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Additional Minnesota Viking Commentary

17 Game Season  
In manufacturing, prime numbers are utilized for a very good reason.  For example, a hunting gear tooth design typically features a prime number for at least one of the gears ... usually the pinion gear.  The reason is to ensure that the same gear teeth do not mesh in the same exact location(s) ... again & again ... rotation after rotation ... to ensure the longest gear life possible.  Why?  Imagine one tooth of the pinion gear having some sort of possible minor defect that will continually mesh with  the same exact locations on the bull gear.  In other words, that pinion gear tooth now directly aligns & meshes with exactly the same 4 teeth of the bull gear each time it rotates ... over & over again.  Can't see it yet, imagine a bull gear with 80 teeth meshing with a pinion gear having 20 teeth (not a prime number) causing the defect to exacerbate the same 4 exact locations on the bull gear ... over & over again.  This is much like an NFL season.  In time that small defect grows & then fails prematurely.  In nature, these types of patterns almost never happen as reoccurrences can end in extinction.  Now consider what is referred to as the hunting tooth design concept using a "prime number" of teeth for pinion gear.  When designed in this manner, the likelihood of reoccurrence drops to a very low percentage ... much like playing this Vikings franchise playing the Patriots, to ensure that the same pattern doesn't continually repeat, over & over again.
So is the NFL headed for extinction.  No ... but you might have noticed a bunch of empty stadium seats recently.  As a collective group we may have lost that suspension of disbelief where not as many people are peering into that diamond trying to understand that they are about to drop a large chunk of change on a poor investment ... the result of great marketing.  For the NFL, these new patterns may be coming from a establishing a comfort zone ... and then wallowing in it.  That's great if you're a pig ... but not so much if you're trying to light cigars with $100 bills ... not to say that that has ever happened.  Sure, this is not the only reason but you've selected your bed.  

In nature, many very dominant species use prime numbers for their success.  In other words, if a locust emerges to breed every 17 years, it is almost certainly going to ensure it's pattern as cross breading with other variants of locust becomes less likely, whereas a species relying upon a breeding year separated by 6, 9, 12, or 16 years is doomed to failure.  Why?  It is much more likely to have two different variants emerge in the same year for breading introducing the possibility of destroying your own species as opposed to being exclusive to only your variant.  In other words, a 16 game schedule opens up the possibility of Vikings inbreeding with Packers or Bears.  Oh!  The humanity!.     

When applied to the NFL, our 32 franchises can & do act in their own self interest which might help to explain why the present scheduling of divisional games at the end of the season is an absolute disaster.  Tell me, who came up with the idea of scheduling "2 for 1" games when they don't matter?  In other words, franchises know the rules by which they play where they can collectively act in their own self interest to achieve a result whether or not those results are positive or negative.  

Based upon this weekends time slot match-ups, if the Bears do end up beating the Vikings in the 1 pm slot, as unlikely as it might seem, facing a 99% chance of it not happening, it is in the NFC South's best interest to have a Falcons lose, resulting in a Panthers victory, along with a New Orleans loss.  Why?  Because that would result in the Panthers having the #2 seed in the playoff format.  Even though the Falcons might miss the playoffs, assuming that the Seahawks win, leaving only two NFC south teams available for the upcoming tournament, seeding becomes much more important to the Division as compared to the number of teams entering the NFL playoff tournament.  Why?  Because the #2 seed will gives the NFC South its best opportunity of bringing home that Lombardi trophy.  Regardless of who wins that title, it represents the entire division.  It wasn't all that long ago that the NFC East had a round robin between the Cowboys, Redskins & Giants sharing the Lombardi year after year.  Statistically, that result was a virtual impossibility.  This is the direct result of the present tie-breaker playoff format which gives division games a 2:1 rating & also give conference wins priority over non-conference wins.  In other words, our present NFL scheduling system inbreeds both contempt & combines it with self interest.  Said another way, if I help you out today ... maybe you can help me tomorrow.  Of course, this result is mute unless you know that the Ram's might be taking the week off to instead prepare for the following weeks playoffs.   

As bad as the present college scheduling & bowl system is, they have at least got one thing right.  They don't schedule home & away contests.  On the other hand they heavily rely upon the inbreeding within their conference which is especially suspect when each conferences share their revenues between the members of their conference.
Presently, under our 16 game format, 25% of your regular season schedule is against non-conference games, counting only in the win-loss column but is useless in the present tie breaker format.  Almost 40% ( 37.5%) of your games are scheduled against the inbreeding of your divisional opponents.  75% of the regular season games are scheduled against your own conference, which does have some weight, but these conference do not trump other playoff tie-breakers.  In other words, conference wins can be diluted to having almost no meaning.   This present season scheduling is so ludicrous that if the Vikings played Tom Brady in 2017, they would not see him again in the regular season until 2021.  Hello!  People are paying to see your team have the chance to stack up against the best ... not a dead horse ... year after year.

