Eliminator pools, penalty kicks and a bunch of pissed off Portuguese

There are two schools of thought when it comes to NFL eliminator pools.

For those of you who don’t know, when it comes to sports betting, eliminator pools are perhaps the most entertaining way to gamble on the NFL season.  Each week, participants choose one team to win that particular Sunday.  There are no point spreads.  All your team has to do is win.  If they do, you advance but are unable to pick that team again for the rest of the year.  If they lose, you’re done for the season while your friends play on.  Last man standing wins.

Now… back to the two schools of thought.   One is survive and advance.  There’s no sense saving good teams like the Patriots, Packers or whoever happens to be solid that year, for the later weeks.  Pick ‘em early and move on.  The opposing school of thought prefers to save the dominant teams for the later rounds when you might need them.

I adhere to the first school of thought.  If the Packers or Pats are up against what’s as close to a sure thing as possible, I’m taking them.  There are no guarantees you’ll even make it to the later rounds, so pick and pick wisely.

Something similar happened in the Ukraine on Wednesday, some six thousand miles away, where nary an NFL fan exists.

I’m no soccer expert but I’m pretty sure if I managed a team that featured the best player in the world, I’d want him on the field.  Not so much in Portugal’s case.  At the end of two overtimes, with the scored tied at zero, Spain and Portugal lined up for penalty kicks with a trip to the Euro 2012 Finals on the line.  High stakes soccer.  As it turned out, Ronaldo, perhaps the game’s greatest player, did not shoot a PK for Portugal.

Since I don’t really follow soccer, I don’t know whether it was the coach’s decision or Ronaldo’s own to slate him fifth, where it was certainly possible he might not be needed, just like saving the Patriots for Week 17.  Hours after the decision, many of us remained dumbfounded, unsure why Ronaldo was slated last.  In the end, he didn’t get to shoot at all.  Spain scored their fourth of five kicks, eliminating the need for Ronaldo to even line up.  Anywhere else in the world, coaches get fired for this… or worse.  As we’ve learned, in certain parts of the globe, soccer screw-ups are not taken lightly.

As a result of this inexplicable Portu-gaffe, Spain advanced to the Euro Finals, the foot of the game’s greatest player remaining unused and the tear ducts of millions of Portuguese welling with emotion.

I asked my most knowledgeable, soccer fans friends (all three of them, this is the United States after all) how something like this could come to pass.  They were all “pretty sure” Ronaldo could have taken that fourth shot with his country down three penalty kicks to two.  But he didn’t.  If I were Portuguese, I’d be pissed.

I’ve tried to compare the Ronaldo situation to other bone-headed moves in sports history.  McNamara not replacing Bill Buckner with Dave Stapleton in 1986, Chris Webber calling a time out with none left in the 1993, Leon Lett trying to pick up an icy football on Thanksgiving Day that same year and the Detroit Lions opting to kick off rather than receive in overtime in 2002 all came to mind.  But none compared to not having your best player on the floor in crunch time.  It would be like Erik Spoelstra deciding not to play LeBron in the waning minutes of a Finals game.

Heads will probably roll in Portugal as soccer analysts will try to make sense of what transpired, likely blasting both Ronaldo and the coach.  If someone can make some sense out of this, please let me know as surviving and advancing is generally more my style.

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28 Replies to “Eliminator pools, penalty kicks and a bunch of pissed off Portuguese”

  1. Pingback: Eliminator pools, penalty kicks and a bunch of pissed of Portuguese - BallHyped, Soccer | BallHyped Sports Blogs

  2. Cristian Ronaldo earns with endorsements in excess of $35 million a year but when his team needed him the most this pu$$y leaves them hanging like a sail in the wind .

    The Portuguese are like the French …….. they have no goddamn spine !

    Speaking of gaffes what the f$$k was that ump’ in the game (Indians & Yankees ) thinking when he didn’t reverse his decision about the catch ? Here’s a fan telling him he caught the ball and that the Yankees’ fielder didn’t catch the ball . But yet this as#$hole chooses to ignore the fans and those saying that it wasn’t catch . Never mind the fact that he failed to question the player as to whether or not he had caught the ball .

