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» Factors: Andre Johnson

One of the NFL's best receivers notched a -2.3% DVOA last year. Does a target-by-target breakdown show he was better than that?

31 Dec 2007

Final 2007 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

Although they struggled during a few of their later games, the New England Patriots finish 2007 with the best DVOA rating of any team in the 12 years for which we have the play-by-play breakdowns. They also finish with the best offensive rating ever. The Patriots are the first team to ever finish a season with a total DVOA over 50% or an offensive DVOA over 40%, and the first team to finish with more than 14 "estimated wins." They are the fourth team to finish the year number one in both passing and rushing DVOA, along with the 2002 Chiefs, the 2001 Rams, and the wacky mirror-universe 1996 Ravens. (First in offense, 29th in defense. Really.)

BEST TOTAL DVOA   BEST OFFENSIVE DVOA
2007 NE 51.8%   2007 NE 42.8%
1999 STL 45.8%   2004 IND 39.9%
1996 GB 40.6%   2006 IND 33.7%
2001 STL 38.5%   2002 KC 33.3%
2000 TEN 37.4%   2000 STL 31.7%
2004 NE 35.7%   2000 IND 30.1%
2004 PIT 34.8%   2004 KC 28.7%
1999 JAC 34.8%   2007 IND 28.3%
2002 TB 34.0%   1998 DEN 28.0%
2004 IND 33.8%   2001 STL 27.3%
2005 IND 33.5%   2003 KC 27.0%
2007 IND 33.0%   2005 IND 26.9%

The Patriots also excelled when it came to individual stats, of course. Tom Brady is the first quarterback to ever earn more than 200 DPAR in a season. Randy Moss is the second wide receiver to earn more than 50 DPAR in a season, and his 2007 campaign narrowly edges out Marvin Harrison's 2001 season for the top WR DPAR ever. In addition -- this is discussed further in Quick Reads -- Brady does in fact finish with the greatest quarterback season in modern NFL history according to the formula we used in Pro Football Prospectus 2005. I mistakenly forgot to update opponent adjustments when I wrote last week's Quick Reads, which would have put Brady eighth instead of 11th through last week. Then Brady went and had another great game against the Giants, much more in line with his numbers from the first half of the year, and that was enough to move him past Peyton Manning and Bert Jones.

Speaking of Mr. Jones and Mr. Manning: Clearly, sitting your starters in the final week is a Colts franchise tradition, and once again it affected their DVOA rating this year, dropping the 2007 Colts out of the historical DVOA top 10.

On the other end of the spectrum, the 2007 San Francisco 49ers finish 10th among history's worst total DVOA ratings, and eighth among the worst offensive DVOA ratings. A bad team, but not the historically bad team they looked like a few weeks ago.

Once again this year, teams sitting their starters in Week 17 played havoc with the DVOA ratings. As I've noted in past years, all of the research I've done has shown that removing these "sit starters" games from DVOA doesn't improve the accuracy, and therefore we leave them in. We'll look at this issue again this off-season, but for now, every play of the season is in the ratings. As you can imagine, that means a lot of good teams take a hit. Out of the final top 10 teams, only Green Bay and Tennessee have a higher DVOA after Week 17 than they did after Week 16.

Of course, not every team that had a terrible game in Week 17 was sitting its starters. I'm looking at you, Dallas.

Pittsburgh was one of the teams sitting people, and it cost them the number one spot in defensive DVOA. Instead, Tennessee finishes the year as DVOA's top defense. Last week I wrote about how the Steelers defense is nowhere near as good as the defenses that led the league in DVOA from 1996-2006. After the final game, this year stands out even more as a year when there were a few very good defenses, but no great ones. At -13.5%, the Titans would have finished fourth in 1997 and 2006, and fifth or lower in every other year. This year's best defense ranks 59th among the 375 teams in DVOA history.

Chicago finishes the year with the top special teams. In fact, Chicago finishes with the second-highest special teams rating in DVOA history (9.1%), behind only the 2002 New Orleans Saints. However, that rating comes with an asterisk. Regular readers know that I added a new element to our kickoff ratings at midseason to try to account for teams deliberately short-kicking to avoid Devin Hester (and, eventually, numerous other returners). I have not gone back and standardized this change, or added it to previous years. Using the old formula for special teams, Chicago's special teams rating would only be 7.5%. That would still lead the league in 2007, but it would be far behind from the 2002 Saints.

Another note: I have fiddled with the special teams baselines over the last couple weeks to reflect the leaguewide changes in special teams this year. Punt returns were longer than ever, but that was nothing compared to the colossal jump in kick return yardage. On top of this, kickoffs themselves were longer when kickers weren't deliberately trying to avoid the returner, so everything had to be jiggled to keep it from looking like the 32 worst kickoff coverage teams in NFL history all played in 2007. On top of this, field-goal percentage went up around the NFL for like the zillionth year in a row. I will probably need to do a little more adjusting in the off-season, but the changes I've made over the last couple weeks should help even things out for now.

Despite the problem of teams sitting people and not trying in Week 17, this year's DVOA ratings really do a good job of reflecting the best and worst teams. The top 10 teams in DVOA all made the playoffs, as did a team that is effectively tied for 11th (Washington). The Giants are the one straggler, finishing 16th. Even the Bengals' silly-looking DVOA ratings make sense now. Yes, I personally think the Giants are better than the Bengals, but 15th sounds like a reasonable ranking for a 7-9 team in the superior conference.

* * * * *

Here are the final Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings for the 2007 regular season, measured by our proprietary Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) system that breaks down every single play and compares a team's performance to the league average based on situation in order to determine value over average. (Explained further here.) OFFENSE and DEFENSE DVOA are adjusted for opponent and consider all fumbles, kept or lost, as equal value. SPECIAL TEAMS DVOA is adjusted for type of stadium (warm, cold, dome, Denver) and week of season.

WEIGHTED DVOA represents an attempt to figure out how a team is playing right now, as opposed to over the season as a whole, by making recent games more important than earlier games. LAST YEAR represents 2006 rank, while LAST WEEK represents rank in Week 16 of 2007.

To save people some time, we request that you please use the following format for all complaints:

<team> is clearly ranked <too high/too low> because <reason unrelated to DVOA>. <subjective ranking system> is way better than this. <unrelated team-supporting or -denigrating comment, preferably with poor spelling and/or chat-acceptable spelling>


TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
YEAR
LAST
WEEK
WEI.
DVOA
RANK W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
1 NE 51.8% 5 1 40.6% 1 16-0 42.8% 1 -6.1% 8 2.9% 7
2 IND 33.0% 7 2 22.2% 4 13-3 28.3% 2 -10.8% 3 -6.1% 32
3 DAL 23.9% 10 5 17.0% 6 13-3 19.0% 4 -5.8% 10 -0.9% 18
4 JAC 23.7% 6 4 31.1% 2 11-5 20.8% 3 -3.3% 12 -0.4% 15
5 GB 21.0% 15 8 19.4% 5 13-3 17.3% 5 -1.3% 15 2.4% 8
6 SD 18.9% 2 5 27.1% 3 11-5 4.8% 15 -9.8% 5 4.2% 4
7 TB 17.8% 31 6 13.5% 9 9-7 7.7% 10 -10.2% 4 -0.1% 12
8 PIT 17.5% 12 7 5.6% 14 10-6 6.8% 12 -12.3% 2 -1.7% 21
9 SEA 11.7% 25 9 13.8% 8 10-6 5.6% 14 -5.4% 11 0.7% 11
10 TEN 8.8% 24 13 2.2% 16 10-6 -4.0% 21 -13.5% 1 -0.6% 17
11 PHI 7.7% 3 10 7.6% 11 8-8 10.2% 8 -3.2% 13 -5.7% 31
12 WAS 7.7% 23 14 10.1% 10 9-7 1.0% 17 -7.2% 6 -0.5% 16
13 CLE 5.8% 30 12 14.7% 7 10-6 6.9% 11 7.6% 22 6.6% 2
14 MIN 4.9% 22 11 6.2% 13 8-8 3.4% 16 0.2% 18 1.7% 9
15 CIN -0.1% 11 15 0.8% 19 7-9 11.0% 6 10.1% 24 -0.9% 19
16 NYG -0.6% 8 16 -1.7% 21 10-6 -2.5% 19 -2.9% 14 -1.0% 20
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
LAST
YEAR
LAST
WEEK
WEI.
DVOA
RANK W-L OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
S.T.
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
17 HOU -2.1% 28 21 1.0% 18 8-8 5.7% 13 13.3% 30 5.5% 3
18 DEN -3.2% 18 19 2.1% 17 7-9 7.8% 9 6.3% 21 -4.8% 28
19 BUF -3.8% 16 18 0.5% 20 7-9 -7.6% 22 0.1% 17 3.9% 6
20 CHI -4.4% 4 20 7.3% 12 7-9 -20.4% 31 -6.9% 7 9.1% 1
21 NO -5.1% 9 17 4.0% 15 7-9 10.3% 7 11.4% 27 -3.9% 26
22 BAL -7.0% 1 22 -13.8% 24 5-11 -12.8% 26 -6.1% 9 -0.3% 13
23 ARI -10.1% 26 23 -12.3% 22 8-8 -0.8% 18 5.4% 20 -3.9% 25
24 DET -19.9% 29 24 -25.3% 28 7-9 -2.7% 20 13.9% 31 -3.3% 23
25 NYJ -20.8% 19 26 -12.5% 23 4-12 -10.8% 25 10.9% 25 0.9% 10
26 KC -21.2% 13 25 -25.0% 27 4-12 -18.0% 29 -0.5% 16 -3.7% 24
27 CAR -21.3% 14 27 -19.5% 25 7-9 -15.2% 27 0.7% 19 -5.4% 30
28 ATL -23.1% 21 28 -24.2% 26 4-12 -10.7% 24 12.1% 29 -0.4% 14
29 MIA -28.1% 17 29 -31.4% 31 1-15 -8.8% 23 16.7% 32 -2.7% 22
30 OAK -28.7% 32 30 -27.1% 29 4-12 -15.4% 28 8.3% 23 -5.0% 29
31 STL -33.9% 20 31 -30.9% 30 3-13 -18.7% 30 11.0% 26 -4.3% 27
32 SF -38.0% 27 32 -32.2% 32 5-11 -30.5% 32 11.5% 28 4.1% 5

  • NON-ADJUSTED VOA does not include adjustments for schedule, fumble recovery rate, or (for special teams) weather and altitude.
  • ESTIMATED WINS uses a statistic known as "Forest Index" that emphasizes consistency as well as DVOA in the most important specific situations: red zone defense, first quarter offense, and performance in the second half when the score is close. It then projects a number of wins adjusted to a league-average schedule and a league-average rate of recovering fumbles.
  • 2007 SCHEDULE lists average DVOA of opponents played this season, ranked from hardest schedule (#1, most positive) to easiest schedule (#32, most negative). It is not adjusted for which games are home or road.
  • PYTHAGOREAN WINS represent the number of wins projected from the team's points scored and allowed, as described in this article.
  • VARIANCE (VAR.) measures the statistical variance of the team's weekly DVOA performance. Teams are ranked from least consistent (#1, highest variance) to most consistent (#32, smallest variance).


TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK 2007
SCHED
RANK PYTH
WINS
RANK VAR. RANK
1 NE 51.8% 16-0 52.7% 14.2 1 0.1% 19 13.8 1 14.8% 19
2 IND 33.0% 13-3 31.4% 12.4 2 2.5% 8 12.5 2 16.4% 14
3 DAL 23.9% 13-3 27.2% 10.8 5 -1.5% 21 11.0 6 24.2% 3
4 JAC 23.7% 11-5 22.0% 11.3 3 1.7% 10 10.7 7 15.6% 16
5 GB 21.0% 13-3 27.2% 11.1 4 -5.6% 29 11.5 3 21.7% 6
6 SD 18.9% 11-5 16.7% 9.6 7 0.2% 18 11.3 5 25.0% 2
7 TB 17.8% 9-7 22.3% 10.1 6 -7.4% 30 10.0 9 22.1% 5
8 PIT 17.5% 10-6 19.4% 9.3 9 -3.3% 24 11.4 4 22.7% 4
9 SEA 11.7% 10-6 20.2% 9.1 11 -11.0% 32 10.7 8 12.1% 25
10 TEN 8.8% 10-6 3.2% 9.2 10 1.4% 13 8.1 15 18.3% 10
11 PHI 7.7% 8-8 0.8% 9.5 8 4.3% 5 9.1 11 14.5% 20
12 WAS 7.7% 9-7 0.2% 8.3 15 4.4% 4 8.7 12 15.0% 18
13 CLE 5.8% 10-6 9.1% 8.9 12 -5.1% 28 8.5 14 6.2% 32
14 MIN 4.9% 8-8 7.1% 8.8 13 -3.9% 26 9.5 10 19.5% 9
15 CIN -0.1% 7-9 6.8% 8.5 14 -3.2% 23 7.9 17 8.4% 31
16 NYG -0.6% 10-6 -4.4% 7.9 17 1.1% 14 8.6 13 8.4% 30
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L NON-ADJ
TOT VOA
ESTIM.
WINS
RANK 2007
SCHED
RANK PYTH
WINS
RANK VAR. RANK
17 HOU -2.1% 8-8 -7.7% 7.7 18 2.7% 7 7.9 18 13.8% 22
18 DEN -3.2% 7-9 0.4% 7.3 21 1.1% 17 5.7 21 34.2% 1
19 BUF -3.8% 7-9 -9.4% 8.3 16 5.1% 2 4.9 26 11.8% 26
20 CHI -4.4% 7-9 -6.5% 7.4 20 1.5% 12 7.6 20 14.4% 21
21 NO -5.1% 7-9 -4.9% 7.5 19 -3.5% 25 7.8 19 13.7% 23
22 BAL -7.0% 5-11 -14.4% 6.9 22 1.7% 11 5.0 25 15.4% 17
23 ARI -10.1% 8-8 -0.7% 6.2 24 -9.3% 31 8.1 16 20.0% 8
24 DET -19.9% 7-9 -17.4% 6.3 23 3.5% 6 5.7 22 18.1% 12
25 NYJ -20.8% 4-12 -23.3% 5.0 28 5.1% 1 5.4 24 11.6% 28
26 KC -21.2% 4-12 -23.5% 5.1 27 1.1% 15 4.5 28 21.5% 7
27 CAR -21.3% 7-9 -22.3% 5.8 25 1.1% 16 5.6 23 16.6% 13
28 ATL -23.1% 4-12 -21.5% 5.5 26 -1.2% 20 4.0 29 15.9% 15
29 MIA -28.1% 1-15 -35.3% 4.1 29 4.9% 3 3.8 30 12.4% 24
30 OAK -28.7% 4-12 -28.3% 4.0 30 2.0% 9 4.9 27 18.3% 11
31 STL -33.9% 3-13 -31.3% 3.6 32 -2.7% 22 3.7 32 9.6% 29
32 SF -38.0% 5-11 -33.2% 3.9 31 -4.7% 27 3.7 31 11.7% 27

For those readers who are sticklers for detail, I should mention that the DVOA ratings on the "best DVOA ever" table may differ slightly from ratings on the stats pages, because they may include small play-by-play fixes that aren't reflected on pages last revised a year or two ago. We'll make sure to update everything to the most current numbers over this off-season.

On to the housekeeping... All the team stats pages and individual stats pages are now updated with final 2007 numbers. Because of New Year's, we're not yet sure when we'll have playoff odds and the DVOA Premium database updated.

There will be no new Football Outsiders content on New Year's Day, and no Any Given Sunday this week. We'll be back Wednesday with the Every Play Counts All-Pro Team, the second-half Loser League review, and the usual DVOA on AOL piece with comments on all 32 teams.

For those interested, I'll be chatting about the playoffs over at BaseballProspectus.com this Friday from noon until 1:30pm Eastern. Feel free to also ask questions about what the other 20 teams should be doing over the off-season to improve.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 31 Dec 2007

142 comments, Last at 04 Jan 2008, 12:15pm by Eric P

Comments

1
by Xian (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 7:08pm

I seem to recall that GB had a very low variance for most of the year. And this week they're ranked #6. I assume that's been slowly climbing over the course of the year, and I just wasn't paying attention to it.

I'll go back and look, but as a general question, have there been many teams that had a large jump in variance (one way or the other) this year? If so, any speculation/commentary on what the causes might have been?

2
by Ryan (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 7:15pm

First? And does Chi weighted DVOA show future promise for next year or just a big fluke? If injuries revert back to an average number, they might be decent next year. And if Mike Brown somehow doesn't break every bone in his body like every year, they'll be really good again.

3
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 7:20pm

How close is Brady to Manning in the best QB season ever comparison? Cause since Manning didn't play in week 17 in 2004, maybe we should prorate his first 15 games to 16 and then compare.

4
by Otis Taylor 89 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 7:22pm

Is it just me or did the Colts play a comb of some really bad offenses, teams with offensive injuries when they played them, good offensive teams struggling on offense when they played team, JAC week 13 at home and NE at home? Is it really the #3 D in the NFL? I just didn't see any team loaded for bear to knock off the Champs all year.

5
by Xian (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 7:36pm

And to answer my own question, apparently I was correct in remembering that GB had a really low variance all year. Until week 16 and the loss to Chicago. Which vaulted them from the mid-to-low 20s in variance up to #5 in week 16, #6 final.

Weird. But I guess it's variance, so...yeah. I guess one game playing really poorly would have a big effect on variance if you've played well most of the rest of the year.

6
by Jsaon (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 7:40pm

#1, GB's variance skyrocketed due to their disaster in Chicago

It's also intersting how GB in terms of DVOA is abrely ahead of SD but in estimated wins trump them b 1.5+ wins

*It could be a crazy playoff considering 4 of the Top 7 teams in DVOA rank so highly on the variance list

7
by Dr. Mooch (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 7:43pm

And does Chi weighted DVOA show future promise for next year or just a big fluke?

Yeah, promise that they can look as good as the Eagles and Vikings, and miss the playoffs with a mediocre record. Look forward to it.

8
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 7:55pm

7: Perhaps it means we should respect the power of the neck beard.

9
by Mike (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 8:02pm

All, I've recently started a website with a stats based power rating that I call EPPR (Expectation-Performance Power Rating). I haven't updated for the last week of this season yet, but check out how the Pats compare to other teams of all time (I've rated all teams after each game going back to 1933). Any feedback is welcome. Here's the direct link to the ratings: http://www.quantsportsguy.com/alltimeranks.php. EPPR is based on winning (and by how much) and how good the opposing team is, similar to Elo rankings in chess. I'm hoping to check correlations to the DVOA during the offseason.

An interesting note... the Pats have the 4th best end to the regular season, and the best since the 1968 Colts. Hoping to update with this weeks' numbers this week. Thanks!

10
by Paul (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 8:04pm

sure would love to see one of those trend line thingies for the Redskins...and I guess the other playoff teams as well.

11
by Brian (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 8:07pm

Should there be any correction to the ratings for resting starters and testing rookies in week 17? I would think that would distort the weighted ratings significantly.

12
by Brian (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 8:09pm

Disregard my comment. I somehow skimmed past the part of the post that addressed this.

13
by Demond Sanders (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 8:11pm

#4 - The Colts were 5-0 in meaningful games against the best division in the NFL, the AFC South. Their defensive backups made Tennessee's starters look inept Sunday night, holding them to 2.5 yards per carry. They led the league in points allowed and didn't allow more than 25 points in any game. They played the Pats without two of three starting LBs and faired okay. This is the best Colts defense that I've ever seen, even without Dwight Freeney.

14
by Jacob Stevens (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 8:16pm

Mostly, the large number of teams resting players hasn't affected much like you said, Aaron, but it sure did hurt the Seahawks' defensive DVOA. Although the starters were in there, longer, except for Rocky Bernard, but even though the coaches were playing to win, the players clearly weren't in it, overlooking a 2nd-straight downtrodden NFC South opponent.

Opponent-adjustmnet is opponent adjustment, and maybe they deserve the significant kick down the ratings for playing those 2 games the way they did, but when you look at scording defense, the drive stats here, number of drives, and time of possession, they probably have the greatest differential between opponent-adjusted and non-adjusted numbers. Of course a lot of that is because their schedule was so dang easy, but in a defensive year that is so incredibly down across the board, they really have been playing like the 2nd best defense in the conference, and the 4th or 5th in the league.

15
by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 8:27pm

I think there's a good possibility that the Pats won't make it out of the AFC playoffs

The Jaguars are on fire. From Weeks 10-16; their DVOA has been about 54%!

Since the Colts have gotten reasonably healthy (after they played KC in week 11), their DVOA from weeks 12-16 was ~41%.

From Weeks 5-16, the Chargers have had a DVOA of ~34%.

This team just reminds me a lot of the 01 Rams and especially the 05 Colts.

16
by JR (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 8:27pm

Can someone explain how the Raiders could set the all time record for net punting average and be 26th this year in punting by DVOA?

I can certainly buy the idea that there are more sophisticated metrics than net punting average and that those metrics would put them much lower than the best of all time.

Still, I would think that net punting average would have a strong correlation with the punting rating. Certainly strong enough that a record breaking season in one would be above average in the other.

