Farside Football Pool | Wrapup for the 2010 Season

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Hello everyone

Well, I ran through the weekly and seasonal winners in the early results email. To reiterate, it goes like this:

In the Family Pool, my Iowa sister Ann Kendell won the week with 121 points followed by Mary DeHate and Dave Mullen with 117 points and Dale Williams with 113. Last place went to Weddell Boys et al with 71 points. Seasonally, my lovely wife Karla Cole won the Family Pool with 1,437 points followed by John Petek with 1,418 and Katie Kostman with 1,392. Coming in last was Molly Driscoll with 1,112 points. You know Molly, I thought you'd do better than that!

In the High Stakes Pool, Pete Keffer won the week with 124 points followed by John Carr with 123 points and Neil Tobiason with 122. Last place went to Lorraine Plander et al with 67 points. Seasonally, Leslie Lundt won the High Stakes Pool with 1,450 points followed by Ken Schneider in second with 1,436 and Jon Haskin with 1,429. Last place for the season went to Jim Wheeler with 1,116 points.

So, how'd this all work out for money for various folks?

As a quick reminder, when you joined the pool you paid $1 a week for the 17 weeks of the season plus $5 for the season-ending pot. The weekly prize was $1 X the number of participants, 53 for most of the season in the Family Pool after a couple of weeks of 52 (Nate Hall joined after the beginning of the season). The season ending pot is the 52 full-season participants X the $5 end of season pots, or $260, which is split 50/30/20 between the 1st, 2nd and 3rd highest cumulative scores on the season. In the High Stakes Pool, all these numbers are doubled; it's $2 a week plus $10 end of season pot, also with 52 full-season participants, for $520 split 50/30/20. Note that I retain nothing; everything taken in is paid out. I participate in both pools and have the same chance of winning as anyone else, and this season won one week in the Family Pool. Longtime Farside participants know that I went for years without a win, around 20 years in this pool and prior iterations run by myself or others. If you want to see how people have done over time, you can read A History of Winning for the Family Pool or A High Stakes History of Winning for the High Stakes Pool.

In the Family Pool, we had 53 participants most of season. This meant the weekly prize was $53, after a couple of weeks of being $52. From among this group we had 17 different winners. Longtime Farside enthusiasts know that you can track the 2010 Money Winnings for the Family Pool but if you're too lazy to look yourself I can summarize it for you. The big winner this year, to her family's surprise and sometime distress, was second-year participant Kathy Haskin who, despite finishing 17th on the season, won three separate weeks for a total take of $158. Second in the money stakes was my wife, Karla Cole, who didn't win a single week but came through with first prize on the season worth $130. Funny thing about Karla and I; we met through a personal ad, one she ran and the only one I ever answered, in which she said she was "SWF, 26, likes classical music and football". That was 25 years ago, she got 72 responses (she hung around with lots of good-looking, nice-smelling, smart, witty, attractive guys who, like many male Music majors, were gay, and she was getting bored with them), picked me, and well, here we are. She still likes classical music and, despite a studied disinterest in football since Tom Landry stopped coaching her hometown Cowboys (well, she's from Fort Worth), she still managed to get in front early and then hold on to her position all season long. I can't tell you how annoying this is to Great Football Minds like myself, a solid tenth on the season.

Lee Arvold comes next, winning Weeks 4 and 6 for $106 total. Then comes John Petek, frustrated in his quest to win a week but a solid performer each cycle, coming in second to Karla for the season for a $78 prize. Next, it's a heap o' weekly winners at $53; Geneva Cole (my lovely daughter, who won her week doing a panicky last-minute entry at church directly on my iPhone), Teri Carr (part of the extensive Carr/Mullen/Haskin family unit), the young Weddell boys and their father Christopher Weddell, me, Mike Sedwick, Steve Ruzek, Steve Benson, my sister Ann Kendell, and Cindy James. Early in the season, before mid-season joiner Nate Hall joined, the prize was only $52, and was won by weekly winners Dave Mullen and Mary Ross as well as seasonal third-place participant Katie Kostman.

Seventeen out of 53 isn't bad, about one in three, which is about right for my pools. A concern for many new participants is that you have to know a lot to win in the pool, but among our winners were Mike Sedwick (ranked dead last the week he won), Cindy James (ranked 42nd), Geneva Cole (47th at the time of her win) and the young Weddell Boys (ranked 33rd at the time of their win, ended the season at 50th). Lee Arvold won twice, and ended the season ranked 33rd. To win the season you usually have to have some idea about what's going on but week to week the pool bounces as irregularly as an actual football and the winner can be a surprise. This season, oddly enough, none of the top three seasonal winners won a single week at all. It's happened before, but it's not common. Finally, in this pool, nobody had a perfect week.

