Ed's NFL Office Pool Calculator/Workbook Version 4.04 Now available for the 11th consecutive year! Updated with the 2022 NFL Schedule!

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

If you're reading this page, chances are you've participated in a weekly office pool once or twice before. Maybe you're involved in one now.  Maybe you participated in my office pool, a number of years ago, in 2014!

If none of the above are true, I'd like to believe you're at least familiar with these types of pools!

The format is simple: Each week, each player participating in the pool attempts to predict the winner of each of the weekend's NFL games. Often times the games are picked against the NFL pointspread.  The player may also be required to submit what they think the total points scored will be in the Monday Night game, which is often used as a tie-breaker.

The player who picked the most games correctly is the winner, and wins the 'pot.'   Often there is a 1st Place and 2nd Place prize.

 After each player submits their picks to the person in charge of running the pool, that person then creates a grid/chart/table that looks something like this: A few years ago, while participating in my own office pool at work, each week, after being given my copy of this table, I would find myself studying it to determine if anyone else had the same exact picks as I did and what some of my "key games" were.  With 20 or more other players, as was often the case in our office pool, this would take some time! click to see a larger image

If it turned out that someone did pick the same exact teams as I did, I knew, at best, I could only win the pool if I won the tie-breaker, assuming we were using a tie-breaker. (Some years we used a tie-breaker and other years we did not.)  If we weren't using the Monday Night score as a tie-breaker and if someone picked all of the same teams I did, I knew the best I could do would be to share the prize money with that player.

And if I had just a one game difference with another player, that NFL game became one of my "key" games!  I knew I had to win that game in order to win or tie that week!  For example, assume it turns out that I had a just one game difference with Mark.  To clarify, assume Mark and I picked the exact same teams with one exception. Well, if Mark wins that game, even if I were to win all of my other games, and be perfect otherwise, I wouldn't win the pool. Obviously, I'd have just one game wrong but Mark would be perfect!

And finally, each Sunday morning/afternoon, as I was watching the games and as the winners of the games were being determined, I found myself highlighting all of the winning teams, (or crossing off the losing teams, depending upon my method that week), adding up how many winners each player had at that point, attempting to see if I was still mathematically alive, etc., etc.. etc.

As you can imagine, this was a lot of work each week, for a simple little office pool!  There had to be a better way!

Since I like to create and work on Excel spreadsheets, I thought I might make an attempt to create an Excel workbook to do all of these tasks for me, using Visual Basic code and macros.  So one weekend, probably as I was watching the NFL games, I sat down and started writing it.

Three weeks later, I found myself still working on this project, after spending many hours on it!  Although I have a programming background, at that time I was not at all familiar with the syntax of Visual Basic!  And because of that, I often became frustrated.  As I was writing and working on the program/code, there were lots of times I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and I knew how I wanted to do it, but because of my lack of familiarity with the syntax, I didn't know how to properly reference the cells or write the code in order to actually do it!

I found myself going online often, dozens and dozens of times, to look for coding examples. At times it would take me an hour or two just to solve a simple problem.

But there's a lot of information available online and I was patient and persistent. Eventually, I was able to figure out every problem I had.  And in the process I learned a LOT about Excel and Visual Basic and I will be able to use all of these skills in future spreadsheets.

I think this program is so neat it's a shame I can only use and enjoy it for just a few months out of the year!

During the middle of the project, or thereabouts, I did a Google search to see what other types of office pool spreadsheets were available, if any. I found a few and they were all horrible!  They were basic, simple spreadsheets, with no options or features at all.  None of them created a Cross Reference chart, none of them was capable for determining if a player was still mathematically alive after one or more games had been played, none of them could download scores from the internet, with the click of a button, etc., etc., etc.  (I blame this on laziness of the programmer. They certainly had the knowledge.  They just didn't have the desire.)

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