Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter and Happy Birthday Jesus!

April 16 or 17 is the day that Ptolmeic Astrologers calculate to be the birthdate of Jesus of Nazareth as it would have attracted the Astrologers from the East also known as the Magi, who followed what was called the Star of Bethlem but was really the astrological configuration proper for the birth of the King of the Jews. Serveral explations of the calculation are available. A good one is . 
So why did it not stay there? I suspect that the early Church put no faith in astrology. Additionally, Jesus birthday was commemorated on the Winter Solstice, which before adjusting for the progression of the Equinoxes, was December 25th.  This date was Saturnalia (a great party with amble debauchery and drunkenness) and the attempt was made to make it more pious, with Jesus being recognized as the light of the world just as Chanukah is placed in the same time period. 

There is another more important reason, which the coincidence of Easter and the true birthday reveal. In early Christianity there were those who were willing to equate resurrection with reincarnation. Having the date of the Easter and Jesus’s birthday closely coincide would reinforce that link and cut short the Easter season. Moving the Nativity feast to June would decrowd the calender, but it still sends a reincaration message the Church fears. Too bad for them. Happy Easter and Happy Birthday Jesus!

Monday, February 06, 2017


That was about the best Big Game ever. No comeback like that has ever been seen before. Wow! We have never had OT before in the Big Game. The New England victory is its fifth, along with nine AFC and AFL championships. That is the second most Big Game, Conference and League trophies - one behind Green Bay with 15. Pittsburgh has 14 as well, but with one more loss. Dallas goes down to third with New England’s conference win. Atlanta was number 30, but moved to a three way tie for 27th with 2 wins and 4 losses.  A number of the all-time greats are at the top of their games, so expect movement at the top frequently over the next few years.

In terms of total appearances, New England is now fourth, with 23, in a tie with Green Bay. Pittsbugh, Dallas and New York have all played in 24 championship games since 1935 and with two title games a year, anyone can break out with 25 or 26 next year.

Here are the current ranking. The Alt-Rank is for total appearances._Click_to_enlarge.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Seattle wins with a bullet!

The Big Game has been played and it is that time of year again when I update my All-Time-Greatest list.  Fans of the Sagittarius Project will recognize this annual posting from years back, which I also added to my notes page last year.  I will cross post to the blogspot list so that non-friends can read it as well, although I suspect more hits here (even without a hit counter).

Annual readers know that to determine greatness, I add trophies - Super Bowl, NFC, NFL, AFC and AFL.  I do not count non-title game wins, such as division championships and pre-NFL league championships, including those won by the Packers and others before there was a Title Game.  If I were to count the old victories, I would also have to count equivalent wins - which would be division championships.  That would be quite a job because my spreadsheet contains annual rankings, allowing me to track a team's position over time.  Even excluding early non-title game wins, Green Bay was an early leader, who then ebbed and regrouped in the 1960s, ebbing again until  recently.  Their  last Super Bowl has them firmly in place in the top spot with 15 wins and nothing that happened this year changed that. Likewise, Pittsburgh (14), Dallas (13) and the Giants (12) remain unmoved at the top.  San Francisco, even though they lost the NFC Championship, is firmly in 5th place all time with 11 trophies.  For quite a few years, they were tied with Washington, who remains in 6th with 10.  Washington was tied with New England, put New England's loss gives them one more loss than Washington has, so New England goes to 7th.  By winning the AFC title game, Denver moved to eighth and by losing the Big Game, they form a tie with Chicago both teams having records of 9 wins and 7 losses.  Indianapolis is 10th - and last year  they were tied with Denver until Denver moved forward this year.  Win with Manning - slide without Manning.  Even in defeat, he is the most significant player of our time.

