When the NFL schedule comes out, fans often become overly optimistic, eyeballing the schedule and thinking, “Yeah, my team can win most of these games.” Reporters, however, should be more objective.
At ESPN, the 32 beat writers covering their teams proved wildly optimistic.
ESPN asked each of the 32 writers to predict their teams’ records after the 2019 NFL schedule was released. Those 32 projected records should, of course, contain an equal number of wins and losses: The cumulative record of the entire league always equals .500.
Unfortunately, ESPN’s writers are overly optimistic: They were a cumulative 64 games above .500.
Comparing the ESPN predictions to the Vegas win totals for each team, 26 ESPN writers think their teams will win more games than the Vegas odds suggest. Five writers think their teams will exactly match the Vegas win total. Only one ESPN writer, Dolphins reporter Cameron Wolfe, has his team hitting the under. (Wolfe thinks the Dolphins will go 4-12; the Vegas odds have the Dolphins at 4.5 wins.
Kudos to Wolfe for not being afraid to take a pessimistic view of the team he covers. Ideally, all beat writers would cover their teams with an objective eye, and not with the overly optimistic view of fans.