Four Nightmare Scenarios for an NFL Playoffs

I have a confession to make that will come as a surprise to far more of you who read this blog than those of you who know me in real life. I love ESPN’s NFL Playoff Machine. A lot. Ever since I discovered it1I honestly couldn’t tell you what year I discovered Playoff Machine. It feels like it’s been around as long as I’ve been using the internet., I’ve spent hours on it each year, trying to play out how the playoff picture would shake out after each week of play. While I would spend a good bit of time trying to create scenarios that benefit teams I like or harm teams I dislike, the most fun came from building out the weirdest possible outcomes possible. Whether that be finding a way to sneak in a team that has a 1% chance of making the playoffs2Five Thirty Eight is a great resource for seeing this type of thing when the season is going on. or seeing if I can make all of the teams with first round byes as of week 12 miss the playoffs, I find the entire exercise to be calming.

The best resource I’ve found for giving me this feeling during the NFL offseason is PlayoffPredictors.com. While they do far more than just NFL playoff prediction scenarios, the NFL predictor is an amazing tool for me playing out possible sources of weirdness when the Playoff Machine is down for the year3ESPN typically only has the Playoff Machine running during weeks 13-17 of the NFL season. This year, we got it week 12, which was amazing.. This led me to wonder — what’s the weirdest possible playoff scenarios that COULD happen in a given NFL season?

Allow me to be clear, these scenarios will likely never occur. They require a ton of absurdity to happen and likely will never even be remotely possible. But I want them to be. I’ve used the 2018 NFL schedule for each of these scenarios for sake of convenience more than anything else. I’ve also made an active effort to not have tie games unless I absolutely have to, as that’s just silly.

Scenario 1: Eleven 10-win Teams Miss The Playoffs

Link to the full scenario

We begin with the scenario that inspired this post — how many teams with 10 wins can miss the playoffs in the same season? The most teams that have finished 10-6 and missed the playoffs in the same season is two, which has happened on several occasions. There have also been three 11-5 teams miss the playoffs, (though only one in each season it’s happened) but we’ll talk more about that scenario a bit later on. In this scenario, not only do two teams total miss the playoffs despite winning 10 games, eleven of them do. Granted, in order for this scenario to happen, we have to have a plethora of putrid teams at the bottom of each conference. In fact, the bottom four teams in the AFC and NFC combined for 11 wins in this season, including a winless season from the Panthers.

Scenario 2: Six Teams with Losing Records Make the Playoffs

Link to the full scenario

Similar to the first scenario, we need a lot of extremes for our second scenario to be a reality. There have been four teams in NFL history to make the playoffs with a losing record, though two of those teams come with a giant asterisk. Both the 1982 Browns and Lions made the playoffs at 4-5 thanks to a strike-shortened season and were promptly routed. The two teams to make the playoffs with losing records since then — the 2010 Seahawks and 2015 Panthers — both won their first playoff game, so seeing a 7 win team win in the playoffs wouldn’t be unprecedented. In this situation, we’d be guaranteed at least two 7-9 teams picking up playoff wins, as both 4 vs. 5 matchups feature losing teams against each other. In a bit of unintentional symmetry, the AFC’s 4 vs. 5 matchup (Browns vs. Raiders) is the same matchup that occurred in the aforementioned 1982 playoffs.

Scenario 3: The Call to Kill Auto Bids for Division Winners

Link to the full scenario

Let’s talk about this scenario in two phases, beginning with the NFC. A scenario like this has happened on a couple of occasions, including the aforementioned 2010 playoffs where the 7-9 Seahawks played the 11-5 Saints in the first round. Even in seasons where there’s an 8-8 division winner, sports talking heads loudly wonder whether or not division winners deserve home field advantage in the first round if they have a worse record — particularly because it (surprisingly) matters.

And then there’s the AFC, where this idea is taken to its most extreme conclusion. For this scenario, I had every team in the AFC North lose every game they played (except intradivisional games) and every team in the AFC South win every game they played (again, except intradivisional games). This creates a situation where a 13-3 Jacksonville team is getting left out of the playoffs in favor of a 3-13 Baltimore team. No team better than 11-5 has ever missed the playoffs.

Unlikely? Incredibly. Hilarious? Yes. In retrospect, I should have done this in such a way to cause the Browns to be the 13-3 team to miss the playoffs, but that’s too much effort.

Scenario 4 – 83% of the Teams In the Playoffs After Week 11 2018 Miss The Playoffs

Okay. So a little background on this. First off, here were the standings following week 11 of the 2018 season.

