If you think this blog has a happy ending, you haven't been paying attention. That's what the weekly NFL sad stat blogs are all about. This week's edition will focus on one major stat that is deserving of the full spotlight to reveal all of its gray stone. Raise your glass because we are here to celebrate the on-site changing of the Chargering throne which occurred when the Los Angeles Chargers congregated to Cleveland to christen the Browns and hand off this lowest honor.
What a perfect thing of sad symbolic beauty this was. The Chargers are well established as the GOAT choke artist in all of sport, ahead of even the Super Bowl Falcons, the 2022 Mets and mid 90s Latrell Sprewell. But it's apparent despite the Chargers' desire to sit forever, their time on the throne has come to an end. This wasn't without fighting the good fight as head coach Brandon Staley tried his damnedest last Sunday to blow the game by going for it on 4th and 2 from the Chargers' own 45 with 1:14 left up by just two points. Every Chargers fan alive, dead, and yet to be born knew what the script read after that. It was written in their royal sad family blood. But alas! The new Sad King of sports choke artistry was crowned instead - the worthy Cleveland Browns - handed the Chargers their beer while the Chargers handed them the torch. It was a beautiful spectacle. It was sadness perfected.
How bad have the 2022 Browns choked compared to the Chargers of the prior age? Any Chargers fan knows the first five weeks of the 2016 season was the most confounding and mind blowing series of catastrophes any NFL fandom has ever witnessed, repressed, and suffered night sweats from. You don't need a stat to justify this fact. But that doesn't mean I'm not going to make one. That's what I do. I drink and I stat things. The point of all this will be to A) prove how worthy the 2022 Cleveland Browns are of taking over the Chargering throne and B) remind all Chargers fans who finally found peace what watching the team you love have their eyes explode through the back of their head before your very eyes looks like.
Team Chargering Score Card Explained
Here's how the official Chargering score card will work for any NFL team. If a team loses a game in which their win percentage was above 50 percent at any point in the 4th quarter, that game is considered a choke. Any team with at least three qualifying choked games in the first five weeks of a season going back to 2005 (when reliable in-game win percentage data could be pulled) were included. To get a team's official Chargering score, all of the team's opponent's lowest win percent is multiplied on a choked game by choked game basis.
Confused? Let's take the 2016 Chargers all-time choke masterpiece as an example:
The Chargers lost four games in the first five weeks after being favored to win at some point in the 4th quarter. That's why the table above has four choke columns. Winter was never a thing this team had to worry about coming because they were dead by October. Anyway, to get the 2016 Chargers full Chargering score we just multiply all the percentages on the bottom row (2% * 1% * 23% * 44%) to get the chances of the Chargers blowing all four of their choked games. That's the process.
Here's the official Chargering score for all 20 qualifying teams since 2005:
There both teams that met last Sunday are at the bottom. The 2022 Browns and 2016 Chargers are dwarfed by the rest of the 20 qualifiers in almost pure Walter White grade choke piecing performances. And these weren't one-choke wonders either. The Chargers and Browns are the only teams to make this list three times each revealing just how qualified these two Chargering throne suitors are.
Looking back up at the top you can see the long stretching bars of the 2010 Browns and 2006 Titans showing each team held over a 95 percent chance of not choking their games away. Obviously it happened and that's deserves a golf clap for sure. Now compare these long bars to the 2016 Chargers' almost invisible bar and watch your brain melt like it just got golden crowned. That's the 2016 San Diego Chargers.
Sorry, we're not quite done here. Let's zoom in with just these bottom two teams for some perspective.
Match the Browns long ass bar above to it's tiny Dwarf dick of a stump from the original graph. Then feast your eyes on the 20016 Chargers. That's how bad this team's colossal early year fuck ups were in 2016 - quantified for all to see. Shame. Shame. Shame. And let's recall the 2022 Browns lost in Week 2 after being up 13 points with 1:55 left while the Jets were out of time outs. The Browns then let - of all teams - the Falcons slip past them in Week 4 and were gifted the aforementioned golden chance to beat the Chargers in Week 5 before missing a would be game-winning kick. Even so, the 2016 Chargers were exactly 20 times the level of chokery than this year's Browns. I mean, how do you even read their percentage here? I guess you can say the Chargers had about a 20 percent chance of a .01 percent chance of blowing all four of their 2016 choked games. I did the math and the odds of this are mathematically speaking… not exactly great.
Historically speaking for the Cleveland Browns, this changing of houses on the throne is actually a major upgrade for the franchise. That might be the saddest fact of this whole blog. In order to be a choke artist, you have to actually be good at some point in a game at some point in time. The Browns can now finally brag about being good enough to get hurt this bad. Texans fans would kill to have that feeling. OK, changed my mind - that's the saddest fact of this blog.
So let this blog be passed on from king to king to keep for posterity the great accomplishments of the reign of the Sad King - the 2016 San Diego Chargers. A team so frenetic and chaotic it left San Diego pubs devasted in the red wedding aftermath on Sunday afternoons. Let it also celebrate the handing of the sad torch to the 2022 Cleveland Browns and wish them well in their continued pursuit of chaotic sadness.
Let us never forget: Chaos may be a ladder, but sadness is a pit.
Miss an episode? Binge read the entire weekly sad stat blogs below: