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» Scramble Over/Unders: the Norths

The league's northern divisions pose a number of meaty questions, such as: "Is the Bears' offense due for a repeat performance?" "Why do the Lions have such pronounced splits?" and "Has Johnny Manziel made the Cleveland brass even crazier?"

10 Dec 2004

Homage to Dr. Z Power Rankings

by you, the readers of Football Outsiders

Ladies and gentlemen, here they are, the results of the FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS HOMAGE TO DR. Z CONTEST.  Our readers have produced a truly Z-like set of power rankings and comments, and we thank all who participated. The winner of the contest is Edmund Osterman, who often posts on the site as "Perrin."  His best comments include the Jets, Jaguars, and Bucs.  Edmund will win a copy of Pro Football Prospectus 2005 next fall.

We were going to do logos and everything like Dr. Z's real power ratings, but given the server load we've been using in the past two weeks making everyone's browser download 32 more graphics is not the best idea.  However, we do have a "TW-LW" setup.  The "This Week" numbers were determined by the contest entrants, who each filled out their own power rankings from 1-32 along with their Z-style commentary.  The "Last Week" numbers are, in fact, Dr. Z's rankings from last week. We hope if Dr. Z is reading this somewhere, he appreciates the respectful homage to his great work, and gets a good laugh.

If you enjoy this Football Outsiders homage contest, you may also like these from last season:

One more note: the Buffalo comment below is not from one of our readers.  That's an actual comment from this week's power rankings by Dr. Z himself.  Greatest... Dr. Z non sequitur... EVER.

