DVOA Analysis
Football Outsiders' revolutionary metrics that break down every single play of the NFL season

Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

by Aaron Schatz

Indianapolis is the number one team in the NFL for 2005, according to the Football Outsiders DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average) system. That's no surprise. But you might be surprised that second-place Denver is just 0.1% behind them. More on that in a moment.

Extended FOXSports.com commentary is found here.

This season has been a long and winding road for Football Outsiders and for the DVOA system thanks to our new relationship with FOX. Every year brings a new challenge to this system, and this year it was a tremendously skewed NFL schedule, which in turn led to the week where Indianapolis was both first and sixth at the same time. Doing the FOX Power Rankings gave us the opportunity to reach a larger new audience -- not to mention some financial remuneration -- but it's hard to explain to a wider audience that DVOA is a work in progress. I can't overemphasize how difficult it was to try to improve DVOA while under a public microscope, and the problem was compounded by the longtime FO readers who accused me of "selling out the movement" simply because I did not have time to do hours of research that particular week.

The "second-order opponent adjustments" change definitely improved the accuracy of DVOA but if you check the numbers below you'll see that this ended up being much ado about nothing. The rankings for old-style DVOA (marked 1st ORD DVOA) are basically the same as the rankings for new-style DVOA. The problem was that so many teams had schedules that were front-loaded or back-loaded with easy opponents. The Colts, who at midseason had the easiest schedule in the history of our ratings, didn't even end up with one of the five easiest schedules for the full year.

But wait, just when you thought DVOA was out of the woods, we've got another problem. Week 17 has become a complete joke, and it has destroyed the numbers.

The "sit your starters" thing has reached insane levels, as this year for the first time teams were sitting their starters even though they could improve their seeds by winning. Last year, we noted that teams didn't play that much worse when they had nothing to play for in the final week, with a couple of exceptions. But in the last two years, that couple of exceptions has become a lot of exceptions. We're not talking about backup quarterbacks here, we're talking about entire teams laying down and happily getting steamrolled.

Denver nearly topped Indianapolis in total season DVOA because the Colts were resting starters, and Denver is number one in weighted DVOA. Kansas City moved ahead of Seattle. Cincinnati dropped behind both of those teams, from second to sixth, and all the way down to 12th in weighted DVOA. Chicago dropped from the top spot in weighted defense. New England dropped back behind Miami in total DVOA. Minnesota moved up four spots in total DVOA in one week, and ended up tenth in weighted DVOA. Tenth! It's ridiculous.

This is screwing things up. I'm not just talking about screwing up the total ratings for the end of the season. I'm talking about screwing up my analysis for individual playoff matchups. Should I remove Week 17 in judging how the Patriots do against different types of receivers? Does it count for the Cincinnati run defense? Do two weeks of Jim Sorgi and Aaron Moorehead represent the Indianapolis offense that will be playing in January?

The proper response to this change in the strategy coaches use for the final week of the season would be to study just how much DVOA declines when a team sits its starters, and to create either an objective adjustment for when a team has nothing to play for or a set of rules to be used to remove certain plays from consideration in team ratings. I've got some ideas for how to do this. But -- and I'm sorry to upset some of you -- I just don't have the time right now.

So while the numbers below are the straight DVOA ratings representing every single play of the season, Bam Childress or no Bam Childress, the power rankings on FOXSports.com include a subjective decision to remove large parts of certain Week 17 games after teams had removed most of their starters. We debated this on the FO staff discussion list and there were opinions on both sides, so FOX is getting the subjective and you are getting the objective and if you feel like bitching and moaning about how I'm selling out the movement, fine, you put $500 down on the playoffs based on whether Bam Childress can play defensive end.

* * * * *

Anyway, Indianapolis also ends up as the top team in Pythagorean wins, always a good indicator of which team will win the Super Bowl. The Colts are also unique as the first team to finish number one in DVOA and yet number 32 in variance, meaning they were the best and the most consistent. In fact, the Colts finish number 32 in variance despite sitting their starters in those last two games.

Kansas City wins the 2004 Buffalo Award for team that got hot at the end of the year but didn't make the playoffs.

And here's one more shocking thing about this year's ratings: there is not a single team with a losing record that has a higher DVOA than a team with a winning record. The top 17 teams are 9-7 or better. From 18 down, you've got 8-8 Atlanta and 14 teams that are 6-10 or worse.

The FOXSports.com commentary is now online. Each comment for a team that missed the playoffs presents reasons for optimism and pessimism in 2006. There's also a further exploration of the Week 17 problem and some discussion of the major trends of 2005 such as the disappearance of the 2004 offensive explosion and the number of good teams with poor special teams.

