Hello ladies and Gentleman. I’m here to tell you about how Pickwatch’s 2014 season will be different from… well from any other season you’ve experienced. We’ve got so many ideas that sometimes we have to take a step back and remember that we’re only in our third year, but our team is now coming together with the final nuts and bolts for this season’s iteration of the site.
Here’s the major changes. Some of them won’t make it into next week’s relaunch, but they’ll definitely make it in before or during this season.
So, here’s a pretty big README for Pickwatch 2014. (The important bits are in bold if you’re lazy)
|Our new logo. Bye Bye Crosshairs
When I started this site, it was a blog to help people make sense of something that was pretty much not covered by mainstream media at all. Now that we measure our readership in the hundreds of thousands, we’ve outgrown blogger and find ourselves limited by it’s features.
To that end, the first thing you’ll notice is that the site looks nothing like a blogger site any more.
That’s because it isn’t.
Pretty sure you could have worked that one out, but don’t worry – all your bookmarks will still work as we will continue using the nflpickwatch.com domain. The new server allows us to use a database system that automates large parts of our arduous task of collating and comparing expert picks.
Take a good luck at the tables as they are, because this year’s expert pick rankings will look nothing like that. Yes, you can remove your dark glasses and I can stop seeing red, green and amber blocks in my sleep. Our new tables will be sleek and resemble an actual professional website.
In addition, we’ll change our color scheme and also add graphical elements to the tables (team logos, network logos etc) that should bring the site to life while not destroying your PC/tablet/mobile.
Speaking of which…
We know one of the hardest things with our tables has been reading them on mobiles. While the limitations are pretty difficult to get around completely, our technical team have come up with a dynamic website that re-sizes based on your screen size. If you’re viewing on a mobile, you’ll find it far easier to navigate than previously.
We’re also adding a ‘frozen’ first column that allows you to scroll through an expert’s picks without losing their name for reference. This was heavily requested last year and we’re glad that we can make things easier for you to sort through our reams of data.
Against the Spread Picks
We’re not asking why you want them, we’re just giving you everything you need. This was our most requested feature and although it is extremely hard to implement (media outlets use their own spreads, not a standard one) we think we have it sorted.
We promised it a few times and had it working during the playoffs, but hopefully, this will be a nice addition to our site for 2014 and will allow you to benefit in entirely legal ways from the information we provide.
For technical reasons, we won’t be able to bring you the same level of detail with ATS picks just yet, but there is scope to make this available later in the season.
Make Your Own Picks
‘You should have included me on the expert table – I got 80% last year’ – We hear this twenty times a week and so, this year, for the first time, you’ll be able to log into Pickwatch, make your own (straight up) picks and compare yourselves versus every expert from every network. You’ll be able to share your performance and your picks on social media too, so your friends can mock you mercilessly cheer you on.
You can use the table to find out where you would rank versus the experts, or where you stand against the rest of the Pickwatch readership. Bragging rights aren’t the only reason to sign up though.There’ll also be a cash prize for the winner of our public league, and we are looking into the possibility of offering weekly prizes too, so don’t worry if you miss week 1!
Remember how Houston and Atlanta ballsed up 99% of preseason predictions last year? This year we’re going to be tracking the experts’ picks for Super Bowl champs, Divisional and Conference winners, MVP, Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year, Offensive and Defensive rookie of the year and Coach of the year.
We’ll also allow you to add your own picks into the mix, just like you can with the weekly game picks. That means there’ll be a record if you manage to ace the divisional winners so you can share this with your friends and… enemies? on Facebook and Twitter.
One of the oft-requested features of Pickwatch is MOAR DATA NOW. You guys love stats and so do we, that’s why we have delved back and will add all our 2012 and 2013 data to be available from next week.
We’ve also had Pickwatch Phil working hard to bring you expert preseason predictions going back many years. We’re not quite sure how many years, because he mentioned something about Favre retiring. That doesn’t really narrow it down beyond ‘after 2005’, but the main point is that we’ll be adding as much historical information as possible so you know who has the best success rate when picking BEFORE the season starts.
Blogger was great for us. It’s always up, it is quick, but it is severely limited. In the end, we new that to bring all of the features we wanted, it was essential to become more than a feeling. Sorry blog. More than a blog.
Little touches such as the ability to sort the expert tables by what is important to you (eg: the overall standings by a certain week) or scroll through prior weeks without leaving the same page. They’re what we’ll be bringing you and we hope that you guys appreciate all of them.
From our end, the adding of picks will be far easier and allow for quick and easy updating of pick changes (we know who the main culprits are these days). The expert weekly and seasonal tables will also update automatically, which means you won’t have to wait to see who has won a week.
We got a bit excited on Saturday. Why? Because we worked out a few ways we can give you even more information than before.
What does this mean? Well, in broad terms, we want you to be able to use our data to work out who to trust most in any given situation. If a guy picks at 60% overall, that doesn’t really help, but if you know that someone picks the Giants 100% on the road, or the Broncos 100% when playing indoors, or the Bills 100% when travelling to the West coast… that’s information that is relevant and useful.
We started this with our ‘best picks’ and ‘clutch pickers’ last year. The feedback was really good and there were games where our ‘best picks’ turned out to be right, even when they were in the minority of experts. That tells us that it pays to know who to trust.
We want you to be able to find out who picks the best when you need a professional opinion on a game you are stuck with, not just to know that one guy is better than another overall.
New Comments and Forum
When we look around the NFL, almost every forum happens to be dedicated to one team or another. We know that and we appreciate the support we’ve had from these communities (particularly noticeable during the playoffs!).
We wanted to bring the picking community together under one banner, and as such we’ll be launching our forum this week. It’ll be a little bare at first, so why not get in on the ground level and start some new threads? We’ll be active on the forums and we’ll also highlight our favorite user comments throughout the week on twitter and the main site.
Oh and you think we weren’t listening last year? Yeah, we’ll have a new comments section and yes, praise whoever or whatever deity you want, because it will be sorted with the newest comment first! THE NEWEST COMMENT FIRST! No more scrolling for hours (unless you’re into that kind of thing), it’ll be right there.
Obviously it’ll probably say ‘you guyz suck Ron Jawurxki pickd da Dolfins’ or some other BS, but hey. We read em and we like em. As with the forum, we’ll be highlighting the best comments regularly.
Need I go on? There are countless other small things that you’ll notice, and you’ll also see more features added as the season progresses. The upshot of our new tech team is that we’ll have more time to devote to articles that highlight how the NFL media works, which experts are performing best, who is doing well out of our readers, and various other features.
We’ve put a lot of time and effort into Pickwatch 2014, and we hope you appreciate the fact the adverts on our site mean it remains COMPLETELY FREE. That’s something we’d dearly like to remain the case forever and we hope that with your support, Pickwatch can remain the de facto pick comparison site.