DVOA Analysis
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Historical DVOA Estimates Revisited

Patrick Mahomes
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

Six years ago, Football Outsiders ran a guest column by a reader named Andreas Shepard featuring a system for historical estimates of our DVOA metrics. Shepard used standard stats to estimate DVOA going all the way back to the NFL-AAFC merger in 1950 so that we could run cool tables with the best and worst teams in modern NFL history without being limited by the years for which we had collected play-by-play data.

Since that article first ran, we've added ten more years of play-by-play breakdowns to our DVOA database. Our historical collection of play-by-play now goes all the way back to 1985 but we've also added the last six years in the NFL, featuring some great regular-season teams and units including the 2019 Baltimore Ravens, the 2018 Kansas City Chiefs offense, and the 2015 Denver Broncos defense.

So with that in mind, it's time to update those lists of historical estimated DVOA. Much of the commentary below is repeated from Andreas Shepard's original article, although I've edited it to account for changes in this new version of the tables.

Before we get to the results, here's a brief explanation of the method used. (If you aren’t interested in how the sausage was made, skip ahead to the next section.) Shepard only considered teams from 1950 to the present. That was the year of the AAFC-NFL merger, which marked a) the beginning of more reliable stat keeping and b) the end of the era where expansion teams would start up and then fold within a few seasons. For each year from 1950 on, he collected total box score statistics for each team on offense, defense, and special teams (yards, touchdowns, interceptions, fumbles, sacks, first downs, field goals, return yards, etc.). As DVOA is a per-play metric, he calculated each team’s per-play average for each of these stats. Then he normalized each stat against the league average for that season. To translate these normalized per play statistics to VOA, he ran a series of linear regressions using the data from 1989-2012 (one each for rushing, passing, FG/XP, kickoffs, kick returns, punts, and punt returns). After adding opponent adjustments, these ratings were combined into composite ratings for total offense, defense, special teams, and overall DVOA.

For 1989-2012, the correlation between estimated DVOA and actual DVOA was 0.958. The biggest differences seem to be the following:

  • The best teams in actual DVOA didn't come out as strong in the estimated DVOA. The top three teams in actual DVOA (1991 Washington, 2007 New England, and 1985 Chicago) had estimated DVOA that was an average of 10.1% lower.
  • Run defenses seem to be shifted somewhat, with both the best and worst run defenses rating as stronger in recent years. In these new tables below, only one of the top 20 run defenses is a pre-1985 team with an estimated rating, but 19 of the bottom 20 run defenses are pre-1985 teams.

Of course, even with full play-by-play data, DVOA is only an imperfect approximation of a team’s true performance. So if you disagree with the results below, just remember that these numbers are a flawed estimate of a flawed estimate of true team quality. The other big difference between these numbers and how fans may remember teams of the past is that these numbers, like the usual DVOA tables on the FO stat pages, represent the regular season only. As discussed in the recent commentary on our 1985 ratings, how we weight the postseason can have a big impact on which team comes out ahead in these ratings.

A few additional notes before we get to the new tables:

  • Unlike in the original article, 1987 numbers do not include strikebreaker games.
  • 2019 numbers may be slightly different from what's posted elsewhere on the site because of postseason fixes on play-by-play errors. (New tables will be going up shortly.)
  • The DVOA ratings below do not yet make any changes to consider quarterback scrambles as passes instead of runs. Those changes are likely coming but were not reflected in Shepard's original formulas for estimating historical DVOA.

Actual DVOA ratings are published in standard type, with estimated DVOA for teams from 1950 through 1984 published in italics.

Best Offensive DVOA 1950-2019 (estimated 1950-1984)
  Total Offense x Pass Offense x Rush Offense
Rank Team DVOA Pass Rush x Team DVOA x Team DVOA
1 NE 2007 43.5% 72.7% 19.6%   CLE1 1953 75.0%   STL 2000 36.5%
2 NE 2010 42.2% 67.5% 24.2%   NE 2007 72.7%   CLE1 1966 32.2%
3 CLE1 1953 40.2% 75.0% 9.6%   GB 2011 67.6%   CAR 2011 32.1%
4 SD 1982 35.9% 49.3% 18.3%   IND 2004 67.6%   DEN 1998 31.4%
5 KC 2002 35.4% 47.0% 29.3%   NE 2010 67.5%   SD 1963 31.0%
6 LARM 1951 35.0% 50.0% 21.1%   WAS 1991 65.0%   SF 1993 30.5%
7 DEN 1998 34.5% 52.5% 31.4%   KC 2018 62.9%   SF 1954 30.0%
8 LARM 1954 34.4% 47.3% 24.2%   DEN 2013 60.3%   KC 2002 29.3%
9 KC 2018 34.2% 62.9% 11.0%   SD 2009 59.6%   DET 1990 29.2%
10 GB 2011 33.8% 67.6% 5.5%   MIA 1984 57.6%   SEA 2014 29.0%
11 DEN 2013 33.5% 60.3% 4.2%   HOIL 1961 56.3%   CLE1 1963 29.0%
12 MIA 1984 33.5% 57.6% 4.2%   IND 2006 55.4%   KC 2003 28.9%
13 KC 2003 33.4% 43.3% 28.9%   NE 2011 55.3%   CLE1 1960 28.3%
14 SF 1992 33.1% 51.8% 20.7%   TEN 2003 54.7%   SF 1998 27.8%
15 NO 2011 33.0% 50.1% 18.5%   NE 2012 53.9%   SD 2006 27.2%
16 CLE1 1966 32.5% 32.7% 32.2%   NE 2009 53.5%   DEN 2005 26.8%
17 HOIL 1961 32.4% 56.3% 5.3%   DEN 1998 52.5%   CLE1 1958 26.7%
18 NE 2011 31.9% 55.3% 12.6%   SF 1992 51.8%   PIT 2000 26.4%
19 IND 2004 31.8% 67.6% 5.2%   SF 1989 51.7%   CLE1 1952 26.2%
20 KC 2004 31.6% 45.1% 24.9%   MIN 1998 51.6%   SD 2003 26.1%

