Pythagoras and the Seahawks

Around 2,500 years ago, a lunatic Ionian with a penchant for ascribing mystical properties to numbers founded a cult. Because apparently he did some good things for #math, we have remembered him (though less of his mysticism and lunacy): Pythagoras. And, because clearly sports are more important than math, his name has been immortalized in its most significant form: the Pythagorean (win) expectation.

Being honest, I’m not sure what to make of the Seahawks right now. Being more honest, I’m in truth not sure if Pythagoras has anything to do with the win expectation, save that both are weird. Extrapolating the Seahawks’ current points scored to points surrendered comparison, they’re a 9-win team. And here, what the brain imagines matches, to a degree, what the eye sees: 4 of their 5 losses were single score affairs (the 5th was an 8 point game, and so technically still in that same category), in which the Seahawks had a strong theoretical possibility of winning. That they lost all of them seems, in some sense, like dumb fucking luck. And reversing the outcome of even one of those games would make this experience seem vastly different.

But on the other hand, this characterization also seems like the worst kind of Carrollogy — if only we would’ve had another quarter, another minute, another play. As Carroll well knows, we never do. Setting aside the profounder questions of why, the Seahawks have their 4-5 record, which is the record of a team that, on the face of it, is not great. It’s also worth pointing out that, for what seems like the first time in a while, the Seahawks appear less able to mount successful game-winning drives, and that, also unlike the past, all of their victories have come after taking a sizable lead in the beginning of the game.

Expectations say more about ourselves than they do about our targets. But, setting aside the extent to which Carroll and Schotty also love to ascribe mystical properties to numbers and inspire a cult-like devotion to them, based on at least one metric, it’s not unreasonable to wonder why the Seahawks aren’t a better team.

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