TW LW Team
1 1 Pittsburgh Steelers (11-1)
They're number one until somebody beats them, and that's that. Still have to write something about them, though. And this is the crucial lead-off paragraph in the rankings. Awkward situation. Yep. Awkward. Yep, yeppity yep. That's enough.
2 2 New England Patriots (11-1)
I feel nothing but soul-charring guilt over where I've placed New England this week. I can't wash the ash off my hands. Food turns to dust in my mouth; wine turns to antifreeze.
3 3 Philadelphia Eagles (11-1)
Wait, maybe the guilt I feel is over where I put the Eagles. Andrew, can you forward again to me that pack of howling emails about how the team the Steelers beat should be higher than the Steelers in my rankings? The Eagles fans scare me -- Jimmy Johnson, Michael Strahan, Santa Claus, etc. can tell you how nuts they are. Ask Troy Aikman how much love he gets from the fans at the Linc when he does a game.
4 6 Indianapolis Colts (9-3)
Fine, I give up. I give up, Maury of Klamath Falls. Uncle, I cry, to Kevin of Fort Wayne. You win. Peyton Manning has indeed rendered defense irrelevant. Problem is, I just can't imagine this team heading into Pittsburgh or Foxborough and hanging another 50 on the board in late January. Too bad they blew that season opener. Somehow, I don't think Mike Vanderjagt stays up late at night feeling guilty about it. Not when there are kickoff specialists on the roster to glower at.
5 5 San Diego Chargers (9-3)
Dear Danny, Thanks for firing me. Love, Marty.
6 4 Atlanta Falcons (9-3)
If this team would simply play its best for an entire game ONE TIME, it would earn a lot more respect from me. I can forgive and forget, but my gut tells me that the 2004 Saints are the 2007 Falcons. Prove me wrong, men.
7 9 New York Jets (9-3)
I've got a new policy. Whenever someone calls today's dink, dink, dink passing game the West Coast offense, I'll drive to their house and educate them. How can I make sure they learn? I'm a big man, and I bought a tattoo needle.
8 7 Green Bay Packers (7-5)
Andrew reminds me that I still have to attend to e-mail, so to speed things up, there will be no explanation, and you will just have to accept that. Let's move on, shall we?
9 8 Denver Broncos (7-5)
There should be no cutting unless you're face up. Thankfully, all the chop blocks in the world won't make your team win when your QB can't stop himself from making red-zone passes where he pirouettes, closes one eye, and left-handedly lofts the ball to a defensive back.
10 10 Baltimore Ravens (7-5)
So explain this. Offensive guru Brian Billick comes to town, shuffles a case's worth of quarterbacks through the starting lineup, while his defense holds up the whole team for years. Defensive genius Tony Dungy goes to Indy, where the offense explodes, while the defense founders. Denny Green uses David Blaine-level illusion to keep Minnesota racking up points for a decade, and then inexplicably starts cycling through QBs while Arizona still has playoff potential. Can there be any doubt that personnel folks, coordinators, and the rest of the coaching staff are more important to a team than one head coach? Are you listening, Mr. Parcells?
11 11 Minnesota Vikings (7-5)
Another strong start to the season, another home-game loss to the Giants, another fall off the fence for the Vikings. Maybe next year they should fall by the "D" side of the fence instead of the "O" side. Get it? More D-fence instead of more O-fence.
12 13 Buffalo Bills (6-6)
Headline in USA Today: "Surging Bills Rally."  Headline in Mountain Lakes, N.J.: "Surging bills cripple Dr. Z." Gas bill, property tax bill, phone bill, credit card bill and lots more.
13 12 Jacksonville Jaguars (6-6)
This team would be 10-2 in the NFC. Of course, so would my old high school team. In our present-day age and condition. And some of us are dead.
14 19 Carolina Panthers (5-7)
This outfit is humming like the 2002 Blue Tongue Shiraz from Australia... kind of pedestrian, not a real classic Shiraz to write home about, but somehow all the parts work well together and leave a good taste in the mouth. Same thing with these Cats. Stephen Davis and DeShaun Foster are out? No problem, insert journeyman-turned-world beater Nick Goings. Steve Smith done for the year? Let's start a rookie, Keary Colbert, who's catching everything thrown his way and blocking nicely too. Starting fullback Brad Hoover out? Plug in a guy off the street, Casey Cramer, who really hustles out there. And they're not skipping a beat on defense, even without Dan Morgan. They're too far back to challenge the Dirty Birds for the NFC South but I think they'll reach up and grab the #6 seed, and I don't know a team out there who wants to play this bunch on wildcard weekend.
15 16 Cincinnati Bengals (6-6)
For something new, I'm waiting this week for any rippers from the Queen City, who will undoubtedly question how their suddenly-back-in-the-pack Bengals can be five slots down from the Ravens. The answer, my friends, is clear -- whimsy. And next week, if Mr. Lewis' men can keep up their progress, whimsy may boost them higher yet again.
16 17 St. Louis Rams (6-6)
Mark from Springfield writes in to tell me that I obviously have the Rams too low, that for crying out loud, they're going to win the division, will I give them credit for that? No, actually, not with Chris Chandler under center. And thank you for the nice comments, and no, I don't have a recommendation for you, although I'm not sure wine would go with that meal.
17 14 Seattle Seahawks (6-6)
Here's an idea. Let's have USC skip the BCS and declare them NFC West champion. That way Auburn can play Oklahoma for a national championship, and the NFL playoffs will not be stained by the crumbling Seahawks or the Men of Martz.
