is another scenario that I didn’t consider.

We already know the following:

What the UT pointed out is that if San Diego and Pittsburgh both win their last two games, but Jacksonville loses one of its two, there would be a three-way tie for the two wildcards. The three-way tiebreaking rules are different – the head-to-head rule, by which we would lose to Pittsburgh if it was just between us, doesn’t apply because San Diego hasn’t played Jacksonville this year; and we go to conference record. Under that rule, San Diego would get the fifth seed, Jacksonville would get sixth, and Pittsburgh would be out.

So who does Jacksonville face? Houston away and Tennessee at home, both division games. Houston is 2-12 – not much hope there. But assuming Jacksonville wins that one, they will have clinched a playoff spot regardless, which makes the last game more interesting. Tennessee is currently 4-10, so I had considered that game a gimme for the Jaguars, even though they’re the weakest AFC team in playoff contention. But what if Jacksonville wants to rest up for the playoffs? With the wildcard slot secured, what is their motivation to play their A game? As we’ve seen around the league, especially this year, and especially for my poor Chargers, anything can happen in a football game. So it’s another hope for me.

Furthermore, the game would determine who Jacksonville faces in the first round. With two games remaining, there’s a lot of ifs about seeding order, but the difference between fifth and sixth seed is the opponent you end up facing. With the race so tight, they might not know who they would face until the end of gameday.

Yes, it is technically possible for San Diego to still get into the playoffs even if we lose one of our last two games, but that is a real long shot. Jacksonville and Pittsburgh would both have to lose their last two games.

Posted by Greg as Football at 11:01 PST

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Monday, December 19th, 2005

Attaboy, Chargers!

The team that showed up in Indianapolis yesterday was the one I had been expecting to have all season. Well, except for the turnovers, but they made good for those. They dominated the Colts and won, 26-17. But both Denver and Pittsburgh won as well, so the Charger’s playoff hopes lie in a win by either Oakland or Cleveland next weekend. Both are long shots, but all I want for Christmas is for the Chargers to make the playoffs.

Posted by Greg as Football at 11:41 PST

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Tuesday, December 13th, 2005

Chargers Playoff Hopes Update

It took me a while to realize the implication of the analysis in my previous post – that it didn’t matter that the Cowboys beat Kansas City. The Chargers still have to win all three of their tough remaining games, including the one at KC, which would have evened out the Dallas game. If Dallas had beaten Denver on Thanksgiving Day – now that would have really helped.

Still, I think there’s a psychological advantage to being second in the AFC West through the week. Dropping to third would be discouraging to the Chargers players. If you’re in second, you can still feel like you’re a contender. And this might be really significant, because this season San Diego has lost five games by a total of 14 points, and you could look at each game and say that the Chargers lost by mental errors as much as anything else. You want to hope that they’re learning from these mistakes, but the Miami loss speaks against that. I still think last Sunday’s game was lost due to a coaching error – going for it on 4th and 8 and on 4th and 6, both times in the first half. It outraged Miami. They came out from the locker room after half time a completely different team, and the Chargers weren’t mentally prepared for the ensuing onslaught.

I checked the NFL tiebreaking rules, and the Chargers would win the AFC West if we win the remaining three games and Denver loses either against Buffalo or Oakland, thanks to their previous loss to KC. We would tie in games played head-to-head but prevail with our record within the division. Oakland doesn’t have a prayer at Invesco Field, and Buffalo is now 4 and 9, having lost the last 4, and is eliminated from playoff contention. The Vegas line is Denver by 8.5 points. Hrrmmph.

So I look to the Pittsburgh – Minnesota game. Minnesota has won the last six and is fighting for a wildcard slot, but they’re only 17th in run defense against Pitt’s 9th ranked running offense, and Minnesota is only 21st in overall offense. So it’s not surprising that the bookies are giving a 3-point advantage to Pittsburgh. Tough. I be rooting for you this weekend, Vikings!

Of course, we still need to win all our remaining games. This weekend we face the undefeated Indianapolis Colts. The big question is whether Indy will field their stars now that they’ve clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs, but Marty thinks they will, and I agree that they will start them. But we have to scare them into taking the stars out early. With our number 1 rushing defense, Peyton Manning will have to throw the ball more, and since our secondary is weak, we need Merriman, Castillo, Olshansky and Foley to get in there and rough him up. If we can get a couple of sacks in the first quarter, maybe they’ll pull Manning.