I know that they have very few punts from the other team's side of the field, since they (1) do not have a great offense, (2) kick more long FGs than most teams, and (3) go for it on 4th down more than most teams. That is a big boost for net punting average and likely explains a part of this.

That's about the only thing I can think of and that sounds more like a reason that you could be #1 all time in NPA, but only #26 all time or only 5th this year or something like that. It does not seem like a reason for being #1 in history for NPA, while 26th this YEAR in punting.

Has FO found any other performances that were both record breaking in a positive way by conventional stats, but bad by FO stats?

17
by Yosi Scharf (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 8:29pm

POST EDITED BECAUSE IT TOOK UP NINE SCREENS WORTH OF SPACE.

18
by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 8:47pm

very bad rankings of the Raiders. No way Raiders sgould be ranked lower than Dolphins. ridiculous rankings system at this site. Maybe I can help make it better for next season.

I give it a try now.

Raiders in top ten

19
by Fan in Exile (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 8:48pm

Scharf, the thing that struck me about those numbers was the variance. I mean if the predictions were consistently low or high that would be helpful. But from that it just looks like a crap-shoot. It's a good thing I don't use these to bet.

20
by Mikey (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 8:52pm

Do the Bills have the biggest difference between expected wins and pythagorean wins this year? They play well (ish), they just don't score points or stop the other team from scoring?

21
by Will (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 9:01pm

14, I'm not sure if the coaches were in it, either. A lot of post game articles noted that the Hawks played the same base defense the entire game. That sort of sounds like the D-Coordinator wanted to get the game the hell over with.

22
by Bobman (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 9:03pm

First, my apologies to Aaron and staff, and their various ancestors whom I maligned when I saw the preseason projections of the Jags and the Colts. Jags win total was right on the mark. Considerably off on Indy, but that just means you and I were each half right, and you probably did it without spluttering all over your keyboard. Kudos.

#3 If you are going to prorate, prorate by quarters. Manning sat out about 8+ quarters in 04, Brady maybe 1, 2 at most this year.

#4 Otis, Mr. Sanders had it about right and he sees more of the Colts than I do. I DID think they caught a few breaks such as knocking Garrard out of the first Jags game (but then again, they did that with Leftwich last year--is it lucky if you knock their guy out? ot just hard football? And I think an RB in the Tampa game.). But they have also played short-handed most of the year, so I'd call that a wash at best. The MLB and secondary have been healthy, but not 6 of the front 7, to say the least.

In terms of timing teams when their opponents are hot/cold, they had SD when the Chargers started to turn their season around, as opposed to playing them in the first few weeks like the Pats did (who would have beaten SD regardless of when they played, let's face it). At the time they lost to NE, it was the closest game NE had by two scores and they held them to 24, which at that point was their lowest output by two scores again! So all in all, I'd say Indy's D is for real. Even the backups last night were beating the snot out of a Tenn team clawing for a layoff spot. They are finally a real scary D--they hit hard and tackle well, and are fast. They lack size up front and looked a little gassed at the end of the NE game, but all in all, even with subs in, they are a very good D. Better than 2005, and indicating that 2006 was the aberration.

23
by MJK (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 9:32pm

How much of a boost did TEN's defense get from playing against 2+ quarters of the impressive Sorgi-led Indy offense, instead of the Manning-led one that DVOA thought they were playing?

24
by John Morgan (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 9:34pm

Looks like the Hawks and Skins will be a dogfight. And, as an early adopter of the Packers, I'm very skeptical of their DVOA. I'm a big believer that deep passes are one of the least consistent abilities a team can have, and for those offenses predicated on the long bomb, you may look unstoppable one week, and like Eli Manning the next.

25
by MJK (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 9:36pm

Intersting.

According to DVOA, the current method of ranking teams and determining playoff seeding ALMOST got everything right. Each division winner had the best DVOA in their division, the remaining two best teams in each conference were JAC, TEN, PHI, and WAS.

So the only place where DVOA disagrees with the standings is that the Giants have no business being in the postseason ahead of the Eagles (or Minnesota).

But where is Cincy's reasonable DVOA coming from? Anyone figured that out yet?

26
by hwc (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 9:42pm

RE: #22

There is no question the Colts defense is for real.

There is one difference between this year's tournament and last year's. Last year, the Colts good defense came out of the blue and none of their opponents had any game film. This year, there is game film of the good Colts defense.

I think it is impossible to handicap the Colts chances in the tournament until we really find out what games Polian is playing with all the injured players -- specifically Harrison and the d-line.

27
by Alex (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 10:00pm

"But where is Cincy’s reasonable DVOA coming from? Anyone figured that out yet?"

What do you mean? The Bengals have been about average in DVOA all year, and in fact, they are about average, having gone 7-9 against a decent set of opponents. Of course, earlier in the season, everyone was saying that DVOA must be broken since it said they weren't terrible. Yeah, funny how that turned out.

28
by langsty (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 10:08pm

Yeah, Indy's defense is definately for real. And I'm a big supporter of Bob Sanders for DPOY (I'm a Pats fan, btw). People mention his height all the time, but they overlook the fact that it's really an enormous advantage for him - the low man wins, in football. It's so difficult for o-linemen to try and block a short guy who gets down so low and is so explosive in diagnosing and pursuing plays. He creates mismatches just by being on the field and does a lot for that defense. Incredible player.

29
by langsty (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 10:14pm

NB. i'd like their defense a lot more if they had a healthy freeney and mathis, but i guess that goes without saying

30
by Jon (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 10:42pm

I'm not sure if it can be fixed, but Maroney's play on Saturday evidences the problems with DPAR. He was awful, dancing around instead of moving the pile. Yet, the Pats give him the ball in situations that are very DPAR-friendly.

31
by black (not verified) :: Mon, 12/31/2007 - 10:46pm

Colts defense from my observation

The biggest jump i have noticed in the colts defense is that the entire secondary now tackles exactly like Bob Sanders. The missle dive to the thigh knee area, from watching the Jags play the other teams in the league then playing the colts thats the biggest difference, other teams attempt to arm tackle Taylor and Jones-Drew in the secondary and they drag them all over the place. But every db on the colts goes low, you will notice the receivers all trying to leap unsuccesfully to get over the tacklers to no avail. On most teams you have one player that plays like that, Polamalu, Ed Reed, Sanders before this year.

That is my unprofessional opinion on the biggest difference I have seen, don't know if I'm crazy or not, but i'm sure someone will let me know

32
by Purds (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 12:31am

As to the Colts this year: In past years, say 2004-2005, I didn't give much credence to the "soft" label people placed on the Colts. Yes, they didn't beat NE, but who did? I still think those teams were average in terms of being physical, but watching the backups last night against Tennessee, it's pretty obvious that the Colts now are very physical. I can't believe more people weren't hurt in last night's game (on both sides).

The defense is for real, and that will show against just about everyone, except for You-Know-Who. What the Colts D does very well -- attack the ball carrier, keep passes in front of them and expect the QB to eventually make a mistake -- will likely not work against Those-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. The Colts have for several years played a risk defense, allowing many medium gains but hoping to cause a mistake, a sack, a 3rd-and-long, a turnover. It works against most teams, and most offense. Against the historical Team-That-Must-Not-Be-Named, well, we'll see.

As a Colts fan, I think the biggest problem for the Colts in the first meeting this year wasn't the defense giving up 4th quarter touchdowns, but that the offense couldn't generate any points in the last few drives.

33
by El Pupidero (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 12:49am

This site is the bomb diggity, yo. I love it how you guys create uour own stats to make it appear the Eagles are better than the Giants

34
by throughthelookingglass (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 1:56am

I posted this in the DVOA predictions thread as areas where I disagreed with the projections. Let's see how I did.

Some observations
-I don’t really understand why NE has a better projected offense than Indy

Well, I do now. Though, Indy's offense was where I thought they'd be (with a couple more injuries), NE's was much better.

-Doesn’t DVOA penalize for lack of depth? I’d think that would drop Washington

Score one for DVOA

-Tampa Bay is not the 6th best team in the NFL, etc

Score another for DVOA

-San Diego’s ‘bad’ projection is fueled entirely by the 29th ranked projected defense. It’s hard to imagine that a team with that defensive line, Merriman, Phillips, and a couple decent corners (Jammer and Cromartie) could be that bad.

SD's defense is 5th in the league. I was right about that.

-The Jets come out pretty well. Does the system think Pennington will stay healthy the whole year?

Jets pessimism rewarded!

-I think Manning & co’s ability to consistently move the chains may not be dealt with effectively by the system because of the lack of comparable reference points.

I still think this; the Colts exceeded their projection despite a rash of injuries.

-The system is surprisingly optimistic about Atlanta, especially the defense.

Maybe it shouldn't have been.

-Has there been a ‘Bengal arrest factor’ addition to DVOA? The offense seems under-predicted even after accounting for oline problems. It’s not like there weren’t problems last year, and they were still pretty good.

DVOA undershot them by 4%. Not bad.

-I wouldn’t be surprised to see NO come close to that prediction (within 5%). This is a team that still employs Fred Thomas, after all.

Me and DVOA were right on this one.

-Why is Detroit predicted to have an above-average defense? Are they the Cardinals of ‘04 (underrated D, aging qb, good young receivers, no oline)?

I still have no idea.

-No love for Oakland’s defense? I thought that with their young talent, especially concentrated in pass defense, they would be one of the few teams expected to overcome defense variability.

DVOA was right on that.

-DVOA hates Matt Leinart, apparently.

Maybe with good reason.

-This has been said before, but the STL offense should be better than that (even though I still think it’s a 6-7 win team).

Without all the injuries, who knows? DVOA predicted what did happen

-The projections (especially on the defensive side of the ball) are very clustered.

With good reason, apparently.

Well, the DVOA projection system got the majority of those predictions relatively correct.

35
by ravens nut (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 2:18am

This was just posted on NFL.com; it gives a slightly different perspective than DVOA:

(http://www.nfl.com/draft/story?id=09000d5d805a3a57&template=without-vide...)

The NFL draft calculus positions teams in draft according to the the strength- of- schedule, that is the records opposing teams. In this light the teams that faced the stiffest opposition during the past year were the Eagles (opponents' record:.563, 144 - 112) and the Redskins (.555, 142 - 142).

Other teams in the playoffs such as the Steelers (.453, 116 - 140), the Cowboys (.496, 127 - 129), had less difficult opponents. The Bucs, Packers and New England likewise cruised with easy schedules: (.469, 120 - 136). The Seahawks should quit right now: (.410, 106 - 150).

Too bad about Brian Billick. He deserved to ve fired, but the problems with the team go past the coaching staff. The birds need a decent quarterback and some people to throw to. Next year is rebuilding: they should finish 6 - 10 next year with Monte Kiffin as head coach. (Joke)

>>>>>>>

36
by Gerry (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 2:46am

Said it before, I'll say it again.

Not sure what DVOA is missing, but it is missing something regarding the Giants.

They aren't the best team around, or even top-5. But DVOA consistently underrates them.

Let's give a really simple example. How many other teams could have given the Pats that kind of game?

If the answer is 17, then the Pats aren't what they seem to be. If the answer isn't at least 17, then the Giants aren't what DVOA measures them.

It's the best measurement system around, but it is missing the mark there.

37
by nathand (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 2:50am

re #22:

Looking at the Sorgi gamelogs (the fastest way to see when Manning didn't play), you could give him 1 game in 2004, 2 in 2005, and most of one in 2007. That's it.

And that's not enough to get him past Brady (though it would push 2004 to the #2 spot).

38
by Nate D (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 2:57am

I know there was a Giants thread a few weeks back regarding their ranking, but my comments never got submitted, so here goes:

As a Giants fan, I am frustrated by seeing them behind teams like Philly and Washington when the Giants can, should and have beaten both teams. But the way the Giants have played in general, DVOA is right on correctly. They are a sloppy team. Just look at their -9 turnover differential. They actually won 4 games with a negative differential, including a -4 (Chi), -2 (Wash), -2 (Atl), -1 (Phi). That doesnt scream elite. It screams luck, and potential. If they would have played crisply in any of those games, they (probably) would have crushed their opponents [and had a much higher DVOA].
Instead, they turn the ball over too much, take too many ill-timed penalties (though overall penalty numbers look good), have kickoffs out of bounds... just play sloppy. Do they have potential? Sure. They actually won those aforementioned games while playing poorly. With a few breaks they could have beaten Dal, GB and New England. But they deserve to be ranked right in the middle of the pack. They haven't shown they can play a full 60 minutes of solid football. If they do, they'll be a force in the playoffs.

Looking at the year, their opponenets can be broken down into 4 (subjective) categories- The Giants have

1. Beaten ALL the teams that they clearly should have beaten including the Jets, SF, Atl, Miami [The Miami win was a bit sloppy as was the Jets win].

2. Beaten ALL the mediocre teams including Chicago, Detroit and Buffalo. All of those wins were sloppy. Too many turnovers (TEN in 3 games!), lost drives inside the redzone, kickoffs out of bounds...

3. Gone 3-2 vs the next tier including Philly, Washington and Minnesota. Even in their 3 wins, they were down 14 to the Skins, and barely held off the Eagles in their second meeting.
And they got demolished in the 2 losses.

4. Gone 0-4 vs the top teams including Dallas, GB and New England. But the Giants played well and had a chance to win ALL of those games. (yes, both Dal games were 3 point games in the 4th Q and the GB game was a one point game at the half).

Do I think they could beat most teams ahead of them on this DVOA rankings list? Of course. If they play a crisp, clean game and win the turnover battle, they can beat Tampa, Dallas and GB. They have shown that they are a couple of plays away from doing so. But they have played too many sloppy games to think they can pull out 3 (or 4) in a row.
Sigh.

Here's to hoping the Pats game gets the team to really focus and play a full game.

39
by Gerry (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 3:22am

Nate, I think you and I see the team the same way. They are a lower top 10 team. Not a top 5, by any stretch. But you put them against a team in the bottom half of the league, they will win.

DVOA has them in the bottom half.

That is where DVOA measures them wrong. Not sure what it is missing, or if DVOA would be more accurate overall if it had them pegged better (Probably not). But DVOA does not have them pegged right IMO.

Now watch them get skunked next week. :-)

40
by Scott (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 4:26am

Definitely agree with 2007 having "no great defenses". Teams like the Colts, Bucs, Steelers and Pats are all close at the top in defensive points allowed, but I don't see any of these defenses being anywhere as good as the top D's in recent seasons. The 07 Steelers have the stats, but with my eyes I know this defense is inferior to the one they had in 2004 and 2005 (especially the way they are playing now). The Patriots still make plays when they need them and can shut down the Lemon/Losman offenses, but does anyone see them as being as good as the defense they had in 03 and 04? This is the best Indy defense in the Manning era, but do you expect them to stop the Patriots when it counts in a few weeks? I don't.

And with so many bad teams and bad defenses in general, teams have taken advantage of it all year, especially against the pass. The top 4 seeds in the league (NE, IND, DAL, GB) all featured QB's with over 4000 yards passing.

Some records set in 2007:
- League-wide amount of points scored this year (11,104)
- 8 different teams scored at least 400 points
- *61.16% of all passes were completed. The previous record was 59.78% in 2006.
- Drew Brees completed 443 passes (previous record was 418 by Rich Gannon in 2002)
- In fact, 6 of the top 38 completion marks in a season were in 2007 (3 in the top 14).
- *The cummulative 82.6 passer rating on the season was the 2nd highest ever behind 2004 (82.8).
- *720 TD passes were thrown, 2nd only to 2004's amount of 732
- *Four QB's threw at least 31 TD passes in the same season for the first time ever. If Manning and Roethlisberger didn't basically take week 17 off, we'd probably be saying 4 QB's with at least 33 or so.
- *7 QB's threw for at least 4000 yards (previous record: 5 in three different seasons). Hasselbeck came up 34 yards short and didn't play the second half against Atlanta

**The amazing thing about these passing records were that QB's like Kyle Orton, A.J. Feeley, Brodie Croyle, Tarvaris Jackson, Vince Young, Kellen Clemens, Rex Grossman, John Beck, etc. threw a significant amount of passes. If teams were healthier at QB and didn't have to start a non-strike record amount of QB's in a season, the numbers would have been even better.

RB stats suffered for multiple reasons:
- Too many injuries to key guys and a lot of underperformers
- Teams found it was so much easier to pass the ball
- RBBC
- First time since 1993 a RB didn't top 1500 yards rushing

Receiver stats were crazy
- 23 receivers had a 1000 yard season, and I believe 9 of them were first-timers to the mark. That's not a record (there were 26 in 1999 and a few seasons with 24), but that's still a lot and some surprising names to boot (Brandon Marshall with over 1300 yards?)
- 11 different receivers had at least 10 TD catches, tying the mark set in 1995 and 2004 (the two other pass-heavy seasons in league history)

Offense will win another championship in 2007

41
by hwc (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 4:28am

Let’s give a really simple example. How many other teams could have given the Pats that kind of game?

Actually, going back to the Indy game in week 9, I would say that every Patriots opponent has thrown everything but the kitchen sink at them. Just off the top of my head, the Eagles, Ravens, Steelers, Jets, and Giants all played very good football against the Pats and were clearly fired up and armed with unexpected or unusual defensive gameplans. Four of those games were nationally televised night games.

The Pats players said Saturday night at the Giants was a playoff-intensity game.

There's a tendency to start thinking that the best teams in the league can just blow out every other team without even breaking a sweat. That's not the way the NFL works. The best teams are the best teams because they beat the other solid teams by a little bit more often -- usually in the fourth quarter.

42
by Raiderjoe (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 4:40am

re21

game don't natter what do yuo want Seahwk,s coach to do? he team not going to move up in rankings of sadium wear to keep Godzilla out of picture Too much L jordan. Go with j fargas more in 2008 or draft D Mafadden if not use fargas sign small guy like D sroles, let him throw again becuase this is raferts and this is raidders football. Too drunk to write more. trdae notions of Raiders tomorrow ehn Fx of hardcre drinking effects wear off

43
by hwc (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 4:44am

The Patriots still make plays when they need them and can shut down the Lemon/Losman offenses, but does anyone see them as being as good as the defense they had in 03 and 04?

No. Not as good as 03/04. But, it's not the same game. Since the '03 and '04 seasons, the NFL has effectively banned pass defense and instructed the officials to stop calling offensive holding. What you are seeing is the result of the rules changes.

If you've noticed, the good offenses in the NFL are just eating defenses alive with slot receivers and tight ends. Think about it. How is a safety supposed to cover a 250 pound tight end without touching him? Under the current rules, the smart defensive coaches are just conceding the underneath passes and playing cover 2 to limit the big plays. There isn't much else you can do without giving up PI call after PI call. There's no such thing as a shutdown corner with the current rules.

It's just taken a couple of seasons for the coaching to adjust to the new rules. Wanna see defense again? Take it up with Polian and the competition committee.

It's quite evident that Belichick understood the implications of the ban on pass defense and retooled his offense accordingly. What was it against the Steelers? 34 consecutive called pass plays?

44
by Glenn (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 10:06am

#42: Now, if we could all be drunk when we read Raiderjoe's posts, they would all make sense.

45
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 12:09pm

I mentioned this elsewhere but Packer GM Ted Thompson deserves a lot of credit for the special teams improvement. He has made acquiring players capable of contributing on special teams a priority and it shows. Yes guys have to be coached. But it starts with guys both capable and willing to perform on special teams. And that's Thompson.

46
by Arik (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 12:14pm

#40:

Very interesting post about all the offensive records broken and the quality of offenses this year. But where do you draw the conclusion that a good offense is what wins the championship?

I'm not saying your wrong (after so many folks elect the Patriots champions anyway), I'm just saying your logic doesn't follow. I could just as strongly make the case that the last man standing will be the one who shuts down the shootouts (any given Sunday).

47
by AndyE (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 1:09pm

The cynic in me applauds Dungy for "resting his starters" and playing sleight of hand. By letting the Titans into the playoffs, the Colts will get to watch San Diego get injured against Tennessee, and either play the now-injured Chargers, or watch Tennessee try to cripple New England players. A much better Colts outcome than working to let the speedbump Browns into the playoffs.

48
by MDZ (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 1:16pm

#37
You're info isn't correct. I don't know if there's a problem in looking at Sorgi gamelogs because he's played in several quarters without throwing a pass, but when you look at the play by play here is when Manning sat in his 49 TD season:

2004: 1 qtr vs. CHI, 1 qtr vs. Det, 1 qtr vs. TEN, 4 qtrs vs. DEN (all but one drive) so in total Manning sat for 7 quarters in 2004, and as I've mentioned in a previous post he had 2 fourth quarter TDs in his record breaking year with his team up by 14+ points.

Brady had a great season and the record is a great accomplishment for him, I don't know how close Manning would have gotten in DPAR had he played as many qtrs as Brady. One interesting thing is that they have almost identical DPAR/pass attempts. Manning in 2004 had .33418 DPAR/PA and Brady had .33422 this year. Peyton just narrowly edged him out in DOVA 62.8% to 62.0%. I guess the past 2 years have given proof to two of the what if statements of the irrational debate, that given a good defense (if only for the playoffs) Manning could win a Superbowl and given
a stellar supporting cast on offense Brady could put up stats like Manning could.

