Belated Surfy celebration for Sean

March 15, 2020Posted by NawFuL

 

OAKLEY, Calif. — “Social distancing” behaviors were on full display, and even the coveted golden statuette wore a face mask — not the kind donned by players on the gridiron, but the variety worn by health professionals more intent on preventing the spread of infection. It was one of the most-delayed Surfy Trophy presentations in Gehlke Bros. Football history, nearly overshadowed by the looming threat of the coronavirus, or COVID-19.

Following more than a month of failed attempts to assemble the Bros for the passing of the Surfy to Sean, the gathering took place at last on a rainy Sunday while the rest of the world was in search of hand sanitizer and toilet paper. Singer Jamie Foxx couldn’t make it to the presentation because he was presumably sheltering in place, so instead his 2010 pop single “Winner” played on the house sound system while the Junior Bro received his prize.

The 2019 GBF season, won by Sean with an overall record of 162-93-1, marked the first time in 20 years that the Surfy has changed hands at least three straight seasons. Glenn’s four-year streak came to an end in 2017, when Sean got it back for a season before the Senior Bro captured it again at the end of 2018. Will Sean’s victory in 2019 be the start of a new trend?

“This might have been my third year in a row if not for 2018,” Sean noted, recalling Glenn’s late surge that denied him a victory that year.

But with a history of streaks in the annual football picks pool, don’t be surprised when eventually one of the Bros breaks out for another long run of success. Hopefully by the next Surfy passing ceremony we’ll be back to handshakes instead of doing chicken-wing high-fives.

Thrilling comeback falls short

Dec. 31, 2019Posted by NawFuL

 
Week 17 results

Sean

Wins By

1

161-94-1
13-3
162-93-1
11-5
156-99-1
12-4
Sunday, December 29, 2019
Atlanta @ Tampa Bay Atlanta Atlanta Atlanta
Chicago @ Minnesota Chicago Chicago Minnesota
Cleveland @ Cincinnati Cincinnati Cleveland Cincinnati
Green Bay @ Detroit Green Bay Green Bay Green Bay
Indianapolis @ Jacksonville Jacksonville Indianapolis Indianapolis
L.A. Chargers @ Kansas City Kansas City Kansas City Kansas City
Miami @ New England New England New England New England
New Orleans @ Carolina New Orleans New Orleans New Orleans
N.Y. Jets @ Buffalo New York Jets Buffalo New York Jets
Philadelphia @ N.Y. Giants New York Giants Philadelphia New York Giants
Pittsburgh @ Baltimore Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Baltimore
Tennessee @ Houston Tennessee Tennessee Tennessee
Washington @ Dallas Dallas Dallas Dallas
Arizona @ L.A. Rams L.A. Rams L.A. Rams L.A. Rams
Oakland @ Denver Denver Denver Denver
San Francisco @ Seattle San Francisco San Francisco San Francisco
© 2019 Gehlke Bros. Football

For a few improbable minutes on Sunday afternoon, Glenn and Sean were tied in their quest for the 2019 Surfy Trophy. And then they weren’t. The Junior Bro will be the new defender of the coveted statuette after a thrilling Week 17 came down to the wire, and with everything on the line and little to lose, the Senior Bro went against wisdom and somehow made a contest out of what had every appearance of being a foregone conclusion.

Coming in down by three games, Glenn needed everything to go his way if his goal of a miracle comeback was to come true, starting with having enough splits to mount a challenge. He got four, which actually didn’t make his task any easier because he had to win all of them on the backs of teams with a collective record of 16-44. No more was this about playing for a tie; it was win it all or go home.

First up was Cleveland at Cincinnati in the “Battle for Ohio - Part 2.” The Bengals haven’t been winning many battles this season, but they doubled their win total with a 33-23 victory in what became Freddie Kitchens’ final game as head coach of the Browns before being fired hours later. In the second split of the morning the Jets, with nothing to lose, sent the playoff-bound Bills to a 13-6 defeat in their AFC East finale. The Senior Bro’s path to an upset remained intact for a few more hours.

If Sean wasn’t already nervous after the morning’s results, the beads of perspiration only grew larger after a dysfunctional Jacksonville squad defeated visiting rival Indianapolis, 38-20, briefly locking the Bros in a virtual tie for the season championship. But that was where the magic wore off for Glenn. In a must-win game with a trip to the playoffs at stake, Philadelphia broke out of a second-half tie with the New York Giants and pulled away to a 34-17 victory — great news for Eagles fans who couldn’t bear the thought of losing the division title on the final day of the season, and even greater news for the Junior Bro, who could breathe easy once again as his GBF championship was assured.

