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Old 01-27-2011, 06:37 AM   #1
A Son of Martha

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Default There's No Trophy for Being Exciting

There's No Trophy for Being Exciting
The NFL Season Measured by Its Most Exciting Teams and Games; Texans Prevail While Steelers Induce Sleep


The secret to making the Super Bowl? Play plodding, boring football and stay away from nail-biting, fourth-quarter comebacks.

At least, the trick seemed to work for Green Bay and Pittsburgh. The two teams will meet next week in Super Bowl XLV —while possibly lulling fans to sleep in the process.

According to research by the statistics company Thuuz, the Steelers were the 29th-most exciting team in the NFL this season, while the Packers finished 12th. The two teams won 22 total games, while the three most exciting squads—Houston, Washington and Dallas—combined for 18 wins.

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.

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Texans' Matt Schaub, in a Sept. 19 game against the Redskins.
The Most Exciting Teams

1. Houston Texans

The Texans opened the season by upsetting the Indianapolis Colts and seemed poised to make the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. They gave fans a wild ride, but instead, they melted down in scintillating fashion. Houston played in four of the top-10 most exciting games of the season, including a Week 10 loss to Jacksonville on a Hail Mary pass on the last play of the game. A week later, they lost to the New York Jets on a last-second touchdown pass by Mark Sanchez to Santonio Holmes.

2. Washington Redskins

The season-long prizefight between head coach Mike Shanahan and defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth—coupled with Mr. Shanahan's conflict with quarterback Donovan McNabb—certainly made the team exciting off the field. Turns out they provided plenty of fireworks on it, too. The 6-10 'Skins played in 12 games decided by six points or less and went to overtime four times, including a 30-27 loss to the Texans.

3. Dallas Cowboys

By November, the Cowboys had already lost their franchise quarterback Tony Romo and fired their head coach Wade Phillips. They may have crashed and burned, but they were fun to watch. The Cowboys played in 11 games decided by a touchdown or less. That includes eight tough losses, including a particularly memorable 30-27 defeat on Thanksgiving to the New Orleans Saints. And really, unless you are owner Jerry Jones, what's more exciting than seeing America's Team collapse?
The Top 10 NFL Games of 2010

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Andre Johnson
The Most Exciting Games

1. Eagles 38, Giants 31
Dec. 19: New Meadowlands

With apologies to fans in New York, who would rather not relive this nightmare, it doesn't take a fancy algorithm to know this game would land the top spot. Philadelphia scored 28 points in the final 7:18, capped by DeSean Jackson's 65-yard punt-return touchdown as time expired. Somewhere, New York coach Tom Coughlin continues to curse punter Matt Dodge.

2. Jaguars 31, Colts 28
Oct. 3: EverBank Field

Jacksonville kicker Josh Scobee drilled a 59-yard field goal as time expired—the eighth-longest kick in NFL history. At the time, the Jaguars' win seemed to denote a power shift in the AFC South. Well, maybe next year.

3. Buccaneers 24, Bengals 21
Oct. 10: Paul Brown Stadium

Tampa Bay scored 10 points in the final 1:26, aided by two interceptions thrown by Bengals' quarterback Carson Palmer. Perhaps we should have known then the Baby Bucs would contend, while the Bengals' combination of Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens would end in disaster.

A look at how all 32 NFL teams ranked in excitement this season based on their games' pace, parity and novelty.
1 HOU 66.5 17 TEN 53.3
2 WAS 66.3 18 CHI 53.1
3 DAL 63.2 19 OAK 51.4
4 IND 62.3 20 DEN 51.2
5 PHI 61.9 21 STL 49.3
6 BAL 61.8 22 MIN 49.1
7 DET 61.5 23 SF 48.4
8 NO 60.6 24 BUF 48.4
9 JAC 58.5 25 NYG 47.9
10 NYJ 57.8 26 KC 47.9
11 CLE 57.6 27 SD 46.4
12 GB 57.6 28 NE 45.9
13 ATL 57.4 29 PIT 45.8
14 CIN 56.4 30 ARI 45.2
15 MIA 56.1 31 SEA 36.1
16 TB 55.8 32 CAR 35.4

Source: Thuuz
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