Bengals, Mitch, Connor discussed on The MMQB NFL Podcast


Last year, after picking all 272 games, I just I got the records and I had it all. I did it all on the back of an envelope from my financial adviser. So I just had this ripped open envelope that was covered in serial killer scratches, right? And I came out with all the records and they were right. Everything added up and then I turned it over to Mitch and I said, here's everybody's record for the 2021 season. And then the back office folks said, oh, people want to debate on a game by game level. So it comes back to me and they're just like, just tell us show your work impossible. So I had to go back and do it again. And I was supposed to be 72. It used to be two 56. They gave you this whole extra week, which is ridiculous, which I've been against from the start. Yeah. And anyway, so I'll hand it off to Mitch and I want to give him permission to tell the entirety of the story because I do think that there's some important things here that highlight the fact that I am a child and without Mitch, I'm lost in the wilderness and for context, I had just written the football preview issue cover story and there was a line in there that said, Bengals going back to the Super Bowl, why the hell not? And so I'll start the story by Mitch calling me and saying, hey, Connor, you don't have the Bengals going to the playoffs. And this was after I assume about four and a half hours if you going through NFL tiebreaker rules to try to figure this out. I like that this is like a safe space. Like we would never say this on Twitter, but the podcast audience is like, we're happy to take people behind the curtain and show them how the sausage is. I mean, it's too late. You already did. I'm on the record, baby. Yeah, I mean, that's what happened. I think I did it a little more dramatically than that because I called you to tell you. You were laughing too. Which made me feel better. It was very, I love being able to call and deliver news to you. It happened twice memorably this off season the other time was the Sunday Night that Tom Brady announced he was coming back. I just called you and said, cot did you hear the news? And you hadn't heard yet, and I got to deliver the news to you on the phone. That not only was Tom Brady coming back for another season, but you had a column about it too. Immediately. So get on it. And I thought you did an excellent job that night. So anyway, yeah, you did a good job. There was a back and forth and there was a fact checking and I should say other people on our staff helped as well, Dan falkenhayn and Marcus crumb helped. It wasn't like just me every time. I got some backup. But you did a good job. You answered all the questions. You put in the W's and L's in the proper squares and the cells filled up. But you did just sort of dump a pile of like, here are our teams and records and whatever. And I had the idea like, oh, you know, we should probably put together the standings and see, you know, because teams are going to be tied. So what are the standings? And I love NFL playoff tiebreakers. Unironically, this is my idea of a good time, like the fact that it's August and I was digging through the rule book like, okay, it's a three way tie, and they're in three different visions. And so this is the first thing that we do. And so I was like, yeah, let's put together the standings. This will be a good time. And now forgetting specific here, you had the Patriots Titans and Bengals, all tied at ten and 6 for the 6th, 7th and 8th spots in the NFC. And so I'm going through the tiebreaker and obviously Connor, as you know, the first thing you do to break that tie is you look, if anyone has a head to head sweep, if one team beats the other two opponents or if one team loses to the other two opponents, then you pull that team out and then you break the tie with the other two teams. And so I'm like, oh, they're tied. This is fun. And it was like, oh yeah, the Bengals did play against both of these teams and you just I'd say, I don't want to call it arbitrary because I mean obviously you put a lot of work into this, but it's kind of random putting your wins and losses to get a team to ten and 6 or sorry I should say ten and 7 because 17 games. So anyway, it was a little bit arbitrary that you just happened to have the Bengals losing to both the Patriots and Titans across the course of their season. That was not like a planned divine Connor at the controls thing. That's just, you're going through it and what are the odds that it actually matters, but just the fact that it was that combination, those three teams tied and then with the other teams that you had, the Bengals just happened to get the short stick and they were the 8th seed. And this I discovered this literally an hour after your Joe burrow cover story. For everyone to read and you're like, the hero of Cincinnati radio and I'm like putting this post together that's like, yeah, SI's Connor orr has the Bengals missing the playoffs. I can't wait for that to be scooped up and written about on every Bengals fan site. It's you know what it is and this is what I hate about the two 72 is that and I'll get tweets from a lot of people who cover individual teams and they're like, well, you know, I had the Lions going 11 and 6. That's great. What did you have every other team doing that led us to that point? Because everything else matters and it's like a Rubik's Cube and so yes, that rant over, but yes, I was enjoying this windfall of attention from the city of Cincinnati. And if you'll remember, last year I was the goat in the worst way in the city of Cincinnati because I picked the Bengals to win four games last year and when the two 72 comes out always in a bad mood because I'm doing a thousand radio hits and it's just every radio station disagreeing with my prediction. Unless I pick like the local team to go 17 and O and mo Edgar who does ESPN radio in Cincinnati is a great person. He had me on last year to argue with me about four wins and I remember just being at the end of my rope and saying, okay, pull up the schedule and find me four more wins on this schedule. This team is not winning more than four games and I was just mad about it. Furious about it. So I have a precarious history with the city of Cincinnati. So had that happened without Mitch's watchful eye. This is why you need editors. I would have been and people would not let me forget about this last year. I was made fun of all through the playoffs. I was made fun of through the Super Bowl, redeemed myself with the football preview issue cover story. And then I would have accidentally picked them to miss the playoffs in the following year. Unbeknownst to me. That would have been humiliating. You could have looked, I would say. The other thing I'll just point out, though, is I appreciate your sort of approach to this. And just sort of this idea that the games are the games and they cause the records and the sheet is what it says and I don't think you I don't think you try and like gerrymander it to get the standings you want. I think you genuinely try to look at all 32 teams and say like I remember what the colts last year that was