'You did good': Sean takes home Surfy

Feb. 4, 2018Posted by NawFuL

 

OAKLEY, Calif. — Confetti flew, the crowd cheered, and it was all pomp and circumstance as the NawFuL universe celebrated the crowning of a new champion. The Surfy Trophy is headed back to Hayward with Sean after a dominating season in which he rolled to a 15-game victory in the Gehlke Bros. Football Picks competition.

The last time Sean held the coveted golden statuette was four years ago, when in a similar ceremony it passed to his older brother for what would be the longest championship drought of the Junior Bro’s football prognosticating career. He reached the pinnacle of that frustration in 2016, when a late-season surge saw the Senior Bro come back to wrest the title away in a hard-fought contest, prompting Sean to remark that he might never win the Surfy again.

But those bad memories were laid to rest early in the 2017 campaign, as Sean bolted to a giant lead that he never relinquished. At 172-84, he notched the second best record to finish a season since GBF went online in 1998. That was a feat worth a major celebration, which is what awaited Sean when he visited Oakley on Jan. 27 for the trophy presentation.

Blue and red linen adorned the presenter’s stand upon which the Surfy stood aloft on a pedestal. A football-themed sign proclaimed “It’s not about how bad you want it, it’s about how hard you work for it.” A string of football flags stretched across the living room, and music filled the air courtesy of Amazon Alexa’s bluetooth speaker capabilities.

“It’s been so long, so long, so long… it’s been so long since you’ve gone…” crooned Dave Edmunds, verbalizing what was on everyone’s mind. True enough, it had been so long since Sean’s previous championship that President Barack Obama was just beginning his second term in office. The San Francisco 49ers were barely one season removed from a Stupor Bore appearance. The Philadelphia Eagles were coming off an NFC-worst 4-12. Everything runs in cycles, including Surfy victories.

As John Williams’ familiar Sunday Night Football theme played in the background, Sean took to the podium where he was adorned with a bobble football headband and received the trophy from his brother, who naturally had a small speech prepared.

“I just have to say that it sucks losing,” Glenn said, “but we were penalty-free and there will be no coach’s challenges,” he added, tossing out replica yellow and red flags for emphasis.

He then offered a blunt assessment of the 2017 GBF season: “You did good, and I didn’t.”

Audience applause continued as Sean popped the cork on a bottle filled with confetti, sending colorful streamers and bits of metallic paper across the room, some of the pieces lodging themselves on the football banner stretched above them.

The Junior Bro, not one for long speeches, did offer some insight into his successful season, and he critiqued how he could have improved it had he avoided some pitfalls along the way.

“If I had just bet against the 49ers earlier in the year, I would have done a lot better,” Sean said, clutching the Surfy. “At least I got the 49ers turned around about right. I started picking them when they started winning.”

In fact, there were few teams that Sean didn’t seem to own as the season ground on to its conclusion, including the two Stupor Bore contenders, Philadelphia and New England. Nonetheless, Glenn seemed optimistic that there wouldn’t be a Junior Bro repeat in 2018.

“I want that back next year,” Glenn said as Sean protectively hid the Surfy behind him.

“Losing sucks, but if I had to lose I felt good about doing it this year because four years running was a good run,” the Senior Bro said of his halted win streak.

The ceremony concluded with the Bros taking turns scooping up handfuls of confetti and tossing it about while Lily Allen’s rendition of “Mr. Blue Sky” sent the crowd away on an uplifting note. It was one of the more memorable moments in GBF championship history.

“The best thing about it is I don’t have to clean it up,” Sean said.

No magic flags required

Dec. 31, 2017Posted by NawFuL

 
Week 17 results

Sean

Wins By

15

157-99
9-7
172-84
10-6
130-126
9-7
Sunday, December 31, 2017
Green Bay @ Detroit Detroit Detroit Green Bay
Houston @ Indianapolis Indianapolis Indianapolis Houston
Chicago @ Minnesota Minnesota Minnesota Chicago
N.Y. Jets @ New England New England New England New England
Washington @ N.Y. Giants Washington Washington New York Giants
Dallas @ Philadelphia Philadelphia Dallas Dallas
Cleveland @ Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh
Carolina @ Atlanta Atlanta Atlanta Atlanta
Cincinnati @ Baltimore Baltimore Baltimore Cincinnati
Buffalo @ Miami Miami Miami Miami
New Orleans @ Tampa Bay New Orleans New Orleans Tampa Bay
Kansas City @ Denver Denver Denver Denver
Oakland @ L.A. Chargers L.A. Chargers L.A. Chargers L.A. Chargers
San Francisco @ L.A. Rams San Francisco San Francisco L.A. Rams
Arizona @ Seattle Seattle Seattle Seattle
Jacksonville @ Tennessee Tennessee Tennessee Tennessee
© 2017 Gehlke Bros. Football

Sean remembers a time not so long ago when he was sitting in a pub watching his favorite 49ers lose to the Rams. “They had that game won before the refs started pulling the magic flags out of their asses.” Flash forward to Week 17, when the Niners looked again like the Stupor Bore contenders they once were, and no amount of “magic flags” or other obstacles would have been enough to derail the Junior Bro’s return to his status as Gehlke Bros. Football champion.