49
by Nate D (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 1:20pm

Gerry,

Let me clarify my statement. I believe the Giants are a top 10 team, but not a top 10 DVOA team. They have played down to their inferior competition, which has brought down their DVOA. Yes they were able to pull out some victories, but DVOA doesnt care whether you win, it cares how you play.
If they had gone out and crushed the Bears, Lions and Bills, they might be a top 10 DVOA team right now. But they didnt. They had too many dropped passes and turnovers. Thus a low DVOA but a W.

Does that mean they can't beat Tampa, Dal and/or GB? Of course not. If the Giants stop dropping passes and win the turnover margin, they should be anyone in the NFC. Why? Becasue they are a top 10 team. Just not in DVOA.

50
by No Fway (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 1:25pm

#20:Do the Bills have the biggest difference between expected wins and pythagorean wins this year?

No. The Bills finished 1.3 wins behind the Pythagorean projection. The Dolphins were worst at 3.1 wins below projection. The Cowboys were best, at +2.2.

51
by Purds (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 1:32pm

hwc: "Wanna see defense again? Take it up with Polian and the competition committee.
It’s quite evident that Belichick understood the implications of the ban"

Let me translate:
Colts (take it up with Polian) = evil
Patriots (quite evident ... Belichick) = good

Say something with an original slant next time. To listen to you, I only wonder why Belichick didn't "quite evidently" realize this last year, when he let a WR walk (or worse, let the WR walk at the end of training camp, too late to do anything about a replacement) and lost the AFCC game. Perhaps it was quite evident to the Pats this year that they lost last year, and that two good WR's were on the market cheap?

52
by AndyE (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 1:38pm

Purds, I think you're reading a little too much into that, for good v. evil.

Did the recent rules clarifications, widely believed to be spearheaded by Polian, favor offenses, and, specifically, QB/WRs? Yes.

Leaguewide, how many teams that were tailored for the previous environment have switched to the newer model? Hard to say. The Colts were already there, it took the Pats a couple of years to make the transition (last year's exercise in "plug any WR into the Pats offense and they'll be great" demonstrated that every rule has its limit). Are there several teams still playing oldschool, and cranky when that draws fouls? Absolutely. Are Pats fans now amused that a few years later, everyone they play is bitching about the same tickytacky calls they'd been getting? Vastly.

Are the Colts a good team? Yes. Are the Pats a good team? Yes.

53
by Scott (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 1:45pm

46, I've always felt offense is most important in a team winning a championship. I think the boring mantra of "defense wins championships" came up in the media a lot when you had a 4-year run (2000-03) of teams that weren't so good offensively winning the SB. Most notably the Ravens were a very impotent offense and still won the SB behind their defense and special teams. But even that team had to make some offensive plays happen (minus the Titans game they won on flukey plays). Most SB winning teams had good years offensively. It's been rare for them to have an average or below average offense.

The point of a game is to score more points than your opponent and you mostly will do that with your offense. A good offense dictates the flow of the game. If you get up early on a team, you make them play to your hand and you help your defense out. And besides scoring, good offenses eat up clock and don't give the opponent enough time to get back in the game.

I'm not saying that defense doesn't matter because you obviously need to get stops, but I'd take my chances at winning a SB with a strong offense/average defense team over a strong defense/average offense any day. A lot of teams that won SBs had to outscore a really tough team on their way to the Lombardi in the postseason. All the talk about the Colts' defense last year in the playoffs, but it all means nothing if the offense didn't put up 32 pts in the 2nd half.

And I know great defenses can still exist in the current passing rules era. I've seen it with the 06 Ravens, 05-06 Bears, 04-05 Steelers, 04 Patriots, etc.

54
by ajn (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 1:56pm

#40

not that they're in the same category of history's great defenses, but the titans finishing first in defensive dvoa without pacman, albert haynesworth out for three games and injured for the second half of the season, and renaldo hill is pretty impressive. if pacman had a curfew i think this could have been up there with best defenses of the past decade.

55
by ajn (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 1:57pm

that should have read "renaldo hill prominently involved". not sure what happened.

56
by Gerry (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 2:22pm

"Does that mean they can’t beat Tampa, Dal and/or GB? Of course not. If the Giants stop dropping passes and win the turnover margin, they should be anyone in the NFC. Why? Becasue they are a top 10 team. Just not in DVOA."

I agree, wholeheartedly.

57
by MP (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 2:38pm

#36: Not sure what DVOA is missing, but it is missing something regarding the Giants.

I don't think so. DVOA measures how a team has played, not how it is capable of playing. So to DVOA, there is no difference between a bad team and an underachieving team.

58
by Scott (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 2:43pm

Re: Titans Defense

If Sage Rosenfels erases a 25-pt 4th quarter deficit (without Andre Johnson), then you have no claim to being a great defense. Not to mention crybaby Rivers led two TD drives (and they gave up the winner in OT) against them in the 4th after playing terribly through 3 quarters.

I honestly think Tennessee would get smoked by all 11 playoff teams this year (assuming they went on the road for all of them)

59
by Richard (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 3:30pm

58: Since when is Rivers a crybaby?

60
by panthersnbraves (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 3:54pm

Panther ST rating rockets to 30!

61
by Purds (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 4:07pm

AndyE:

I am just tired of every discussion being turned, by some folks, into a NE/Indy discussion, with exaggerated assumptions. The original post was about offenses taking over. The response I quoted by hwc (#43) just had to turn the discussion into another of the never-ending posts about the greatness of BB, with a shot at the Colts thrown in for good measure.

62
by Purds (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 4:12pm

AndyE: "Are Pats fans now amused that a few years later, everyone they play is bitching about the same tickytacky calls they’d been getting? Vastly"

Not so many of those Pats fans were amused by last year's AFCC, when NE fans and players howled about tickytacky calls that went against them.

Hypocrisy in NE fans? Immense.

63
by Purds (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 4:14pm

Crap! I just did what I said I wouldn't do -- talk about the Pats and their fans. Crap! Crap1 Crap! I didn't just post those.

Mods: Erase them if you can.

63
by Dave (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 4:14pm

59: Rivers runs his mouth a lot. That'll get you called a crybaby sometimes.

Also, the Chargers bitched a lot after the NE loss last year. That'll get any random Charger called a crybaby sometimes.

65
by Scott (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 4:18pm

Called Rivers a crybaby ever since I saw him throw a temper tantrum on Sunday Night Football in 2006 against the Chiefs (he was having an awful game; LT carried them to victory as usual).

I don't want the Titans to win this weekend because that'd be a piece of cake for NE next round, but I'd sure love to see Rivers frustrated again in a big game.

66
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 4:24pm

Crap! I just did what I said I wouldn’t do — talk about the Pats and their fans. Crap! Crap1 Crap!
Another New Year's resolution lasts to mid-afternoon...

;)

67
by Otis Taylor 89 (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 4:25pm

The Colts schedule since playing NE at home week 9:SD (when they couldn't get out of their own way),KC, ATL,JAC(giving up 411 yards),BAL,OAK,HOU(who have scored over 20 points once on the road since week 2),TEN(9 passing TDs on the year).

The Colts may have a good D, but there is no way to know that with this schedule.

68
by Alex DL (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 4:39pm

re: 66

What if we just chalk it up to "hair of the dog"?
Happy New Year everybody. May the Football Gods bless all our teams with good health and good play for the coming playoffs.

69
by Chris (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 4:46pm

26- The Colts defense was good in the playoffs last year because they played against weak and very conservative offenses. Herm, Billick, Grossman and they got torched by the best quarterback in the league :)

28- Maybe getting low is an advantage at the point of impact, but in pass coverage you'd rather have a 6'3 guy with long arms instead of a 5'8 midget any day. It's not like being a midget is an advantage.

38- Great post on the Giants. I agree they should be a lower 10 ten team. They were 3-1 vs the skins and Eagles and didn't get killed by the Patriots like Jason Campbell's skins did.

I think DVOA favors consistancy and NOT making errors. For example, a boring ball control offense that doesn't turn the ball over ( or score points) can be rated higher than an offense like Detroit/Arizona/Giants that scores points but can also have it's fair share of turnovers.

You know that I feel what Jon Kitna or Kurt Warner does is a harder job than say the Redskins or Chiefs quarterback is asked to do but I don't think DVOA has any "style" control or anything like that ( and even a weather control).

The DVOA certainly isn't perfect and the FO guys keep adjusting it but it can be a useful tool.

70
by Tom (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 4:48pm

Re 53:

The defenses win championship mantra is much, much older than that. Also, how many Superbowl winners had average or below average defenses? I can't think of too many off the top of my head. The 2006 Colts would be one, but their defense in the playoff was completely different from the regular season.

71
by AndyE (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 5:22pm

since post 62 doesn't really exist, I don't need to note that there is no hypocrisy in complaining about an environmental change perceived to hurt your team, but then retool to take advantage of the new environment. And then be amused that the people critical of your original complaint complain when the new environment does not permit them to use the same strategies you were forced to stop using.

72
by Chris (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 5:30pm

I've thought about the Offense/Defense wins championship stuff.

I think the main thing you are looking for, is at the end of the game 2 minutes left in the game. Can your offensive minded team score at the end of the game to win? Can your defensive juggernaut stop your opponenet at the end of the game to win?

We have seen both offensive and defensive teams win championships. I do think that a good efficient offense ( like the Colts or Pats) has an added bonus that you control the game and the clock when you have the ball. You also have the advantage of being more built to " catch up" in case you are losing a game ( Colts last year).

The 2000 Ravens on the other hand with a dominat D and average offense might have to stop their opponent extra times due to more 3 and outs ( on both sides of the ball) and they would generally want good special teams too( Matt Stover, Jermane Lewis had some key returns etc.) If you are going to be playing a field position game, you might as well want to pick up an extra 10-20 yards of field position here and there.

If your team is going to be one dimensional they pretty much have to be dominant in that faucet of the game, otherwise you want a combination really good units working together.

73
by MdM (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 6:11pm

Without adding anything of substance, can I also request that every discussion not turn into a Republican vs. Democrat style spat re: Colts and Pats? Two great teams, two great QBs, two great coaches. We should be happy to observe this great rivalry, not constantly get into catfights about it!

74
by Paralis (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 6:51pm

69:38- Great post on the Giants. I agree they should be a lower 10 ten team. They were 3-1 vs the skins and Eagles and didn’t get killed by the Patriots like Jason Campbell’s skins did.

The Skins also didn't get killed by the Packers, the Cowboys and the Vikings the way the Giants did. While we're using arbitrary measures of team value.

