Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, January 01, 2021

Here’s a resolution for the new year: Get a Master’s of Business Administration degree. Because long-term professionally, you might not have a choice, as the MBA is quickly becoming a baseline standard.

It’s purely a numbers game, and when companies look at candidates’ credentials, an easy measuring stick is educational levels. Those who’ve gone that extra mile for an MBA (or any Master’s) are going to be perceived to have an edge, in terms of commitment to skills-set investment. It might not seem fair now, but I’m sure that, in the past, wielding a four-year college degree over the mainstream-standard high school diploma felt like a lopsided fight.

I think the part-time, or executive-oriented, MBA program is the best way to go, despite the amount of time it takes. Unless you can afford to take a couple of years off, it’s the most feasible route.

I’ve kicked around the idea of going back to school; as the years go by, it’s getting less and less likely. Mostly, I can’t justify going back without a specific focus of study. An MBA might be a good target, and drilling down to marketing or media studies would be appealing. But despite my current self-imposed downtime and reboot, I don’t see it happening.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/01/2021 04:29:25 PM
Category: Business, Society | Permalink | Feedback

Midway Games has been making a lot of noise over two of its recent sports game releases: Blitz: The League and NBA Ballers.

Both titles are something of a fusion of sports games with a Sims-like sensibility. The gameplay that happens on the field and the court is almost incidental; the portions that deal with characters’ extracurricular activities (barhopping, flashing that blingy-bling, etc.) are the meatier portions of both games. It’s basically a reality TV approach to videogaming, with infotainment reportage serving as the inspirational underpinnings.

Here’s what I find curious: While Blitz is the product of a loss of official NFL licensing for any football games not produced by Electronic Arts, Ballers is being produced as branded NBA merchandise. Throw in the fact that the creative force behind Blitz is Peter Egan, former writer for “Playmakers”the NFL’s series non grata — and it appears that the football boys are more concerned about keeping their images clean(er) than the NBA is about its rep.

It’s not completely cut and dried. The morphing of Blitz into a faux XFL experience came after the NFL cut off Midway and other game studios. The NFL wasn’t presented with the option of putting its seal of approval on an ultraviolent, negative-stereotype game; Midway went the extreme route because they needed that to replace the lost NFL/NFLPA cache. On the other hand, the NBA and its players’ union didn’t appear to have any qualms about officially sanctioning a game with fairly similar themes.

Basketball has always been seen as being more attuned to youth culture than the other major pro sports. Maybe this is another manifestation of that.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/01/2021 04:07:21 PM
Category: Football, Basketball, Videogames | Permalink | Feedback (1)

something wild
Last night, I happened to express to a fellow partygoer about how the playoff setup in the NFL is largely a bunch of padding: Wild cards pretty much never go anywhere, and are there solely to give division champions game action before the championship.

I wasn’t speaking with any hard numbers in mind, but it seemed to me that, historically, the NFL postseason has been much less of a random affair than that of the NHL, NBA and MLB. It’s far likelier to see a lower-seeded team go deep into the playoffs in those other sports — perhaps even all the way to a championship. But in the NFL, it just doesn’t happen; a first-round upset, maybe, but that’s it.

Turns out I wasn’t imagining things. Joanne Korth has crunched the numbers, and confirms that non-division winners start out behind the 8-ball, and stay there:

Since the 12-team format went into effect in 1990, 180 playoff teams have sought 30 Super Bowl slots. The 60 teams seeded first or second, those with first-round byes, filled 25. The 60 teams seeded third or fourth, those with first-round home games, filled five.

Even I can do that math.

The 60 teams seeded fifth or sixth have never made it to the Super Bowl. Only two, the Colts in 1995 and Jaguars in 1996, won two games to reach the conference title game.

Seeding is everything.

I guess this realization was part of the reason why I don’t think much of the entire NFC’s Super Bowl chances this year. But that extends to the AFC’s wild card entrants as well. Simply put, the higher-ranked teams are that much better than the rest of the pack, and the extra week of rest and preparation they get enhances that edge.

It’d be interesting to see if expansion to the NFL playoffs, where eight teams per conference would eliminate postseason byes and force the top teams to play all the way through, wouldn’t shake up this predictability. I have a feeling it would, as that’s how the other sports’ playoffs work. I don’t know that it would result in many No. 8-beating-No. 1 upsets, but it would take something out of the top seeds as they go to the next round, where upsets would become more likely.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/01/2021 12:50:51 PM
Category: Football | Permalink | Feedback (6)

With all due respect to Dick Clark’s post-stroke comeback on “New Year’s Rockin’ Eve”: Did anyone else think he was looking rather animatronic last night? I half thought I was watching (couldn’t hear it where I was) something out of EPCOT Center

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 01/01/2021 12:24:03 PM
Category: TV, Celebrity | Permalink | Feedback