The inevitable triumph occurred even before the teams took to the field Sunday, as Glenn and Sean settled in for their weekly picks. With complete agreement on the first three games, the Junior Bro clinched the Surfy Trophy when he and Glenn both picked Detroit to defeat Green Bay. No coin flips. No magic flags. A fifth consecutive title was not in the cards for the Senior Bro this year. But there was room for one more split, one last meaningless game to settle a season that seemingly was settled weeks ago. And by that measure too, Sean also went out on top.

Dallas played at Philadelphia with little on the line besides bragging rights; the Eagles were already locked into position as the NFC’s top seed, and the Cowboys were preparing to head home for the winter. There was just one score the entire game, a fourth-quarter touchdown pass that proved the difference in the ‘Boys 6-0 victory (they couldn’t nail the extra point.) It was the Junior Bro’s 10th winning week in a dominant season that saw him finish 15 games up on his older brother, just one off his largest lead.

There will be plenty of partying in Hayward when the Surfy Trophy returns after a four-year absence. It ends the longest championship drought Sean has experienced since GBF went online in 1998. The Junior Bro closed out the 2017 campaign with a week-winning 10-6 record, followed by Glenn and Ben with identical 9-7 marks. We all shared our correct predictions of Atlanta, New England, Pittsburgh, Tennessee and the L.A. Chargers. No one picked Buffalo, Kansas City or Arizona to win.

YEAR-END RECAP

As always, this is the moment when we reflect on the season just past and haul out some interesting stats to pore over while you nosh on potato chips and sip champagne on New Year’s Eve…

BLISTERING PACE: To say that Sean stunk up the joint might be an understatement, as the Junior Bro cruised to a 172-84 record, for a 67.2 percent accuracy rating. That’s a big step up from last year’s 156-98-2 (61.3%), or 15 games. Glenn went the other direction, finishing 157-99 (61.3%) vs. 164-90-2 (64.5%) in 2016, a decline of 8 games. That 23-game swing between the Bros represents the difference between Glenn’s 8-game margin of victory last season and Sean’s 15-game blowout this year. Ben lived up to his “King Chaos” moniker, narrowly avoiding a losing record on the year by finishing 130-126 (50.8%). That is 17 games worse than his 146-108-2 (57.4%) finish of 2016, but in all honesty he said he was mailing it in during the latter weeks, which was reflected in the final numbers — and his finish of 42 games off the pace set by his uncle.

PIIICCCKKKS!: It was a fairly average year for splits, if not for the distribution of winners. We saw 59 splits overall, which was just two fewer than 2016. Sean dominated those, winning 37 while Glenn took 22. There was at least one split every week, and of note was that just one of those weeks ended in a tie: Week 16, when the Bros divided a pair of splits down the middle. That is amazing, given that six weeks featured an even number of splits while the remaining 11 were odd. The most splits we saw came in Week 4, when there were eight. The fewest was the lone split we had in Week 17.

SEAN WINS, AND WINS, AND WINS…: Your opponent can’t defeat you if you never lose, which is a simple explanation for how Sean dominated 2017. He won 10 weeks and tied for the best record in three others. That left Glenn with a 4-1 mark, most of that brief success coming in Week 11 and beyond. Ben… well, King Chaos was just 0-2. Sean had a weekly best of 14-2 in Weeks 2 and 15. His low point came when he went 7-9 in Weeks 3 and 14. Glenn went 13-3 twice, in Week 2 — a losing effort — and Week 12. But he finished below .500 on four occasions during a 7-week stretch of bad luck, hitting a worst of 5-9 in Week 6. Ben’s best mark was 14-2 in Week 2, his worst a 4-12 in Week 15.

NEVER ON A SUNDAY (NIGHT): There were many ways in which the Senior Bro’s season went wrong, but one of the most significant was in night games, Sunday in particular. Sean owned Sunday night, going 10-5 and winning five of six splits. In all, night games accounted for 13 splits, with Sean taking nine of them to Glenn’s four. Sean was also 15-2 on Monday night, taking two of three splits there. Thursday was tough on everyone, with both Bros going 7-8.