All individual stats page are now up, along with offensive and defensive lines. The usual huge playoff previews are coming on Friday. We also have a very special Too Deep Zone this week, you'll like it.

* * * * *

To save people some time, we remind everyone to put their angry troll hatred into the official zlionsfan angry troll hatred Mad Libs form:

<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>

* * * * *

These are the Football Outsiders team efficiency ratings for the entire 2005 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 based on strength of opponent as well as to consider all fumbles, kept or lost, as equal value. SPECIAL TEAMS DVOA is adjusted for type of stadium (warm, cold, dome, Denver/Mexico City) 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. This is the statistic used for the FOXSports.com Power Rankings. WEIGHTED DVOA for offense, defense, and special teams is available on those separate pages.

IMPORTANT: Beginning with Week 12 of 2005, DVOA is based on second-order opponent adjustments. Until other years are updated with this new system, only first-order DVOA (second table) can be compared to previous seasons.

LAST WEEK represents rating after 16 weeks of 2005. LAST YEAR represents 2004 rating (second-order DVOA version, so these may not be in the same order as the 2004 team efficiency page).

As always, positive numbers represent more points so DEFENSE is better when it is NEGATIVE.


TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L LAST
YEAR

LAST
WEEK
WEIGHTED
DVOA
RANK OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
SPECIAL
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
1 IND 36.6% 14-2 3 1 35.9% 3 30.5% 1 -10.5% 8 -4.4% 30
2 DEN 36.5% 13-3 9 3 43.1% 1 25.4% 4 -11.3% 6 -0.1% 21
3 KC 31.1% 10-6 10 8 40.3% 2 25.7% 3 -6.6% 13 -1.3% 25
4 SEA 28.2% 13-3 20 4 26.3% 4 26.4% 2 -1.0% 18 0.9% 15
5 PIT 26.1% 11-5 2 5 22.1% 6 10.4% 8 -15.4% 3 0.3% 19
6 CIN 25.1% 11-5 11 2 11.4% 12 21.8% 6 -2.1% 17 1.2% 12
7 NYG 24.6% 11-5 23 7 21.0% 7 9.5% 9 -8.6% 11 6.5% 3
8 SD 23.9% 9-7 8 6 17.5% 9 23.3% 5 0.1% 19 0.8% 16
9 WAS 22.6% 10-6 17 10 26.3% 5 6.1% 12 -15.5% 2 1.0% 14
10 JAC 21.7% 12-4 13 9 16.3% 11 7.1% 11 -11.8% 5 2.9% 8
11 CAR 13.0% 11-5 12 12 18.0% 8 -5.7% 18 -14.8% 4 3.8% 7
12 CHI 7.0% 11-5 31 11 3.5% 15 -18.0% 29 -24.6% 1 0.4% 18
13 TB 4.6% 11-5 16 15 3.8% 14 -5.1% 17 -10.0% 10 -0.2% 23
14 MIA 4.5% 9-7 25 16 1.0% 17 -11.6% 21 -10.1% 9 6.0% 4
15 NE 4.4% 10-6 1 14 5.1% 13 15.2% 7 12.9% 27 2.0% 10
16 DAL 1.7% 9-7 24 13 -7.6% 19 -2.7% 14 -4.3% 14 0.1% 20
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L LAST
YEAR

LAST
WEEK
WEIGHTED
DVOA
RANK OFFENSE
DVOA
OFF.
RANK
DEFENSE
DVOA
DEF.
RANK
SPECIAL
DVOA
S.T.
RANK
17 MIN -0.1% 9-7 15 21 16.7% 10 -4.9% 16 -3.5% 15 1.3% 11
18 PHI -3.0% 6-10 5 17 -8.3% 20 -11.8% 22 -8.3% 12 0.5% 17
19 OAK -4.3% 4-12 28 20 -6.9% 18 3.7% 13 3.5% 23 -4.5% 31
20 BAL -6.1% 6-10 7 19 1.8% 16 -17.9% 28 -10.7% 7 1.1% 13
21 ATL -6.9% 8-8 18 18 -13.8% 22 7.1% 10 13.9% 28 -0.2% 22
22 ARI -14.4% 5-11 27 24 -8.4% 21 -10.5% 20 1.6% 21 -2.4% 27
23 CLE -15.4% 6-10 26 22 -19.9% 24 -13.8% 25 6.1% 24 4.4% 5
24 TEN -18.3% 4-12 29 23 -20.2% 25 -4.7% 15 18.0% 30 4.4% 6
25 DET -19.1% 5-11 19 26 -16.0% 23 -14.3% 26 1.2% 20 -3.5% 28
26 BUF -19.2% 5-11 4 25 -21.7% 27 -18.4% 30 9.5% 25 8.7% 1
27 NYJ -21.6% 4-12 6 27 -22.6% 29 -23.0% 31 -3.5% 16 -2.1% 26
28 GB -22.3% 4-12 21 28 -24.2% 30 -12.4% 23 2.8% 22 -7.2% 32
29 STL -23.0% 6-10 30 29 -21.5% 26 -6.7% 19 15.6% 29 -0.8% 24
30 NO -28.2% 3-13 22 30 -26.1% 31 -13.1% 24 11.1% 26 -4.0% 29
31 HOU -33.3% 2-14 14 31 -21.9% 28 -15.5% 27 26.1% 32 8.3% 2
32 SF -65.9% 4-12 32 32 -60.8% 32 -46.9% 32 21.5% 31 2.4% 9