And now we have our results. Link to the full scenario.

I tried my hardest to get all 12 teams that were in the playoffs as of week 11 to miss the playoffs at the same time. That said, when you have four teams with two or fewer losses after week 11, that’s REALLY hard to do. Especially when one of those team has a tie and there’s a division where you have to knock both a two loss and a three loss team out of the playoffs. In most other seasons I’ve found, this would be possible. In this season, however, we get this beautiful scenario where the only crimes against our rule are New Orleans and Pittsburgh making the playoffs as wildcard teams.


What other scenarios would you like to see me do? Was this even remotely interesting? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.

I’m Part of a New Podcast

Long time readers of this blog know that from late 2016 through mid 2017, I was part of a comedy podcast by the name of Everyone is Funnier Than Us. That podcast came to an end in July of last year. Since then, I’ve been playing around with various ideas, trying to figure out what I wanted to do next. I poked around a few ideas involving blogging and podcast recording over the back half of 2017. I even considered going back to doing YouTube videos4Not that I had a brief stint doing that in 2015 or anything.. And though during that time I did stand up the freelance editing work I do, as well as start on a new writing work in progress, I didn’t have any new creative endeavors come to fruition.

Well before the end of my last podcast — from September 2006 through December 2008, to be more specific — I was the host of a sports radio show on a college AM radio station. That show, The Two Minute Drill, was a rapid fire sports show in the vein of Around the Horn or Pardon the Interruption, only with weird news and hosts who didn’t totally know what they were doing. While most of the sports radio shows in our college organization focused solely on sports, The Two Minute Drill routinely branched out, having multiple musical guests, hosting an on-air wing tasting contest, and even getting a nasty email from a member of university leadership at the University of Delaware5We did a couple of segments how the University of Delaware refused to play another in-state program, Delaware State University. Rumors had circulated at the time that this was because members of the U of Delaware leadership staff didn’t want to face a university that was a HBCU. In my youthful hubris, I emailed the segments we did to the president of the University of Delaware. I got a not so pleasant email back from a representative of the school saying that it was none of my business what U of Delaware did, but they appreciated my interest in their institution.. The show ended shortly after I graduated in 2008, but was one of the more popular shows on air at the station during its two-year run.

I say all of this to introduce the newest project I’m part of, a sports podcast named We Were Kind of a Big Deal in College.

We Were Kind of a Big Deal in College features a similar format to what the original Two Minute Drill show did. I’m the host of the show, and on each episode of the show, I will present questions to each of our three panelists, Mike Lampasone, Brian Fisher, and Tim Kilkenny. The panelists debate those questions — some sports related and some not — in an effort to get arbitrarily get points throughout the course of our show. The reward for earning the most points? You get to plug whatever you want at the end of the show. In recording our first show, our winner didn’t seem to understand the concept of what plugging something meant, so we’re picking up right where we left off.

You can listen to We Were Kind of a Big Deal in College on iTunes and other podcasting platforms. You can also follow the show on social media platforms, such as our currently blank Instagram account. At this point, we’ll likely be doing this podcast monthly, though we’ll see if that timeline changes in the future.

The Not-So-Serious Anime Awards (Round 2)

A couple of years ago, I decided to talk about anime in an award list parody post. You can read that original post here if you’re so inclined. With the news of a live action Death Note film coming out, I decided to take a look back at that post, only to realize I wrote the post well before I had watched Death Note…or a lot of other shows for that matter.

While I still like most of the things on the previous post (or at least hold similar opinions that I held on that post), I’ve watched a good bit more anime in the nearly two years since that point. With that in mind, I’ve decided to update my previous list where more recently watched content changes my answers in some way — be that the overall winner of the category or the honorable mentions. I’ve also added a few new categories, as there were a couple of categories I made no changes to.

No Changes: Worst Overdubbing, Worst Series Ending, Best Series Ending, Best Anime Film, Creepiest Moment[1], Worst Villain

As was the case before, spoilers abound from here on.

Changes to Honorable Mentions Only

Best Film/Series – FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

I get that Ranker and a bunch of other sites have Death Note above FMA: Brotherhood, but if I’m looking at an entire series, I care more about just the battle between the main protagonist and antagonist. Hell, that’s over 2/3 of the way into the series in the case of Death Note. FMA: Brotherhood has excellently written minor characters, a compelling storyline, and an ending that isn’t completely anticlimatic[2]. Plus you’ve got two of the saddest moments in anime[3] in this show. I’m not sure what else you could ask for from an anime.