a big one because you had them starting like oh and three and one and 5 and then bouncing all the way back to the playoffs and that was actually a great take and they didn't make the playoffs with the game very close to it and they did go on the roller coaster that you envisioned. But I like that you just sort of like look at each team honestly and try to decide and I very briefly made the argument Connor. I think this is awesome and I think it makes your whole point for you that you wow you went through the schedule one at a time and the Bengals missed the playoffs and you're the guy mister Bengals and look what you did and I was like that's your hook. That's what you should write about in the intro. And I think you heard me out for like 5 seconds and then you said give them a win against the Patriots. Just got rid of the whole problem. You said yeah, that'll be 11 and 6 and the Patriots can be 9 and 8 and we're gonna solve the whole thing nice and neat. It did, it fit in nicely with the whole Connor or football prediction universe because one of my bold predictions leading into the season I believe was that the Patriots were going to miss the playoffs. So having the Patriots actually missed the playoffs worked, but you're right. You can't, it's so hard to gerrymander this. And that's what I like about two 72 is I finished the exercise that I was like, I hate the commanders record. I hate the Panthers record and there was like two or three more teams that I despised. I just didn't like it at all. But just not a whole lot you can do about it because you one little pin and then all of a sudden everything just falls apart. And Mitch has to pick up the pieces. I didn't put up too much of a fight 'cause there were still tiebreakers for me to solve. So I still got to have a little fun with the rest of my afternoon. Gary is just looking like holy shit, I'm so glad I don't have to do this. That does sound like fun. No, my only because I'll turn this back to me. I got in note the other day on my Facebook page like my professional Facebook page that I don't know just random people occasionally write in. And most of it's like ask for fantasy device stuff like that. People can write in. I probably won't see it, and I probably won't answer it. Nothing personal. But a guy wrote me to say that on our division previews, which had my byline on it, the note was that Vikings record is ridiculous. You're nuts. So I was like, okay, the Vikings are 7 ten, but that went back to the note and I just got a chuckle because he marked it important with like a red exclamation point so that I know to get back to him. We really needed to discuss this. I think the Vikings at 7 and ten is fine. I mean, they're gonna be so routine ten and 7 and 7 and ten. The best part about her has them at 8 and 9 and this is a fun one. He had the Vikings and Cardinals tied for the 7th seed. And someone, me, gets to sit here and go, oh, play each other. They did play each other this year and Connor randomly has the Cardinals beating the Vikings in God knows what week that is. 7. It's weak eye, according to the cells of this Google sheet. And so yeah, cardinals, the cardinals are going to sneak in as the 7 seat at 8 and 9, according to Connor in this fantasy season where nobody gets hurt and we know exactly how good all the teams are, the entire year. This time of year, there's so many predictions and I did a I did a radio station in Baltimore. I think it was Baltimore today. And they had the actual hard copy of the magazine out. And you know, sometimes mistakes happen, like last year, the NFL Draft, a mock draft was put into the issue with my byline on it, and I did not write it. It was not my mock draft. And former boss, Peter king called me and he's like, hey, Connor, like, you know, I love the way you did the mock draft, just like kind of going wild. And I was like, what are you talking about? And then he listed a few of the players that I was like, I never said that. And he's like, it's in the magazine. And I was like, what? Oh no. But so when we do the division records for the football preview issue, a lot of that is, I don't know what that is, but my bylines on some of it, Gary's bylines on some of it, you know, Albert's bylines on some of it. And so in Baltimore today, they were like, boy, I can't believe you have the Steelers finishing in last in the AFC north, and I was like, I don't have this steelers finishing last in the AFC north. I think there could be pretty good. And they're like, not according to the magazine we're holding, and I was like, God damn it. You know, we predict too many things, you know? We gotta streamline, you know? 272 games is enough, but that means we're gonna be right on some stuff. Yeah. That's true. Okay, we're about to have an unprecedented moment on this show. For the first time, never requested until now. More than four, but fewer than 6 questions. Mitch has volunteered to play. We have 5 questions for him here. The first person ever to ask, I was mostly asking if I should be prepared. But you know, listen, I want it. The last time I was on this podcast, I answered what you build as an impossible trivia question when you asked me to name the last player to have a plus. Jason Hansen out of my ass. That was my last appearance. So I'm all in. Give me the questions. I'll take it. I'll just slip that in here. Let's remind folks by the way. We're getting that I knew that already. Damn, I shouldn't have reminded you. Sounds like I'm gonna get fewer than four questions, maybe. Let's remind folks, by the way, the all time standings here, SI's college football writer, Richard Johnson, first place tie with 6 SI staff writer Rohan Ned Carney, first place tie was 6, and then goes down from there. Stephanie Epstein, our wonderful senior writer who covers baseball in the Olympics. 5 Peter king, former boss four, Charles McDonald of Yahoo sports, four, Jenny rentis, former colleague, and now superstar Porter at The New York Times, got a four. Andrew Brandt, former packers executive and business of sports columnist at the MM QB got a two. And Albert breer, our lovely senior writer, football, content strategist, mmm, writer, is last place with one. So as long as this is a lot of pressure, I didn't regret asking for this until you gave me the complete history of all time scores. The game is nicknamed beat breer. Yeah, I mean, that's basically what we tell guests is like, oh, don't worry, Albert got a one and everyone's like, oh, okay, and it really does take a lot of pressure off. It would be like, it'd be like going on, it'd be like going on American ninja warrior and right before, right before you go on, someone's like, hey, the guy in front of you made it two steps, his pants fell down, and then he fell into the water, and he couldn't swim so like an old lady had to pull him out. And then she gave him a wet Willy on national television. Then you'd be like, okay, well, I can't possibly go any worse than that, you know? Would that be mine? Let's start the clock, put three hours up there, Shelby, and let's see, I will do the odd questions and Connor, you do the evens. First

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