Two of Tom Brady’s MVP seasons came while leading the two best offenses since 1950, but neither of those teams had the best estimated passing DVOA. That honor goes to Otto Graham and the 1953 Browns. They led the league in yards per attempt, completion percentage, interception percentage, and first downs per pass. Their 8.5 net yards per attempt was over 3 yards better than the league average, the largest gap ever. On the rushing side, Marshall Faulk was really good, helping power the 2000 Rams to the best rushing performance on record. This may shock you, but Jim Brown was also really good. He played nine seasons, and the Browns finished in the top 25 in estimated rushing DVOA in five of them. Of course the rest of his team wasn’t too shabby either –- they managed to put together the second-best rushing DVOA ever the year after he retired, when running backs Leroy Kelly and Ernie Green both made the Pro Bowl.

Teams we've added to this list since the original article include the 2018 Chiefs and the 2014 Seahawks (for their running game, including Russell Wilson).

Worst Offensive DVOA 1950-2019 (estimated 1950-1984)
  Total Offense x Pass Offense x Rush Offense
Rank Team DVOA Pass Rush x Team DVOA x Team DVOA
1 HOU 2002 -43.3% -37.9% -27.4%   SEA 1992 -65.3%   IND 1991 -30.2%
2 SEA 1992 -41.3% -65.3% -6.6%   ATL 1974 -62.7%   PIT 1957 -29.2%
3 ARI 2018 -41.1% -46.9% -21.4%   TB 1977 -62.5%   ARI 2005 -29.1%
4 SF 2005 -40.4% -56.0% -12.2%   BUF 1968 -57.6%   TB 1983 -27.9%
5 TB 1977 -39.8% -62.5% -21.9%   PIT 1965 -57.0%   WAS 1962 -27.7%
6 PIT 1965 -39.5% -57.0% -21.6%   SF 2005 -56.0%   HOU 2002 -27.4%
7 LAR 2016 -37.8% -38.2% -26.6%   NYJ 1976 -54.9%   BAL 2013 -27.2%
8 OAK 2006 -37.0% -45.4% -12.8%   DET 1959 -50.9%   JAX 2013 -27.1%
9 CHI 2004 -36.5% -50.6% -8.5%   CHI 2004 -50.6%   MIA 2019 -26.8%
10 DEN 1966 -36.2% -44.8% -26.1%   BALC 1953 -50.3%   PHI 1954 -26.8%
11 CAR 2010 -35.8% -40.1% -20.7%   BOS 1968 -49.7%   LAR 2016 -26.6%
12 ARI 2010 -35.6% -46.1% -8.6%   GB 1950 -49.7%   NE 1986 -26.5%
13 NO 1997 -35.6% -41.4% -19.1%   NO 1975 -47.8%   WAS 1965 -26.3%
14 BOS 1968 -34.8% -49.7% -19.0%   SF 1978 -46.9%   DEN 1966 -26.1%
15 ATL 1974 -34.6% -62.7% -6.1%   ARI 2018 -46.9%   ARI 1995 -25.1%
16 TB 1976 -33.6% -45.6% -21.7%   ARI 2010 -46.1%   WAS 1973 -25.1%
17 BUF 1968 -33.4% -57.6% -6.5%   TB 1976 -45.6%   PIT 1966 -24.9%
18 IND 1991 -32.8% -29.0% -30.2%   JAX 2011 -45.4%   ARI 2017 -24.8%
19 SF 2007 -32.2% -42.1% -3.1%   OAK 2006 -45.4%   WAS 2015 -23.5%
20 NYG 1951 -32.0% -36.6% -22.3%   DEN 1966 -44.8%   NYG 1953 -23.5%

Taking a look at the worst ever offenses, some familiar names appear. You remember that David Carr set the sack record for the expansion Texans, but his teammate Jonathan Wells also set the record for worst rush DYAR ever measured. The Texans ranked last in the league that year in basically every offensive category. However, they did not rank last in all-time passing DVOA. That dubious honor goes to the 1992 Seahawks, best remembered as the team that went 2-14 despite having Defensive Player of the Year Cortez Kennedy. That will happen when your starting quarterbacks are Stan Gelbaugh, Kelly Stouffer, and Dan "is his brother available?" McGwire. The worst rushing offense title belongs to the 1991 Colts, who somehow managed to rush for only three touchdowns all season while averaging a mere 3.3 yards per carry. The 2018 Cardinals are our most prominent recent addition to these tables, although you'll find the 2019 Dolphins running game here as well.