This is the must-win game of the season that will define the 2005 San Diego Chargers. If we can beat Indianapolis on their turf, we will finally be showing that we can meet our potential. We’re 7.5-point underdogs. Go Bolts!

Posted by Greg as Football at 05:35 PST

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Monday, December 12th, 2005

Hooray for the Cowboys!

San Diego Chargers logo
As a former Redskins fan, who came of age in the Philadelphia area; and especially since Dallas beat San Diego on opening day, it’s been tough to root for the Cowboys. But this year, when the AFC West plays the NFC East, I’ve found several occasions where I was doing so. Today they beat Kansas City, when at the same time San Diego had a disheartening loss at home against Miami. This put the Chargers’ hopes for a spot in the playoffs in extreme peril, but Dallas’s victory has kept us alive. Thanks, you %$#%$#s!

We’re now two games behind Denver for the AFC West; and we face Indianapolis away, KC away, and Denver at home. Denver has Buffalo away, Oakland at home, and SD. We have to win all three and Denver has to lose at Buffalo (possible, I hope) to throw us deep into the tie-breaking rules for the AFC West title.

Jacksonville seems to have a lock on the first wildcard slot – at 9 and 4 they face San Francisco, Houston and Tennessee, all losing teams. That puts the contention for the second wild card slot up against SD, Pittsburgh and Kansas City.

Pittsburgh faces Minnesota away, Cleveland away, and Detroit at home. That’s two gimmes and hoping that the Vikings can pull it off, who are in the hunt themselves. Pittsburgh has to lose at least one, and we have to win all three of our remaining games, because we loose a tiebreaker between the Chargers and Pittsburgh thanks to our head-to-head loss.

Kansas City will face the NY Giants away, SD at home, then Cincinnati at home. We already have to count on beating the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, which is always a tough thing to do.

So Sunday’s loss to Miami was pretty much an unmitigated disaster. The Chargers, once again, should have won, but this looks like a pretty clear case of underestimating your opponent. And that attitude was instilled in the entire team when Marty went for it on fourth and eight in the first quarter. Why did he do that? We didn’t need to at that point, and we got the first down, but it showed a callous disrespect for the Dolphins, and that came right back and bit us.

Posted by Greg as Football at 06:02 PST

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Friday, September 30th, 2005

Need Cowboys Paraphernalia

I haven’t posted my humiliating photo, as per a lost bet, because I had counted on getting a jersey or something from our new technician, who hails from Longview, TX. Unfortunately, he says he can’t find any of his stuff – I guess a couple of months isn’t enough time for a young, single guy to unpack. So I’m in the odd spot of needing a Dallas fan here in San Diego.

Posted by Greg as Football, Posts About Me at 09:36 PST

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Tuesday, September 13th, 2005

Greetings From Savannah

After recovering from a severe case of last-minute packing and jet lag, I am now ready to tackle a blog entry. I say tackle, because with a little hotel fridge full of beer, the season premiere of House on the tv, and a mother-16 year old daughter fracas that I’m trying to moderate long distance, I don’t know how long this motivation will last.

First, the good stuff – by which I mean the stuff about me. Do I really need to describe the agony and frustration of a Chargers fan after Sunday? How about a Chargers fan, in transit, forced to watch the game in a Cowboys-themed bar at Dallas-Fort Worth airport? How about having to go through TSA security to grab a smoke? How about getting a boarding call for the final flight of the day to Savannah in the last few seconds of the last Chargers drive that could win the game? How about hearing 500 people burst into cheering when you’re looking for that monitor carrying the game? Yeah – interception in the endzone. The Chargers lost 28-24 to Dallas, basically because they repeatedly earned automatic first-down penalties during Dallas third and long situations, therefore doing a better job for Dallas than the Cowboy’s offensive line. And considering the last half of our schedule, that was pretty much a must-win game. Not to mention the bet I made with Web – stay tuned for the requisite self-humilating photo.

