Sunday, September 09, 2007

Running Numbers

So today the start of the NFL Season, we stand on the edge of an orgy of numbers: so many completions, so many sacks, so much rushing yardage on various surfaces, so much kicking yardage against the wind in a snowstorm. A wonk's heaven of numbers.

Which made me think of another number - the number of combat casualties we've had in Iraq so far.

Its a fairly large number And once you get into fairly-large numbers, thing start to blur around the edges. What does this fairly-large number mean? Well, I think I can put it terms I can wrap my brain around. When you think of the losses in Iraq, here's a handy comparison.

Wipe out the NFL.

OK, OK, don't WIPE OUT the NFL, to the tune of that bad blimp-vs-stadium movie Black Sunday. Let us not be gross. Just - there is no NFL. Nothing on Sunday afternoon. No Seahawks, Steelers, Eagles, Bears, Packers. Hasselbeck and Favre are off duck hunting. Every player has chores to do, somewhere better to be.

There is no NFL in 2007. Got that in your mind?

OK, so that is 32 teams, each with an official roster of 55, or 1760 people who are not showing up for work this weekend. And that doesn't get us halfway there.

So there is no NFL in 2008 either.

And the NFC West? No games in 2009 for you.

That's how we can balance out the 3760 US deaths in Iraq so far. Its not a judgment. It's just a number. A number that you might be able to wrap your head around.

And civilian casualties? Well, the Pentagon doesn't keep track (well, they do, but they aren't going to tell you), but the lowest guess, just based on what has been reported over the past few years, would fill every seat in Qwest Field with corpses, and have a pretty packed zombie tailgate party going in the parking lot. The reality of the situation may demand additional stadiums, and we're back in the realm of very-large-numbers.

So just keep these comparisons in your mind as they pan the stadium between commercials, and have a fun football season!

More later.