So what about Seattle?  They were 28th last year.  They are now 21st, going from 1 and 2 to 3 and 2.  While they still have a long way to go to threaten Green Bay's All-Time record, a seven position rise must be considered impressive.  Here is the table to illustrate the point:

Over the last few years, I added a table that assumed it was more important to be in a championship game than to win won when defining All-Time-Greatness.  While I don't believe that, fans of the New York Giants might, given their long string of appearances in Championship games over time.  Dallas is also a major player in that ranking system.   (both have 24 appearances in championship games.  Pittsburgh has 23 while Green Bay and as of this year, San Francisco, have 21 and share 4th place.  Oakland has been 6th while Washington and New England were tied for 7th - a tie broken this year with New England's championship appearance - sliding Washington to 8th.  I now count St. Louis tied with Washington.  I had not before because I was breaking ties with the number of wins.  This year I removed the tie breaker.  Denver follows Washington and St. Louis at 10th.  Seattle is still moving fast in such a ranking - although it serves Denver this year more than Seattle because they started higher, moving from 29th (almost the basement) to 24th.  This ranking is added below:

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Baltimore Rises

I don't seem to write about anything else in my Sagittarian community column.  I had such hopes that people of a similar bent would comment and build a community.  Still, the annual comment on how the Super Bowl matters in the overall ranking of NFL championship games survives.  Note that I leave out the pre-1935 championships, as these involved simply winning what amounts to a division in modern terms - and if I were to count them, every division title would be included as well in what I consider a count of all-time greatness to date.  That being said, here are this year's comments.

Any Baltimore win does not come without controversy, as when the Baltimore Colts left in the middle of the night, they took their records with them.  As the result, when the Cleveland Brown left for Baltimore, they left their records in Cleveland - even though Cleveland has earned nothing in terms of AFC or NFL championships since the Browns were reconstituted.  An argument can reasonably be made that the team that is now the Ravens deserves both those wins and those losses.  First, let's consider the straight up rankings:

As you see, Baltimore has moved from 22 to a three way tie for 16.  Meanwhile, San Francisco moved to fifth all-time, even by losing, due to their winning of the NFC championship.  Atlanta, by losing that game dropped to 29 while New England dropped to 6th place.

Consider what happens if Baltimore keeps its Cleveland record.  Instead of 4 wins and 2 losses, it would have 8 wins and 12 losses and be ranked number 12, just ahead of Miami.  Next, lets list the number of appearances, where the Cleveland factor really means something.

San Francisco moves up to fifth position, with 20 appearances.  Baltimore moves to 20th, with only six appearances, moving out of a tie for 23rd.  Atlanta moves from 29th to 27th with their loss while New England moves from ninth to seventh, tying with Washington at 17.

Here is where the Cleveland factor really impacts Baltimore.  With 14 appearances, Cleveland is thirteenth.  Combine those with Baltimore's 6 and the franchise Mr. Brown originated is sixth, with 20 appearances but fewer victories than San Francisco.  In that way, the die was cast before Beyonce's roadies started plugging in her effects, which is why I favor wins rather than appearances.

Monday, February 06, 2012

New York Triumphant

The final gun has gone off and New York has retained their spot, won in the conference championships, as the fourth all-time greatest team in terms of league, conference and Super Bowl trophies, with 12 wins.  Just by showing up, they move to number two in the number of championship game appearances, 24, with Dallas retaining their number one spot with 13 victories.  New England remains the fifth all-time greatest with 10 wins in the fewest tries, although winning would have moved them ahead of New York.  In terms of appearances, they are now number nine, having one more win than Chicago, who also has 16 appearances but only nine wins.

Here are the final rankings for the year.

Monday, January 23, 2012

NCAA Rankings

In doing my post on "The Big Game" I realize that I never posted my annual NCAA column.  A simple scan down the blog shows that I do it every year.  I did it this year, but left it on my laptop without posting it, copying it to the cloud or to my thumb drive.  Problem is, my laptop got a virus and I forgot I had never backed the file up, so I told my IT guy to go ahead and wipe the computer and rebuild it.  Oops.  So, I just spent the last few hours copying the data from the CBS Sports web page, doing my personal rankings and adding all three together.  Unlike the pollsters, the BCS loser does not get an automatic second in my book.  Usually, I rank the BCS loser below the other BCS bowl winners but higher than the non-BCS winners, with the other major schools who won their bowl games following after, followed by the BCS bowl losers, although I usually run out of votes before we run out of teams.  Some years, teams are close enough that my opinion matters in my ranking.  This year, not so much.