In the High Stakes Pool we had 52 participants (we had a 53rd for a couple of weeks early in the season, but she dropped out) meaning the weekly prize was $104 after a couple of weeks of being $106. The big winner for the season was Leslie Lundt who took Seasonal first place for $260. First year participant Larry Daniels, an old high school classmate of mine, assuaged the pain of rooting for his hometown Cleveland Browns by winning two weeks for $208. Ken Schneider is next in the money rankings, taking Seasonal 2nd place for $156. Paul Vigliaturo and my Kentucky sister Elizabeth Cole both won $106, Weeks 1 and 2 before our 53rd participant dropped out, then Dawn Murphy, Devin Ward, Alex Schneider, Paul Merwin, Sharon Exel, Jim Wheeler, Sue Keffer, John Carr, Lisa Johnson, Jim Biller, Dave Reimer, Alan Wenker, Pete Keffer and Jon Haskin all won $104, Jon Haskin by taking seasonal 3rd place, everyone else by winning a week.

Larry was the only multiple winner, giving us 19 winners of the potential 20 prizes (17 weeks, 3 seasonal places). Not only that, but Larry had the only perfect week of the season, Week 9, when he got all 13 games right including, amazingly, his Browns' victory over New England and the Vikings' win despite having just been deprived of the services of itinerant superstar Randy Moss. Some seasons go by without any perfect weeks, and the last perfect 16 game week was by John Hylle in 2005, it's amazingly difficult to do. On the other hand, in the 14-game Week 5 of the 2006 season, not only did North Korea set of a nuclear bomb, not only did Green Bay lose on a Favre fumble, but we had a six-way tie for first place in the Family Pool and six more who missed just one point.

So Matt, you say, astounded, how do you have such perfect recall of John Hylle's mid-season 2005 performance? I don't. I refer to the Farside archives, found low on this page. This is the same page that always has the current season's full set of entry sheets, regenerated every week, links to plots of dots, etc., and on which I keep the prior season's summary files. Once these things are generated, it's no big deal to maintain the links to them so future Farside scholars will have a treasure trove of data to use in writing their theses.

In the Farside Pools we have several Family Units, and in certain circles the competition between family members can be quite keen and the discussions of each others' performances highly critical. We're all about encouraging family interaction! Studies show that family dinners around the table are good for kids, and we're all about encouraging the development of America's youth here even if the discussions end up with plates being thrown and carving knives brandished.

Even though there are two pools, they score identically so it doesn't matter if a family is spread between two pools. My own family, The Coles & Kendells, for instance, is in both pools. My lovely wife Karla was the biggest scorer at 1,437 thanks to her first place finish in the Family Pool and the resulting $130 prize. My sister Ann Kendell was next, at 1,388, 5th in the Family Pool thanks to her Week 17 win to close the season, worth $53; then there's me, twice, High Stakes Matt at 1,369 and no wins and Family Matt at 1,367 and $53. I do separate entries for each pool and like to think that they are independently chosen, but at only 2 points apart after 17 weeks my football choosing mental processes are clearly not independent. Next up is my nephew Andrew Kendell, at 1,357, my son Henry Cole at 1,275, my Kentucky sister Liz Cole at 1,239 in the High Stakes Pool (50th place but she won in the first two weeks for $106), my lovely daughter Geneva Cole at 1,236 and an unlikely weekly win for $53, and finally my niece Sarah Kendell at 1,215.

The High Stakes Pool generally has a tighter score distribution, so Liz's 1,239 was 50th place but Geneva's 1,236 in the Family Pool was good for 40th.

Next up is the Johnsons. Dan is the main link here (he's my boss) and has added a bunch of family over the years, all of whom reside in the High Stakes Pool. Dan may be regretting this expansion, as he came in last of the 9 Johnson Family Complex participants. Ken Schneider did best based on his 2nd place score in the High Stakes Pool with its $156, followed by Dan's father in law Kent Musser at 1,410, Dan's son Chase at 1,375, mother-in-law Carol Musser at 1,343, wife Julie Johnson at 1,325, nephew Alex Schneider at 1,323 and a $104 weekly win, brother-in-law Dan and his son Chad both at 1,313 and finally poor old Dan at 1,295.

The Arvolds are longtime participants. Son Neil Arvold got the highest score at 1,362 followed by dad (and co-worker of mine) Jeff at 1,338, other son Lee at 1,285 but also $104 based on two weekly wins and finally mom Marianne at 1,284. Funny that Lee and Marianne ended up just a point apart, but one season yielded two wins.

