Power Rankings Fluctuation

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Power Rankings are a fickle thing. They truly are meaningless, well except for college football, and yet everyone seems to do them. Who's better than who is always on everyones mind so the best way to say who's better than who is to print out a 32 deep list.

But then when putting together the list two things make them completely biased. First off, everyone needs expectations and preseason rankings are those biases. So the Falcons for instance started out as the worst team in the NFL and yet wound up at 7 to end the season. Whoops. The next bias is that whatever happened today is significantly more important than what happened yesterday. Look at the Jets. They get crushed on National TV in San Diego and move to #21 on the list aka pathetic then they lose to the Raiders to stay below the midway point yet weeks later when they beat the Titans they are the 3rd best team in the NFL? Whoops.

Anyway here is your ESPN NFL Power Rankings. I've including graphs tracking the progression of each team from from prior to week 1 to yesterday and a table that shows all of the rankings week to week plus each teams average ranking, the difference between their starting ranking and finishing ranking as well as their years high and low ranking. I've also posted a few wrap up notes at the bottom.

1-5: Titans, Giants, Steelers, Panthers, Colts6-10: Ravens, Falcons, Dolphins, Patriots, Vikings
11-15 Eagles, Chargers, Cardinals, Cowboys, Bears
16-20 Bucs, Jets, Texans, Saints, 49ers
21-26 Redskins, Broncos, Bills, Packers, Jaguars, Raiders
27-32 Bengals, Seahawks, Browns, Chiefs, Rams, Lions

Power Ranking Notes

~Only three teams were ranked #32 in any poll and one of them was the Falcons.

~The Lions were ranked 32 in the final 12 polls. Ouch.

~Only the Steelers and the Giants stayed in the top ten all year long.

~Five teams achieved #1. Titans, Giants, Cowboys, Steelers and Pats.

~Only 4 teams that started in the top ten finished in the top ten, and one of them didn't make the playoffs.

~The Falcons and Dolphins not surprisingly had the biggest positive swing whereas the Jags and Seahawks had the most negative swing.

~Nine teams that didn't make the playoffs were at one point or another considered top 5 quality.

~The Broncos were the only team to start and finish at the same place. The problem is every point in between was lower than the end points.

~The Raiders, Bengals, Chiefs, Rams and Lions all stayed in the bottom ten all year long meaning it might be easier to predict futility.

Posted by Simon at 10:10 AM   Digg! submit to reddit BallHype: hype it up!


Awesome job! New York Newsday's Bob Glauber caught on to my...making fun of NFL Power Rankings several months ago.


Great work Simon.


BobsBlitz said...
12:27 PM  

Your plots are downside-up.


Anonymous said...
11:39 PM  

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