Maybe you haven't noticed
Tom Brady stifling the AFC East division year after year because he absolutely owned that division.  Did anyone notice 27 years under Rodgers & Favre era's.  There's no sense of fair play in regard to which franchises count & which ones don't, which begs the question are dynasties a good thing?  Let me ask that question another way.  Are you ok with 31 people putting all there money & resources in the pot of a circular table where I don't have to because that's just more weight for me to pick up year after year.     

Based upon our present system, this Vikings franchise will get to play Mitch Trubinski 12.5% (8 in 64 tries) but only see Tom Brady 1.6% (1 in 64 tries) of the regular season.  So what does that say about our Super Bowl which pits a 1.6% chance of a match up against 75% of playing  NFC teams?  Does this make sense to anybody?   

No!  It's about match ups.  How do compare Xavier Rhodes versus any other defensive back in the AFC when at best there is only a 1.6% chance of seeing them on the same field let alone the 75% match-ups of playing NFC teams.

This has become a league of desperation.  When things go bad based upon our present system, owners flinch.  Tom Brady & A. A. Ron have stacked up overwhelming odds that franchises have to face within their division rather than to have the full advantage of continuity.  This Vikings franchise has faced 27 years of having to face a franchise quarterback from Green Bay whereas our best efforts were to oppose that with an athlete sporting a Wonderlick Score of 13.  Is it any wonder coaches are fired year after year ... the annual bloodbath ... which is now pending ... where the new regime coming in will have to somehow incorporate players that were selected by the coaches of several other prior regimes that were suited for a completely different concept or system.  How does this benefit the season ticket holders or those that purchase the NFL ticket.  Said directly ... it doesn't.  The word hope shouldn't the only factor driving the Cleveland Browns season.    

Some time ago it made sense to locate teams in divisions based upon proximity where costs of preparation were based directly upon proximity.  Said another way, it would save on cost if Minnesota only had to travel to Detroit, Green Bay & Chicago but this doesn't hold up today.  In fact the NFL has completely disregarded proximity playing games in London, Mexico City & Toronto Canada.  When 85% of the cost to fly is consumed at take off, it becomes apparent that the cost to cruise becomes almost irrelevant.  Although this is only one issue is the overall mix, the cost concepts generally applies to all of it, making Divisional concepts obsolete.  It's time this league moved on into the 21st century by  revising its schedule to accommodate a superior product based upon all 32 franchises rather than accommodating just a few.
  Change is a very basic axiom of life but not in the NFL & not when it comes to that schedule & the manipulations relating to divisions.  Hey we based on entire draft based upon that schedule.  Really!  How smart was that? 

So what would a 17 game format look like.  Well first and foremost, at least one irrelevant preseason game would go bye-bye in favor of adding 1 additional regular season game.  All 32 franchises will have 8 home games where each franchise will have to play one contest at a neutral sight like in London England, Mexico City Mexico, Tokyo, Japan, Berlin Germany, Toronto Canada & virtually just about anywhere ... introducing the regular season NFL effect throughout the world.  As for how the banana gets sliced between the players & owners ... well ... there are agents to make sure that this gets divided for their purposes alone.  In return the players get to scrap the Thursday night debacle where home games for Thanksgiving are rotated amongst all 32 franchises.  The league would still maintain the eight present divisions, 4 AFC & 4 NFC divisions, as they presently are but with much less divisional distinctions, with no more home & away scheduling.  Yup!  You would only get to play in historic Lambaeu Field every other year.  Every three years you would rotate the three other NFC Division by playing 4 games like we did this year (Buc's, Panther's, Saint's & Falcon's).  You would also play 2 games versus NFC teams that finished as you did the prior year in your division, keeping these games as the only games that vary amongst your division.  The other 8 games would be played against AFC teams of two rotating divisions.  In year one, you would play the AFC East & West Divisions. The following year your would play the AFC West & North Divisions,   The following year your franchise would be followed by the AFC North & South.  Lastly your franchise would play the AFC South & East Divisions.  In short 9 of 16 games (52.9%) of your games will be played in the NFC whereas 8 of 17 (47.1%) of your games would now face AFC opponents.        

Year 1:  Three NFC North Division Games, Four NFC East Games, two NFC 3rd place games, 4 AFC East games, 4 AFC West games.
Year 2: Three NFC North Division Games, Four NFC South Games, two NFC 4th place games, 4 AFC West games, 4 AFC North games.
Year 3: Three NFC North Division Games, Four NFC West Games, two NFC 1st place games, 4 AFC North Games, 4 AFC South Games.
Year 4: Three NFC North Division Games, Four NFC East Games, two NFC 2nd place games, 4 AFC South Games, 4 AFC East Games  

Maybe the most important aspect of this new scheduling concept would be in the inherent variance which would ensure that no team regular season schedule would end up being a soft schedule.  Division dominance would be a thing of the past in favor of league-wide matchups. 

The Viking Ghost Writer
Date: December 28, 2017