Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Gridiron Solitaire #93: The Craziest Game I Ever Played

Sorry, I know this is breaking the Monday schedule, but as I was testing 1.02 this morning, I had a game that I needed to write about.

The Alpine Outlanders (the Maine Lobsters, renamed) were comfortably ahead of the Detroit Motors 31-14 as the game was winding down. I was already feeling very satisfied with the win, as were the home fans. Detroit scored with 2:30 left to make it 31-21, but that was just window dressing.

They recovered an onside kick, but I still wasn't worried. They just didn't have enough time left. So they drove down to my 25, but there were only thirty seconds left. I was still celebrating.

They they attempted a field goal.

I'd totally forgotten about this. In the NFL, if a team is down by 10 with time running out, they'll try a long field goal to get the deficit down to 7, then try an onside kick, hoping to recover and try a Hail Mary.

It's all about time. For the team to have a chance to tie, they have to be down one score with enough time to at least run one offensive play.

So the A.I. was entirely correct--I'm really pleased about that--but I wasn't expecting it. I felt a little catch in my throat.

Field goal: good. 31-24. Twenty seconds left.

Onside kick. Detroit recovered.

Recovering even one onside kick is unlikely. Two in a row? Absolutely, incredibly rare.

They throw the Hail Mary.

I have no Big Play presses remaining, and no matches on the board. Still, though, it gets thrown to a text event, so I still have a chance it will be incomplete.

Caught in the end zone. Touchdown.

I know I've just had the most unlikely run of dice rolls I've ever seen in 200+ games of testing, but I can still win the coin toss for sudden death (old school) overtime, right?

Nope. Detroit wins, drives right down the field, and kicks a field goal to win 34-31.

I sat down and roughly calculated the chances of this sequence of events happening. The odds against it were more than 3,000-1.

What I really liked about this moment was that it was special. Nothing was rigged. I'm not going to see it tomorrow when I play five more games. Thirty other people aren't going to see it. It was just an incredibly unlikely series of events--theoretically possible, but incredibly rare.

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