You know that I feel what Jon Kitna or Kurt Warner does is a harder job than say the Redskins or Chiefs quarterback is asked to do but I don’t think DVOA has any “style” control or anything like that ( and even a weather control).

Everybody knows it because you keep parroting it, but repetition doesn't make it any truer. You know that Mike Martz and Al Saunders run the same offense, right? Right?

75
by patriotsgirl (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 6:52pm

73: Agreed. I'll even provide the port/champagne - happy new year, all!

76
by MarkV (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 7:54pm

a quick question. Looking at the DPAR by RB, there are two different values for Michael Bennet, with each having both tampa and KC listed. BUT only one listed for recieving and thats with KC. what gives?

77
by solarjetman (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 8:06pm

I noticed that Denver is #1 in variance, and is 9 points ahead of the #2 team in variance; I went ahead and looked at previous years' variance winners.

2007 Denver: 34.2%
2006 Jacksonville: 30.1%
2005 San Fran: 35.5%
2004 Atlanta: 26.0%
2003 Buffalo: 31.9%
2002 St. Louis: 25.2%
2001 Washington: 29.1%
2000 Dallas: 29.4%
1999 Pittsburgh: 26.4%
1998 Jets: 26.7%
1997 Detroit: 27.4%
1996 Green Bay: 26.6%

So there's another team to stick in your "all time" tables - the 2007 Denver Broncos are the second most inconsistent team of the DVOA era.

78
by Bruce (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 8:23pm

Aaron,

Can you run some DVOA numbers on the Skins under Todd Collins? This is clearly a better offense with him making decisions and with a healthy Clinton Portis.

79
by MarkV (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 8:28pm

RE 77:
Destroyed KC and TEN
Was Destroyed by SD and DET
lots of horrible special teams making bad loses close (both for and against them)... sounds about right. Man was Denver all over the map.

80
by Purds (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 9:05pm

Re: #67 Colts schedule:

You have a good point there. Those offenses are a bit offensive. But, you could also point to the barometer against the best -- they held NE to 24 points on the fast track of the dome, NE's lowest total for the year other than the bad-weather game against NYJ.

Or, you could note that no one (not #1 NE, not #10 Tampa, not #3 Jacksonville twice, not #7 NO) scored more than 25 points against the Colts.

I agree that they won't stop NE, but who could? That doesn't make Indy a weak defense.

81
by langsty (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 9:43pm

69 - "28- Maybe getting low is an advantage at the point of impact, but in pass coverage you’d rather have a 6′3 guy with long arms instead of a 5′8 midget any day. It’s not like being a midget is an advantage."

Sure, but Sanders is a strong safety - he's at his best as an in-the-box player. Not that I've ever noticed him struggle in coverage. Sean Taylor was huge for a safety, and he was like 6'1".

82
by Jeff (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 11:33pm

RE 67 & 80:

As someone who is a Colts fan ( I am a Bears fan first and foremost ) I find it
curious that the Colts defense is always being questioned about it's bona fides.
It seems that several posters on this site go out of the way to discredit the Colts defense. While you can argue that the Colts did not play many offensive " juggernauts " did any of the other "good" to "great" defenses play 15
" good " to " great " offenses? It gets to be silly. There are only going to be a limited amount of " good " offenses in any given year so it would be near impossible to play them all in one year.
This nonsense started last year during the playoffs when the Colts defense improved. When that happened everyone made excuses from bad coaching, to " dumb " game plans to " conservative " offenses to global warming to explain the Colts resurgence. Since the playoffs began last year, the Colts have played good, solid, physical football. I do not think that they have anything to prove at this point. They are a good defense, period.

83
by Lionsjoe (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 11:38pm

In a two deep zone you will usually have both safeties deep ( although you don't have to). There are different variations in coverage like "sky" etc.

Getting below your opponent is good at the point of contact but in the passing game you pretty much always want taller guys that are bigger targets, with longer wingspans etc. Especially in a zone defense.

73- I wouldn't call Phony Fungi a great coach but I get your point.

84
by Chris (not verified) :: Tue, 01/01/2008 - 11:44pm

I just watched two games I DVR'ed earlier in the year for playoff prep.

Luke McCown actually played alright against the saints in NO ( granted it was the saints), and the Titans/Chargers game in tennesse was a good physical game that looked like a playoff game. Fat Al hanynesworth was a monster in that game and both teams were jawing at each other.

Happy New year and I can't wait until this weekend.

85
by otbricki (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 12:02am

#40:

Lemon/Lossman offenses is a bit cruel. The Patriots also shut down Romo/Manning when they needed to.

Still, I agree with you that this team doesn't have as good a defense as in previous years. IMHO linebacker play is definitely in need of improvement.

86
by Purds (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 12:43am

Lionsjoe #83:

It's a slow night, so I'll ask you to clarify two things:

1) Dungy's NOT a great coach? How do you explain away these things:

a) NFL's winningest head coach from 1999-2005 with a mark of 78-34 (30-18 with Tampa Bay, 48-16 with Colts). I can't confirm that he's the winningest head coach from 1999-present. And, then he went 26-6 for the last two years, putting him at 104-40 in the regular season
b) He won a Super Bowl
c) While BB has gotten the better of him, Dungy's team for the past 4 years has either won the SB, or lost in the playoffs to the eventual SB winner (2003 NE, 2004 NE, 2005 Pit), so I would hardly say his teams have choked in the playoffs. They are 7-3 in the last four years of post-season play.
d) He's taken his teams to the playoffs in 10 of his 12 seasons.
e) He has the highest career winning percentage of any active coach.

Unless you're saying there can be only one great coach ech generation, then Dungy has to be in the discussion.

2) "Phony Fungi"? Does this have something to do with him speaking his mind about non-football things? I don't agree with his stance on homosexuality, but I don't find him phony. He states his opinion, and I disagree. Nothing hidden by him there.

87
by Tom (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 5:43am

Re 81;

Shorter players have lower centers of gravity. This lets them make quicker cuts, and keep going full speed. This is why a lot of slot receivers are short.

88
by Theo, Holland (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 7:25am

87.
No, they're shorter because the Flying Spaghetti Monster is pulling them down more. (more people = taller people)
That extra attention from the FSM gives them the talent to be an NFL receiver.
.
Could also be that with shorter legs you can stop and turn easier.
.
Could be both.

89
by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 8:25am

86- Are Mike Mccarthy and Wade Phillips the 3rd and 4th best coaches in the league? You can't just look at results absent of talent ( the greatest or 1A greatest quarterback ever).

Barry Switzer won a super bowl. Jon Gruden went to two in a row and some people don't think he's so solid.

The term "greatness" is thrown around way to often and especially for a coach that was known for choaking for years. You know, he had paper champions for years and was ousted from tampa because he couldn't win the big one on a team with double digit probowlers.

90
by Scott (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 9:20am

#36 - You mean teams like the Ravens and the Eagles? Next time, use the form in a manner similar to this:

The Giants are clearly ranked too low because Eli Manning didn't overthrow receivers every other attempt. Ranking teams by how close they played one particular opponent in one particular week is way better than this. Teh eegles suk

91
by Scott (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 9:41am

89 - The difference between the examples you offered up and his argument for Dungy is that Dungy has maintained excellence for two different franchises over an extended period of time. Comparing him to Wade Philips this year and Barry Switzer isn't fair at all.

90 - Who is this mystical, other "Scott"? I suppose I will switch to my typical handle, which is socctty... sigh.

92
by Herm? (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 10:38am

Let it be noted that the term "phony fungi" was posted by a lions guy.

If Dungy's contract expired the last day of this season, he would have 32 contract offers from NFL teams, 150 in the NCAA, and 1 from each television network in the US.

93
by Purds (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 10:45am

89 - As Scott noted, Chris, you're offering up a silly comparison by picking one year's stats to prove your point. Give me the list of their other years, their other accomplishments. Or, rather, why not post YOUR criteria for a "great" coach. Then, we can objectively look at Dungy and others in that light.

94
by Herm? (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 10:48am

91
The TB and IND jobs in Dungy's tenure also represent 2 different phases of 2 different franchises. TB was building from worst franchise ever into a contender, while INDY has been built from contender into excellence.

The only thing you can question is whether he can truly implement a great offense. He never got TB up to elite (no one gave him a QB), which seems to ultimately be what he was fired for...and elite offense was pretty much in place when he got to Indy, including the same offensive coordinator and QB.

95
by Scott (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 11:11am

94 - I agree. And you can't blame Tony Dungy for not throwing out the OC and QB in Indy when he arrived, obviously. So saying he's inept when it comes to offenses isn't very fair even. Only an idiot would have gotten rid of those two, even if it was to "prove" that he's a great coach at all facets of the game.

92 - The team that fired him would offer him a job? Bill Polian is a weird guy...

96
by AndyE (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 11:40am

92: Subtract one, I think NE is happy with the other great coach of this generation :)

(Look, see, a Pats fan, making nice comments about the Colts. Even though I hate them, and kind of hope Bob Sanders has the runs the weekend of the 19th).

97
by socctty (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 11:44am

In reference to the O-line stats: Are the Left End stats for runs to the left of the left tackle, such as a stretch play? If that's the case, what do "left tackle" runs mean - between the LT and LG?

98
by Herm? (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 12:02pm

The way I see it, if by accident The Colts let Dungy's contract run out, Polian would see his mistake and call a meeting with Dungy to explain the error of his ways. He would make a contract offer and then invite Dungy out for tea and hookers.
Being the wholesome man he is, Dungy would accept the job but decline the invitation, and Polian would respect that and be happy he declined...because, hey, more hookers for him.

99
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 12:03pm

I'll probably end up emailing Aaron with this, but I'd be interested in whether or not dropping (or atleast reducing) the opponent adjustment from the Week 17 games would help.

And I'll have all my pretty charts up shortly.

100
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 12:05pm

Re: 98

I really can't decide if I hate you or love you. Screw you for toying with my emotions!

101
by Herm? (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 12:07pm

Wait, I made a mistake in 98, please replace hookers with crackers. But Dungy will still decline, because he is on a gluten-free diet.

Also, although I am a Pats fan, I hope Bob Sanders plays if the eventual AFC Championship meeting happens. I'm starting to think the window of a 100% Indy vs. 100% NE is closing. Even though you're sitting on a couch or barstool, doesn't it cause a crazy adrenaline rush (or nerves or whatever other peoiple call it)? Don't you want to see both teams at their best?

102
by Herm? (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 12:30pm

wouldn't you have to be selective about dropping week 17 opponent adjustments?
The 2 examples from both sides that come to mind are the Giants, who played their tails off in week 17 against a highly ranked opponent, and Jacksonville (what's the opposite of playing your tail off?)against Houston.
I think this is another issue Aaron would be tackling this offseason, although he has been most vocal about weather adjustment.