(In case you are wondering how the 2002 Texans could have an overall offensive DVOA worse than either their pass or run splits, this is because of a lot of penalties not counted as either pass or run plays.)

You may notice that a large number of the worst run offense DVOA ratings come in the last few years. Six of the worst 20 run offense ratings occurred since 2013, with the 2016 Minnesota Vikings just missing our table. Three different other 2016 teams almost made it as well, with Tampa Bay, Denver, and Jacksonville all below -22.5% in that season.

Best Defensive DVOA 1950-2019 (estimated 1950-1984)
  Total Defense x Pass Defense   Rush Defense
Rank Team DVOA Pass Rush x Team DVOA x Team DVOA
1 PHI 1991 -42.4% -48.6% -34.9%   TB 2002 -51.9%   BAL 2000 -36.6%
2 CHI 1986 -33.6% -40.8% -25.5%   PHI 1991 -48.6%   PHI 1991 -34.9%
3 CHI 1985 -33.6% -44.9% -18.5%   MIA 1982 -48.3%   NYJ 2015 -33.3%
4 MIN 1969 -32.9% -42.5% -19.9%   CHI 1985 -44.9%   SD 1998 -32.9%
5 TB 2002 -31.8% -51.9% -8.8%   MIN 1969 -42.5%   DET 2014 -31.4%
6 PIT 1976 -30.1% -35.7% -25.0%   CHI 1963 -42.4%   MIN 2006 -30.5%
7 PIT 2008 -29.0% -32.8% -24.2%   PIT 1973 -42.2%   TB 2019 -30.5%
8 PIT 1974 -28.9% -41.8% -18.3%   PIT 1974 -41.8%   KC 1995 -30.5%
9 BUF 2004 -28.5% -34.7% -21.9%   CHI 1986 -40.8%   NYG 1951 -30.2%
10 LARM 1968 -28.5% -35.2% -21.3%   NYG 1963 -40.2%   HOU 2018 -30.1%
11 PIT 1973 -27.9% -42.2% -16.5%   MIN 1988 -38.8%   PIT 2010 -29.0%
12 BAL 2008 -27.8% -27.1% -28.6%   MIN 1970 -38.5%   BAL 2008 -28.6%
13 CHI 2012 -26.7% -29.0% -23.1%   DET 1965 -38.2%   NYJ 2016 -28.1%
14 CHI 1963 -26.7% -42.4% -11.8%   NYJ 2009 -36.5%   TEN 2000 -27.4%
15 DET 1962 -26.1% -29.7% -21.7%   PIT 1976 -35.7%   CHI 2018 -27.3%
16 OAK 1967 -26.0% -34.5% -13.2%   NYG 1961 -35.6%   BAL 2007 -27.3%
17 CHI 2018 -26.0% -25.2% -27.3%   LARM 1968 -35.2%   SD 2000 -26.6%
18 MIN 1988 -25.9% -38.8% -12.2%   BUF 2004 -34.7%   CHI 2011 -26.5%
19 SEA 2013 -25.9% -34.2% -15.2%   OAK 1967 -34.5%   NYG 1987 -26.3%
20 DEN 2015 -25.8% -28.0% -22.8%   ATL 1977 -34.4%   SF 2011 -26.1%

Shifting to the other side of the ball, the 1991 Eagles are still the best defense ever measured by DVOA and it’s not even close. No. 2, the 1986 Bears, are closer to No. 20 than to No. 1. The Steel Curtain makes three appearances in the top 11 in a four-year span (and they won the Super Bowl in the fourth year). Having four Hall of Famers on one defense is a good thing.

New FO readers are always surprised when our numbers show the 1991 Eagles so far ahead of everyone else. They are generally in the conversation when people talk about all-time great defenses, but not the clear frontrunner. This is partially an issue of a difficult schedule -– their VOA without opponent adjustments is "only" -38.2% -– but that still leaves them comfortably ahead of the pack. The other major reason is their teammates. While the Eagles had an average special teams unit in 1991, that offense was terrible. Their offensive DVOA of -24.6% is the worst by far of any of the other teams with top defensive DVOAs. This set them up in more unfavorable situations than many of the other all-time great defenses. In contrast, Buddy Ryan’s other all-time great defense, the 1985 Bears, shared a locker room with the year's No. 4 offense. The fact that the 1991 Eagles were still able to end up in the conversation despite their albatross of an offense is perhaps their most impressive accomplishment. Historically, the 1991 Eagles are the No. 2 defense against both the pass and the run. Only the 2002 Bucs and 2000 Ravens, respectively, managed to top them.