MY FAVORITE TEAM: While Gehlke Bros. Football isn’t about rooting for favorite teams, in any given year there are some teams you love picking… and others you loathe. For whatever reason you feel like you’ve got a crystal ball and can predict every victory and every stumble, whether they are playoff-bound or headed for a coaching change. And then there are others which, no matter which way you pick, they burn you week after week. For Sean, Cincinnati proved the most helpful. He was 11-5 with them, winning all four splits they participated in. His Achilles heel was Minnesota, which left him at 9-7 with a net deficit of four splits. For Glenn it was nearly opposite. The Senior Bro was 13-3 with the Vikings, taking five of six splits. His worst team… well, there were many… proved to be Denver, with which he was a meager 4-12 and a net deficit of four games after six splits. A close second in Glenn’s I-Hate-You department was Miami — 5-11 with zero victories in four splits. Our most-split team was Philadelphia (8 times), followed by Atlanta (7). There was just one team we were in complete agreement on, and that was Green Bay. The Packers ended their disappointing season at 7-9, but the Bros were 13-3 with them, without a single split.

WHAT GOES AROUND: Sean lamented on Christmas Day 2016, after another losing week in his fourth straight losing season, that he would “never win that trophy” back. We all knew that wasn’t true, but when you’re in a rut it seems to go on forever. There were no ruts in the 2017 season for the Junior Bro. Well, perhaps just one. It came in Week 3, after he had notched a three-game lead to open the season, when the Senior Bro made things interesting with a three-game sweep to tie the standings. It was the closest the defending champ would come in his failed quest for a fifth consecutive GBF title.

Beginning in Week 4, Sean went on a split-devouring rampage that saw him go 23-7 over seven weeks, effectively putting away the title before Glenn regained his footing. The bye weeks might well have been the bye-bye weeks, as the Junior Bro notched his largest lead on the season at 16 games in Week 10. Glenn had just a little to be thankful for when Thanksgiving rolled around and the 16-game schedules returned. He managed to win three of the next four weeks, whittling the deficit to a mere 11 games before reverting to his losing ways to close out the final three weekends. But the Senior Bro saw the handwriting on the wall well before then, when he fell 10 games behind on a Monday night in Week 7 with the Redskins losing at Philadelphia. No one had ever recovered from that large a deficit to win a Gehlke Bros. Football championship. And no one would this year.

Sean’s 15-game rout marked the third time in the past four seasons that the champion prevailed by double digits. But after enduring years of disappointment Sean deserved a decisive victory. Will this be the start of a new winning streak for the Junior Bro? The answer lies only as far away as September, when GBF returns for another NawFuL season of picks and splits. We’ll have coverage of the trophy passing ceremony soon, and until then enjoy the playoffs and Stupor Bore LXII.

The season of sharing

Dec. 25, 2017Posted by NawFuL

 
Week 16 results

Sean

Leads By

14

148-92
12-4
162-78
12-4
121-119
9-7
Saturday, December 23, 2017
Indianapolis @ Baltimore Baltimore Baltimore Indianapolis
Minnesota @ Green Bay Minnesota Minnesota Minnesota
Sunday, December 24, 2017
Tampa Bay @ Carolina Carolina Carolina Carolina
Cleveland @ Chicago Cleveland Chicago Chicago
Detroit @ Cincinnati Detroit Detroit Cincinnati
Miami @ Kansas City Kansas City Kansas City Kansas City
Buffalo @ New England New England New England New England
Atlanta @ New Orleans New Orleans Atlanta Atlanta
L.A. Chargers @ N.Y. Jets L.A. Chargers L.A. Chargers New York Jets
L.A. Rams @ Tennessee L.A. Rams L.A. Rams Tennessee
Denver @ Washington Washington Washington Denver
Jacksonville @ San Francisco Jacksonville Jacksonville San Francisco
N.Y. Giants @ Arizona Arizona Arizona New York Giants
Seattle @ Dallas Dallas Dallas Seattle
Monday, December 25, 2017
Pittsburgh @ Houston Pittsburgh Pittsburgh Pittsburgh
Oakland @ Philadelphia Philadelphia Philadelphia Oakland
© 2017 Gehlke Bros. Football

Christmas time. The season for gift exchanges of all sorts. And the Gehlke Bros were up to the task in Week 16, giving as good as they got in their split-filled football stockings. You'd think that this close to the end of things there would be no room for new firsts, yet we saw a couple of them on Sunday: our first split involving the Chicago Bears, and our first week that did not involve a gain or loss in the Surfy standings.

Thursday football is done for the year, but that doesn't mean we don't still have oddball schedules to contend with. Two games on Saturday and again on Monday bookended all of our action Sunday morning. It was some Christmas Eve gift-giving when Glenn chose Cleveland to win its first game in snowy Chicago, but the Bears had other plans and took a 20-3 victory for Sean. Meanwhile, New Orleans was locking up a playoff spot by dumping Atlanta, 23-13. That game helped Glenn maintain his 14-game deficit heading into the final week of the season. It also assured that he will at least be mathematically alive for an upset, if not realistically in position for one. Just 16 games to go and Sean will be celebrating his first GBF title in five years.

Sean and Glenn saw their first identical weekly records of the season at 12-4. Ben was third at 9-7. We all correctly picked Minnesota, Carolina, Kansas City, New England and Pittsburgh. There were no teams we all got wrong — Ho, ho, ho!