Honorable Mention: Soul Eater, Death Note

Best Series Music – RWBY

Despite a bit of a dip in season 3, RWBY far and away has the best music of any anime (or hell, any animated show) out there. Of the categories from my original list, this is the only one where the category winner actually managed to increase the gap between it and the honorable mentions. Soul Eater stays on the list by virtue of having the single best intro song in an anime, while Black Lagoon makes an appearance on an anime list for something other than Revy’s assets/her ability to kill people.

Honorable Mention: Black Lagoon, Soul Eater

Best Intro Song – “Black Paper Moon” by Tommy Heavenly6 (Soul Eater, Seasons 2-3)

See above. That said, if you picked any of the honorable mention songs here and said they were your favorite, I wouldn’t be too upset. Two of the four songs in this group played at our wedding reception. Anime has good music. Usually.

Honorable Mention: “This Will Be The Day” by Jeff Williams and Casey Lee Williams (RWBY, Season 1), “Unravel” by TK (Tokyo Ghoul), “Red Fraction” by Mell (Black Lagoon, Seasons 1-2)

Best Villain – Medusa Gorgon, Soul Eater

I expected so much more out of Cinder Fall when I wrote my last list. But come to find out she’s a mid-level henchman who manages to go from a sadistic badass to the weakest written character in RWBY in the matter of two episodes. I have hope for Salem, but until then, Jessie and James replace Cinder. As much as Light is the main villain of Death Note, Misa is a much better villain — or at least a more interesting one. Neither holds a candle to Medusa from Soul Eater though.

Honorable Mention: Jessie and James (Pokemon), Misa Amane (Death Note)

Most Unexpectedly Good Anime – Rin: Daughters of Mnemosyne

Reminder: Naked throne of creepy sex ladies. Still a damn good anime though. Most of the other animes I’ve watched in the last two years have either been already well-received series, series that were incredible disappointments, or both. Even so, both Black Lagoon and Death Parade are worth the watch. Be warned though…Death Parade’s theme song will get stuck in your head.

Honorable Mention: Black Lagoon, Death Parade, also…can we count Adventure Time here? No? Please? It’s good despite being fucking weird.

New Award Winners

Best Main Character – L, Death Note

Sorry Weiss. When you’re not even the best main character in your own show now[4], you can’t top this list. When I wrote the previous list, I hadn’t seen Death Note, hence L’s absence. That said, after a handful of suggestions to watch the show, I finally got why so many people are drawn to L. He’s just so…strange? I think that’s the best way to describe him. Plus, he’s a good guy who doesn’t win in the end. I always find characters like that interesting.

Honorable Mention: Roy Mustang (FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood), Tsubaki Nakatsukasa (Soul Eater), Yang Xiao Long (RWBY)

Best Secondary Character – Riza Hawkeye, FullMetal Alchemist: Brotherhood

I had a bit of a change of heart on this one within weeks of posting my previous list. While Excalibur is funny and entertains me in his occasional appearances, Riza is one of the best written female characters in film or television, regardless of format. As a side note, I’d watch animes that focus on the lives of Roberta and James. Roberta’s back story prior to her encounter with the Lagoon Company deserved to be fleshed out a bit more, while James is clearly the most loved Pokemon trainer in the series, at least by his Pokemon.

Honorable Mention: Excalibur (Soul Eater), Roberta (Black Lagoon), James (Pokemon)

Worst Character – Rock, Black Lagoon

In my last list, I failed to make a distinction between worst villain (read: horrible human being) and worst character (read: OMFG SHUT UP AND GET OFF MY SCREEN). This is how I feel pretty much every time Rock talks after the first three episodes of Black Lagoon. On top of that, at least Third Kira moves his story line forward and at least Brock is useful sometimes. Rock is just painful, yet he’s supposed to be the main character[5].

Honorable Mention: Brock (Pokemon), Kyosuke “Third Kira” Higuchi (Death Note)

Most Entertaining Character – Bewear, Pokemon

After picking up Pokemon Moon, I decided to check back in on the Pokemon anime just to see what had happened since I’ve been gone. Much to my surprise, the first episode I watched featured Team Rocket actually defeating Ash for the first time in the entire series. All this happened just in time for the Bewear they were living with to show up. Hilarity ensues[6].

Honorable Mention: Greed (FullMetal Alchemist), Near (Death Note)

My Ten Favorite Movies

A few months back, I wrote up a post giving my ten favorite books of all time, along with a short explanation as to why I enjoyed each. Lately, I’ve written a handful of movie related posts (some have posted before this, while others will go up in coming days), so it got me to thinking about doing a list reprisal, only with movies in mind.