I wrote above that most of the best run defenses are teams from the "actual" DVOA era, i.e. since 1985. So there are a number of recent teams added to the list of best run defenses, most prominently the New York Jets of 2015 and 2016. We also add the 2015 Broncos and 2018 Bears to the best overall defenses. But those additions aren't as big as the 1986 Bears, who did not come in anywhere near this good when we were using estimated ratings for 1986 but come out as the No. 2 defense of all-time once we do the actual play-by-play breakdown.

Worst Defensive DVOA 1950-2019 (estimated 1950-1984)
  Total Defense x Pass Defense x Rush Defense
Rank Team DVOA Pass Rush x Team DVOA x Team DVOA
1 WAS 1954 34.2% 43.4% 24.9%   NO 2015 48.1%   BAL1 1950 29.5%
2 BAL1 1950 30.2% 24.9% 29.5%   BALC 1981 46.8%   NYY 1950 29.0%
3 SEA 1976 29.5% 41.3% 21.9%   MIA 1976 45.6%   WAS 1959 26.8%
4 BALC 1981 28.0% 46.8% 12.3%   WAS 1954 43.4%   DLTX 1952 25.9%
5 WAS 1951 26.9% 28.1% 18.3%   BAL 1996 42.0%   NYG 1968 25.8%
6 MIA 1968 26.2% 29.5% 23.5%   SF 1999 41.7%   HOIL 1965 25.3%
7 TB 1986 26.1% 32.6% 21.2%   MIA 2019 41.3%   WAS 1954 24.9%
8 NO 2015 26.1% 48.1% -2.4%   SEA 1976 41.3%   SD 1971 24.6%
9 MIN 2000 26.0% 35.2% 13.8%   NYG 1966 40.9%   KC 1976 23.5%
10 ATL 1966 25.8% 33.3% 18.9%   STLC 1969 40.9%   MIA 1968 23.5%
11 NYG 1966 25.5% 40.9% 13.2%   BALC 1973 40.5%   OAK 1961 23.1%
12 NE 1972 25.2% 37.6% 17.4%   SD 1967 39.4%   WAS 1969 22.9%
13 NYY 1951 24.9% 25.7% 18.0%   ATL 1967 38.4%   DAL 1961 22.5%
14 PHI 1973 24.8% 29.8% 21.1%   NYJ 1975 38.3%   SEA 1976 21.9%
15 NO 1977 24.5% 35.2% 19.0%   ATL 1996 38.0%   TB 1986 21.2%
16 MIA 1987 24.4% 33.5% 16.5%   ATL 1968 37.8%   PHI 1973 21.1%
17 DET 2008 24.3% 32.8% 17.1%   NE 1972 37.6%   SD 1966 20.5%
18 SD 1974 24.3% 36.4% 15.1%   MIN 1984 37.0%   CLE1 1965 20.5%
19 MIN 1984 23.4% 37.0% 10.5%   NO 1969 36.7%   CLE1 1969 20.2%
20 WAS 1959 23.1% 18.6% 26.8%   DET 2009 36.5%   NO 1979 20.1%

The teams that show up on the list of worst defenses are a real sorry bunch. Washington makes multiple appearances during the 1950s, when they were the last holdouts against racial integration. Not coincidentally, this period came in the middle of a 25-year playoff drought. The 1950 "original" Baltimore Colts went belly-up after the season (the current version of the Colts franchise started in 1953) while the New York Yanks dissolved a year later after a 1-9-2 season in 1951. The 1976 Seahawks were an expansion team that played like one. The 0-16 Lions make an appearance, as do the 1977 Saints that allowed the expansion Buccaneers their first win in 27 tries. For the full story of the extraordinarily dysfunctional 1981 Colts, who set records for most points, yards, touchdowns, and first downs allowed, see Mike Tanier’s article from a few years back. And for an even more messed up franchise, check out the Wikipedia article on the 1952 Dallas Texans, who were playing "home" games in Akron, Ohio and Hershey, Pennsylvania by the end of the season due to poor attendance and financial woes. They folded after the season, becoming the last team in NFL history that isn’t still around in some form today. (The AFL Dallas Texans, who eventually became today’s Kansas City Chiefs, are a separate franchise that started in 1960.)

