Posts Tagged ‘San Diego’

There are plenty of ways to rank cities, but Men’s Health seems to have come up with a new one.

On Monday, the mag came out with its list of the luckiest – and unluckiest – places in the U.S. and A. The criteria: lottery success, holes-in-one, lightning strikes, deaths by falling objects and betting gains.

My interest is not so much at the top of the list (San Diego, go figure) as the bottom. Fargo, N.D., comes in at 91st out of 100 and Sioux Falls is 96th. Yes, the two places I’ve lived during my adult life are amongst the most cursed in the country.

What to make of this aside from wondering if this might be might fault …

For starters, let’s not take this too seriously considering how well both cities – the largest and most progressive in their respective rural states – grade out in more important studies like best places to live and best places to conduct business. Plus, it’s hardly any wonder that the Dakotas would score poorly on a test conducted by a publication that’s all about abs.

But it is an interesting talking point in that it’s not something I’ve put a lot of thought into. Has my lot in life been negatively impacted by living in Fargo and Sioux Falls? For example, might my middle daughter not have died – the only real tragedy in my life – if I lived in a luckier place? I don’t buy that, especially given the level of health care available here. But I have often wondered if I’d be a happier and/or more productive person if I lived in, say, San Luis Obispo, Calif. Then again, that’s science, not luck.

More to the criteria, I’ve never won any money gambling and I haven’t lost any either. I’ve never had a hole-in-one, despite being (at one time) a serviceable golfer. I’ve also never been struck by lightning and haven’t been killed by anything let alone a falling object. Frankly, I’m don’t even know anyone who fits into those last two categories.

Upon further inspection, weather probably factors into the results in the sense that we play less golf than San Diegans due to the lack of suitable conditions and the smaller population base. So it stands to reason we’d score less aces. Same idea with the lightning storms – we have a limited lightning season.

As for the falling objects – maybe that has to with farm accidents? Because we certainly don’t have many 20-story buildings here.

Ultimately, the validity of the study boils down to this: How do you define luck? For example, I don’t bet or gamble. Ever. Hence the lack of gains and losses. Not because I’m morally opposed to it, it’s just not my thing. I’m not much of a risk-taker period. I think there’s something very Dakotan about that. We’re hard-working, God-fearing people, for the most part. We like to think that we have a certain amount of control over our lives, that’s we’re not just pawns in the universe, man.

So maybe that’s the real takeaway from this survey – the good people of Fargo and Sioux Falls aren’t as lucky in part because they put less stock in the concept of luck.

Then again, maybe people just weren’t meant to live on these frozen plains. My opinion on the matter is apt to change come January.

By Dan Frasier
Guest blogger

The rules have changed. Kickoffs have been officially made inconsequential. The NFL decided this offseason to move all kickoffs to the 35-yard line rather than kicking from the 30 like teams have for years. The move comes among a rash of rule changes aimed at making the NFL safer for current players. Kickoffs have been long regarded as one of the most dangerous plays in all of sports, as men of almost superhuman strength get a full head of steam and crash headlong into each other. To put that in perspective, two men running 4.3 40s headlong into each other is the kinetic equivalent to a 40 mph collision with a brick wall … without the car around you. So it is no wonder that the NFL has decided this is just too dangerous to keep in the game.

The question is, how will this affect the season? There has been a much ado about the implications for losing this exciting part of the game, and some vague referrences to reducing the relevancy of dynamic players like Josh Cribbs and Devin Hester, but I have heard little actual analysis as to what it means for specific teams. The most glaring winner under this new system seems to be the San Diego Chargers.

Last year, San Diego ranked last in the NFL in special teams play. Despite ranking first in both offense and defense, this special teams drag was enough to keep them out of the playoffs. So let’s look at what the implications of far fewer meaningful kick-off plays means to them.

According to the Football Outsiders, kickoffs and kick returns cost the Chargers 21 points relative to a team that was just average in those disciplines last year. Moreover, the cost relative to the team that was best at kickoff coverage and kick returns was more like a 48-point swing.

These disparities will all but go away in the new regime. Because a far higher percentage of kicks will result in touchbacks, there will be fewer and fewer opportunities for opponents to make the Chargers pay for sucking at those plays. It will also mean that there will be a far smaller reward for the teams that are good at them. In other words, it will pull everyone toward being average. When rules make us all average, the greatest gainers are those that are the worst and the greatest losers are those that are the best. In this way, the NFL has already gone much of the way to solving the Chargers special teams woes for them.

Imagine last years Chargers with an average special teams. Pretty daunting, huh? That may very well be what we are in for this season. If Rivers and the boys can come close to repeating last years performance on offense and defense, watch out for San Diego.

About the author: Frasier has become the defacto third member of Team TVFury. In fact, he gets paid just as much as TV and Fury.