As with the previous list, these movies may not be the most critically acclaimed pieces, nor are they necessarily the best examples of their genre. That said, I see movies as a way to escape mind and enjoy myself, and these movies fit the bill. All videos are from YouTube.com for reference.

Honorable Mentions (in the order of being cut from last to first): Moonrise Kingdom, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story, The Number 23, Kill Bill Vol. 1, Black Swan, The Shawshank Redemption, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Wanted, Kingsmen: The Secret Service

10. Talladega Nights

I debated between three comedies for the final spot on the list, and Talladega Nights found its way onto the spot. Frankly, it’s arguably less funny than Dodgeball or Monty Python and the Holy Grail, however it does something that neither of the other two films could. It lampoons the absurdity of the faux-Southern culture my parents (albeit separately) both tried to raise me in. Dale Earnhardt died 13 years ago and my dad STILL won’t watch a NASCAR race. So year, Talladega Nights wins the tiebreaker.

9. Sucker Punch

There are some films that are universally panned that I don’t get the hate for. Sucker Punch falls firmly into that category. Most people place their hate for the movie toward sexism portrayed in the film (either overt or implied), however if you watch the film for what it is — a young woman battling the dark demons of her mind — it’s easy to have a significant amount of respect for one of the better action films of recent years.

8. Airplane!

The greatest comedy film of all-time checks in at #8 on this list. Admittedly, the big things that keep this film outside of the top five on this list are that it’s a bit dated for some of the jokes to be funny, as well as my very late exposure to the film (didn’t see it for the first time until I turned 23 [2010]). Even with those things in mind, it’s a must see for anyone looking to do comedy writing in any capacity.

7. Robin Hood: Men in Tights

Why yes, of course a Mel Brooks’ film had to make the list. While most people preferred Young Frankenstein or Blazing Saddles, I appreciate the absurdity of Robin Hood: Men in Tights, mostly due to the fact that it stays (relatively) true to the Robin Hood stories. Fun fact — this movie was Dave Chappelle’s film debut.

6. Howl’s Moving Castle

The fiancee had me watch a large portion of Hayao Miyazaki’s Studio Ghibli films, and the majority of them were very good. Howl’s Moving Castle was the standout best of the group though, particularly because of its heavy reliance on action along with the more traditional anime storytelling. I can’t be the only one who thinks that this movie is where Alim got the inspiration for their Fiora unit in Brave Frontier.

5. The World Is Not Enough

Thanks to my dad, I’ve seen every single Bond film to ever be released. While most of them are acceptable action films (which I’ll primarily use for background noise considering my family’s insistence on making action and western their movie genres of choice), The World Is Not Enough is my favorite Bond film for two reasons. First, the movie’s theme was composed by Garbage, so there’s an automatic boost to the film just from that. Second, this was the immortal Desmond Llewelyn’s final film, so there’s a bit of nostalgia value there as well.

4. Stranger Than Fiction

Much like another Will Ferrell film, Anchorman, it took Stranger Than Fiction took a little bit of time to grow on me. Yet, the more I write, the more I begin to appreciate the uniqueness of the Stranger Than Fiction storyline. What if one of my book characters showed up in real life? I think that’d be a really interesting experience.

3. Super Troopers

This is by far the movie I quote more than any other movie I’ve ever seen (distant runners-up are Dodgeball, The Princess Bride, and Airplane!). To this day, this is the one movie I can consistently watch whenever I’m in a bad mood and it’ll put me in a much better mood.

2. V For Vendetta

Why hello dystopian worlds. We meet again. The sad part about dystopian books that they rarely become good movies, so admittedly very few dystopian movies even scratched consideration for this list. And yet, there’s something oddly captivating about V For Vendetta. It’s a tie between this movie and the number one entry on the list as to which one I’ve seen more often, however both are fantastic films.

1. The Truman Show

I truly believe what made The Truman Show such a wonderful movie to watch upon its release is exactly the same thing that makes it interesting now. The movie’s dystopian premise — that someone is watching and controlling our lives — is both close enough to be ever so real, while being far enough away to not be threatening. It allows us to escape our world without truly breaking away.

My Ten Favorite Books

Note: This post previously appeared at christiney.com as a guest post I wrote for the site.

One of my earliest memories of school is reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn as a for fun reading in my third grade classroom. Despite the book being a pretty advanced book for my age, my teacher encouraged me to try reading it if I wanted to do so. When it came time to take a content test on the book, I bombed my test. That said, without that encouragement and experience, I’m pretty sure that my love for reading wouldn’t have grown as strong as it did.

Sixteen years after that happening, I got to thinking about what my favorite books ever are. These may not have been the most critically acclaimed books I’ve read, nor are they necessarily the ones that benefited me the most in my professional endeavors. That said, these ten books are the ones that I found the most enjoyable to read, and I’ve read many of them multiple times in my life. All images courtesy Amazon.com.

10. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Oh, Lord of the Flies. How easily people discard you as a gruesome required reading in high school literature classes without giving a second thought to the broader story told beyond all the death between your covers. The #10 spot on this list was my most difficult to select, as I also considered The Island of Dr. Moreau for this list. Ultimately though, while both books are attempting to make similar points, I appreciate the metaphors made in Lord of the Flies better.

#9. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

The summer of 2011 was incredibly kind to the reader in me, as three of the ten books on this list are ones I picked up for the first time during my sole summer spent in Phoenix. Vonnegut’s most widely known novel played strongly to my love of satire, and I found his use of flashback scenes as wonderful examples of how to do the same as I was working on my first NaNoWriMo project later that year.

8. The Giver by Lois Lowry

My first exposure to dystopian literature came courtesy The Giver during my fourth grade English class. While I’m not as big of a fan of Lowry’s three sequels in this series, The Giver is an example of the perfect dystopian world…in that the dystopia itself is created by the fact that those who rule the world have created a world where the dystopia is believed to be a utopia.

7. I Am America (And So Can You!) by Stephen Colbert

Colbert’s TV character on The Daily Show and The Colbert Report is one of the inspirations to why I wanted to major in media in college. His biting wit and satire is on full display in I Am America (And So Can You!), especially in the footnotes and asides throughout the book. While Colbert’s followup books have been disappointments, I Am America (And So Can You!) is the second best comedy book I’ve ever read.

#6. A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller

This is the point of the list where it becomes really evident that I have a thing for dystopia. A Canticle for Leibowitz is one of the few books where I had a completely different take on it the first time I read it than after subsequent reader. On the first go around, it was a decent, though not spectacular dystopian novel, akin to Brave New World. That said, as I reread the book in the summer of 2011, A Canticle for Leibowitz charmed me with the breadth and depth of a historical back story created within its pages, and has since become one of my favorite books.

#5. Why My Wife Thinks I’m An Idiot by Mike Greenberg

In my entire life, there’s only two books I’ve ever bought within a week of their release: the aforementioned I Am America (And So Can You!) and Why My Wife Thinks I’m An Idiot. Greenberg is one of the most respected names in the sports radio business, best known for his ability to both embody the fan he is at heart while still having the objectivity of a sportscaster. Why My Wife Thinks I’m An Idiot is a great set of stories from Greenberg’s life, and because of the book’s charm, it comes in as the top non-fiction work on this list.

#4. Brain Droppings by George Carlin

There’s been one celebrity death ever that has brought me to tears — George Carlin’s passing in 2008. Carlin’s witty and sophisticated humor delivered in an understandable (if not crass) manner made him an idol for many comedians, writers, and entertainers the world over. Of his books, Brain Droppings is the one that I’ve found myself rereading the most frequently, if for no other reason than as more time passes, the content in its pages only continues to become more and more relevant.

#3. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Lolita is the final of three books from this list from my summer of 2011 in Phoenix. For as much as I like the stories in the top two books on this list far better than Lolita, I dare you to find a more complex character than Humbert Humbert. The amount to which Nabokov allows you into the mind of Humbert is astounding, revealing a character who is loving, mad, controlling, and caring, all at the same time. Humbert is the standard to which all character transformations should be held.

#2. Feed by M.T. Anderson

Have you ever read a science-fiction book that felt like it was possible in the here and now, even if the technology to make it work doesn’t exist? If not, I recommend reading Feed. Though it was published in 2002, well before the explosion of Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking sites, the book’s main technology, feednet, is a constant stream of updates surrounding a person’s life, complete with personalized advertising to each individual based off of location, all while being completely connected to each person. Sound familiar?

#1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Just kidding…no human who’s telling the truth actually likes Bronte novels…

#1. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

After all the talk about dystopian novels I’ve done throughout this article, did you really expect anything else? The book was written nearly 70 years ago, yet serves as a constant reminder that too much surveillance and control without checked power easily becomes a dangerous weapon. Even the love story in the book doesn’t seem completely ridiculous, which is an achievement in the literary world. Hell, the book is in the top 35 books sold on Amazon in four different categories (Classics, Science Fiction, Humor, and Satire). Seriously. It’s that good of a book.