Best and Worst Special Teams DVOA 1950-2019 (estimated 1950-1984)
Rank Team Best DVOA x Team Worst DVOA
1 NYG 1951 12.2%   BUF 2000 -15.4%
2 NO 2002 12.2%   NYG 1984 -13.3%
3 LARM 1985 11.5%   CHI 1952 -12.8%
4 CHI 1967 11.2%   WAS 2013 -12.0%
5 CHI 2007 11.2%   SEA 1997 -11.1%
6 CHIC 1959 11.0%   BOS 1960 -10.7%
7 CLE1 1994 10.1%   CLE1 1976 -10.3%
8 KC 1968 10.0%   SD 2010 -10.2%
9 NYJ 1986 9.9%   BUF 1976 -10.0%
10 LARM 1984 9.8%   CIN 2002 -9.4%
11 CAR 1996 9.8%   OAK 1998 -9.3%
12 CLE 2009 9.7%   CHI 1997 -9.2%
13 DEN 1966 9.4%   TB 1992 -9.2%
14 NO 1986 9.3%   TB 1983 -9.2%
15 BAL 2017 9.2%   CIN 1980 -9.1%
16 OAK 1975 9.2%   STL 2004 -9.0%
17 DAL 1998 9.2%   CHI 1954 -8.6%
18 KC 1980 9.1%   STLC 1985 -8.6%
19 BAL 2012 9.0%   MIN 1977 -8.5%
20 PHI 2001 8.9%   BAL 1977 -8.5%

In the original article, the estimated special teams DVOA for the 1985 Rams made them the top special teams unit ever measured. Doing the actual breakdown for 1985 moved the Rams down a little bit, so we now have the 1951 Giants and 2002 Saints tied at the top. At the other end of the spectrum, the 2000 Bills hold on to their title of worst special teams ever. We covered this extensively in the original DVOA commentary for the 2000 season, but suffice to say that Buffalo was horrendous in pretty much every way it is possible to be horrendous on special teams.

So what happens when we add it all up? This table gives the best teams in either actual or estimated DVOA. Teams that won the Super Bowl or pre-1967 NFL Championship are listed with asterisks.

Best Total DVOA 1950-2019 (estimated 1950-1984)
Rank Team Total DVOA Offense Defense ST
1 WAS 1991* 56.9% 27.2% -21.1% 8.6%
2 NE 2007 52.9% 43.5% -5.8% 3.6%
3 CHI 1985* 52.5% 15.1% -33.6% 3.8%
4 GB 1962* 47.9% 21.4% -20.7% 5.8%
5 SF 1987 47.0% 23.3% -22.4% 1.3%
6 GB 1961* 46.0% 27.6% -11.6% 6.8%
7 NE 2010 44.6% 42.2% 2.3% 4.7%
8 OAK 1967 44.3% 11.6% -26.0% 6.8%
9 PIT 1976 42.7% 10.4% -30.1% 2.1%
10 GB 1996* 41.9% 15.2% -19.3% 7.4%
11 BAL 2019 41.8% 27.7% -12.7% 1.5%
12 BALC 1968 40.9% 13.0% -21.0% 6.8%
13 SF 1995 40.1% 18.6% -23.7% -2.2%
14 SEA 2013* 40.0% 9.4% -25.9% 4.7%
15 DAL 1968 39.5% 17.1% -15.7% 6.7%
16 CLE1 1953 39.2% 40.2% 5.6% 4.7%
17 KC 1968 38.8% 15.6% -13.2% 10.0%
18 SEA 2012 38.7% 18.5% -14.5% 5.7%
19 MIA 1973* 38.4% 19.5% -15.6% 3.3%
20 SEA 2015 38.1% 18.7% -15.2% 4.2%

Of the 1,830 teams since 1950, the best regular season performance belongs to the team that played in our nation’s capital in 1991. They had incredible balance, with the offense, defense, and special teams each ranking in the top 50 all time. The 2007 Patriots are still the best team that didn't win the title, but the 1987 49ers pass the 2010 Patriots as the best team to never win a playoff game. The 1985 Bears also move up a couple of slots now that we have actual play-by-play for that season. The best team among the estimated DVOA teams prior to 1985 maintained its performance for two seasons: the 1961-62 Green Bay Packers. Their two-year run is easily the best of any team ever.

What was in the water in 1968? Three teams from that year make the top 20 and none of them won Super Bowl III.

You’ve probably noticed that a few of the other usual suspects are absent from the list. Now that we've added six more years to our data, the undefeated 1972 Dolphins don't even rank among the top 40 teams since 1950. They were an excellent team, ranking No. 1 in both offense and defense that season, but were not dominant in any category. They are also held back by a weak schedule. Without opponent adjustments, they would jump up to ninth. The 1999 Rams are also outside the top 40, but they shoot up to sixth if you ignore opponent adjustments.  Several of the most dominant dynasties had consistently high DVOAs, but generally just missed the cutoff for the top 20. The 1992-95 Cowboys averaged a DVOA of 31.4% and had three teams make the top 50. The 1974-79 Steelers had four teams in the top 100 and averaged a DVOA of 30.5%. And most impressively, the 49ers rank in the top five for every single season from 1983 to 1998 except for 1990, when they were seventh.