Aw, fuck. Yep, I said it in my blog. You know those close tab boxes in Mozilla? I just accidentally closed this Write Post tab while jumping back from getting a link, and I lost 25 minutes of writing. I give up. Well, if there isn’t an Autosave plugin already published for WordPress, I have a new project.

Posted by Greg as Football, Posts About Me at 19:31 PST

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Tuesday, September 6th, 2005

Trip to Savannah

I have an upcoming trip to Savannah, Georgia. I’ll be flying out on September 11 (gulp!) and spending a week assessing the cathodic protection on the fuel systems at Hunter Army Airfield, home to the Aviation Brigade of 3rd ID, 1/75th Rangers, 3/160th SOAR and a Coast Guard Air Station, among others.

It was awkward trying to book a flight out – not because of the forboding anniversary, but because I don’t want to miss the opening season game of the San Diego Chargers against the Dallas Cowboys. Since my favorite airline is American (that extra two inches in coach is a really big deal for my long legs), I was able to book a connection through DFW and got a 3 hour plus lay-over. I’ll miss perhaps the first 15 minutes, but I figure just about every tv in the terminal will be tuned to the game. I tried booking a combination with an even longer lay-over – there was a SAN-DFW leg that got in an hour earlier, but would you believe it, it cost $190 more! That put me over my travel budget. Oh well, I’d rather miss the beginning than the end, even if it means I won’t get in to Savannah until after 10:00 pm. I just have to hope that the game doesn’t go into overtime.

I’ve booked a hotel with high speed internet access – wifi, not hard-wired, unfortunately; so I ought to be able to keep up with my blog while I’m away. I’ll have to bring a copy of Knoppix if I want to use Linux, though – the company really frowns on installing other OS’s on their laptops. Hmmm – would they be able to tell? They use AssetMetrix for monitoring our machines. I’m looking at the report for my desktop – I think the IT Department have given up any hope of keeping me under control, and they gave me a copy of my report when I asked. I see that AM detected the two NTFS partitions on my hard drive, but would they sense a ext3 partition? Windows doesn’t seem to.

Well, nix that idea- there’s only 1.6 GB free on the laptop I’m bringing.

Posted by Greg as Corrosion Control, Football, OS at 13:49 PST

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Monday, June 13th, 2005

Weekend Activities II

Yesterday I got sick of coding and wanted to get out. The San Diego Chargers were having their free, open-to-the-public minicamp this weekend and it was a perfect opportunity. I took the kids (yes, Chelsea wanted to go, and Boo didn’t have a choice) and went down to Chargers Park, the training fields behind the Charger’s administrative offices, which, as it turns out, is only a couple of miles from my home. It wasn’t as crowded as I was afraid it would be. We moved around a bit, watching the various squads work out, but we ended picking a space between the bleachers that opened into a small grassy area as home base. A lot of little kids were playing in the grassy area, and Boo was having a ball running around with them and playing with his little football. I was able to keep an eye on him, with Chelsea’s help, and watch the scrimmages at the same time. Our fourth draft pick, Darren Sproles, looks great! He’ll be used as a kickoff and punt returner, but he makes a great running back, too. The whole defensive line is looking much better on the pass rush, even without our number one draft pick and training camp holdout Shawne Merriman. He better get his butt here fast or he’s going to get the Phillip Rivers treatment!

It’s going to be a great year for the Chargers. We came out so strong last year, and it looks like all we’re doing is getting better. We’re filling in the pass defense holes that held us back, and our run offense with LT is superb, and if Brees doesn’t turn into a flash in the pan, he’s got a lot of great receivers to work with. Brees showed off some excellent long range accuracy, so it’s all looking good!

Boo watched some of the players and showed some real interest. I asked him if he’s decided what position he wants to play, and he seemed uncertain. Of course, he can’t talk yet – he’s only 14 months old. I suppose I shouldn’t try to bottle him up in one slot yet. He has time.

Chelsea braved some of the crowds that I couldn’t manage because Boo got upset, and managed to get LaDainian Tomlinson’s autograph on her football. I got real close to Drew Brees before Boo got panicky, and nothing was worth subjecting him to that. Still, I saw a lot of the players up close. All in all, it was a great little piece of NFL to keep me going through the summer. Only 59 days to the first Chargers exhibition game of the 2005 season!

Posted by Greg as Family & Friends, Football at 14:29 PST

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