  • 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.
  • PYTHAGOREAN WINS represent the number of wins projected from the team's points scored and allowed, as described in this article.
  • 1st ORDER DVOA is the "older style" DVOA from before Week 12 2005 which only runs opponent adjustments once. This stat should be used to compare with previous seasons.
  • NON-ADJ VOA is total VOA without any adjustment for opponent strength, luck in recovering fumbles, or the effects of weather and altitude on special teams.
  • 2005 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.
  • 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 ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PYTH
WINS
RANK 1st ORD
DVOA
RANK NON-ADJ
VOA
2005
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
1 IND 36.6% 14-2 13.5 1 12.7 1 36.1% 1 41.6% -4.8% 27 8.9% 32
2 DEN 36.5% 13-3 12.6 2 11.7 3 33.6% 2 32.0% 8.2% 3 17.1% 25
3 KC 31.1% 10-6 11.6 4 10.0 10 27.5% 4 22.7% 7.4% 4 24.3% 11
4 SEA 28.2% 13-3 12.0 3 12.3 2 28.1% 3 38.0% -11.5% 32 16.5% 26
5 PIT 26.1% 11-5 11.5 5 11.6 5 24.6% 6 30.2% 0.4% 17 21.2% 16
6 CIN 25.1% 11-5 11.1 7 9.7 12 24.9% 5 26.5% -0.5% 19 28.1% 5
7 NYG 24.6% 11-5 10.8 9 10.7 6 23.6% 7 27.0% 1.2% 15 21.3% 15
8 SD 23.9% 9-7 11.3 6 10.7 8 22.5% 10 10.1% 12.7% 1 12.3% 30
9 WAS 22.6% 10-6 10.6 10 9.9 11 22.5% 9 12.8% 4.8% 7 25.2% 9
10 JAC 21.7% 12-4 10.8 8 10.7 7 22.6% 8 25.0% -3.8% 24 19.6% 18
11 CAR 13.0% 11-5 9.7 11 11.6 4 13.9% 11 28.0% -8.8% 30 20.8% 17
12 CHI 7.0% 11-5 9.1 13 10.3 9 5.0% 12 6.3% -8.1% 29 32.2% 3
13 TB 4.6% 11-5 8.5 16 8.9 14 4.9% 13 13.1% -9.7% 31 23.0% 14
14 MIA 4.5% 9-7 9.0 14 8.0 17 3.6% 15 5.9% -2.3% 21 17.6% 22
15 NE 4.4% 10-6 9.1 12 9.1 13 4.6% 14 2.6% 3.7% 10 17.3% 23
16 DAL 1.7% 9-7 8.3 17 8.5 15 0.6% 17 -1.3% 5.9% 5 24.8% 10
TEAM TOTAL
DVOA
W-L ESTIM.
WINS
RANK PYTH
WINS
RANK 1st ORD
DVOA
RANK NON-ADJ
VOA
2005
SCHED
RANK VAR. RANK
17 MIN -0.1% 9-7 8.9 15 6.9 18 1.6% 16 -3.0% -2.6% 22 30.2% 4
18 PHI -3.0% 6-10 7.7 18 5.9 23 -5.1% 19 -10.7% 5.0% 6 24.2% 12
19 OAK -4.3% 4-12 7.6 19 5.5 25 -7.6% 21 -4.2% 10.2% 2 10.0% 31
20 BAL -6.1% 6-10 7.0 21 6.9 19 -5.8% 20 -8.2% 3.6% 11 27.9% 6
21 ATL -6.9% 8-8 7.3 20 8.3 16 -4.4% 18 0.2% -4.0% 25 14.3% 29
22 ARI -14.4% 5-11 6.1 23 6.0 22 -13.3% 22 -11.2% -4.7% 26 15.9% 28
23 CLE -15.4% 6-10 6.5 22 5.6 24 -15.2% 23 -22.8% 3.9% 9 19.4% 20
24 TEN -18.3% 4-12 5.3 26 4.9 28 -17.3% 24 -13.7% 0.3% 18 17.3% 24
25 DET -19.1% 5-11 5.8 24 5.2 27 -17.6% 25 -21.8% -2.1% 20 25.4% 8
26 BUF -19.2% 5-11 5.5 25 5.2 26 -19.4% 26 -18.0% 2.2% 14 33.2% 2
27 NYJ -21.6% 4-12 4.8 29 4.5 29 -21.6% 29 -28.9% 4.0% 8 16.1% 27
28 GB -22.3% 4-12 4.5 30 6.7 20 -19.8% 27 -21.9% 0.7% 16 27.0% 7
29 STL -23.0% 6-10 5.0 28 6.4 21 -21.6% 28 -16.8% -5.5% 28 19.5% 19
30 NO -28.2% 3-13 5.3 27 3.6 31 -25.8% 30 -28.1% -2.8% 23 23.2% 13
31 HOU -33.3% 2-14 4.2 31 3.7 30 -31.7% 31 -35.6% 2.9% 13 18.5% 21
32 SF -65.9% 4-12 1.8 32 3.2 32 -63.0% 32 -61.8% 3.3% 12 39.3% 1

