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A Brief History of How We Got This Ridiculous
Mess Called The Europa League

There was a time when only the teams that finished in first place of their domestic leagues played in the European Champions Cup, which is now called the Champions League. That means that you never had both Real Madrid and Barcelona playing in the most important tournament in Europe, you had only the one that finished first in La Liga the year prior. There was great incentive to finishing in first place at home, the domestic leagues really did matter. Finishing first was not merely for bragging rights, but counted dearly for the fate of teams in Europe. Real Madrid were European champions in 2014, but does anybody even know how they did in 2013 to get there? Actually they finished second that season, behind Barcelona of course, but who cares? Nobody. Nobody in Spain remembers either because it doesn't matter. They both played the Champions League the next year and they're pretty much guaranteed to do so every single year, unless they finish worse than fourth place at home.

Of course it's not just Spain. Who cares who won the Premiership in 2011? It was Manchester United, by a mile, but the team that finished second that year, Chelsea, won the Champions League in 2012. It used to be that English clubs were so dominant that whoever won the Premiership was pretty much guaranteed to win the Champions Cup. English teams won every year for six years in a row, starting with Liverpool in 1977 and 1978, Nottingham Forest in 1979 and 1980, Liverpool again in 1981, and Aston Villa in 1982. In that time you can pretty much bet that had we had the format we have today, all four semi-finalists every year would have been English.

Now this doesn't mean that the teams that finished second, third, or even fourth in their leagues were kept out of prestigious European competitions altogether. There was the UEFA Cup for them, and it mattered. Now it's called the Europa League and it's worthless. It's so worthless that the teams that finish worst of their groups in the group stage of the Champions League are just dumped into wherever the Europa League stands at that point and participate in that as a consolation prize. Why even bother? That's what happened to Chelsea in 2013, they fouled up in the Champions League, got dumped into the Europa League, and won that. Big deal, I doubt their supporters even care.

There was also a third competition, also worthwhile, called the Cup Winner's Cup. As the name implies it was for each nations' cup winners, unless that team had also won their league that year and then it was the runner-up who played. The last one was in 1999 because at that point it was just becoming embarrassing.

The quarter-finals for both the Champions League and the Europa Leagues for the 2015 seasons are set now. In the CL we have the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus and PSG whereas in the Europa League the best we can come up with are Napoli, Wolfsburg, and Sevilla. Who cares? Not me.


-- Phil Ploquin, March 20th, 2015     [ Comments ]

The Greatest Quarterback of All Time

Typically we evaluate a quarterback's effectiveness by only considering his passing game, using the standard Passer Rating formula:



As you can see, this formula considers pass completions, yards gained, touchdown passes, and interceptions versus pass attempts. It ignores rushing, which is then best expressed as rushing yards per game.

Here is a clip of the full ranking, which we can also tweak to give only a certain range of years and minimum number of pass attempts: (updated for the 2014-2015 NFL Season:)

  Rank   Player Name PR PYds/G Cmpl % TD/G Int/G RYds/G
 1  Aaron Rodgers  105.507  260.83  65.74%  2.06  0.53  16.93 
 2  Russell Wilson  98.455  210.18  63.07%  1.50  0.57  38.09 
 3  Tony Romo  97.387  262.02  65.01%  1.89  0.85  5.26 
 4  Peyton Manning  96.664  273.18  65.35%  2.03  0.92  3.25 
 5  Drew Brees  95.721  279.68  66.18%  1.97  0.94  4.03 
 6  Steve Young  95.690  197.03  64.05%  1.36  0.65  26.21 
 7  Philip Rivers  95.130  247.26  64.42%  1.68  0.83  3.89 
 8  Tom Brady  94.969  254.63  63.42%  1.87  0.71  4.29 
 9  Kurt Warner  94.644  264.93  65.60%  1.74  1.04  2.61 
 10  Nick Foles  94.532  239.59  61.92%  1.66  0.59  11.69 
 11  Ben Roethlisberger  93.014  244.49  63.54%  1.56  0.86  8.25 
 12  Joe Montana  92.662  231.66  63.17%  1.59  0.80  10.27 
       Full ranking...

Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson are so high up because they make so few mistakes, they throw very few interceptions. Intuitively, we'd expect Eli Manning, Brett Favre, and Dan Marino to be in the top 10 of this list while we wouldn't expect Steve Young or Philip Rivers to be so high up. Eli Manning has been Super Bowl MVP twice, yet his numbers leave him at #43 in the ranking. Brett Favre and Dan Marino (#22 and #24, respectively) were very reliable quarterbacks and extremely popular but they made a lot of mistakes.

Explore the full rankings with game by game analysis on your Android device with the ScoreShelf Quarterback Passer Ratings app from the Google Play Store (totally free, and no ads) Android app on Google Play


-- Phil Ploquin, February 8th, 2015     [ Comments ]

Plain Text

I've added breakdowns and summaries of NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL data in Plain Text Format!

