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 couple of years ago, in 2014!
If none of the above, I'd like
to believe you're at least familiar with these types of
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. 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.
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
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
familiar with the syntax of Visual Basic at all! 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 code 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
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 17 weeks 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.)