Comments

104 comments, Last at 11 Jan 2006, 12:04pm

1 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

Memo to Washington:

Please lose in the first round. You're making Joe Thiesman look good.

2 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

Steelers are clearly ranked too low because of Tommy Gun Maddox. Dart throwing is way better than this. The Steelers have waited too long and have turned their backs on the traditional playoff apporach by going for home field advantage and trying "the road trip" apporachy.
Ewe guise hear shore our tuff, yea, write!

3 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

Interesting to see San Diego finish the year at 30th in variance given the fact that most people would describe their year as "inconsistent".

4 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

Week 17 is really just part of a larger problem, and the only way to fix it is with a dramatic overhaul of the system.

In order to fully account for dynamic on-field rosters caused by resting starters in week 17 and in blowouts, and dramatic injury differences such as the Eagles, it would be necessary to record exactly what personnel is on the field for every play, and then determine each player's effect on play-by-play DVOA by looking at every play that player was involved in. Part-timers would probably need to be regressed to a mean.

This player-by-player DVOA could then be used to determine a first-string, second-string, and third-string DVOA for each team, and give more credit to first-string DVOAs on teams that tend to be healthier. Power rankings could remove IR players from the equation altogether.

It would be a difficult undertaking, and it may have too many holes to work properly, but I think it's the only way to truly solve the issue of rotating rosters.

5 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

Re: Kansas City

Is this (#3 in total DVOA) the highest a non-playoff team has ever finished? they must still be gnashing their teeth over the Buffalo and Philly games. I'd say that this bodes well for their future, but then I see the Bills finished at #5 last year, so maybe not so much

6 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

And then, I'll appear on a very special episode of Oprah, "My Daddy Had No Time For Me."

7 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

The AFC West teams all had the hardest schedules in the league with rankings 1-4. Is it normal for a single conference to own the hardest schedule or is it the fact that they had to play the NFC East wich happens to own 5-7 in strength of schedule as well. Those NYG's got lucky playing the Vikes and New Orleans which seemed to have dropped the SOS all the way to 15. Even if they had a fluke loss against hose Vikes.

8 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

Both NYG and JAX narrowly miss ranking in the top 10 Offense, Defense, AND Special Teams. Doing a quick look at prior years, only dominant teams (2004 PIT, 1999 StL + JAX, 1998 ATL) have been good in all three aspects.

9 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

"My Daddy Had No Time For Me..."

And then, Mitch Albom will write a book about you. :-)

10 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

Atlanta sure got a lot of Pro Bowlers for not being anything special. ::ducks::

Did San Diego end up with the hardest schedule in DVOA history? I doubt that DVOA takes into account that they had 5 east coast road trips, plus 5 games against teams coming off of their bye, to boot. Looking at their much easier schedule for next year, I've got to think they'll be fighting Denver for the division crown.

Also, it looks like LT has been playing with a cracked rib since the Oakland cheap shot. Come on, coaches, you've got to have the huevos to pull your stars if they're injured. These guys are competitive, they're not going to pull themselves out. Michael Turner is a pretty good backup, and I actually think that he was the BETTER option in the last two games, despite the LT injury. Why? Poor field conditions. The Chargers OL was atrocious this year. Without blocking, LT has to gain yards through his cutting ability. Muddy field = no cutting. No run blocking plus muddy field plus LT = no yards. Turner, however, is a big bruising type of back that is hard to take down. He would have been a close approximation of Larry Johnson, and probably would have done much better in both games.

