Last night I sat at a computer in the only 24/7computer lab the Mizzou campus offers and pretended to write papers. In all honesty no academia was even close to being considered until that 1930’s style, Tebow/ Sanchez Punt-er-rama had been completed*. It was a horrendous game for roughly 55 minutes, but what can I say? I’m a sucker for sports, especially when the event is billed as _______Day Night Something. As the drive began it became fairly apparent that Tebow was going to do what Tebow does, all we had to do was sit there and ensure that it did indeed run as the schedule was programmed. Sure enough… Short pass here, Scramble there, and the Broncos Tebow’d their way to victory. Ho-hum. Another day, another weird twist in the already crowded AFC Worst Division. Was anyone REALLY surprised?
*The only touchdown pass that occurred last night allowed the Broncos to knot the game at 10, and Jets Quarterback, Mark Sanchez threw it. (In other news, until Tebow’s Mad Dash, Mile-High Miracle, 95-yard-drive capping, touchdown winning run, the only other player to put points up in this match, other than a couple of guys that use their feet, percentage wise, more than any other professional in the world, was Jets lineman Matt Slauson who graciously scooped up the easiest, and in all likelihood, last 6 points he will ever score.)*
The win made me think about the situation my older brother and I always dreamed of. The Perfect Division. Four 8-8 records. Four 3-3 divisional records within those 8-8 Records, all of which would lead to the ultimate playoff-deciding scenario in NFL: The coin toss. It is not every year that this feat is even comes close to being achieved. However, this year may be that magical year. This AFC West group is extremely special. At this moment the overall records read (5-5) (5-4) (4-5) (4-5) and the records inside the division look like this: (2-2) (2-2) (2-2) (2-2). This is quite possibly the most potential I have ever witnessed this side of the halfway mark. The Perfect Division is within reach and it truly needs the perfect leadership to achieve such amazement. The four teams that, with a little teamwork, can reach this remarkable achievement are led but a faltering, former MVP candidate, an energized couch potato, a man better known for the way he kneels than how he throws a football, and a guy which most people believe starred opposite of Gene Hackman in a feature flick at the turn of the Millennium.
The stage is set; the correct players are in place. The Perfect Division is there for the taking. All we have to do is sit back and enjoy. Bear with me. I understand that a few of these scenarios may seem a tad extreme, but I believe in this division, and as long as they follow this blueprint, this is the way the West will be won by a coin flip.
To begin, here is the entire schedule for each AFC WEST team. The games in bold are ones that have already been played. Obviously these wins and losses are not by any means a prediction, merely the means of getting a Playoff entry determined by a coin flip. I attempted to keep each team in the playoff hunt as close to the flip as possible.
Oakland, (8-8, 3-3 in the division)
Wins: @KC, @DEN, @SD, @NYJ, CLE, HOU, VS DET, @MN
Losses: VS KC, VS DEN, VS SD, NE, BUG, GB, @MIA, VS CHI
San Diego, (8-8, 3-3 in the division)
Wins: VS KC, @OAK, @DEN, MIA, MN, @JAX, @CHI, @BUF
Losses: @KC, VS OAK, VS DEN, NE, NYJ, GB, DET, VS BAL
Denver, (8-8, 3-3 in the division)
Wins: @KC, @OAK, @SD, MIA, NYJ, CIN, @MN, VS CHI
Losses: VS KC, VS OAK, VS SD, DET, GB, TEN, VS NE, @BUF
Kansas City, (8-8, 3-3 in the division)
Wins: @OAK, VS SD, @ DEN, @NYJ, VS MN, @IND, @NE, VS GB
Losses: VS OAK, @ SD, VS DEN, @DET, VS BUF, VS MIA, VS PIT
There are 12 steps in the NFL Playoff deciding scenarios. Lucky number 12 is what we are shooting for, so in the interest of coin flipitude deciding the 2012 AFC WEST division leader a few extremes must take place, but as in any great run, a few miracles must happen.
Tie Breaker Number 1: Head to Head Matchups
Each team wins once and loses once to every team in the division.
Tiebreaker Number 2: Wins within the Division
To create a tie for first (we’ll call it that) among all 4 teams atop the division this is what needs to happen. Each team reaches 3-3 if…
Oakland: Wins @KC, Loses VS SD
San Diego: Wins @OAK, Loses VS DEN
Denver: Wins @SD, Loses VS KC
Kansas City: Wins @DEN, Loses VS OAK
Tiebreaker Number 3: Wins Against common Opponents (AFC/NFC NORTH)
Going off of the above schedule the Broncos, Chargers, and Chiefs each go (4-4) against common opponents. In order for Oakland to win 4 games against AFC WEST common opponents they would be required to win 9 total games- not The Perfect Division.
Tiebreaker Number 4: Wins Against Conference Opponents (AFC teams)
Each remaining team has a record of (6-6) in the AFC
Tiebreaker Number 5: Strength of Victory (Combined Win/Loss % of all teams the team in question defeated)
At this point a small bit of speculation comes into play, and realistically, should the Division Champion not be decided already, this step probably gives us our winner. But, using the ESPN playoff projections after last week’s games and a few alterations to account for the upsets that occurred during the AFC WEST games the strength of victories for the three remaining teams are…
Denver: (60-68)=. 469
San Diego: (58-72)=. 438
Kansas City: (60-68)=. 469
Tiebreakers Numbers 6-11
With San Diego knocked out of the race the chase to win the coin flip at this point becomes utterly impossible to predict. Assuming the strength of schedules for KC and DEN are equal, tiebreakers 7-11 compare the two teams rankings for points scored and allowed in the conference and NFL, best net points in common games, best net points in total games and finally, the best net touchdowns for each team in each of the 16 games each has played.
Tiebreaker Number 12: The Flip
If each of the previous 11 Tiebreakers has not yet decided who the most worthy team from the AFC WEST division will be to charge into the playoffs, this final step will do it. To be honest, I am unsure what procedures the NFL goes through to decide which team gets to call it in the air. I am fairly certain they would need to look it up as well. As soon as that is determined, it is fairly clear what happens next. Tails never fails.