103
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 12:42pm

"Brady maybe 1, 2 at most this year."

I count atleast 6 games where Brady sat out after the 1st drive in the 4th quarter.

104
by Nathan (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 12:44pm

As a Colts fan, I want both teams at as full of strength as possible.

105
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 12:46pm

Re: 102

I'm sure dropping opponent adjustments across the board wouldn't be 100% accurate. But Week 17 is clearly not just like every other week, so something should be done. Aaron has already said the treating week 17 like it never happened doesn't work. So I'm thinking that overall, tinkering with the opponent adjustment for week 17 might be useful.

106
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 12:55pm

36

"They aren’t the best team around, or even top-5. But DVOA consistently underrates them.

Let’s give a really simple example. How many other teams could have given the Pats that kind of game? "

How many other teams could give the Vikings that sort of game? You can't just ignore the games they play poorly in.

107
by AndyE (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 1:33pm

Nathan: hear hear!

108
by MJK (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 1:34pm

My suggestion would be dropping (or reducing) any game that satisfies the following criteria:

1). One team is locked into a playoff seed, while the other is still in contention (i.e. one team has nothing to play for, and the other has a lot to play for)).

2) The team that is locked in loses.

I would say "any team where one 'rests its starters'", but that gets you into shades of grey (i.e. how soon do they have to rest their starters, and how many starters do they rest, and what is a "starter" anyway...

109
by ChiJeff (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 1:34pm

Purds,

Some good points about Dungy. I am a fan and I think that he is one of the very good coaches in the league. I love the arguement
that Dungy wins only because he has " talent ". Like Dungy is the only coach in the history to have "talent" I mean name me all of these "great" coaches that have been sucessful with bad talent.

110
by MJK (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 1:37pm

I second wanting the Colts and the Patriots to be at full strength when and if they meet. I love this rivalry, and I'm sick of hearing Pats fans whine about the 2006 AFCCG and the flu and lack of Harrison, and the 2003 playoff game and the receiver mugging...

No excuses, no whining. Just the two best teams of recent memory (apologies to Steelers and Cowboys fans) facing off with it all on the line.

And while we're at it, I hope that the weather is good. I usually like "weather games" as long as the conditions aren't too extreme. But the prospecting of seeing Manning-Wayne verus Brady-Moss in a playoff game is too exciting to foul up with snow or sleet or wintery mix...

111
by B (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 1:43pm

89: Was Gruden coaching the Panthers in 03 or the rams in 01? I don't remember him appearing in a second Super Bowl.

112
by Purds (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 2:04pm

I agree with wanting to see Indy-NE at their best. I have Red Sox friends who wanted to see the Yanks lose in the playoffs this year before getting to the Sox. I thought, "Are you crazy? You already won a WS, so a second one means nothing. Beating the Yanks on the way to a second one would mean something."

I feel the same about NE-Indy. I am glad last year's SB win by Indy did not circumvent the Pats (if, say, SD had won and then played in the AFCC).

I hope they both win in two weeks, and come through unscathed. Both defenses will be missing important parts (Freeney, Colvin), but the Colts seem to be getting healthy (Harrison seems almost ready to play), and the Pats will be healthy if they can mend their O line.

113
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 2:11pm

Gosh, a Pats/Colts tilt with both teams at full strength, or as near as possible (how many teams could lose their premium pass rusher and still be considered a threat to the Pats?), would be a gift to football fans. I very much hope it comes to pass.

Congrats to Aaron for beating my win projection of the Vikings. I had their most likely outcome at six wins, and I believe Aaron's was eight. I guess DVOA forsaw Adrian Peterson, huh?

Last year, I overestimated their wins, mostly due to the fact that I didn't adjust when their only playmaking wr, Koren Robinsin, got himself jailed. I still think, however, that my projection was nearly as good as Aaron's given that last year Aaron had the Vikings with a very high chance of winning four games or less, which I saw as just about impossible, given the quality of their offensive and defensive lines. So far, however, it's DVOA 2, Will Allen 0, as far as being closest to projecting the ultimate number of Viking victories, so I will endeavor to achieve humility in future projections.

114
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 2:36pm

As an unabashed Pats-hater (and fan of a non-playoff team), there is absolutely nothing I'd rather see than NE lose at any point, to any team (except Dallas), for any reason. I won't care it they end up losing in 75 mph winds, or because of injuries, or because of bad luck, or even because of crappy officiating.

They are quite possibly the greatest team ever assembled. They deserve to win the Superbowl. They deserve all the accolades they get. They even deserve the absurd level of hype they've been getting. But I'm so sick of hearing about all of the above-mentioned that it completely overrides all other rational rooting interests I may have (except of course my much more deep-seated hatred of the Cowboys).

If the Superbowl really does come down to NE/Dallas I may just start drinking and not stop until I killed enough brain cells to forget this season ever happened.

115
by B (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 3:52pm

114: So Dallas losing to NE in the Super Bowl wouldn't be enough for you?

116
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 4:18pm

Re: 115

That's like asking someone if they'd rather contract HIV or herpes. Of course you'd rather have herpes, but just because it's better than the alternative doesn't make the outcome any more desirable.

117
by Kurt (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 4:25pm

106 - “They aren’t the best team around, or even top-5. But DVOA consistently underrates them.

Let’s give a really simple example. How many other teams could have given the Pats that kind of game? ”

How many other teams could give the Vikings that sort of game? You can’t just ignore the games they play poorly in.

Very true, though it's fair to wonder whether DVOA places too much emphasis on getting ripped by a good team, and not enough emphasis on close losses to bad teams. As has been discussed ad nauseum the Giants have *no* losses to teams in the lower half of the league, while plenty of teams ranked ahead of them have worse records and worse losses (Min to Det and KC, Cincy to KC and SF, Tampa to Detroit and SF, Washington to Buffalo, etc.)

118
by panthersnbraves (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 6:18pm

#114

If that unthinkable happens, compare it watching NASCAR for the wrecks. You could cheer for dropped passes, flags, etc, while enjoying the commercials in between.

119
by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 9:42pm

Phony Fungi would get calls from 32 teams and 150 colleges? Really? Scott Pioli would be looking for a new water boy or something?

If you took Peyton Manning off the Colts that team would fall apart really fast. If you took Tony Fungi out off of the sidelines that team doesn't miss a stride.

People seem to forget this is the guy that talks about how " there are more important things in life than coaching". He has his own agenda and I'd leave it at that but if he didn't have Peyton Manning showing up running practice BEFORE dungy ever walks on the field he probably wouldn't ever have the "opportunity" to make a statement like that.

What if Bill Bellicheck said that " there are more important things in life than coaching" and then preceded to lose in the playoffs with superior teams?

Do you think BB would get this media love affair and have everybody talk about his backround etc?

Tony Dungy built up the bucs or his GM built a stacked roster that still has some pieces in place today.

The freaking Bucs were better off when he left anyway and a real MAN took over.

120
by Purds (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 10:45pm

Oh, Chris, now I see. Dungy's a phony because he's not a real man? You played in the NFL didn't you, Chris? That's what qualifies you to tell us all who is a real man, and who is not, right?

I thought Dungy actually walked the walk, not just talked the talk. Must be guys who can yell, like Gruden, are the real men. Or guys like BB, who played squash at Wesleyan and is another of your real men. Interesting definition.

121
by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 01/02/2008 - 11:13pm

I wouldn't neccesarily call him a "bad" coach, but I have to admit that I chuckled when somebody called him " great" and put him next to bellicheck.

THAT my friend is confusing the absolute results with how they came about.

122
by Bobman (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 3:05am

Purds... really, squash? I mean it's a pretty good game, but how did you unearth that tidbit?

As I hear it, Dungy played some FB in college, but not a very important position or a big school. In fact, after he graduated, the Gophers switched their unis from skirts to pants to be more manly. (or is that MANLY?) And when he was drafted he was so bad they forced him to play another position, and then he was so bad his team barely won the SB.

He has been a winner at every level of the game--perhaps the only knock on his entire CV is that he was not good enough to start on a SB dynasty team. Plus he appears to be a decent guy. One might not agree with everything he says, but he is a straight-shooter (pun only slightly intended) who is good for the game and the community. In short, a model NFL citizen who seems to spawn other model citizens. (I do have a small qualm about his friendship with Sapp, but everybody has flaws.) If he is not a sure-fire HOFer, maybe not first ballot, but first few, then nobody is. As of now. If he leads his next five teams to a 10-50 record, then maybe not.

Unfortunately for Indy fans and the NFL, I strongly suspect he will retire within 1-2 years to pursue his dream of starting a prison ministry.

96 Hey, Andy E, I said the same thing about YOUR team about 6 weeks ago on the game discussion threads. The only diff is I have a voodoo doll to make it happen! Just have to figure out how to explain the mess to my wife.....

All this Colts/Pats full strength love-fest makes me ill. Yes, I want a good game, an epic battle that will be talked about by generations. But I admit that I can be petty and would take any win, regardless of how it happens. We were all so damn respectful in the three weeks leading up to the week 9 showdown--I mean, is this what it's all come to? Mutual respect? What are we, freakin' grownups?

herm? tea and hookers--that was some funny shit.

Wanker79, you are a true man of principal. And twisted. I admire both. (what's wiith you and green teams?)

123
by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 8:26am

Phony Fungi is a good guy and model citizen?

I guess you haven't heard/read everything about him and I guess you are assuming that you agree with his views and how he accepts other people.

124
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 9:48am

Hard to believe that a guy like Dungy can inspire such hostility. Why would anyone resort to childish name calling that would seem immature for a second grader when discussing him?

Can people only be good guys and model citizens if we agree 100% with their views on every issue? If so, I'm the only good puy on the planet.

Nice to see the Browns make such a strong improvement this year (biggest improvement in DVOA ranking of any team). Of course, when you start at #30 it's a lot easier to make a big jump.

125
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 1:09pm

Re: #124

Because Mr. "It's a black mark on the game"/"It's a sad day for the NFL" is a hypocritical fraud with no integrity if having integrity clashes with his team's interests.

Witness Tennessee QB Kerry Collins on WFAN:

Commenting on the last game he played (replacing injured Young) against Colts, he said (some paraphrased), "we were leading by 3 points near the end, we were going to run a play trying to get us a first-down, then Tony and Jeff had some kind of communication (exact quote), Colts were not going to call the timeout. So we changed the plays." When asked again to confirm that two opposing coaches had indeed an agreement on how the game should end, Collins said, "there were some kind of communications between Jeff and Tony and I cannot go further beyond that."