It will be interesting to see what happens to Miami next year. This sure seems like a pretty fluky 9-7 though.

I don't see how the Texans can keep the first pick. They need to work some deals so that they can get a great offensive lineman plus some great defenders. Replacing Carr or Davis at huge expense seems like spinning your wheels.

11 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

I'm trying to debate whether I care about the variation of DVOA as it relates to teams losing starters for any length of time - that is what DPAR is for. However, if Vick really does cause his defense to play better when he plays, than that won't show up in DPAR, but will in DVOA - right??

I'm anticipating the playoff preview, where we will see various players, QB or DL, where their team's DVOA shows a massive improvement when they play. Accounting for quality depth is one of many improvements of DVOA over conventional stats - right?? Otherwise, will we throw out all plays / situations where the backups play? (which is the entire problem with the W17 games.)

12 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

I'm surprised to see OAK with the "unluckiest" season - 3.6 wins below their estimated wins. This is the lowest I see since 2001 SD (4.2 below estimated wins!?!).

Forgive my obvious East Coast Bias - did Oakland actually play fairly well, or is this an oddity of the schedule strength?

13 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

This DVOA thing is crap, complete, utter, nonsensical... what's that, the Colts are #1? Whoopee. Never mind.

Seriously though, what to do about Week 17...? In my job, financial analysis of real estate assets, the "textbook" way to do it is as it is done now, with what I'll call the "Jim Sorgi weeks" (actually, check out his rating! the kid's okay) included. I'd say to my client, "here's the whole picture, but note the final weeks are not really reliable," and leave it at that.

But if I were investing my own money, I'd cherry-pick game by game from the final 2-3 weeks to throw out the ones that were obviously atypical because of playoff/injury issues. Miami at NE? gone. Indy at Seattle? Gone. Det and Pitt? That... looks like keeper, unlike Matt Millen. The differences in the two analyses would be small to be sure, but might prove to be crucial (to an investment).

I only make this as the mildest suggestion, because I know that cherry-picking games is instantly subjective, which kind of contaminated the pure objectivity (Ayn Rand be damned) of the DVOA system.

Maybe the answer is to reduce the percentage weighting on the last weeks the way the first weeks of the season are watered down. if Week 16 and Week 16 now count 100%, maybe they should be reduced to 95% and 85% and see if things "look right."

The reason I would tend closer to the cherry-picking is that SOME games in the final week matter, and more in Week 16 matter, so throwing out or reducing the importance of a major win to launch a team in the playoffs (I'm thinking about the Ravens' major late-season surge in their championship year) seems wrong.

Other than that, I love this system. I have some minor quibbles about how 4th downs are handled (already brought up with management), but this system is super.

14 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

Jeez Aaron, feeling a bit defensive?
Seriously, I know you guys get a lot of negative comments but I think you, and the whole outsiders team, have done a great job this year.

15 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

Aaron, is there any way that this could be farmed to the community? I know it's a huge undertaking to do all the work yourself, but could the community do the work under a process that you create?

16 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

Re #4: I strongly disagree with that. I think that ALL NUMBERS SHOULD COUNT as long as the team is trying its absolute hardest to win games. Did Tommy Maddox submarine Pittsburgh's early season ratings? Yup, but on the other hand, DVOA should take into account that their QB is nicked up and their backup is abysmal. The fact is, they were trying as hard as they possibly could to win those games, so the numbers have to stand, in my opinion.

Likewise, in the Denver-San Diego week 17 contest, San Diego was trying its absolute hardest to win the entire time. Yes, they had to sub Brees out for Rivers due to injury, but they had Tomlinson in and taking carries the entire game, and they had several injured players (listed as questionable) who started and played the entire game. Meanwhile, Denver was trying its hardest to win the game, too. It had done a full gameplan, and was calling fancy blitzes. It kept its starters in for almost the entire time that the game was in question, pulling Plummer at halftime and keeping guys like Champ Bailey in for almost the entire contest. As such, the numbers should count.

On the other hand, you have Cincinnati and New England. I say you should count all of those teams offensive numbers (and their opponent's defensive numbers) for every drive that Carson Palmer and Tom Brady were in. The second that Palmer and Brady got pulled, it was still early and the game was still very much in doubt, so it was clear their offense was no longer trying its hardest to win, so all subsequent numbers for the Cin/NE offense and KC/Miami defense should be considered suspect and removed from consideration. On the other hand, New England played its starting defense for the entire game, if I recall correctly, which means that NE's defensive DVOA from the entire game should remain valid.

