Everywhere I butted in and eavesdropped this week, someone was in anguished lament over being knocked out of his/her NFL “Survivor” or “Elimination” pool by the Giants’ loss to Seattle. And the other party’s reply was an equally woeful, something like, “Tell me about it.”
Apparently, none seemed to appreciate that the Giants have become the NFL’s best volleyball team.
And, perhaps as a matter of misery enjoying maximum company, more than a few of these miserable souls suggested that the Giants, as a 10-point home favorite, likely created the single largest knock-out day in pool history.
Easy, now. It wasn’t even close.
Sherman, set the Way-Back Machine to the early afternoon of Sept. 7, 2003, Miami, Fla., Week 1 of the season. The second-year Texans, off a 4-12 season, were at the Dolphins, who were following a 9-7 season and were believed to be improved. (In fact, they would finish 10-6 in 2003.)
The safest “safe pick” — especially in Week 1, when no one is looking to reinvent the wheel, think outside any boxes, push any envelopes or step on the devil’s tail — was the Dolphins, a 13-point favorite, the biggest on the board. In these pools, remember, all one has to do is pick the winner, no points included, to survive.
Final score: Texans 21, Dolphins 20. Kris Brown kicked five field goals for Houston, yet oddly enough missed an extra point. Fifteen plus six, on that day, equaled 21.
This result reigns, still, as the event that instantly mass-produced the most one-day total losers in American wagering history. I’ve no scientific proof of this, but common sense and empirical knowledge tells me it’s so. What else could have come close? How many people bet the Mike Tyson-Buster Douglas fight?
Knock-out pools here, there and everywhere — from Bangor to Maine! — on Week 1, with participation at their highest and hundreds of thousands of participants, lost between 80-100 percent of their entrants. So many were cooked so quickly that new pools began, right away. You can look it up. Where? I have no idea. But you can.