Every MLB box score ever is also available in plain text, e.g. Game 7 of the 2014 World Series


-- Phil Ploquin, December 17th, 2014

Euro 2016 Qualifying Status

A detailed look into Germany's qualifying group's reality reveals that the world champs are not in danger of missing Euro 2016.

The expanded format of the competition which now includes 24 teams in the finals makes it so you need only finish in the top two of your group of six teams to qualify directly, or finish third and win a playoff against an unseeded team (there's no chance they'd have to play The Netherlands, for instance, who are in a similar state of panic after their own unimpressive start.)

The Germans lost on the road against their strongest group rivals Poland, and then conceded a draw to the Irish at home. Before that they had a very unimpressive win at home against Scotland, but 3 points is 3 points. And next up in November, before a 5 months hiatus during which the players' form can change, they get to beat up on lowly Gibraltar while the other contenders compete for points against each other.

So, in order to miss out altogether, the Germans would have to lose in both Scotland and Ireland, fail to win at home against Poland, drop points against Georgia, or somehow fail to destroy Gibraltar. Meanwhile, all three of their rivals would have to have perfect records against spoiler Georgia and mostly play to a draw with one another. I wouldn't worry about it.

Of course, these results have not been entirely accidental. Retirements and injuries have this team looking more like the B squad of the team that won the 2014 World Cup, and also every team they take on is highly motivated to take down the champs. It's normal for championship teams to have a bit of a let down. Spain were just ridiculous in bucking that trend.

Let's look at where we stand, after the last games played on October 15th:



Group APtsGD
The Netherlands slipped up losing in Iceland but they should still finish at least second in this group. Iceland will eventually drop points where they shouldn't drop points and end up third. If the Czechs win out at home and get at least a draw in a couple of road games they should win the group.
Iceland9+8
Czech Republic9+4
The Netherlands3-1
Latvia2-3
Kazahkstan1-4
Turkey1-4

Group BPtsGD
Belgium and Bosnia-Herzegovina were in Brazil this past summer so surely they must be expected to advance out of this group. Wales and Israel have other ideas though, and at least one of them should finish in the top two while the other competes with the Bosnians for the playoff spot.
Wales7+2
Israel6+4
Belgium4+6
Cyprus3-1
Bosnia-Herzegovina2-1
Andorra0-10

Group CPtsGD
As their run at the World Cup proved, Spain is no longer invincible and a loss to Slovakia confirms it. A reassuring trouncing of Macedonia later and we can safely assume Spain will be in France next summer. Slovakia and Ukraine get to duke it out for the second place, with Macedonia and Belarus ready to steal a point here and there.
Slovakia9+4
Spain6+7
Ukraine6+2
FYR Macedonia3-4
Belarus1-4
Luxembourg1-5

Group DPtsGD
Poland may have beaten the world champs at home, but they then conceded a draw against Scotland at home. The Irish meanwhile took a point from the Germans in Germany and they also beat Georgia in Georgia, which is not an easy feat. Scotland beat Georgia at home, lost in Germany, then tied in Poland. Anything can happen here but so far, advantage the Republic of Ireland.
Poland7+9
Republic of Ireland7+8
Germany4-1
Scotland4=
Georgia3+1
Gibraltar0-17

Group EPtsGD
After their dismal showing in Brazil, England are doing a good job in this weak group. Slovenia unexpectedly beat Switzerland but the Swiss should recover and qualify directly anyway. Lithuania and Estonia are spoilers, though they could supplant Slovenia for the playoff spot.
England9+8
Slovenia6+2
Lithuania6+1
Switzerland3+1
Estonia3-1
San Marino0-11

Group FPtsGD
This is the weakest and most open group. Greece is not living up to its status as the seeded team and Northern Ireland is looking to capitalize. Anything can happen here, except for the Faeroe Islands qualifying.
Northern Ireland9+5
Romania7+3
Finland4=
Hungary4=
Greece1-3
Faroe Isles0-5

Group GPtsGD
This one is messy. Sweden and Russia should qualify with Austria taking the playoff place, but Montenegro could make trouble.
Austria7+2
Russia5+4
Sweden5+2
Montenegro4+1
Moldova1-3
Liechtenstein1-6

Group HPtsGD
Italy and Croatia are going to run away with this group while Norway tries to keep their lead over Bulgaria for the playoff spot.
Croatia9+9
Italy9+4
Norway6+2
Bulgaria3-1
Malta0-6
Azerbaijan0-8

Group IPtsGD
The shameful display in Serbia not withstanding, the competition in this group is fierce. Portugal handicapped themselves by losing at home to Albania but made up for it by winning in Denmark. Depending on what UEFA does with Serbia it's a fair bet that Portugal and Denmark emerge from this group with Serbia and Albania duking it out for the playoff spot.
Denmark4=
Albania4+1
Portugal3=
Serbia1=
Armenia1-1