I think going through and trying to determine when each unit stopped trying its hardest to win would be a difficult and highly subjective excercise, but personally, I believe that it's the best way to keep the integrity of DVOA as intact as possible.

Also, on a side note, is anyone really surprised that KC finished ranked so high? Everyone was talking about how SD could be the best team in NFL history to miss the playoffs (I dunno, I seem to recall an 11-5 Broncos squad sitting at home once...), but they weren't even the best in their own division to miss the playoffs.

Here's a telling stat: Only three teams in the AFC finished with a winning record against winning clubs. Denver (7-3), Indy (5-2), and KC (6-4).

17 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

Funny when Sea played Indy it was Indy playing a second and third string players but the DVOA did not drop but when Sea played second and third string players against Green Bay they dropped one whole slot...... And you say this is not biased????? Show how you come up with this...Green Bay played their hearts out and Brett Favre had his best day of the year.

18 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

Re #12: My take on Oakland was that if you put Oakland in the AFC East and New England in the AFC West this year, Oakland would have a home playoff game and New England would be last in the division. I think they gave up a little bit towards the end of the year, but they struck me as an average team getting blown up by a brutal schedule.

19 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

5 -

One of the things about Kansas City is that they're not a young team. Their offense is OLD and Willie Roaf's injury showed how much quality depth they have on their offensive line. They just lost their head coach. I doubt this is a team that will see improvement next year or even stay at their competitive level.

20 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

Erm, ignore the link on my name there. Didn't mean to link it again.

21 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

Re #17: Aaron doesn't rank the teams, DVOA does. Saying that DVOA is biased is the same as saying "F(x) = x^3 + x^2 - x" is biased because as it goes from -1 to 0 it DECREASES, but as it goes from 0 to 1 it INCREASES.

It's a mathematical formula. It can't show bias, it doesn't have a brain.

22 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

If we insert chips into helmets, tracking player substitutions could be a piece of cake...real time DVOA could be calculated instantly...but maybe this is overkill...

23 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

I concur with Thad #14. Aaron and crew are quite flexible, willing to listen, and somehow thick-skinned. Great combination. Adam Sandler/Jack Nicholson they are not. I know Tanier is a teacher (math, right?) where those attributes are critical.

Also, Aaron, family first, football second (and Oprah/Montell/Jerry Springer, never!). It's not pleasant, but in 30-40 years, when your daughter (if I recall) is picking your retirement home, you won't end up in the Springfield Retirement Castle.

Now... if you had, say, Ryan Leaf or Ki-Jana Carter or Maurice Clarett picking your retirement digs out for you, you'd be eating cat food in your golden years. That's my logic for making FO my main NFL fix rather than staring at the tube for 16 hours each weekend. When the Colts are on in Seattle I get a 4-hour reprieve... Sad, but true.

24 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

Re: 17 Uh, no, the Pats pulled at least 5 defensive starters (McGinest, Vrabel, Wilfork, Seymour, Colvin) in the first half as well. It seemed like Bam Childress played about 90% of ALL snaps (Off, Def, ST) from the beginning of the second quarter on.

26 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

RE: 17

Larry R, That's because Indy and Sea are both good teams--Indy did not drop whrn they lost to SD either. (And remember, this is not an analysis of score, but on a play by play basis.) When #1 loses to #3, it's not a big deal, but when #3 loses to #20... whoops!

Tanking against Green Bay will make anybody look at least a little bit worse.

No bias.

27 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

Re: 17 & 24. I think the announcers may have mistakenly said that the Pats 1st string defense was still playing in the 2nd half, right after one of those sideline shots of Vrabel and Bruschi in warm-up togs. This is the crew that apparently thought Bill Cowher coaches the Pats.

28 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

Kibbles #18, you're a Denver fan, no? Making a statement like that about the Raiders is the kind of thing that gets you nominated for a post at the UN.

Then again, it's an objective site for rational thinkers, so I should not be surprised. My Raiders fan brother would be heartened by that analysis, if he wasn't so depressed, that is.

29 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

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30 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

re 4: As one of the game charters, I can assure you that with the footage you get from a network telecast this would be impossible.

re 21: Yes, but Aaron decides whether the formula is x^3 + x^2 - x or 2x^3 + 3x^2 - 5x. Suppose DVOA was based entirely on offensive rushing statistics. DVOA would then be biased towards good offensive rushing teams, even though it's just numbers.

Of course, virtually every change applied to DVOA is designed to increase the predictive value of DVOA, so changing the formula is still generally not subjective.

