If Norv Turner had been fired a few games earlier, the Bolts might be the fourth-winningest team in the NFL.
Think of the San Diego Chargers and you think of a team that winds up going nowhere year after year after year. But, over the past ten years the Chargers have the fifth best record in the NFL. Here’s the tally: 1. New England Patriots, 122 wins; 2. Indianapolis Colts, 110 wins; 3. Pittsburgh Steelers, 101 wins; 4. Green Bay Packers, 98 wins; 5. San Diego Chargers, 97 wins, one win behind Green Bay. If Norv Turner had been fired a few games earlier, the Bolts might be the fourth-most-winningest team in the NFL over the past ten years.
But, it sure doesn’t feel that way.
It’s not all bad news for the Chargers. May I direct your attention to yourteamcheats.com. This worthy site reports the cheating history of every franchise in the NFL. The site commish pledges, “Every cheat listed on this site was published by a third party somewhere in the media, no cheats have been created solely for this site. You can challenge the rating and commentary, but you can’t challenge the cheat.” And, “A cheat will never be posted on this site without a link to at least one of these sources.”
Readers will be comforted to learn that the Chargers CheatScore of 21 is — oh, blue skies and balmy breezes — below average! Saying that, the New England Patriots have a CheatScore of 20, also below average, in fact, according to yourteamcheats.com, the Pats cheat less than the Chargers. We all must stop slandering the World Champion New England Patriots.
For sport compulsives who must know who’s top and who’s bottom, I am pleased to report the number 1 cheater, with a commanding 4-point lead, is Denver, with a 48 CheatScore. The New York Jets follow with 44 CheatScore points, good enough to put them in the ELITE Cheaters category. Pittsburgh checks in at 40 (exceptional NFL Cheaters). The most honest NFL team (Feeblest NFL Cheaters) is Kansas City with a score so low, 12, you know they’re not trying.
NFL Preseason Week 4 (home team in caps)
While we’re here, have you noticed there are stories, big stories, that plop into the communal sports consciousness, paddle around for a little while, and then disappear? The FIFA scandal and non-resignation of Sepp Blatter is an example. Jeremy Lin’s another. There’s a small side room attached to this genre that opens when an essential element of a big, ongoing story is forgotten while the story unfolds.
Quoting from a September 2014 piece in The New York Times, “The N.F.L.’s actuaries assumed that 28 percent of all players would be found to have one of the compensable diseases and that the league would pay out $900 million to them.” We’ll ignore, for the moment, NFL retirees who have brain injuries that are not covered in the settlement (there are only five listed diseases: Lou Gehrig’s disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy). Forget, too, former NFL players who will not sign because they understand this is a cynical, low-ball settlement.
According to everybody, the total number of retired NFL players is around 20,000. Again, the NFL’s own actuaries say almost one-third of all NFL retirees will have brain injuries that are covered in the settlement.
It’s not about the concussion settlement, stupid. Here’s the headline, one you’ll never see: NFL BELIEVES ONE-THIRD OF ITS RETIRED PLAYERS HAVE SIGNIFICANT BRAIN INJURIES.
You would think that would be the show-stopper. You would think people would look at that number, throw up their hands, and say, “My kid will never play football.” No kids playing football, no NFL in 20 years.
Think again. This, from BloombergView, “...about half of the 185 million Americans who self-identify as football fans are ‘avid’ fans, as opposed to casual. And of them, about 30 million are women...
“Only 4.5 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 12 play organized tackle football today, according to a 2013 report by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, roughly one-quarter the number playing basketball or soccer. That percentage will continue to shrink over time, with the heightened awareness of the long-term effects of playing football, especially as it relates to brain trauma.”
Yet the NFL’s popularity remains unaffected. “Football watching has never been tied to football playing.”
Then there’s money. According to SB Nation, the NFL split $7.24 billion among 32 teams in 2014, most of the money coming from TV. That was a pleasant bump up from 2013’s revenue of $6 billion. In 2005, the NFL split per team was around $80 million. Nine years later, the payout was $226 million per team.
Pretty good money, but they’ll still need help building a first-class stadium.