The Oliver Woofing Theorem FAQ

This FAQ list was designed to answer reader's questions regarding the ubiquitous and all-powerful Oliver's Woofing Theorem, as revealed to the Usenet community by the great prophet Jim Oliver. Any questions should be directed to the newsgroup of your choice.

List of Topics:

1. What is Oliver's Woofing Theorem? 2. What is Woofing? 3. What is WEAUXfing? 4. Are there various degrees of woofing? 5. Who are the Gods of Woofing? 6. How accurate is Oliver's Woofing Theorem? 7. Why does the theorem seem to fail at times? 8. Do unexpressed, private thoughts count? 9. Does E-mail or private conversations count? 10. Does woofing in the middle of a game count? 11. What is reverse woofing, or anti-woofing? 12. Does reverse woofing ever work? 13. Is it possible to retract a woof? 14. How long does a woof last? 15. Do the woofing Gods save up "bad karma", to apply at a later date? 16. What about ambiguous woofs? 17. As a sports fan, is there anything I can do to help my team win?

1. What is Oliver's Woofing Theorem Oliver's Woofing Theorem states, in a nutshell, that in any given athletic competition (team, individual, amatuer, professional), the team/player who is the most over-hyped/over-praised by his/her/its fans/supporters is doomed to LOSE the competition. For example, if immediately preceding a game between the Seattle Mariners and the Toronto Blue Jays, two Blue Jay's fans state that "Toronto will kick ass", while only one Seattle fan makes a similar claim, then Seattle is guaranteed a win by the ubiquitious and omnipresent Gods of Woofing.

2. What is Woofing? Woofing is any outlandish, outrageous, inflammatory, ridiculous, unsupported, sophmoric, or otherwise brain-dead commentary or predictions regarding a specific team, player, or athletic event. Comments such as "Tampa will kick Dallas' ASS!!!", "Blazerz R00L!", "Notre Dame SUCKS", or "Sampras will CRUSH Chang like a grape!" are all considered to be woofing. Woofing does not include rational, well-thought-out, well-supported commentary. Thus, comments such as "I think New York will beat Orlando, because of their outstanding defense" or "I think Kansas City has a chance to go all the way, with Montana on the team" are NOT considered woofing.

3. What is WEAUXfing? WEAUXfing is a variant spelling of woofing, popular on

4. Are there various degrees of woofing? Yes--a comment such as "The Lakers are gonna CRUSH the Suns by 50 points, cause the Suns are a dumb, no-defense team and Barkeley is a fat slob!!!" is a more serious woof than a simple "Pittsburg will kick the Flyers' asses tonight!". However, judging the degree of a woof is entirely the domain of the omnipresent Gods of Woofing--it is not possible to quantize a woof, nor is it possible to speculate just how the Gods of Woofing will weigh the various comments of sports fans in deciding the outcome of a sporting event.

5. Who are the Gods of Woofing? Nobody knows. The Gods have only revealed themselves through the Prophet, Jim Oliver. It is known that they are all-knowing and all- powerful, and that they and they alone decide the outcome of ALL sporting events, but little else is known about the Gods of Woofing. All attempts to contact them through prayer, ritual, or meditation have failed.

6. How accurate is Oliver's Woofing Theorem? Oliver's woofing theorem is infallible. If one can keep track of all woofs related to a specific sporting event, one can predict with 100% accuracy the outcome of the event. Note, however, that only the outcome (who wins, who loses) can be predicted by the Theorem. Other statistics, such as the score, who "beat the spread", and individual statistics in team events are not predicted by Oliver's woofing theorem.

7. Last week, I saw a ton of WOOFs from fans of team A, and very little commentary from fans of Team B. Applying the theorem, one can predict victory for Team B. Yet team A won. Did Oliver's woofing theorem fail? No. You only saw a small sample of the woofing to occur. Oliver's Woofing Theorem is not limited to Usenet--it is UNIVERSAL. Thus, every comment made in every bar, athletic club, locker room, school, church, barracks, country club, workplace, house, playground, or any other place where people gather to discuss sports, is considered by the Gods of Woofing. In the example you give, the explaination is obvious--there were a larger number of woofs for Team B in other forums besides Usenet. Thus, Team B was more enthusiastically woofed, and thus they lost.