31 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

Re: Week 17 games (or sometimes Week 16), instead of parsing who is starting whom, I think the better solution is to simply run calculations not including those games once a team has clinched its exact playoff seed. Maybe that team plays some of its starters for part of the game and looks really good (Denver) or not as good as it otherwise has (Indy at SEA), or completely lays an egg (Chicago at MIN). In any event, does including those games improve the accuracy of the DVOA number for that team, or potentially blur it?

I would point out that 5 of 7 SB Winners and 4 of 7 SB Losers had lower "weighted DVOA" than "Total DVOA". The weighted DVOA formula works when the next game is played under similar circumstances as the previous, but with so many teams treating end of season games like preseason games, it clouds the accuracy of weighted DVOA.

I also think the league needs to look at the current playoff and division format as a cause of the poor product in week 17. With 4 divisions instead of 3, there is less competition for each division title spot (1 in 4 vs 1 in 5). There is also greater imbalance in scheduling between divisions (formerly, each AFC West team would play 2 from East, 2 from Central for example). Also, the wildcard teams cannot get a home game, even the best one.

I think it would decrease the amount of these exhibition games if the following rules are in place:

--top 2 division winners (applying current tiebreakers) get the #1 and #2 seed
--all division winners qualify for playoffs
--2 wildcard teams are determined same as now
--seeds #3 to #6 are determined using same tiebreaker rules as currently, but for both division winners and wildcards, so wildcards could potentially host playoff games and have something to play for even when they have clinched, and division winners would have something to play for (keep a home game).

This year, it would have prevented the Cincy-NE game of hot potato with the #3 seed. Jacksonville would be #3 seed, Cincy would be #4 seed and host #5 Pittsburgh, and New England would be #6. Of course, NE would not have rested Brady in the 2nd half, and a victory would have meant the #4 seed and hosting #5 Cincy.

I think the rules committee should re-examine whether each division winner in a 4 team division should automatically get a home game, on top of already automatically qualifying for the playoffs by beating out 3 other teams.

32 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

I'm always find it interesting in how a teams true effectiveness gets buried by traditional stats. WAS ranks as the number 2 rushing defense but by looking at their raw rushing numbers in you'd be shaking your head as to how that is the case. I see that the raw rushing numbers for WAS were skewed in large part by a number of long runs which I guess suggests they were very good on most plays but gave up long runs every so often. I remember the SD game seemed to be like that.

33 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

Just wanted to point out in case someone brings up the Seattle/Chicago "easy schedule" thing:

Note that Chicago's only a couple ranks behind Seattle in SOS, and only about 2% points behind in raw ratings.

34 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

new england is clearly ranked too high because brady is overrated. expensive psychic hotlines are way better than this. lol, tommy boy was just supported b yhis ohter plyrs and now their gone theirs just no hope for them mister. DOLPHINS ROOL

36 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

I think that the exhibition games that Falco refers to (#31) are not only a problem for DVOA but they are also becoming an issue for the NFL. I don't agree that the 4 division set up is to blame, there are now fewer teams chasing each divisional title so they are more likely to be in contention.

I do like the idea of allowing wild cards to jockey for home games, that would definitely create more meaningful games.

I also have a thought regarding draft order...suppose that all teams under a certain threshold (lets say a .500 record) draft in order of success, not futility. So this year a 6 win team would choose first (Philly, StL, Baltimore, Cleveland) and Houston would choose 20th. Granted its far-fetched, but anything that rewards winning and reduces the number of meaningless games will greatly improve the product.

37 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

Atlanta went 6-2 in the first half and 2-6 in the second. Their VAR was 29th.

The strangest thing is - if you watched their games, this isn't surprising.

Poetic Justice - ATL ended up exactly where our DVOA always said they would.

39 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

re 32
You are correct.
Washington, according to NFL.com, gave up 11 runs of 20+ yards, tied for 21st.
Actually that number is worse than it seems cause the average tean faced about 450 runs and the skins only faced 411.
On the other hand, the Redskins only gave up 74 rushing first downs. As a percentage, their 18% would rank 2nd.
The skins had a stuff % of 14%, good for 12th in the league.
Also I don't know how often you watch them, but williams love to blitz, and since he has been there the defense has really improved. So my own observation would be yes, most of the time they are quite good, every so often they really bring it and get totally smoked.

40 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

We should institute awards a la Baseball Primer's "Primeys" for great posts. (Call them "Outeys," perhaps? Ew.)

Anyway, I nominate #29, and also zlionsfan's Mad Libs form which it references.

41 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

re 37
Which makes me wonder how many of the people that came and posted here actually did watch the games.

42 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

Want an easy and objective way to eliminate the "week 17 effect"? Why not just throw out all games that include a playoff team whose playoff position is fixed (with respect to byes and home field). After all, that's what the coaches do.