    Tv replay in all aspects of baseball is needed now ….. not five years from now or on an incremental basis . What era is the game in , the ” frigging dark ages “ ? . If you have the technology there , then why the hell won’t they use it ?

    Is Selig that much of a friggin’ as#hole ?

    What Is In An Arm ?

    Let me know your thoughts on the following ? I think you’ll find it interesting concerning the subject matter .

  3. Al….

    I have a feeling that Portugal loss is going to sting for a while. And with Germany bounced, the Portuguese had a legitimate shot at a world title, had they not screwed things up.

    Yeah, man, I love how everyone is getting on the Yankee outfielder when it’s actually the ump who screwed the pooch. Really? You’re not going to check to see if he has the ball in his glove? That’s why we need instant replay, Al. Because the umps are bone-headed and are too lazy to do their jobs.

  4. Chris

    Ronaldo is a stifling lil’ sh#t who rarely turns it on when it matters most . And when it comes to national pride the Portuguese player has none !

    As to the ump in the Indians/Yankees’ game why he hasn’t been suspended by MLB hierarchy is a question that everyone should be asking .! Can you imagine if that had been a series’ deciding incident of a championship game ?

    Bud Selig and his lame a#sed subordinates are a joke and so too are apathetic fools who feel that this game still has redeemable qualities about it .

    See my piece on the Falcons’ Matt Ryan and this latest piece Pats’ owner Robert Kraft . The NFL owner desires to see an NFL franchise up and running in Europe , preferably in the city of London as part of the league within a decade . As much as I love the Pats this is the sort of stupidity that the NFL can do without . NFL Europe tens of millions of dollars as an operation and there’s a reason why the league folded the operation . Now Kraft will week elicit Goodell’s help in making it happen .

    Kraft …. Dodgers and Yankees have some real issues at present .

    Hey Kids It’s Story Time ………

    Matt Ryan one of the most successful regular season qb’s over the past 4 seasons .

    What Is In An Arm ?

    tophatal …………

  5. Soccer is just one goal away from commuting…nevertheless I have to agree, you put the best 1-3 in this situation, maybe you want a guy or two to wind/tire out the goalie and then let Ronaldo rocket one by him and crush his spirit but slotting him 5th when four can ace him out? The coach has to go, the season is on the line, it’s like a pitching staff in game seven of the World Serious, everybody better be ready in the bullpen…

  6. ed

    Ronaldo on his best day couldn’t get an erection were he looking at a picture of Heidi Klum and you’re saying he’s capable putting the ball in the back of the net during a penalty shootout . Are you serious ? He’s good but not that good as evidenced in his not wanting the be the first player on the line for a penalty to provide the team a boost in morale .

  7. ed

    The great players step up to the plate , not cower in the background like a bi_ch too afraid , as has always been the case with Cristiano Ronaldo .

    He’s no Lionel Messi by any stretch of the imagination …….. not by a long shot .

  8. You want your best shooter shooting and it’s ridiculous that Ronaldo didn’t get an opportunity. Although, I actually think once you’re slated to go in a certain spot then you have to go (at least, according to my soccer fanatic friend). But either way, you should be slating Ronaldo 1,2 and 3 if that is indeed the case. Why would you risk having your best shooter watching while your team loses. Incredible really.

  9. In terms of Portugal losing to Spain, Cristian Ronaldo should’ve been able to kick in the penalty shootout. The fact that Portugal lost without Ronaldo even having a chance to kick was huge.

  10. Al…

    That’s what I keep telling my uncle, the baseball purist, who’s sole stance regarding instant replay, is that the human element is and always has been a part of the game when it comes to officiating.

    Oh, so that makes it okay? You’re spot on, man. If that play happens in a game of some importance where the umpire fails to do his job, well, I can’t even imagine the backlash.

    And I’m way behind on my reading but I’ll be over there soon.

  11. Good comparisons, Ed.

    Baseball teams throw their aces 1, 4, and 7. If I’m Portugal, I’m slotting Ronaldo first, particularly after Spain missed their first PK.

