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Sunday NFL Thoughts: Boston Championships, Touchdown Celebrations, and One-Score Games

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1. Boston is the most successful sports city of the past 50 years. Enjoy and revel in the fact that the 90s were really the only dark age for the city, and the Patriots made a Super Bowl, the Bruins made a Stanley Cup in '89-'90 and a few conference finals, the Red Sox made a few conference finals, and the Celtics were riding the post-Larry Bird years until they made the conference finals in '01-'02.

So when the Patriots have made five-straight AFC Championship games, but happen to fall short in a couple, take solace in the fact that the odds are pretty great that another Boston franchise will be competing for a title. In fact, in each of the past ten years, a team from Boston has made the Final Four of their respective league, and 2000 is the last time the city didn't have a team in the final eight of their league.

Season
Patriots Red Sox Celtics Bruins
2015-16 Final Four
2014-15 CHAMPS Final Sixteen
2013-14 Final Four CHAMPS Final Eight
2012-13 Final Four Final Sixteen Final Two
2011-12 Final Two Final Four Final Sixteen
2010-11 Final Eight Final Eight CHAMPS
2009-10 Final Twelve Final Eight Final Two Final Eight
2008-09 Final Four Final Eight Final Eight
2007-08 Final Two CHAMPS CHAMPS Final Sixteen
2006-07 Final Four
2005-06 Final Eight Final Eight
2004-05 CHAMPS CHAMPS Final Sixteen No Season
2003-04 CHAMPS Final Four Final Sixteen Final Sixteen
2002-03 Final Eight Final Sixteen
2001-02 CHAMPS Final Four Final Sixteen
2000-01
1999-00 Final Four
1998-99 Final Twelve Final Eight Final Eight
1997-98 Final Eight Final Sixteen
1996-97 Finals

2. One-score games are an interesting measure for a team's projected success because it's hard to win close games on a regular basis. A team that's usually a .500 team that goes .800 in single-score games in a one-off season will likely see a retraction back down to .500 the subsequent season.

For example, the Patriots went 6-3 in one-score games, which is to be expected- or even below expectations- for a team that wins 75% of games on a regular basis. This points to the Patriots bad luck in eithers Broncos game, or against the Eagles game with crazy kick returns and fumbles.

The Panthers (7-1 in one-score games) and Cardinals (5-1) are two teams with a big chance to retract in 2016, while the Broncos (9-3) and Patriots (6-3) are more in line with their expected winning rate.

On the flip side, the Cowboys (2-6), Giants (3-8), Seahawks (2-5), Ravens (5-9), and Packers (3-4) seem to be ideal candidates to bounce back in 2016.

3. Redditor Thadestal did some research and found out that Lions quarterback Matt Stafford was the first quarterback to complete 60% or more of their passes in a full 16 game season.

I can't be the only one completely floored by this. First off, how the heck did Drew Brees or Peyton Manning or Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers not have this record on lock? Apparently only 8 quarterbacks completed 60% or better in 15 games prior to 2015 (Russell Wilson met this mark in 2015):

Tony Romo (2014)

Philip Rivers (2013)

Matt Ryan (2012)

Drew Brees (2011)

Peyton Manning (2003, 2009)

Daunte Culpepper (2004)

Kurt Warner (2001)

I guess this record was set to fall with four separate quarterbacks hitting the mark in four straight years.

But secondly, how the heck was it Matt Stafford that broke this mark? How is he the first? I would've expected Wilson, or Brady, or even Carson Palmer to do it this year.

But Stafford?

4. Seahawks safety Earl Thomas wants to be able to celebrate. The league should really listen.

I'm not talking about Joe Horn with a cell phone types of celebration, but let the players have fun. Let Chad Johnson putt the football with the pylon. You want to know who dislikes touchdown celebrations? Let's break it down with Public Policy Polling data.

In total, 57% of fans approve of "touchdown celebration dances", versus just 27% that disapprove. 16% are undecided.

It's not an ideology issue, as the majority of both those that identity as "very liberal" and "very conservative" approve of touchdown dances.

Race isn't an issue as the majority of every racial demographic approves.

Gender isn't an issue as women approve of touchdown dances at 71%-17% and, while the margin is smaller, 45% of men approve versus 37% that disapprove.

You know the only demographic that dislikes touchdown dances? Those older than 65 years of age approve at a mere 32%, versus 43% of that range that disapproves. That's the only group.

Of the other age ranges, 59% of those 46-65 approve, 68% of those 30-45 approve, and 64% of those 18-29 approve.

You might better know these age demographics as the future support of the league.

The rule change was passed in 2006 with a 29-3 vote by the owners. The three owners that dissented were Jerry Jones of the Cowboys, Jeff Lurie of the Eagles, and then the Glazers of the Buccaneers. Jones and Lurie are the cornerstone of the "New Money" ownership bloc that have the greater group of owners in a tizzy.

While they're wrong on many other topics, they're right on this issue.

5. Add some more big names to the list. Running back Marshawn Lynch, defensive back Charles Woodson, linebacker Jerod Mayo, and (supposedly) wide receiver Calvin Johnson will be joined in retirement by pass rusher Jared Allen and tight end Heath Miller.

There are now fewer than 50 non-quarterback or special teams players that started their careers in 2005 or before (yes, I know that Woodson is the only one that counts from my aforementioned list). It wouldn't be a surprise if that tally dropped to 40 or fewer before the start of the 2016 season. Clock's tickin'.