With only one game left in the NFL season, the best I can hope for in the online football pool that I'm in is to reach 49% accuracy in my picks. Right now I am 130-136, which the site tells me is 48.9% correct. I am ranked 2028th out of 4560 players.
That might sound pretty bad. I am, after all, an avid football fan, and I think I have a pretty good grasp of the abilities of each team, relative to each other. While I don't scour the wires each week, looking for trends, tips or tendencies that might influence the outcome of each game, I put a bit of thought into the picks. Theoretically, I didn't even do as well as I might have if I had simply guessed. Yet when I look at the leader of this site, I see his (I assume 'his') stats are 158-108 for 59.4%. So, the best of the best of these 4560 football fans only guessed correctly 10% more often than I did. And, looking at the statistics of so-called 'professionals' on sites like ESPN or CBS Sportline, or FOX, they seem to hover around the 50% to 56% range. From practically all accounts, to be over 60% is out of the question.
Obviously, guessing the outcome of NFL football is pretty tricky, and for those really into it, the results are little better than guessing. More than ever, the phrase "on any given Sunday" really does apply.
I guess this is the result of parity; of the salary cap. I'm not sure I like it. This is now, and has been for a decade or more, a league where teams that are pretty bad one year (two years ago the Panthers were 2-14, this year in the SuperBowl) can prosper the next.
I kinda like the concept of the dynasty. I like the idea of building a team over a number of years, striving to implement a 5 year plan to reach the top. Knowing that the bad team on your schedule next year will be pretty much as bad as they were this year; that the tough teams will be tougher next year. Now, it's too now-or-never. Players switch teams like they were underwear. Everyone is striving to win it next year. It certainly makes for exciting games, and choosing who wins is pretty much the flip of a coin, but in some way, it's not as fun being a fan of any particular team. Teams are built too much now on chance.
Of course this is coming from a guy who only guessed right 48.9% of the time this year.