126
by Jump the Shark Site (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 1:41pm

"hypocritical fraud with no integrity if having integrity clashes with his team’s interests"

Hyperbole much? He said he wasn't going to call a TO? OMG!!!!! Where's George Mitchell? Quick...lets get a special investigation into a common practice that NFL teams have done who have locked up a playoff spot FOR DECADES.

Another "PatsFan" hidden agenda content-rich comment that only deflects from the sheer sleezyness that is Belichick and the Cheatriots.

Lets repeat.

Colts=Evil
Pats=good

127
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 1:43pm

Re: 123

Thank you sweet merciful Jesus.

Hey Aaron, you already promised that you'd break out the ban-stick if Chris didn't stop bringing up Tony Dungy's political views. I'm begging you, please keep your word. Please.

128
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 1:49pm

Re: 125

That the Colts weren't really concerned about winning this game doesn't come as a shock to anyone.

So your beef then (if I understand correctly) is that he presumably (and let's assume for now that Collins story is accurate) let Fisher know that the Colts wouldn't be calling time out? I don't see this as any particular evidence that he's a hypocrite, a fraud, or lacking in integrity. It was understood they weren't concerned with victory (as is the case with virtually all teams in that position).

129
by Herm? (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 2:46pm

It doesn't take an investigation to subpoena testimony from Kerry Collins about what happened.
It's simple. If you watched the game, you know they didn't use their timeout. Who cares? (I'm not going to cite a fake honest-effort rule that was only followed in 4 of the 16 games this week)

If I were a Colts fan, I would, however, be concerned that Indy is going into a playoff game, probably against the Chargers, 3 weeks removed from any type of legitimate competition.

130
by Herm? (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 3:02pm

126 Jump the Shark Site
Thanks for your input. We've yet to hear anyone say anything bad about the Patriots this year, so the originality of your post was a fresh take on the NFL. Cheatriots: Good for you. I would have used Belichicken as well, but I'm running out of ways to demean a 16-0 team. If you're still reading and haven't detected my sarcasm, perhaps cancelling your lifetime subscriptions to such outstanding publications as "MAD Magazine" and "The New York Post" would be a nice quick way to block your issues with modern humor. Also, stabbing yourself in the eye is the new naptime, this is something I would recommend. OK, to sum up...thanks for your time, and stop posting here or we'll give you a timeout.

131
by PatsFan (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 5:21pm

Re: #126

Let's see -- violating a written NFL rule by making videotapes which contain little more information than what could have been obtained legally = "black mark on the game", "sad day for the NFL" according to Dungy.

And then Dungy colludes with another coach in a game where playoff spots are at stake -- which is in violation of a written NFL rule, by the way.

Yep -- hypocritical fraud sounds just about right.

132
by Bobman (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 5:38pm

Chris, for the record, I applaud his work with families (esp inner-city broken-home families) and the All-Pro Dad thing, am lukewarm on the born-again thing, and am against the homophobe/bigotry thing. But last I checked it's a mostly free country.

So what if I DO agree with him 100% What's it f-ing to ya?

And you feel his ambition of a prison ministry, trying to turn convicts into better citizens, does not have value to those individuals, or to you and me and everyone else in the country?

Comparing him to a mushroom is witty beyond measure but the phoni thing... I don't think he's in the habit of lying, stealing, cheating, being a fraud, being deceitful... the kinds of things that support an argument that a person is a phony. (NB: not considering sports cliches that convey minimal info lying)

Regarding the Titans game, as others pointed out, it didn't take a signed document sent from sideline to sideline to intuit that the Colts would not try to milk the game. Any 10 year-old could see that. My 7 year-old could not; you and he have THAT in common.

Are you saying that a team that takes a knee with 60 yards and 15 seconds left before the half is destroying the integrity of the game because they have time for a hail mary or two? (Actually, I might buy that since Indy NEVER does that and I figure it's worth 1-2 TDs a season they are leaving on the table. Plus they've been burned by it in the past.)

Finally, I'll assume Collins's confirmed "hard data" source is as reliable as Merriman's when he claimed Fisher put a hit on him last month. And recanted this week. These guys give their opinions as fact, and they're often riled up when interviewed. ("We're a better team." "They play dirty." "It's a twinge and I'll be back next week.") Then they retract. Anybody who gives them more credence than they deserve is risking his own credibility.

133
by Bobman (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 5:49pm

PatsFan, In response, I'll use a pro-Pats argument used all seasons. "If you don't want me to run up the score, do something about it." i.e. don't rely on me to be nice to make yu feel better about yourself.

Only a small step to

If you want to make the playoffs, do something about it. Win enough games. Don't rely on others to do your work for you, because they have their own self-interest in mind.

Can't have it both ways.

Proof of your alleged collusion, please? Did Collins say "my coach told me"? Even so, I'd prefer to hear it from an original source--Fisher or Dungy. Hearsay, rumor, innuendo. Did the Pats EVER put a backup QB in or kneel? Did that ruin the integrity of those games? Did the other coaches know about it? Did they object to it? You are entitled to your opinions of the man, but your foorball argument is quite weak.

And even if the DID communicate, I'd call it a courtesy, and not an agreement. Collins did not insinuate that Dungy said "I'll not call a TO if yuo promise to not cheap-shop my guys." THAT would be collusion. If TD called JF and said "Hey, just to let you know, we're gonna let the clock run out. Play it any way you like." It's the head coach equivalent of saying "that tie is ugly and your girlfriend hates green, but it's up to you what to do about it."
A courtesy. IF it happened.

Also, please see my comment above about the halftime hail mary and game integrity. Is it a logical connection?

Why on EARTH are you so riled up--your team is 16-0, your coach won COY, your QB and WR will get the other two big awards and your team is favored to win the SB.... what on earth should concern you about this? My usual pop-psych analysis would be inferiority complex, but that's unthinkable at this point. It's like a bull being bothered by a single gnat. Ignore it. It is of no concern to you.

134
by Herm? (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 6:32pm

133.
I'm thinking "post traumatic barrage of insult syndrome." I think we Patriots fans need some type of counseling, that helps put into the perspective the things you mentioned (16-0, COY, QB and WR...favored to win the SB)
We've been in such a defensive mode since the Week 1 Jets game, through to the Redskins game 10 weeks ago, that a lot of us don't know any other way to react.
I swear 50 years from now I'll be in a bathrobe on my porch and some kid on a bike will ride up and yell "Spygate!" and laugh at me while I chase him.

It was a misinterpretation! Mangini was a rat! Get off my lawn, punk! My hip!

135
by Purds (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 6:34pm

Patsfan:

You've been listening to BB-speak so long you can't stand to hear the truth.

When Peyton a couple of years ago told the truth and said, "We had protection problems," you Pats fans turned that into "throwing his teammates under the bus" even though every single Colt offensive lineman (and anyone who watched LB after LB come unblocked up the middle on simple stunts) agreed with Manning.

I guess people shouldn't tell the truth, in your mind, because you have a huge problem with Dungy saying that Spygate and the penalty is a "a black mark on the game" and a "sad day for the NFL"? So, you'd prefer to hear Dungy say this: having a team break a rule so blatantly that the NFL docks the team its first round pick is "a great day for the game" and "it's a happy day for the NFL." If that's what you like hearing, then I'll say this: "You're a really smart person!" just to make you happy.

136
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 7:01pm

I think the real problem with the Titans-Colts game is not whether Dungy and Fisher "colluded" with regard to calling the time-out. Barring some whistleblower coming out with evidence, we'll never know whether that is true.

However, what is unequivocally a violation of the NFL "best effort" rule is that, with the game within reach, Dungy chose not to call a time-out that would have given his team a 20-something second window to win it, in order to gain a competitive advantage (avoiding even a very remote, 1-play chance of injury).

But as I have mentioned repeatedly, we have seen a number of open violations of explicit NFL rules go unpunished this year, and I don't think this any bigger than those. Hypocritical? Of course. Big deal? Not even close.

137
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 7:19pm

Re: 136

There were what...3 games this past weekend that had even the slightest bit of relevance to the playoffs? How many of the other games could you make the argument that one team or even both teams failed to meet the "best effort" rule? And it's the exact same thing every single year. Sighting that as a reason Dungy's a hypocrite is stretching things a bit too far, don't you think?

138
by patriotsgirl (not verified) :: Thu, 01/03/2008 - 9:02pm

134: It may also be remnant post-traumatic stress from being a longtime Pats fan. In another thread, someone mentioned Leonard Russell and John Stephens each winning Offensive ROY and it almost produced a physical spasm at the wasted opportunities those names conjure. Throw in Robert Edwards (and Curtis Martin)...sigh.

Ahem. (I know you're all dripping with pity for me.)

Anyway, I don't really care that much about the Dungy thing. FWIW, I don't think Dungy colluded to get himself a better matchup, but was trying to prevent injury. I discern no significant advantage for Indy in having Ten play rather than Cle in the playoffs - after all, if Ten wins, then the Colts may have to play Jax...

139
by Eric P (not verified) :: Fri, 01/04/2008 - 10:58am

Re 137:
So, if everyone's doing it but no one has been punished for it in the past, it's ok? I don't think Goodell got that memo.

140
by slo-mo-joe (not verified) :: Fri, 01/04/2008 - 11:25am

137:
How many of the other games could you make the argument that one team or even both teams failed to meet the “best effort” rule? And it’s the exact same thing every single year. Sighting that as a reason Dungy’s a hypocrite is stretching things a bit too far, don’t you think?
Oh, I think you are absolutely correct, violation of the "best effort" rule is endemic, blatant and routinely shrugged off by everyone (myself included).

Even so, I think there is some significant difference between resting/protecting a few key starters in a meaningless game, and actively refraining from actually trying to win the game with the team you have fielded when you still have a chance to. Anyway, no big deal.

Still, Dungy, while clearly a good coach and quite likely an OK enough guy off the field for the most part, is clearly a hypocrite not because he did what every other coach pretty much does at one point or another, but because he has previously filled his mouth with holier-than-thou statements about others' behavior vis-a-vis rule violations.

I don't call Gruden a hypocrite for candidly admitting he violated rules about injury reporting to gain some minor advantage for his team. Dungy, however, first publicly set himself to another standard, and then consciously chose not to adhere to it when it was inconvenient to him. That's hypocrisy.

141
by B (not verified) :: Fri, 01/04/2008 - 11:59am

On the best effort thing. We Patriots fans have to stop bringing it up before somebody mentions Flutie's Drop-kick.

142
by Eric P (not verified) :: Fri, 01/04/2008 - 12:15pm

Re: 141
No we don't. We've been told time and time again that it doesn't matter who may have done something in the past and gotten away with it, it only matters if you are disciplined by the league. I'm not holding my breath on the NFL doing anything about it, but it's still possible. Stuff that happened several years ago? Doubt it.