Without further ado, here is my composite ranking for this year.  Feel free to copy the table and put your numbers in instead.

The Big Game Cometh

It is now that time again - my annual pre-Big Game rankings of what's at stake as far as all-time rankings.  As people who follow this blog know, I count both Big Game victories, conference championships and league champships since an actual championship game has been played.  Prior to the first such game, the league championship was based on win-loss records, essentially a division championship.  To include those championships, one would also have to count all division championships in subsequent years as a "win."  Others can do that, however unless someone pays me to do so and gives me a really good data file, I am not going to that kind of effort, especially since my current database includes year by year rankings so that you can follow the history of who was top ranked - although after a few decades this gets mind numbing to even look at.

That being said, I have two sets of rankings.  The first stresses the number of wins in championship games, with ties broken by winning percentage.  The second stresses the number of appearances, with ties broken by the number that resulted in wins.  The reason I do separate stats is because the League ranks its all time greatest list by win-loss percentage in the last game, ignoring the fact that what was the league is now the conference - with conference championships still meriting a trophy.  By their logic, an expansion team becomes the greatest team ever by winning the Big Game once.  That is insane, but given that the alignment of divisions is geographically challenged, it is not unexpected.

Here is the first set of ranks.  Click on the image to expand the table.

Green Bay, Pittsburgh and Dallas are safe in the one, two and three spots.  New York is in number four and New England is at number five after last Sunday's game.  This is a change, as these wins have moved them both past Washingon and San Francisco, who were tied for fourth at ten wins and seven losses.  By losing yesterday, San Francisco moves down to seventh, while Washington moves to sixth by not losing.  Baltimore dropped down from 21 to 22 by losing if you accept the fiction that they left their previous record in Cleveland with their name, even though there is continuity of personnel and ownership that indicates otherwise.  If they have to leave their record, then they need to be given the prior record of a certain team in Indiana who used to be located there.

The winner of the Big Game will move to fourth greatest overall.  New York currently has eleven wins and twelve losses in championship games, while New England has ten wins and five losses.  A New England will give them eleven wins with fewer losses, moving them to the number four slot.  A New York win gives them twelve wins - one behind Dallas who has thirteen.

For those of you who think being in the championship is more important than winning it, we have the second ranking:

New York, by showing up, will move to number two overall, with 24 total appearances. The conference championship was their 23rd appearance, tying with Pittsburgh but with fewer victories, leaving them in third position for the next 13 days until they walk into the stadium (moving Pittsburgh to third, even if New York loses.  Dallas will still have more wins, even though they also have 24 appearances - so New York must go to one more champship game to get to the top spot (if they play Dallas, they have to win to overtake them).

New England was already in the tenth spot, with 14 appearances and nine wins, which is one more win than Denver and Indianapolis who are tied at eleven.  Had Denver won last week, they would have passed New England.  On game day, by showing up, New England moves up to ninth with 16 appearances, which is the same as Chicago, but Chicago has only nine wins, so New England already holds the tie breaker.

I prefer counting wins as more important than appearances, with winning percentage breaking the tie.  This year shows why, since if appearances are more important, the result of this year's Big Game will mean nothing in the overall rankings, which is a bit anti-climactic.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Football Top 10 All Time

Last weekend, I learned that Green Bay had more championships than I thought. From 1921 through 1933, the championship was awarded to the team with the best win-loss record. There were no playoffs, as the entire league was the size of a large division in baseball.

Should these champions ships count? Of course they do - however they should not be considered the equivalent of winning a Super Bowl in my view. You are, of course, free to think differently. My entire point in doing this list year after year is that everyone is free to conclude what all-time greatness means. There is no one answer to this question. Certainly the League's view that statistical championship percentage is more important than the absolute number of championships lacks common sense, which opens the door for better measures.

If the pre-1933 championships were counted, then all Division titles should also go into final rankings, since they are equivalent. I will leave that calculation to someone with better automated data, especially if it includes, as mine does, a flow of rankings throughout the years. As far as doing it manually, even I am not that OCD.

Without further ado, here is this year's top 10. Since I am feeling less OCD, I will only include rankings by number of trophies.