What looked to be a season-long Fail Mary turned into a referendum on season-long survival...
2012 BFIG: The Movie was like a horror film in reverse. We started with several weeks of sheer terror, then hit an oddly long stretch of peace, and ended with a bang.
We had our best Week 1 ever, racking up 230 wins to just 17 losses. "We got this," the BFIG masses said in unison. Then came Week 2.
A full 103 survivors took the "safe" route in Week 2, picking the Patriots to steamroll the lowly Cardinals. If only it was that easy.
The Patriots became just the 15th team in the last 10 years to lose when favored by at least 13 points. The carnage continued in Week 3, and we were left with just 31 title poolers going into Week 4.
Of the nine squads picked in Week 3, only two (Chicago and Dallas - two non-playoff teams at year's end) won their games. Losers included San Francisco, Green Bay, Indy, and Washington - four 2012 playoff teams. Go figure.
With just 31 remaining survivors and 14 regular season weeks left, you had to figure this was headed for a 2011-esque ending (Week 10).
But while we had some minor upsets and surprises along the way, three brave gentlemen made it all the way through the regular season unscathed.
Thus, BFIG prepared for its first-ever playoff pickoff to determine a champion. Alex Harris (the Wolverine), Colin Smith (the Buckeye), and Mike Preuss (the Hoosier) were set to do battle.
After victories by the Packers, Seahawks, Ravens, and Texans, Alex Harris emerged from the BFIG battlefield with nary a scar. A perfect 21-0 season gave Mr. Harris the Belt and a spot in the BFIG Hall of Fame.
Four seasons, four champions, but still a critical question lingers: What's the survival norm? Shocking carnage or sustained excellence?
We looked to 2013 for the answer.
Season Ending Fast Facts
- We picked 68 winners and 33 losers on the season. Our 67.3% season winning percentage ranks last all-time, just behind season 2's 68.1%. Our high was 77.5% in our inaugural season.
- Our 33 losses means each loss averaged 13.5 knockouts, however the actual distribution was incredibly lopsided. New England's Week 2 loss to Arizona knocked 103 of us out (including The Commish), and New Orleans' Week 3 loss to Kansas City (which The Commish called from the bleachers) dropped another 47 out.
- Our Week 3 record was 2-7. The only two picked teams that won were the Bears and Cowboys - two squads that failed to make the playoffs. Among the seven teams that lost were San Francisco, Green Bay, Washington, and Indy - all playoff qualifiers.
- We had only one fewer team go unpicked than we did in 2011 (four vs. five), despite fielding 33 more unique picks - a fact that could explain how we went the full 17 weeks despite losing so many people in the early going.
- All teams we didn't pick came from the AFC, which probably explains how Indy and Cincinnati made the playoffs. Those teams were Kansas City, Jacksonville, Tennessee, and Cleveland. It's worth noting that all four of these teams were picked at least once in the Second Chance Pool.
- Jacksonville has not been picked since Week 16, 2010, and has not won a pick since Week 14, 2010.
- Cleveland, fittingly, is home to BFIG's longest winning drought - Week 12, 2010 was the Browns' last (and only!) BFIG victory. They are 1-3 overall.
- San Francisco was picked in seven different weeks - the most of any team. The Niners' record when picked was 4-3.
- The NFC North was picked 20 times: Green Bay (6), Minnesota (5), Detroit (5), and Chicago (4). The division's record when picked was 12-8. Detroit was just 1-4.
- Atlanta is now 13-0 all-time in BFIG play.
The Survival Slaughter Award: Alex Harris
A +141 over the final five weeks of the season catapulted Alex to a Margin of Victory title. His +281 for the season puts him behind only Josh Huff's +288 in 2009. Mike Preuss finished second with +277, good for fourth place all time.
The Survival Surrender Award: Bryce Brunsting, James Hunter, and Sally Reigel
This is an accomplishment and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Most people don't get any awards. Buffalo's 20-point surrender to the Jets in Week 1 made for the worst MoV of the season, but definitely not the worst MoV ever (-34 in 2011, with a first-round Second Chance MoV of -45).
Dude, That's Not Cool Award: Justin Kanter
Remember that Seattle-Green Bay game in Week 3? Remember how outraged the world was? Imagine how Justin felt, knowing a correct call would have made him one of just 32 remaining.
Biggest Blowout Award: Alex Harris, Colin Smith, Darryl Leary, and Mike Preuss
Week 14: Seahawks 58, Cardinals 0. Yes, the same Cardinals that beat the Patriots in Week 2. This was the largest MoV in BFIG history.?
Gutsiest Win Award: Kavodel Ohiomoba
Sure, there were doubts about Peyton Manning's neck and his arm strength. But he's still Peyton Manning. Kavodel picked against Peyton and his soon-to-be 13-3 Denver Broncos in Week 2. Atlanta pulled out the victory, and Kavodel earned himself an award by being the only person in BFIG history to bet against The Manning Not Named Eli.
Moxilicious Award: Justin Nakamura
Sure, it was the Second Chance Pool, but picking St. Louis, Cleveland, and Oakland to start it off? And winning all three en route to an eventual title? I don't care what the stakes are, that's an award-winning pick line. Always remember, Moxie wins you championships.
Best Survival Team: Cleveland Browns
What's that, you say? The Browns were picked against six times. They lost all six times. BFIG's record in games involving the Browns was 117-0. I never said the Best Team had to be, well, the best team.
Worst Survival Team: Arizona Cardinals
This one wasn't close. Aside from blowing up the pool by beating New England in Week 2, Arizona lost two times when picked and won an additional two times when picked against. All told, Arizona was responsible for 114 of our 244 losses this season.