The Running Ross sisters group got bigger this year. The hook here is Jennifer Weddell, who used to work at COUNTRY. Jennifer's husband Chris was new this season and had the best overall score at 1,330 plus a weekly win at $53. Sister Shannon Swanson was next at 1,323 followed by other sister Mary Ross at 1,315 and $52 in winnings. Then there's Jennifer herself at 1,309 and finally her and Chris's boys, who played a joint entry, at 1,183 (50th place) and a surprise win for $53. Not bad, five entries in the family complex and three of them have wins!

The winningest family this year is Teri & the Mullens. Teri Carr is the link here, one of the original participants when I came to MSI Insurance, the predecessor company for the COUNTRY Financial Central Region, and wrapping up her 14th season. Jon Haskin (Teri's brother in law) had the best score at 1,429 and $104 from his third-place position in the High Stakes pool followed by Teri's husband John Carr at 1,415 and $104 from a weekly win. Not being siblings, they were relegated to the High Stakes Pool. The other five are all brothers and sisters; Teri at 1,373 and $53 from a weekly win, newcomer Dave Mullen at 1,359 and $52 from a weekly victory, second-year Kathy Haskin at 1,344, just 17th place in the Family Pool, but with $158 in winnings from three separate weekly wins, then Jenny Mullen at 1,316 and brother Chris Mullen at 1,302.

The Hofers didn't win anything this year. Nancy, as usual, outscored Chad 1,391 to 1,230, but no wins for these 14-season participants. Nancy has been a pretty consistent winner over the years and came close this year, scoring 1,391 points on the season, 1 point back from Katie Kostman in the money-paying 3rd place in the Family Pool.

My grade school/high school/college/best man/house paintin'/kitchen renovatin'/bike ridin' buddy Paul Salamon got 1,322 while his surprisingly deep-voiced son Karl got 1,321. I guess Paul's still the alpha male in the household. Paul's in the High Stakes Pool while Karl is in the Family Pool.

The Hylands are another one-point family; husband Patrick got 1,320 to wife Vickie's 1,310. Vickie sits right across the aisle from me and is a big Kansas City Chiefs fan so is probably in mourning now given KC's lame performance in this playoff game.

Scott Sherman got 1,340 to wife Laurie's 1,230. Laurie was the assistant principal at the school where Karla taught music part time for a couple of years, an experience she found miserable.

The Driscoll clan came away with no victories. Brother Brian did best, at 1,352, followed by sister Amy at 1,306, Amy's husband and Australian person Dale Williams at 1,277, their son Christopher Williams at 1,219 and then Amy's sister Molly at 1,112, 52nd and last ranked place in the Family Pool. (Nate Hall joined mid-season, and mid-season joiners don't get ranked). We know this lot from our time at Saint Mary's, where Amy sang in choir. Oddly enough, Molly came to St. Mary's as well when she moved back from Tennessee and it turned out she was big high school buddies with existing Farsider Sue Keffer, once a co-worker of mine at MSI Insurance but now out in Maryland.

Speaking of the Keffers, they did well. Sue had the better seasonal score, at 1,346 to brother Pete's 1,265, but both won a week for $104.

Leslie Lundt, a psychiatrist married to a college chum of mine, did the best in her family unit based on her 1,450 point, first-place performance in the High Stakes Pool with its $260 prize. Her sons Pierce Lundt (at 1,364) and Mick Sheedy (1,294) didn't score as well or win anything this season.

The Reopelles I've never met. Son Nathan works (worked?) with Pete Keffer, who I've met once, brother of Sue Keffer who I worked with up until 2001. Nathan's dad Dennis scored better, 1,378 points good for 8th place in the Family Pool to Nathan's 1,309 and 29th place. Neither won anything this season.

The Ruzeks did well. Daughter and new mom Katie Kostman scored 1,392, good for 3rd place and $52 without any weekly wins while her dad Steve Ruzek got 1,359 for 12th place and $53 from a weekly win along the way. Steve is the Field Claims guy at work and he and Dan Johnson and Teri Carr and myself usually eat lunch out a couple of times a week. In the insurance business, the Claims guys always have the best stories.

The Saint Mary's crowd dates back to Saint Mary's Episcopal church and includes most of the Driscoll clan plus some more. Amy did best here (1,306)(brother Brian doesn't attend there so Amy ascends to top spot) followed by husband and Australian person Dale Williams 1t 1,277, then alto Cindy James at 1,239 and a weekly win for $53, Dale and Amy's son Christopher Williams for 1,210, handsome tenor Jim Wheeler at 1,116, good for 52nd and last place in High Stakes Pool but with a weekly win for $104.00 and then Molly Driscoll at 1,112, good for 52nd and last ranked place in the Family Pool. After Saint Mary's, we were at Saint Luke's in Minneapolis for 5 years but don't have a cluster there, just Mike Sedwick, and now Karla's at Saint Christopher's in Roseville (nice and close to home) and we haven't got around inviting anybody in yet, have to see if they are worthy.