Worst Total DVOA 1950-2019 (estimated 1950-1984)
Rank Team Total DVOA Offense Defense ST
1 SF 2005 -55.5% -40.4% 16.6% 1.5%
2 DET 2009 -51.6% -28.4% 17.9% -5.3%
3 WAS 1954 -51.0% -16.0% 34.2% -0.8%
4 TB 1976 -50.6% -33.6% 14.4% -2.6%
5 PIT 1965 -50.0% -39.5% 8.8% -1.7%
6 DET 2008 -48.4% -25.3% 24.3% 1.3%
7 IND 1991 -47.7% -32.8% 13.5% -1.5%
8 STL 2008 -47.1% -28.2% 18.3% -0.6%
9 ATL 1987 -45.8% -27.8% 17.6% -0.4%
10 STL 2009 -45.1% -29.5% 17.2% 1.7%
11 TB 1986 -43.8% -12.7% 26.1% -5.0%
12 BOS 1970 -43.4% -25.7% 12.5% -5.1%
13 DEN 1967 -42.7% -25.7% 16.1% -0.8%
14 ARI 2003 -42.0% -21.5% 18.3% -2.2%
15 BUF 1984 -42.0% -24.2% 11.4% -6.4%
16 HOU 2002 -41.9% -43.3% 2.3% 3.8%
17 SF 2004 -41.8% -21.2% 19.4% -1.2%
18 NYG 1966 -41.5% -13.6% 25.5% -2.4%
19 BAL1 1950 -41.5% -10.1% 30.2% -1.2%
20 OAK 1961 -41.4% -14.2% 20.3% -7.0%

Alas, all good things must come to an end. Only eight seasons later, the 49ers had become the worst team since 1950. On the surface, their 4-12 record doesn’t seem too bad, but their wins came by a combined 15 points. In second place we have the 2009 Lions, who somehow got worse by DVOA the year after going 0-16. Coming in third is Washington in 1954, who we saw at the top of the worst defense table. They had losses of 41-7, 37-7, 51-21, and 49-21 ... in the first four weeks of the season. And none of those were even their worst defeat of the year: That would come in a 62-3 demolition by the Browns in Week 7. One of the other two teams with a DVOA below -50% is, appropriately enough, the winless expansion Buccaneers, who since 1976 have allowed fans of other expansion teams to say "well, it could be worse."

No team since 2014 was bad enough to make this list but we do have a new team that didn't appear in the original article: the 1987 Falcons, whose horrible play in the 12 regular games was somewhat hidden in total-season stats because their strikebreakers had a couple of close games.

Now, some of you out there may be grumbling about the top 20 list including a number of teams who didn’t win, or even play for, the championship. You have a point! The whole purpose of being the best team in a given year is so your team can take home the trophy. So, as a bonus, here is every NFL champion since 1950, ranked by regular-season DVOA. Let me add that I fully expect that the 1984 49ers will rank higher than this when we finally have the opportunity to break down 1983-1984 play-by-play. That will hopefully be done by next offseason.

