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No such thing as margin of victory

Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson, center, celebrates with teammates, including Matt Shaughnessy (91), Tyrann Mathieu (32) and Calais Campbell (93), after intercepting a pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the fourth quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 29, 2013, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

During the NFL season, we constantly remind ourselves of the following: just because a team is close on the scoreboard that does not mean a team is close in the standings.

Look no further than the opposing sideline this past Sunday (which, by the way, was not in the direct Florida sunshine like the visiting sideline, as the pencilneck sideline radio guy felt like a slow-roasted rotisserie chicken by the time the Cards mounted a comeback late in the fourth quarter in Tampa).

To date, the Buccaneers have lost three games by a grand total of a half-dozen points. Simply add the Cards' 13-10 win to the fact that the Bucs lost their first two games by a combined three points. Ouch. #NoMath

In the NFL, the scoreboard might indicate that teams are on the verge of winning games, but objects in the rear view mirror are not closer than they appear.

"They're all going to be tough. They're all going to be tight," Bruce Arians said during our postgame radio interview when I asked him what the Cardinals might've learned in Tampa. "The game is played for 60 minutes and it doesn't matter really what goes on as long as you can maintain the chase that something good is going to happen. I thought the fourth quarter was some of the best football we've played all year. "

And that's how the Cardinals have overcome converting just two of 21 third down situations in their two wins to date. In some way, a team has to find a way. For example, Patrick Peterson paved with the way with a pair of picks.

(Note: Calvisi Consulting suggests that P-Twice needs to coin his own tongue-twister. "Patrick Peterson picked a peck of pickled pigskins. A peck of pickled pigskins Patrick Peterson pickedů" Hmmm.)

Anyway, the point here in pointing out that points are not the point is that, unless you're an absolute outlier on the data grid (Ex: Jacksonville), there is no such thing as margin of victory. It doesn't exist. At the very least, it doesn't matter.

About the Author

School: California

When you started with Bonneville Phoenix: KTAR/KMVP = 1998

Favorite sports memory: Phoenix Open 1997 - Sitting under the ropes at the 16th green and watching Tiger Woods tee off with a 9-iron. 152 yards and two bounces later...the hole-in-one results in an unmatched moment of bedlam and pandemonium. I'm still suffering from partial hearing loss.

Favorite all-time athlete: Barry Sanders. How can a guy my size make the rest of the NFL look so helpless and hapless? No such thing as an open-field tackle of Barry Sanders, not unless it's a gang tackle.

Favorite sports movies: Rocky - "He doesn't know it's a damn show. He thinks it's a damn fight!"

Gone in 60 Seconds - The Shelby Mustang has great measurables and is elusive in open field!


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