    No word as to whether the coach has been assassinated yet.

  12. That’s the whole point, CR.

    I mean, do any of us even know the rules? I know this is America, but damn.

    I asked four soccer friends and they were pretty sure they could adjust things on the fly.

    But who the hell knows?

  13. Messi is by far the best player in the world by a wide margin . He and Argentina will be on display for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil .

    So Dwight lowered the boom on the Magic for real . Sniveling little sh#t that he is ! Now he wants to be in Brooklyn and be part of the Nets ? The Magic will let him go but not before kicking him in the balls as only they can .

    D-Wil will more likely than not leave the Nets to join the Mavericks . That is unless the Magic grants D-How his wish to join the Nets as soon as possible .

    What the hell is Bob Kraft thinking ? He now wants to see an NFL franchise in London within the next decade ? Isn’t it enough that the NFL Europe lost tens of millions of dollars with that experiment ? And now he wants the league to reenter that arena and compete against soccer , tennis the European Tour and several other sports at that time of the year . Goodell and Kraft are obviously clueless .

    Hey Kids It’s Story Time

    A Deal Is A Deal , Or Is It ?

    What Is In An Arm ?

    Tiger is back to winning ways and has obviously proving that all avenues to being deemed # 1 player in the world has to pass through him . The world rankings at present are a misnomer and a complete joke !

    The Rays are still losing , they can’t buy a hit or field …. worth a damn ! Now what ?

    tophatal ……….

  14. Ronaldo only comes to play when he’s been criticized vehemently by the fans . Otherwise he sits back waiting on the whole world to kiss his a#s .

    He doesn’t play with passion and he doesn’t play hard at all . His skillset is phenomenal but that’s about it .

  15. Marty Mornhinweg as Head Coach of the Lions. 2002. Overtime versus the Bears. Decides to kick rather than take the ball. Priceless. Never count on getting another chance. Ever.

  16. I have to say, Al, I do enjoy watching Messi play, but who wouldn’t. The World Cup can’t come quickly enough. See ya’ in Copacabana, man. That city will be ROCKIN’!

    Yeah, Dwight Dwight Dwight. I mean, haven’t we all had enough of him already? I’ll have yet another take on all that coming up soon but I have a feeling you pretty much already know where I stand on the subject.

    Another solid performance by Tiger this weekend. We’ll see if he can carry that over to the British Open in another two weeks.

  17. I didn’t get to watch much of the Finals, Al. I was on my way in to work and by the time I got there, it was already 2-0, so I watched Tiger instead.

    It’s been an impressive run by Spain for sure.

  18. So what happened, Al?

    Jordan’s kid tried to impress a girl by telling her who his father was?

    I actually meet girls despite who my father is.

  19. SA….

    Oh, to be in that stadium that afternoon with a bunch of drunken pissed off Lions fans asking themselves what the hell just happened.

    Wait, there are still Lions fans, right?

  20. Tiger would no doubt like to have a say in the two final majors ( British Open [Lytham St Anne’s ] & PGA Championship [Kiawah Island , South Carolina] ) of the season . Also bear in mind there’s also the Ryder Cup as well , that’ll be of great interest .

    Three wins on the season for Woods …. is there anybody else on the PGA Tour with multiple wins this season ? I rest my case !

    Woods is currently making a mockery of the World Golf rankings . What a cluster-#uck that situation just happens to be currently . Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy , I can understand . But Lee Westwood ? You might as well insert Richard Simmons’ name for all of the good that it’d do . Simmons does love to have his hands slide up and down a long shaft doesn’t he ? Explains a lot doesn’t it ?

    tophatal ………

  21. Well it’s obvious that Marcus Jordan couldn’t pull it off with his swagger , so the next best thing was to mention his dad’s name . Because if he’d shown her his “package” …… I get the feeling she’d still be non impressed .

    How does a dumb a#s like Marcus Jordan and his short stack believe he can take down two club bouncers ? That’s like Richard Simmons wanting to go toe-to-toe with Tyson. Someone’s gonna get their a#s tore up and kicked to #hit .

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