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The Colorado Rockies in the Red Zone

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There’s a mathematical formula that tells you why the NFL is ten times more awesome than baseball: 10.2 to one, to be precise. At 162 games, the baseball season is obscenely protracted, loitering about longer than the green sticks on trees, until seven teams and the Yankees are left to compete for what has to be the weakest sports trophy this side of College Football’s corporate crystal ball. With 16 games played over 17 weeks, the NFL season is excruciatingly short, so much so that the draft, free agency, training camp and Michael Vick become very important stories in the eight months of off-season when Football writers still have to earn their paychecks. The math is simple, each NFL game is literally 10.2 times as important as its baseball counterpart. Start 0-4 in the NFL and it’s over; start 0-4 in baseball and it’s Friday.

This same formula tells you why the Rockies late-season push is one of the greatest sports stories this town has ever seen. With the equivalent of 1.4 NFL games to go, the Rox kept winning and winning and winning and, just to make it interesting, lost, and then won a couple more. And they cribbed something else familiar to pigskin fans, something utterly antithetical to the war of attrition that is regular season baseball:

A one-game, sudden-death playoffs playoff, the first in the MLB since 1999.

This is the essence of why the Rockies have suddenly leap-frogged the Broncos as the sports talk of the town: Right now, they’re better football than football. Sure, it's been astounding to see our perennial losers overachieve, it's great to see young players blossom into MVP-caliber talents, and it's especially nice to have a fourth sport butt it's way into our water-cooler discussions. But the Rockies have usurped the throne primarily because, down the stretch, every game really has mattered, and the Rockies have delivered in dramatic fashion.

Walk-off home runs, grand slams, even season-ending ACL injuries resulting from managers throwing their own players to the ground; these are plays that will endear football fans to your cause. The collective result of these games has been a word rarely associated with baseball, at least in the months before the playoffs: Excitement. Future Rockies teams may finish with a better record, they may win some playoff games, and, dare I think it, host a World Series (which would be the first ever delayed because of a blizzard). But it’s tough to imagine a more exhilarating, perfectly written storyline than those of the past three weeks.

So 162 games down, one to go. There’s one second left on the clock, and the Rockies are looking at fourth and goal from the one-yard line. Still think baseball is boring? -- Mark Schiff

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