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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 ]

Who Is The Greatest Quarterback of All Time?


To answer that question we must consider five aspects of the quarterback position: passing, rushing, quality of supporting personnel, quality of opposition, and luck.

Typically though 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.

Situational context such as when the pass attempt is on a third down or how much time is remaining is not taken into consideration, nor is what is at stake, the quality of the opposing defense or the ability of the offensive line to protect the QB.

Thus Peyton Manning's touchdown pass when the Broncos were down 36-0 in the third quarter of the 2014 Super Bowl counts for just as much as Eli Manning's 13 yard touchdown pass with 35 seconds to play and the Giants down by 4 in the 2008 Super Bowl. Likewise the devastating toll of Brett Favre throwing for an interception with 19 seconds to play in the 2009 NFC Championship game is counted the same as an intercepted pass in the first quarter of a week 2 game. Also, the QB is charged with an incomplete pass when the wide receiver drops a perfect pass, and he is charged with an interception when the receiver tips the ball and it's then recovered in the air by a corner back.

So using only the passing statistics, who is the greatest quarterback of all time, with at least 750 pass attempts? It's not Peyton Manning, it's not Tom Brady, and it's not Joe Montana. It's Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wislon is second.

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: (mouse over column headers for explanation)

  Rank   Player Name PR PYds/G Cmpl % TD/G Int/G RYds/G
 1  Aaron Rodgers  104.749  259.09  65.84%  2.01  0.55  17.16 
 2  Russell Wilson  100.789  204.62  63.55%  1.57  0.54  32.38 
 3  Peyton Manning  96.458  272.06  65.35%  2.01  0.92  3.45 
 4  Steve Young  95.690  197.03  64.05%  1.36  0.65  26.21 
 5  Drew Brees  95.605  277.26  65.91%  1.96  0.93  3.99 
 6  Philip Rivers  95.304  244.92  64.16%  1.65  0.80  3.58 
 7  Tony Romo  95.260  264.32  64.42%  1.84  0.90  5.38 
 8  Tom Brady  94.690  253.76  63.27%  1.84  0.71  4.29 
 9  Kurt Warner  94.644  264.93  65.60%  1.74  1.04  2.61 
 10  Joe Montana  92.662  231.66  63.17%  1.59  0.80  10.27 
 11  Colin Kaepernick  92.491  173.51  59.43%  1.03  0.43  39.11 
 12  Ben Roethlisberger  91.827  237.29  63.03%  1.52  0.89  8.80 
 13  Robert Griffin III  91.211  223.69  62.44%  1.31  0.62  45.69 
       Full ranking...

Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wislon are so high up because they make so few mistakes, 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 #49 in the ranking. Brett Favre and Dan Marino (#21 and #25, respectively) were very reliable quarterbacks and extremely popular but they made a lot of mistakes.

The younger crop of quarterbacks such as  Russell Wislon, Colin Kaepernick, and Robert Griffin III seem to come with enhanced running ability whereas the current greats seem to be monolithic passers. Peyton Manning rushes for only 3.45 yards per game!

Stay tuned for an enhanced formula that considers rushing and game context.

-- Phil Ploquin, July 24th, 2014     [ Comments ]
Games on October 30th by year
YearWeekdayMLBNFLNBANHL
2013Wednesday1-144
2012Tuesday--3-
2011Sunday-12-4
2010Saturday1-914
2009Friday--138
2008Thursday--312
2007Tuesday--35
2006Monday-1-5
2005Sunday-13-2
2004Saturday----
2003Thursday--411
2002Wednesday--146
2001Tuesday1-1211
2000Monday-1-3
1999Saturday---12
1998Friday---7
1997Thursday---6
1996Wednesday---11
1995Monday-1-3
1994Sunday-11--
1993Saturday---11
1992Friday---6
1991Wednesday---5
1990Tuesday---6
All years...

Ranking of Metropolitan Areas by Seasons per Championship (minimum 3 franchises) / # of championships (since 1966)
#MetroS/ChMLBNFLNBANHL
1New England11.723393
2Pittsburgh12.9126_3
3Los Angeles15.7231113
4Miami16.432230
5New York16.629528
6SF Bay18.366710
7Dallas20.570511
8Detroit21.442034
9Balt‑Wash23.503610
10Chicago24.001162
11St. Louis27.6041_0
12Philadelphia31.832022
13Denver32.750002
14Cincinnati33.6730__
15Toronto34.672_01
16Tampa‑St.Pete37.5001_1
17Seattle58.50011_
18Carolinas59.00_001
19Houston67.00002_
20Minn‑St.Paul80.002000
21Phoenix105.001000
22Atlanta161.001000
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 Yankees6.8674
6NBASan Antonio Spurs7.6051
7NBAChicago Bulls8.0060
8NFLPittsburgh Steelers8.0062
9NBAMiami Heat8.6732
10NFLBaltimore Ravens9.0020
11NFLSan Francisco 49ers9.6051
12NFLDallas Cowboys9.6053
13NHLNew York Islanders10.2520
14MLBMiami Marlins10.5020
15MLBOakland Athletics12.0042
16MLBSt. Louis Cardinals12.0045
17NFLNew York Giants12.0041
18NFLGreen Bay Packers12.0041
19NHLDetroit Red Wings10.2543
20NHLNew Jersey Devils13.0032
21NHLPittsburgh Penguins15.3331
22MLBArizona Diamondbacks16.0010
Full ranking...
Random Pages for the major American sports:1993-1994 Western Conference Finals - Houston Rockets vs Utah Jazz · 2000-2001 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals - New Jersey Devils vs Toronto Maple Leafs · 1989-1990 NBA Season Day #28 : Sat, December 2nd · 1997-1998 NFL Season Week #13 · 1985-1986 NBA Season Day #8 · 1970-1971 NBA Season Day #83 · 1995-1996 NHL Season Recap · 1970 ALCS - Baltimore Orioles vs Minnesota Twins · 1990-1991 Semi-Finals - Pittsburgh Penguins vs Boston Bruins · 2002 MLB Season Recap · 1981-1982 Eastern Conference Semi-Finals - Philadelphia 76ers vs Milwaukee Bucks · Chicago Bulls 1999-2000 Season - Dates · 2003-2004 NHL Season Day #26 · 2010 MLB Season Day #106 · 1984 MLB Season Day #88 · 2001-2002 NHL Season Day #164 · 2000-2001 NFL Season Week #9 · 2011-2012 NHL Season Day #177 : Mon, April 16th · 1994-1995 NBA Season Day #86 · 1974-1975 Quarter-Finals - Montreal Canadiens vs Vancouver Canucks · 1988-1989 NFL Season Week #16 · 2005-2006 Western Conference Quarter-Finals - Edmonton Oilers vs Detroit Red Wings · 1997-1998 NHL Season Day #57 : Thu, November 27th · 1982 ALCS - Milwaukee Brewers vs California Angels · 1947 World Series - New York Yankees vs Brooklyn Dodgers · 1993-1994 NBA Season Day #15 : Fri, November 19th · 2000-2001 Western Conference Semi-Finals - Los Angeles Lakers vs Sacramento Kings · Chicago Blackhawks Team Seasons · 1991-1992 Eastern Conference Finals - Chicago Bulls vs Cleveland Cavaliers · 1999-2000 NFL Week #17 - Philadelphia Eagles vs St. Louis Rams
 
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