It was a bittersweet end to Glenn’s season, as his 13-3 record paced the field for just the second time in 2019. After nearly forgetting to submit his picks for the final weekend, Ben also posted a solid finish, going 12-4 for second place. Sean may have lost the weekly battle at 11-5, but he won’t complain knowing the Surfy is his once again. We were collectively correct on a lot of our picks this week, scoring with Atlanta, Green Bay, Kansas City, New Orleans, Tennessee, Dallas, L.A. Rams, Denver and San Francisco. The only pick everyone missed was Miami’s shocking upset of New England, which leaves the defending Stupor Bore champs with a difficult road ahead if they hope to repeat.

And so we come to a close for another GBF season. But before we go, here’s our much anticipated…

YEAR-END RECAP

We are not just professional amateur football prognosticators here in NawFuL Land, but also savvy statisticians who keep track of every split, every highlight (and lowlight), every twist and turn of the regular season. Here are a few of the noteworthy observations:

ABOUT THE SAME, BUT DIFFERENT OUTCOME: It’s tough to win two out of every three games in a season, and most years we don’t — including this one. Sean came the closest in 2019, going 162-93-1 for an accuracy score of 63.5 percent. That is a half game better than his 161-93-2 (63.3%) performance in 2018. Glenn, meanwhile, slipped to 161-94-1 (63.1%) in defeat vs. 164-90-2 (64.5%) last year, when he won by 3 games; that’s 3.5 games worse. Ben seldom gets a nod for success, but he is certainly due one in 2019, as he finished at 156-99-1 (61.1%). That is his best showing in eight years, and easily better than his 2018 record of 126-128-2 (49.6%) — a full 30.5 game improvement! 

LIFE, THE UNIVERSE, AND SPLITS: In “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” it is revealed that the number 42 is the answer to everything. If it were up to the Gehlke Bros, maybe that number would be 43 — as in the total number of splits for each of the past two seasons. We didn’t think we’d see a repeat of that low total anytime soon, but it appears to be the new norm as we’ve just been so darned agreeable these past two years. Sean won 22 of them, while Glenn picked up 21. There were splits in all but Week 12 — the first non-split week since Week 11 of the 2012 season! Ten weeks featured zero or an even number of splits, while the remaining seven were an odd number. Eight of the even-split weeks ended in a tie, and the largest shift in the standings in any week was 2 games — both times won by the Senior Bro. The most splits in a single week was four, which we saw happen five times.

IN A PINCH TO GAIN AN INCH: It is said that football is a game of inches. In 2019, making progress in the race for the Surfy Trophy was equally painstaking. The largest lead enjoyed by either Bro came in Week 16, when Sean went up by 3 games. That was a range of five above Glenn’s largest lead, which was 2 games after Week 2. The Bros mostly spent the season tying week after week, which was reflected in the weekly win-tie statistics. Sean had a season record of 3 wins and 9 ties. He notched his best record of 13-2 in Week 8, while his worst mark was 4-9 in Week 10. Glenn went 2-7 in the win-tie department, waiting until Week 17 to post his best mark of 13-3. That didn’t make up for a 3-10 mark in Week 10, easily his worst showing in more than two years. Ben went 3-6 in win-ties, posting a saeson-best 12-2 in Week 7, and a 4-9 mark in Week 10.

NIGHTY-NIGHT: There were 50 games played under the lights this season — which was definitely too many, if you happened to be the Senior Bro. We split 10 of those games (20%), with Sean taking eight of them — one of the contributing factors in Sean’s successful 2019 Surfy campaign. We were in rare agreement on Monday night, recording no splits beyond Week 3.

LET THE ROADIES TAKE THE STAGE: What home field advantage? There were 123 games won by the visitor this season, or 48 percent, including the opening game of the season between the Packers and Bears, the final game of the year between the 49ers and Seahawks, and all three of the Thanksgiving games. We’re not sure if that’s some kind of record, but it certainly got our attention.

AS WENT THE TITANS, SO WENT THE SEASON: We all have teams we love to hate, and for Glenn it was without a doubt the Tennessee Titans. When he zigged, they zagged, accounting for an overall picks record of 4-12 and four splits — all won by the Junior Bro, including three over the final five weeks of the season. It was another AFC South team, the Houston Texans, who gave Glenn his most success; he finished 11-5 with them, winning all three splits in the process. For Sean, success came in the guise of the Dallas Cowboys, who accounted for a 12-4 record with all four splits going his way. That other team from Texas, the Texans, was the one low point: he was 8-8 with them, losing all three splits. The most-split teams this season were the Jaguars and Rams, each with six. There were no splits involving the Falcons or Chiefs.

FIT TO BE TIED… ALMOST: If there was ever a season that had the appearance of needing to be settled after 17 weeks, it was this one — the NawFuL’s 100th. Aside from a Week 2 anomaly that saw Glenn jump to a 2-game advantage, it was a nip-and-tuck battle most of the way until the waning days of December, Sean never losing sight of his older brother as the Bros played to a stalemate week after week. He regained one of the lost games in Week 3, then tied things up again in Week 8 after four straight weeks with no change in the standings whatsoever.

