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Beside The Points For Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017

Things That Caught My Eye

Worst defeat ever

The biggest sports story of the week is by far the collapse of the U.S. Men’s National Team in its World Cup qualifier match against Trinidad and Tobago. Going into the match — the U.S. needed a win or tie to automatically qualify — the U.S. had a 93 percent chance of making the World Cup. But they lost 2-1 to a team playing for nothing but pride, with one of those goals being scored by a U.S. defender on his own net. Then both Panama and Honduras won their games, eliminating the U.S. and propelling Panama to the cup. Going back to 1885, the men have never lost a World Cup match in any stage of the tournament or qualfying in which they were so favored to win. [FiveThirtyEight]

Yeah that 2-1 loss has hundreds of millions of dollars worth of consequences

Between the $425 million television broadcast deal and that wage discrimination lawsuit U.S. soccer will have a harder time contesting and that other antitrust lawsuit they might have an easier time contesting and the potential gutting of the youth soccer movement in America and the sponsorship revenue for Major League Soccer in potential peril, yeah it would have been really cool for a whole bunch of people had the U.S. national team not lost that game. [The Washington Post]

Kansas City hustle

With five consecutive wins, the Elo rating of the Kansas City Chiefs is at the highest level since their win over the Vikings in Super Bowl IV. Only eight weeks in the team’s history have them looking better than they do now, all of them in that Super Bowl season. [FiveThirtyEight]

It’s only a lost season if you fail to tank

According to ESPN’s Football Power Index, the Browns have a 49 percent chance of finishing dead last and getting the top pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the 49ers have a 32.2 percent chance, the Bears have a 9.3 percent chance, the Colts have a 3.3. percent chance and the Giants have a 3.6 percent chance. [ESPN]

Congrats, equivalent of three fourths of Staten Island

Iceland qualified for the World Cup — you remember, that thing America screwed up and failed to make — and is now the smallest nation to ever do so with its population of 334,000. [Bleacher Report]

Not gonna lie, did not see this coming

The net favorability of the NFL among Trump voters according to a Morning Consult poll is -24 points. The net favorability among Clinton voters is +38 points. Hop in a time machine and go tell yourself that little nugget a year ago and watch an innocent mind explode. [The New York Times]

Make sure to try your hand at our fun NFL can you beat the FiveThirtyEight predictions? game!

Big Number


U.S. gymnast Morgan Hurd took the gold medal in Montreal at the 2017 World All-Around Championship, scoring a 55.232. Canada’s Ellie Black took the silver medal and Russia’s Elena Eremina took bronze. Make a little note of that in your “SMART SMALL TALK TO MENTION DURING OLYMPICS TO SOUND LIKE YOU FOLLOW SPORTS BESIDES DIVING” folder that I assume all other people have as well as me. [Flo Gymnastics]

Leaks from Slack: Oh God no, not like this edition


[8:20 PM] Oh boy. U.S. Losing to Trinidad

[8:37 PM] Ahhhhhh 2-0 Trinidad ЁЯШ▒

[8:39] At least Costa Rica scored


[8:52 PM] Meanwhile..Argentina up 2-1


[8:53 PM] So wait — is the US screwed again?


[8:54 PM] No they’re still in at the moment. If results hold


[8:54 PM] Thanks, Tony


[9:06 PM] oh my god


[9:07 PM] Pulisic. American god

[9:32 PM] Honduras up 3-2


[9:37 PM] Is panama scores and this holds, they are out

[9:39] If all these results hold, they play a playoff with Australia…which ain’t good

[9:47 PM] Panama scored

[9:47] They are going to be eliminated


[9:49 PM] Oh man — so they needed either Panama or Honduras to lose, and they both won?


[9:49 PM] This really sucks.


[9:49 PM] lol

[9:50] Sorry, I mean ЁЯЗ║ЁЯЗ╕ЁЯШ┐

[9:50] (it’s soccer. /shrug )


[9:51 PM] joined #sport.

[9:51 PM] This is TERRIBLE.

[9:51 PM] left #sport.


[9:52 PM] Terrible for traffic.


[9:52 PM] More room for baseball coverage. ЁЯШЙ


[9:53 PM] Nightmare.


[9:54] WHAT

[9:54] omg


[9:54 PM] (do they still get paid more for not even qualifying than the WNT will for winning it?)


Oh, and don’t forget
Random audience guy with minimal training wins title after combatant pulls out of MMA fight, the jabroni dream

Walt Hickey was FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.