-- Phil Ploquin, October 17th, 2014     [ Comments ]



All Current Title Holders
MLBSan Francisco Giants
NFLNew England Patriots
NBASan Antonio Spurs
NHLLos Angeles Kings
 [ All Years ] [ Franchise Rankings ] [ Metro Rankings ]

Grand Slam Tennis Title Holders
Australian Open 2015DjokovicS.Williams
French Open 2014NadalSharapova
Wimbledon 2014DjokovicKvitova
US Open 2014ČilićS.Williams
 [ All Years ] [ Rankings ] [ Ladies ] [ Gentlemen ]

International Football Title Holders
FIFA World Cup 2014 Germany
UEFA Euro 2012 Spain
Copa América 2011 Uruguay
Africa Cup of Nations 2015 Ivory Coast
AFC Asian Cup 2015 Australia
Gold Cup 2013 United States
 [ World Cup ] [ Euro ] [ Rankings ] [ Players ] [ Coaches ]

Club Football Title Holders
UEFA Champions League Real Madrid
Copa Libertadores San Lorenzo
CCC Champions League Cruz Azul
CAF Champions League ES Sétif
AFC Champions League Western Sydney
OFC Champions Cup Auckland City
 [ Intercontinental ] [ UEFA ] [ CONMEBOL ] [ CAF ] [ AFC ]

Domestic League Title Holders

ENG
Manchester City2014 | Years | Rank ]

FRA
Paris Saint‑Germain2014 | Years | Rank ]

ESP
Atletico Madrid2014 | Years | Rank ]

ITA
Juventus Turin2014 | Years | Rank ]

DEU
Bayern Munich2014 | Years | Rank ]

SCO
Celtic Glasgow2014 | Years | Rank ]

POR
Benfica Lisbon2014 | Years | Rank ]

NED
Ajax Amsterdam2014 | Years | Rank ]

BEL
RSC Anderlecht2014 | Years | Rank ]
 [ Summary of All Football Results for 2014 ]

Games on April 2nd by year
YearWeekdayMLBNFLNBANHL
2014Wednesday16-134
2013Tuesday7-37
2012Monday--62
2011Saturday15-511
2010Friday--107
2009Thursday--38
2008Wednesday15-104
2007Monday13--1
2006Sunday1-114
2005Saturday--5-
2004Friday--128
2003Wednesday15-108
2002Tuesday8-106
2001Monday10--8
2000Sunday--107
1999Friday--93
1998Thursday14-64
1997Wednesday12-86
1996Tuesday9-123
1995Sunday--97
1994Saturday--89
1993Friday--112
1992Thursday--6-
1991Tuesday--10-
1990Monday----
All years...

Ranking of Metropolitan Areas by Seasons per Championship (minimum 3 franchises) / # of championships (since 1966)
#MetroS/ChMLBNFLNBANHL
1New England11.213493
2Pittsburgh13.0926_3
3Los Angeles15.8331113
4Miami16.712230
5New York16.799528
6SF Bay17.407710
7Dallas20.860511
8Detroit21.672034
9Balt‑Wash23.903610
10Chicago24.301162
11St. Louis28.0041_0
12Philadelphia32.172022
13Denver33.250002
14Cincinnati34.3330__
15Toronto35.002_01
16Tampa‑St.Pete38.5001_1
17Seattle59.50011_
18Carolinas60.00_001
19Houston68.00002_
20Minn‑St.Paul81.002000
21Phoenix107.001000
22Atlanta163.001000
23Cleveland000_
24San Diego000_
25Buffalo000_
Full ranking...

Ranking of American sports franchises by Seasons per Championship (since 1966)
#SpFranchiseS/ChCR
1NHLMontreal Canadiens4.36112
2NBALos Angeles Lakers4.451111
3NBABoston Celtics5.4493
4NHLEdmonton Oilers6.8052
5MLBNew York Yankees7.0074
6NBASan Antonio Spurs7.6051
7NBAChicago Bulls8.0060
8NFLPittsburgh Steelers8.1762
9NBAMiami Heat8.6732
10NFLBaltimore Ravens9.5020
11NFLSan Francisco 49ers9.8051
12NFLDallas Cowboys9.8053
13NHLNew York Islanders10.2520
14MLBMiami Marlins11.0020
15NHLDetroit Red Wings12.0043
16MLBOakland Athletics12.2542
17MLBSt. Louis Cardinals12.2545
18NFLNew York Giants12.2541
19NFLGreen Bay Packers12.2541
20NFLNew England Patriots12.2544
21NHLNew Jersey Devils13.0032
22NHLPittsburgh Penguins15.3331
23NHLBoston Bruins16.0031
Full ranking...
 
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