I had the opportunity to listen to my local sports talk radio for an extended period of time earlier today. Stuck in traffic due to snow plows (yes, the plows caused a delay on I-495, not the precipitation itself), I was able to listen to a good hour and a half of talk radio as I drove 15 highway miles. One of the topics brought up by the hosts was an article from the Wall Street Journal that detailed which teams were the most exciting in the NFL for the 2010 season.
The article didn't attempt to imply any significance to the excitement generated, it never made the attempt to equate edge-of-your-seat drama to on field production and results. However, the article does a fair enough job of remembering which teams gave viewers the most bang for the buck. For all the misery that was the 2010 campaign, the Cowboys were the third most exciting team, trailing their in-state rival Houston Texans and their long time rival the Washington Redskins.
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Thuuz created a metric that ranks sporting events for excitement by analyzing factors such as pace, parity and novelty. By plugging the data into an algorithm, Thuuz assigned each game an excitement rating out of 100. Tightly-contested games receive high marks, but the system also takes strange and rare occurrences into account, such as a flea-flicker or a fake punt.
Obviously it should be noted that all three of the most exciting teams failed to qualify for the playoffs. However, the constant buzz around America's Team, their quest to be the first team to host the Super Bowl, the juice around rookie Dez Bryant, and firing a coach midway through the season will definitely keep the team 'buzzed up' in the eyes of the public. Throw into the equation playing 11 out of 16 games decided by less than a touchdown and you certainly have the makings of an exciting watch.
As anyone that places wagers on NFL outcomes can tell you, Houston's amazing fourth quarters definitely earned them the spot at the top of the list. Washington stayed relevant by playing 12 games decided by six points or less and four overtime contests. The Shanahan-Haynesworth fued and the fiasco the coach created around Donovan McNabb's benchings helped keep them in the public eye as well.
For the record, Michael Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles monumental comeback against the New York Giants tops the list as the most exciting game of the NFL season. I wonder if it would have still qualified if the refs had the stones to call the too many men on the field penalty Philly should have received when DeSean Jackson ran down the goal line. Sam Hurd gets a celebration penalty for a psuedo "Hook'em Horns" but the entire Eagles roster can run onto the field during an active play. Whatever.
Rabble did a great job of recounting the top 5 season-altering moments that shaped the 2010 season. Go here for the #1 spot. Let's take the opportunity to recount your favorite moments of excitement from the 2010 season.
Just for starters, I'd list the Dez Bryant punt return TD, the Dez Bryant non-catch against Houston, the Bryan McCann interception return, and the first few days of the Jason Garrett interim regime. What are your top exciting moments from the dreary season that just completed?