8. I am a big fan of the Bills, and I believe that they can go all the way. However, I keep my mouth shut. Do my mere thoughts count as a woof, and am I the reason that the Bills have lost in three consecutive Super Bowls? No--private thoughts do not apply. Only boasts which are written or spoken to another person or group of people apply. Thus you are not responsible for the Bill's failings. The reason the Bill's lose in the Super Bowl is twofold: First, lots of Bills fans engage in large-scale woofing, and second, the Bills suck. (Cheer up, Buffalo fans. My comment should aid them a little.)

9. How about private conversations, E-mail, and other non-public forms of communication? These ARE included in the Woofing Theorem. Basically, if you write it, speak it, sign it, or type it, it will count.

10. Does woofing during the middle of a game count? The outcome of a sporting event depends on all woofing up until game time. By the time the game starts, the Gods of Woofing have already determined the outcome, and any comments made during the game will have no effect on that game. They will, however, have an effect on future games.

11. What is "reverse woofing" or "anti woofing"? Reverse woofing is the process whereby a sports fan tries to fool the Gods of Woofing by woofing for the OTHER TEAM, in hopes that this will cause the team that he/she really supports to win.

12. Does reverse woofing ever work? No. Reverse woofing will never work. First of all, the Gods of Woofing, being All-Knowing, know which teams every sports fans likes, loves, hates, despises, or doesn't care about. Second, reverse woofing is extremely offensive to the Gods of Woofing for two reasons. One, it insults their intelligence when a mere mortal presumes that he can fool them, and two, they are offended by such deviousness. As a result, reverse woofing is the most serious type of woofing possible, and a reverse-woofer DOOMS his/her team to an embarrassing loss.

13. Is it possible to retract a woof? No. Once a woof is made, it is set in stone. The only way to reverse the effects of a woof (or an anti-woof) is for a supporter of the opposing team to make his/her own woof or anti-woof.

14. How long does a woof last? Depends on the nature of the woof. A woof regarding a specific contest will only affect the outcome of that contest. A woof of the nature "Edmonton can kick Calgary's ASS any time, any where" will affect ALL Flames/Oilers games from that point on (however, the effect will diminish exponentially with time.) A woof of the nature "The Phillies RULE!!!" will affect the Phillies for ALL of their games, but again, the effect will diminish exponentially with time. Likewise, a generic flame against the opposition ("Cleveland SUCKS!") will improve Cleveland's chances in future games, but again the effect will diminish with time.

15. Will the woofing Gods "save up" bad karma, to apply at a later date? This has been known to happen, especially to teams such as the Bills, Braves, and Blazers, who do well in the regular season but falter in the playoffs. Although little is known about this, the woofing Gods sometimes, in response to a particularly vicious woof or anti-woof, allow a team to win enough to make it to the playoffs, only to smite them there. Much research needs to be done in this area.

16. What about ambiguous woofs? Some woofs are inherently ambiguous. For example, if a fan states that "The Giants are gonna CREAM the Cardinals", does he mean that the New York Giants will defeat the Phoenix Cardinals, or that the San Fransisco Giants will do likewise to St. Louis? In this case, the woofing gods will attempt to figure out what the fan means by context (if the woof is in, for example, it is assumed he means New York will defeat Phoenix.) In cases where the intent cannot be determined, the woof will be ignored.

17. Is there anything that I, as a sports fan, can do to HELP my team? Yes, there is. Keep your trap shut.
The WWW site would like to thank the following for the upload: (James Stricherz)


I imagine there have been some comments regarding the theory but I would like to disprove it with the following statement:

"If the theory were true Notre Dame would never have won a game."

[Stricherz response: Sadly, this does not bolster your position. In fact, it proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that OWT is indeed true.

I truly think this easily proves the theory as a fallacy. [Quite contrary. QED.] Given the choice I would prefer the theory be true because nothing would please me more than to see the Irish winless for eternity. Except, possibly to see Nebraska winless for eternity, but being that the majority of their fans are mono-syllabic they are rarely capable of out-woofing their opposition. [They won a couple of MNC's, and now look at them. Pathetic. Shoot, they even lost to Texas. At home.] Unfortunately, the best we can hope is that fans of both teams start treating the theory as true. [Immaterial.]

Translations of this page: Irish, Polish, Portuguese, Ukrainian.

Paul Fritsky <> Denver (Go Buffs!) Feb 1 '99