DVOA of Champions 1950-2019 (estimated 1950-1984)
Rank Team Total DVOA Offense Defense Sp Tms
1 WAS 1991 56.9% 27.2% -21.1% 8.6%
2 CHI 1985 52.5% 15.1% -33.6% 3.8%
3 GB 1962 47.9% 21.4% -20.7% 5.8%
4 GB 1961 46.0% 27.6% -11.6% 6.8%
5 GB 1996 41.9% 15.2% -19.3% 7.4%
6 SEA 2013 40.0% 9.4% -25.9% 4.7%
7 MIA 1973 38.4% 19.5% -15.6% 3.3%
8 KC 1969 37.6% 7.3% -25.6% 4.6%
9 CLE1 1950 37.5% 14.9% -14.9% 7.7%
10 DAL 1971 36.3% 23.3% -11.3% 1.7%
11 SF 1989 36.0% 26.2% -11.5% -1.7%
12 DAL 1977 35.1% 24.8% -9.6% 0.7%
13 DAL 1992 35.0% 23.6% -9.5% 1.9%
14 PIT 1975 35.0% 13.5% -14.4% 7.2%
15 GB 1966 34.9% 20.1% -16.2% -1.4%
16 MIA 1972 34.5% 18.5% -14.8% 1.2%
17 NE 2004 34.2% 23.3% -10.7% 0.2%
18 STL 1999 34.0% 17.7% -13.5% 2.8%
19 PIT 1979 33.4% 13.9% -20.2% -0.7%
20 DAL 1995 32.7% 29.6% 0.9% 4.0%
21 BALC 1958 32.6% 19.0% -12.8% 0.9%
22 DEN 1998 32.5% 34.5% 4.3% 2.3%
23 SF 1984 32.5% 28.6% 0.5% 4.3%
24 CLE1 1954 31.9% 15.1% -15.2% 1.7%
25 TB 2002 31.6% -3.8% -31.8% 3.6%
26 NYG 1990 30.8% 10.5% -14.4% 5.9%
27 KC 2019 30.2% 22.8% -3.4% 4.1%
28 GB 1967 30.1% 8.8% -12.9% 8.4%
29 PIT 1974 30.1% -3.4% -28.9% 4.6%
30 LARM 1951 29.9% 35.0% -2.3% -7.4%
31 DEN 1997 29.6% 19.4% -5.9% 4.3%
32 NYJ 1968 29.3% 16.8% -15.6% -3.2%
33 SF 1994 27.6% 18.9% -7.5% 1.2%
34 PIT 2005 27.1% 12.0% -13.5% 1.6%
35 CHI 1963 26.4% 1.9% -26.7% -2.2%
36 SF 1988 26.1% 12.9% -11.2% 2.0%
37 PIT 2008 26.0% -1.5% -29.0% -1.5%
38 DET 1952 25.7% 9.6% -9.1% 7.0%
39 NE 2016 24.9% 20.8% -1.8% 2.3%
40 DAL 1993 24.8% 21.8% 0.8% 3.8%
41 BAL 2000 24.1% -8.1% -23.8% 8.4%
42 PHI 2017 23.5% 10.0% -12.6% 0.9%
43 GB 2010 23.0% 11.5% -13.9% -2.4%
44 NE 2014 22.1% 13.5% -3.0% 5.7%
45 NO 2009 21.3% 24.3% -0.4% -3.4%
46 NE 2003 20.7% 1.2% -18.7% 0.8%
47 NYG 1986 20.4% 4.6% -14.7% 1.2%
48 CLE1 1955 20.4% 17.2% -5.8% -2.6%
49 OAK 1976 18.8% 24.8% 9.4% 3.4%
50 WAS 1982 17.8% 5.7% -7.3% 4.8%
51 DEN 2015 17.7% -8.7% -25.8% 0.7%
52 IND 2006 16.4% 28.5% 8.5% -3.6%
53 PIT 1978 16.2% 2.7% -12.4% 1.1%
54 NE 2018 14.2% 14.5% 0.4% 0.1%
55 GB 1965 13.8% -2.1% -15.2% 0.7%
56 DET 1953 13.5% 5.8% -6.4% 1.3%
57 SF 1981 13.3% 11.0% -5.8% -3.5%
58 LARD 1983 12.5% 0.1% -9.0% 3.4%
59 BALC 1959 11.6% 12.5% 1.0% 0.0%
60 NYG 1956 11.3% 10.5% -4.2% -3.4%
61 PHI 1960 10.8% 10.2% 2.6% 3.2%
62 BAL 2012 9.8% 3.0% 2.2% 9.0%
63 CLE1 1964 8.8% 23.0% 19.8% 5.6%
64 NYG 2011 8.4% 10.5% 2.4% 0.3%
65 NE 2001 8.0% 3.4% -1.5% 3.1%
66 WAS 1987 6.8% 7.6% -0.6% -1.4%
67 DET 1957 6.1% 0.8% -5.0% 0.3%
68 NYG 2007 1.8% -1.1% -3.8% -0.9%
69 OAK 1980 0.0% -7.7% -7.6% 0.1%
70 BALC 1970 -3.3% -1.1% 3.9% 1.6%

A note on the 1970 Baltimore Colts, who come in as the only team to win the Super Bowl with negative DVOA. On the surface, they seem like a strong team, with an 11-2-1 record. However, they had the point differential of a team that would be expected to win only 9.5 games. Furthermore, they faced a weak schedule: their VOA of 5% is 8% higher than their DVOA of -3%. Add those together, and Baltimore was significantly weaker than its record.

Comments

55 comments, Last at 12 Jul 2020, 10:50am

1 2003 San Diego had a +226.1…

2003 San Diego had a +226.1 rushing DVOA?
Man, going 4-12 with that has to count against Brees' legacy.

How well did the Shepard method actually predict 1985-1988 DVOAs?

3 Fixed

I fixed the 2003 Chargers.

We can't include 1987 because DVOA removes the strikebreaker games. However, the correlation for 1985, 1986, and 1988 is 0.95.

2 The tangled trail of suck...

The league may not want to admit it, but those 1951 Yanks became the 1952 Texans, and there is strong evidence that the poor attendance and financial woes were due to the ownership wanting to have non-segregated crowds, which did not go over well with the Dallas establishment, or the Texas State Fair, which owned the Cotton Bowl. So, they wound up barnstorming for the last half of their only season, when the league sold the assets of the team -- such as contracts for players like Artie Donovan, whose tales of the Texans made him a talk show staple for years.

The purchasers? A group of Maryland investors, who renamed the team the Baltimore Colts, and kept the blue/white color scheme of the Yanks/Texans. The AAFC Colts had been green and silver, as anyone who saw Diner knows. That franchise is truly cursed.

5 The 2010 Patriots are the…

The 2010 Patriots are the most fascinating team I can remember. In retrospect it made a lot of sense, but at the time their offense was really strangely designed and hard to explain. A two tight-end offense with a predominantly slot receiver in Welker and a short shifty receiving back in woodhead it didn't seem like this mix would produce the second greatest offense of all time.

