Failed NFL teams are quick to suggest that with a couple of plays here and there, those close games would have gone their way, and they could have been a playoff team.

Of course, this denies the fact that most NFL games are close, with a high percentage decided by a touchdown or less.

If you're a team that makes key plays here and there over the course of a season and wins the TD-or-less games, you're winners. If you don't, you're losers, not only in the standings, but as coaches and players.

Same with hockey.

"We lost [however many] one-goal games," the coach says. "If we had won only one-third of those games, our season would've been completely different."

And baseball. Same deal.

"All those one-run and two-run losses" … completely different season.

Hogwash. Claptrap. Balderdash.

There is a penthouse, and there is dirt-floor cellar, but mostly, there is a huge middle when it comes to the distribution of talent in professional sports and big-time college athletics.