18 20 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-7)
How do you rank a 5-7 NFC team this year? I tell the Redhead, "Pick a number between sixteen and twenty-seven." And she does. And here it is.
19 18 Houston Texans (5-7)
In a win against Jacksonville's solid defense, David Carr completed 26 of 34 for 276 yards. In a loss against Green Bay's "defense," Carr completed 13 (!) out of 26 for 164 yards. What does he do against the Colts, who turned Billy Volek into George Blanda? 80 yards? 400 yards? Your guess is as good as mine. Although since I'm writing this, and you are reading it, I suppose my guess should be better. Does 240 sound good? OK, 240 it is. And a loss.
20 25 Kansas City Chiefs (4-8)
Jim Tyrer, the great Kansas City offensive lineman in the 60s and early 70s, used to crack open holes in defensive lines like they were walnuts. Now the whole line, from Willie Roaf on the left side to Will Shields and John Welbourn on the right, makes Tyrer-like craters in the defensive front. Priest Holmes, Derrick Blaylock, Larry Johnson, they don't care. But Dick, you see those fans in the stands with the signs that say D-FENCE? They're pleading with you, my friend.  Remember them come April.
21 30 Detroit Lions (5-7)
Remaining opponents: Green Bay, Minnesota, Chicago, Tennessee. I'd rather chart tides than chart these games.
22 28 Chicago Bears (5-7)
Nice win in Minny this week, but the Bears always play them tough in Chicago. Moss has still not looked like his old self. What can I say about Chad Hutchinson? Lets let him win a few more games before we anoint him the franchise savior, shall we?
23 21 Tennessee Titans (4-8)
Will Steve McNair really retire after the season? If so, he should consider making the Monday night game against the Chiefs his last. A not unreasonable projection: 700 yards and eight touchdowns. Go out with a bang.
24 15 New York Giants (5-7)
Welcome to the NFL's tango offense -- one, two, three, kick. I was roped into trying the tango once but ended up stepping all over the poor girl's feet with my size 12EEE's. Good thing fancy footwork isn't required for watching football. Right, the Giants. When Tom Coughlin decided to throw the kid in there at quarterback, I don't think he expected that 8-8 could guarantee the playoffs. Right now this offense has so many three-and-outs you wonder if the defense even takes their helmets off when they go the sideline. Baltimore and Pittsburgh are waiting and anxiously rubbing their hands together with joy. Don't worry, Eli, some day we'll look back at this and laugh, laugh, laugh.
25 26 Dallas Cowboys (5-7)
Jerry loves Drew, Tuna loves Vinny, but real football fans love Julius Jones. Perhaps that Tyrone Willingham guy does know how to teach football fundamentals to the kids.
26 23 Oakland Raiders (4-8)
There's all this news these days about colleges trying to recruit current NFL head coaches. Gruden to Notre Dame? Shanahan to Florida? What happened to the untouchable luster of the NFL? Oh, right: Teams like Oakland.
27 29 Washington Redskins (4-8)
The two worst rated QBs in football faced off and so it was appropriate that Clinton Portis was the main man. Just a pity they have to face Philly next week, or maybe not. I sense an upset special because Andy Reid in tights just doesn't bear thinking about.
28 24 New Orleans Saints (4-8)
"If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all", the Flaming Redhead reminds me once again as I reach the free-falling Saints. Ummm... ok, how's this: The best meal and cabernet that I had this year was during the Jazz fest back in mid-May. Not good enough? Sorry Saints fans, if you want good words on the football front, you're going to have to wait until Draft Day.
29 22 Arizona Cardinals (4-8)
Dennis Green
hasn't had this bad of a football team since he coached the 1983 Northwestern Wildcats. He did end up having an All-American punter that year in John Kidd. This year's Cardinal punter Scott Player wears a facemask last worn in 1983 by then 46-year old K Jan Stenerud -- then of the Green Bay Packers. What does this have to do with anything? Nothing -- it fills space and I don't have to deal with this John Navarre-is-our-QB-of-the-future-for-at-least-this-week questions.
30 27 Cleveland Browns (3-9)
When I was a stringer for the Akron Beacon-Journal, I saw Massillon HS successfully run left from the single wing on roughly 1347 consecutive plays. The left side of the line had two tremendous guys on it, Bob Canarcik and Ronnie Duhane, neither of whom ever saw a second of NFL time. Moral: sometimes no matter how good you are, you're just not cut out for the pro game. Bon chance and fare thee well, Butch.
31 31 Miami Dolphins (2-10)
The Dolphins scored 32 points against Buffalo last week. Why, trivia experts? Because nobody can tackle anymore. The Flaming Redhead tells me, "You didn't watch the game; you downed three bottles of Beaujolais Noveau and fell asleep in the garage." She's right. So?
32 32 San Francisco 49ers (1-11)
The tailback hates the fullback, they both hate the wideout, who resents the rookie stealing his playing time.  Hey, rubes, meet your new team doctor. Big fan of the organization, goes by Hunter S. And that big Samoan next to him? That's no Tuiasosopo. You may not win anymore, but at least you'll have some interesting games.

Posted by: admin on 10 Dec 2004

1 comment, Last at 14 Jul 2005, 4:18pm by Norman

Comments

1
by Norman (not verified) :: Thu, 07/14/2005 - 4:18pm

Dear Dr. Z, I had written yesterday but forgot my e-mail, had a question no one seems to know. How many times on average per game the 10 yard marker chains are brought out onto the fiel and how long does it take on average, have looked at hundreds of statistics and no body seems to know. Your input would be appriciated, Thanks Norman