A new grouping this year is Valley High Alumni, people who graduated from VHS in West Des Moines, Iowa. Like me. Top dog here was my sister Ann Kendell (1979) at 1,388 points and $53, grade school/high school/college chum and psychiatrist Dr. Mark Preston (1975) at 1,374, High Stakes Matt (1975) at 1,369, Family Matt (1975) at 1,367, Cleveland resident and driving force behind Class of '75 reunions Larry Daniels (1975) at 1,337 and $208 from two weekly wins, grade school etc. chum Paul Salamon (1975) at 1,322, high school /college/biking chum and Saint Louis resident Bob Foote (1977) at 1,259 and finally my Kentucky sister Liz Cole (1983) at 1,239 and $106 from a weekly win. Go Tigers!

Finally, there's Rom and his chums. Rom used to work at MSI Insurance, married another actuary (not uncommon, see, for instance, Patrick and Vickie Hyland) then moved to Seattle. Rom's got his own little cell of Farsiders out west, mostly in the Seattle area. Rom's co-worker Scott Miller leads this pack with 1,399, followed by Paul Vigliaturo (back here in the Cities, used to have a side bet with Rom based on the Farside season scores) at 1,37 and $106 from an early-season High Stakes win, Scott's girlfriend Sharon McCarty at 1,366, Scott's mom and San Diego resident Jean Tyler at 1,361, Rom (more properly, Romula Deo-Campo Vuong) at 1,356 and co-worker of Rom Joe Muller at 1,322. Paul Vigliaturo was the only money winner among this lot.

This of course was a soap-opera-like year for the Vikings. Before the season even started, three players went down to plead with Brett Favre to come back and play again, to recapture the magic of last season, which ended in a tight loss to the eventual Super Bowl winning New Orleans Saints (subsequently discovered to have been engaged in Bountygate, paying rewards to hurt opposing players, including pounding Favre) in the NFC Championship game. It was quite a performance for a 40-year old quarterback. You wouldn't think a year would make a difference, but the Vikings's season was a shambles this year. Favre had a horrible year, ranked 28th in the league by the end of the season. Along the way we saw Randy Moss come to the Vikes, briefly, acquired from New England for a third-round draft pick, hey, that was savvy, and he only lasted four weeks before being released and going to languish with the Tennessee Titans for the rest of the season. Coach Brad Childress was fired mid-season. Favre was tainted by accusations of tawdry behavior during his season with the New York Jets, texting junky pictures to a fetching young lass, shall we say, and was eventually fined late in the season by the NFL for failing to cooperate with the investigation. After the fifth-biggest blizzard in Twin Cities history (since 1891, anyway, when records start), the Metrodome collapsed. The Vikes played one "home" game in Detroit and another outside in the new University of Minnesota TCF Bank stadium, then had another game (in Philly) moved from Sunday night to the first Tuesday night NFL game since 1946, which they surprisingly won, before closing out the season with Favre injured and in undisputed last place in the NFC North since Les Steckel's 1984 Vikes. There are two contrasting Brett Favre stats that stand out at the end of this season and the presumed end of his career; this was only the second losing season in his twenty year career, amazingly good. But, in all the time since he led the Green Bay Packers to their Super Bowl win in 1996, he's only won three playoff games, which surprise me, given his reputation.

The Vikings are at a crossroads. Their lease at the collapsed Metrodome ends after next year. At this point, it's not clear what will happen next year in the NFL generally, with no labor agreement in place and the real threat of a strike or lockout shortening or cancelling the season. The lack of clarity means the Vikes probably won't bid aggressively to retain their many free agents. The quarterback situation is unresolved and the Vikings would do well to break their habit of taking in the aging flotsam of other teams. The ownership is seeking a new stadium at a time when the state of Minnesota is faced with a $6 billion deficit for the next budget biennium. This was the Vikings' 50th anniversary season, and they have been the favorite sports team locally for most of that time, but the future isn't clear right now and the season was a fizzle after the excitement and promise of last year. Teams go through this kind of thing, and the Vikings have long been a source of some frustration and agony dating back to their four Super Bowl losses. Emotions vary locally from "do anything to keep them" to "don't let the door hit you in the ass", with the latter folks assuming Los Angeles would be the destination. We'll see what happens.

In the meantime, enjoy the playoffs, have a great Farside offseason, and I'll be in touch next August!


Created on ... August 16, 2012