43 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

Atlanta was consistantly average and has been consistantly average.

The funny part also is that a lot of the criticism is going towards Michael Vick and the teams use of him, and their offense has been ranked 10th for most of the year. It's their total swiss-cheese run defense.

44 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

Re: Falco 31

You bring up a good idea and point, but I think that system rewards potentially quasi-decent teams in really bad conferences. Admittedly, anything beyond the current format starts getting "complicated" -- at least beyond the scope of your typical foxsports.com visitor (oops -- did I say that out loud?!)

Re 41 Thad

Maybe the graphics on Madden are so good that ATL fans are confusing Madden-enhanced and user-controlled Mike Vick with the real Vick -- thus thinking they are watching a good ATL team?

45 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

42

That's really not a bad idea. Though I'd change it a bit

Someone said earlier that if you start doing that, you need to do things like take out Pittsburgh's games with Tommy Maddox at QB - however, games where players rest their starters are VERY obvious. Theres a difference between "Ben Roethlisberger can't play, so we're starting Tommy Maddox next week" and "We're the number 1 seed so half our offense won't be on the field".

When a team is benching their starters and not trying, its very obvious and its an easy line to draw - an easy judgement to make. While Cincy and NE were both playing for the 3 and 4th seed, neither team really cared and it was very obvious as their perfectly healthy Pro Bowl QBs were benched shortly into the game.

I would personally just do what someone else said and discard all stats from the game after the team has pulled their starters.

It's easy to tell the difference between a team that gets drummed though they tried (Carolina vs Atlanta) and benches players when its clearly hopeless, and a team that third series of the game says "Alright, Second team offense, go"

46 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

Re: FOXSports.com and "some financial renumeration".

Is this referring to having to rework the numbers for the Power Rankings?

Or is this referring to Enron-style accounting?

47 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

How much difference is there between games in which starters sit at the end, and games in which key injuries take players out earliert in the year, like the Pittsburgh games where Tommy Maddox was the QB?

48 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

I am wondering if FO has ever done anything about whether a Good QB makes his WRs better or if a Good WR makes his QBs better?

It's a discussion my brother and I have had over the years. His contention is the QB makes the difference. I contend it works both ways. His contention rests on the "fact" that the 3 Amigos did little without Elway. I agreed, but pointed out that several QBs (McNabb/TO, for example) showed vast improvements when they got good WRs, and sharp falloffs without them.

Just curious if anything like this exists?

49 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

The individual stats sheets should now all be updated to include the Minnesota-Chicago game. Interesting idea Rick, but no research so far. By the way, just to finish up on Larry R., the issue is not Seattle dropping, it is Kansas City passing them. I don't know if you have heard of this Larry Johnson fellow, but he likes to run around a lot.

50 Re: Final 2005 DVOA Ratings

RE: DK #4,

While the idea of using individual players' DVOAs to aggregate toward a team total is interesting, does it really accomplish anything? It may help you come up with numbers like "how Pttsburgh would perform with Duce and Parker healthy, but Roethlisberger and Bettis hurt". But in order to actually use these numbers, you would need to make subjective decisions about which guys to include and which guys to throw away.

You've given yourself more flexibility in addressing the problem, but you haven't created an objective approach. I guess you could throw out the stats of guys who are on IR, but anything else is a value judgement. After all, maybe Peyton breaks his leg on the first snap of the next game, and Sorgi's numbers really do matter.

In past DVOA threads, I've proposed two major refinements. One would be fairly easy to do, but computationally demanding, while the other would take a lot of research. I'll propose a third refinement specific to these week 16 and 17 games.

1) Create weighted ratings for every team for every week of the season, that measure how good they were playing at that point. A week 4 rating would not just consider weeks 1-4, but weeks 5-13 as well. All opponent adjustments would be based on a team's weighted rating from the week you played them. This would be very computationally demanding relative the current system, but it should improve accuracy considerably.

2) Evaluate the probability that a given play will change the outcome of a game using a fairly simple strategic model like the one that the strategic overview guy uses. Using maximum correlation to future performance as your guide, assign weights to plays based on these probabilities. This should slightly reduce the importance of blowouts and meaningless comebacks, but it will take a lot of research to get right.

3) The way I see it, there are four tiers of playoff teams:

a) home field throughout
b) not home field throughout, but bye
c) no bye, but opening home game
d) in playoffs on the road

Any team that is secure in one of these tiers, with no chance to move up OR down, is in "rest for the playoffs" mode. Any game involving one of those teams gets a reduced weight. Again, use maximum correlation with future performance as the guide for weights.