The Junior Bro picked up his first lead of the season on Nov. 10 — the Sunday of a crazy bye-shortened Week 10 that saw him go 4-9 and still tie for the week’s best overall record. He would be tested a few times, but never lost that advantage down the stretch, which included three weekends at sea during a trip through the Panama Canal with family.

Low split counts continued to play a role in the weekly results, and probably worked to Sean’s favor. There were no splits in Week 12, and although Glenn briefly managed to cut into the deficit in Week 13 with wins from the Rams and Steelers, it was stumbles in the succeeding weeks that prevented him from mounting a serious threat. The most crushing of those defeats was the Titans’ loss to the Saints in Week 16, which resulted in Sean’s largest lead of the season and left steep odds for a comeback in the season finale.

Nonetheless, the Senior Bro didn’t go down without a fight. Needing a net three games to tie, he shook off weeks of frustration in picking several upsets in Week 17. But it is hard enough to sweep, and with four splits at stake it was that final one that proved to be his undoing, when Philadelphia defeated the Giants. Sean escaped with a 1-game margin for his second Surfy Trophy in three seasons.

So once again we escape a tie, but it will happen again one day and we’ll have to dust off the rule book to decide how to handle that. In the meantime, congratulations to the Junior Bro and we’ll be back in September to kickoff another decade of Gehlke Bros. Football!

Going down with the Tennessee Titanic

Dec. 23, 2019Posted by NawFuL

 
Week 16 results

Sean

Leads By

3

148-91-1
9-7
151-88-1
10-6
144-95-1
9-7
Saturday, December 21, 2019
Houston @ Tampa Bay Houston Houston Houston
Buffalo @ New England New England New England New England
L.A. Rams @ San Francisco San Francisco San Francisco San Francisco
Sunday, December 22, 2019
Baltimore @ Cleveland Baltimore Baltimore Baltimore
Carolina @ Indianapolis Indianapolis Indianapolis Indianapolis
Cincinnati @ Miami Miami Miami Cincinnati
Jacksonville @ Atlanta Atlanta Atlanta Atlanta
New Orleans @ Tennessee Tennessee New Orleans New Orleans
Pittsburgh @ N.Y. Jets Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh
N.Y. Giants @ Washington Washington Washington Washington
Detroit @ Denver Denver Denver Denver
Oakland @ L.A. Chargers L.A. Chargers L.A. Chargers L.A. Chargers
Arizona @ Seattle Seattle Seattle Seattle
Dallas @ Philadelphia Dallas Dallas Dallas
Kansas City @ Chicago Kansas City Kansas City Kansas City
Monday, December 23, 2019
Green Bay @ Minnesota Minnesota Minnesota Minnesota
© 2019 Gehlke Bros. Football

Remember the Titans? The Senior Bro certainly does… and he probably won’t ever be able to forget them after his miserable luck this season trying to predict their wins and losses. That team from Tennessee has been anything but kind to the defending GBF champ, who has stumbled to a 3-12 record with them despite the fact that they are 8-7 overall and are still in contention for a playoff spot. A loss is never desirable, but when it is attached to the only split of the week at a critical junction in the season, it can have far-reaching consequences.

In this case, Tennessee’s 38-28 defeat at the hands of the visiting Saints may have been the defining moment in Sean’s return to Gehlke Bros. Football glory, and in a season that has been defined by single-game shifts in the standings from week to week, it will take nothing short of a post-Christmas miracle for Glenn to overcome what is now a 3-game deficit — the first time all year the Surfy standings have been separated by that many games.

If there was a good time to go out on a limb, Week 16 was it. With several teams battling each other for playoff seeding and others with absolutely nothing to play for but pride, it created an anything-can-happen atmosphere that might have been the catalyst to turn around Glenn’s fading chances. Unfortunately for him, he chose the wrong game to split. New Orleans came in slotted third in the NFC race with a decent shot at a first-round bye, and despite stumbling to a 14-0 deficit early in the game, they wouldn’t be denied. The Saints reeled off 24 unanswered points behind Drew Brees and WR Michael Thomas, who set a new single season receiving record during the game. The Titans, despite their loss, still have an opportunity next week to make the postseason. Which might be more than can be said for the Senior Bro.

The road teams continued their vexing ways, combining for half of the week’s wins. Two of the AFC contenders lost, along with five in the NFC who were still in the hunt. Sean took the week with a 10-6 mark, while Glenn and Ben tied for runners-up at 9-7. We got all the Saturday winners correct — Houston, New England and San Francisco — along with Baltimore, Indianapolis, Atlanta, Denver and Kansas City. Missed opportunities were in abundance, as we all whiffed on the New York Jets and Giants, Oakland, Arizona, Philadelphia and Green Bay in the final Monday night game of the year.