NFL.com and various official sites of official NFL clubs discovered sometime last year that they can drag football fans to their websites by offering up (official) polls which supposedly impact (official) awards that fans care about (somewhat) officially.
Naturally, turning these awards into popularity contests waged between fans of various teams sort of sucks the integrity out of them like Steve Heiden sucked the enthusiasm out of Packer fans last Sunday.
Of course, we're wise enough to know that this is just a cynical exploitation of fan loyalties serving the greater strategy of the NFL's internet land-grab*
But, geez, they're just really hard to resist.
It's okay. We're here to help.
Here's a convenient rationalization for participating: Note that the possible problem here is that uninformed fans voting mindlessly for players from their favorite team could create numbskull choices (witness: just about any starting lineup of just about any MLB All-Star game).
Clearly, well-informed fans (e.g., you and me) should participate to help undo the damage created by less-informed fans (e.g., everyone else).
When I cast my ballot, I voted, coolly and wisely, for players of my choice. I'm too smart to be a noob sucked in to a transparent traffic generating scheme, so I had to cancel out those who were. I, uh, voted because, um, it was important that I vote.
(Sigh) I'm such a tool.
Anyhow, in case you're as weak-willed as I am, here are three of these polls that might be of interest:
Currently, Braylon Edwards is running against such heavy hitters as the Vikings' punter and Bears QB Kyle Orton. In addition, he's running against Cadillac Williams, who is currently kicking his butt in the poll by a tally of 79% to 12%. That's ridiculous enough to swallow hard and cast a vote, so I did. Williams also won in Week 1, proving that the fans in Tampa Bay really like voting in polls, if nothing else.
Here's where to go: NFL.com/Diet Pepsi Rookie of the Diet Pepsi Week Voting
Here's where to go: Player of the Week Voting (presented by FedEx)
Man, I wish we had some corporate sponsors like these. Anyone want to be our corporate sponsor? We'd give you a hat.
3. Browns Legends Voting
The Browns have a group of Browns Legends that they honor each year. A player or coach from each decade the team has existed is selected, and honored with a plaque on the wall outside of Cleveland Browns Stadium. Bernie's up there, along with Paul Warfield, Jim Brown, Paul Brown, and 25 or so others.
This year's poll includes some great names, including two who have graced this site: the late Eddie Johnson and current blogger Bernie Parrish.
The team has graciously allowed fans to vote in this poll, which at least gives us little folk a voice.
According to the team, the fan vote is weighted at 20% and a panel of experts is weighted at 80%. That panel is composed of very knowledgeable guys: Dino Lucarelli, Reggie Rucker, Casey Coleman, Jim Donovan, Tony Grossi, Joe Horrigan, Hal Lebovitz, Terry Pluto, Steve Sabol, and Pat McManamon.
So, that's 10 experts, who count for 80% collectively. Each expert counts for 8% of the final tally.
Let's assume that 20,000 fans vote in the poll. Then assume that a couple of people stack the poll by doing the normal things that people can do to systems designed to stop multiple voting. They add another 2,000 votes.
The cheaters eat up 2% of our 20%, leaving those other 20,000 of us counting for 18% of the total. Therefore each of us who cast an honest ballot are worth .0009% of the total result.
Now, if I'm doing my math right, that says that 1 Tony Grossi = 8,888 Barry McBride(s).
Now, I've met Tony Grossi. I've stood beside him and watched practice. I can tell you that, at least by volume, I'm probably 120% of Grossi. He's got some height, but I've got him whupped by sheer bulk. There's no way that one Tony Grossi equals nearly 9,000 of me.
NFL clubs? They think they're clever, but they're not. The Browns have clearly screwed this up.
Next year, we should all insist that the team weight the voting by cubic volume.
Oh, by the way, click here to cast your Legends vote.
* See, if the NFL just cared about fan participation and not just the hits, they would make the code for the poll form available to all webmasters so that the polls could be run everywhere. I could run the poll right here on our forums! Ra! Of course, they don't do that. I've asked. Big surprise, eh?