10 As I recall that two TE…

As I recall that two TE receiving set was quite innovative at that time. I guess to make your primary receivers TEs was a matchups nightmare.

Of course they started the season with Moss still going deep so teams were probably being built / coached to defend that..

I recall they occasionally put one of the TEs in the backfield for potential run game which of course changes what the defense puts on for personnel. That flexibility was a huge matchup advantage. But that may have been a season or two later.

 

6 "Having four Hall of Famers…

"Having four Hall of Famers on one defense is a good thing."

Soon to be five HoFs with Donnie Shell's induction this year.

7 Let me know if any questions

Glad to see this get updated! And happy to see that the estimates seem to have held up reasonably well.

I am still around and happy to answer any questions about the estimation methodology.

If you are curious about a particular pre-1985 team, Chase Stuart over at Football Perspective kindly posted the full set of estimated ratings: http://www.footballperspective.com/estimated-dvoa-ratings-from-1950-to-2013/

43 Can you run this thing again…

Can you run this thing again with the last 6 seasons added and do a data dump on FP again? As I understand it the figures here are your estimates plus the true DVOA for seasons that FO already has. The one you posted on FP was all estimates even for the seasons FO already have figures for. If I’m in error just let me know, thanks!

52 Would people really be…

Would people really be interested in estimates for the last 6 seasons, when the real numbers are available? There's a fair amount of data downloading and processing involved, so I'd like to only do that if there's real demand for it. I'm not sure there is much value other than getting more data points to validate the accuracy of the model.

You are correct that what I posted on FP was all estimates even where real DVOA exists. If you want a convenient database of the real DVOA numbers, pay for FO Plus :)

53 I for one am interested. My…

I for one am interested. My suggestion is run it by Chase and gauge his interest. A metric that is in close accord with DVOA will generally drum up some interest and discussion. 

11 That 1968 season really is…

That 1968 season really is nuts. Those three teams that ranked in the top 20 all time went just 2-3 in the playoffs. Obviously the Colts went to the Super Bowl, but both Dallas and KC lost their first game. Imagine telling Cowboys fans that despite all those those Super Bowl titles in later years the best ever Cowboys team was from the 1968 season. As for the Chiefs, they lost 41-6 at Oakland. That must be one of the worst games ever for a team that can fairly claim to being an all-time great squad.

Edit: Just to add on, none of those top three teams even played each other in the playoffs, which is crazy considering only 7 teams total made the playoffs.

14 When the Ravens (#11) lost…

When the Ravens (#11) lost to the Titans in the playoffs, we discussed some of the biggest playoff surprises ever.

The two other contenders - we were old enough to remember (except RaiderJoe probably) were the 87 49ers (#5) and the 2010 Patriots (#7) losing. The 49ers game was never close but not quite a blowout like the Chiefs 

21 Re Cowobys.

Well from 1965 - 1970 the Cowboys had a "can't win the big one" reputation.  That was a big storyline about getting that monkey off their backs when they won in 1971.

12 I'm somewhat surprised that…

I'm somewhat surprised that the pre-Noll Steelers only had 1 team in the worst teams, and no teams in the worst defense and only 2 years ('65 and '66) represented.

15 The '65 team was the only…

The '65 team was the only one that was historically bad overall (-50%). The other bad Steelers teams of that era were only really terrible on one side of the ball at a time.

The 2-11-1 '68 team had a merely mediocre offense, which kept them at a -22% DVOA. In '69 the offense was terrible but the defense improved somewhat to league average, so the overall DVOA only fell to -32%.

Every other pre-Noll team was no worse than -20.2% for overall DVOA. The worst the defense got was +11.2% in '54, which is pretty far off the dumpster fires that populate the bottom of the overall defense list.

40 The 1-13 1969 team was bad…

The 1-13 1969 team was bad enough to lose 38-7 to the other 1-13 team that year, the Bears. Which meant instead of the Bears drafting #1, there was a coin flip, which the Steelers won. Pittsburgh drafted Bradshaw; the Bears traded down and were awful to mediocre for another 14 years.

13 Wow, the '87 Falcons were so…

Wow, the '87 Falcons were so bad they made the worst team list twice! (I'm guessing one was suppose to be the '67 squad...)

16 Actually, those are both the…

Actually, those are both the 87 Falcons. Looks like they got left in twice. The worse one is the real DVOA. The second one is the estimate (which also includes replacement games, not that it helped). 

If you take them out, I think the next one on the bottom 20 list should be 61 OAK at -41.4%, but I'm not sure if looking at the real DVOA list would change it.

For the record, the '67 Falcons had a -39.4% DVOA but were merely the 4th worst Falcon team according to these estimates. '66 (-40.5%) and '68 (-39.8%) both edge them out. I haven't checked, but either that or Detroit from 07-09 is probably the worst 3 year stretch in (estimated) DVOA history.

19 Interesting.   I just…

Interesting.

 

I just checked and it looks like the Lions averaged -43% from 07-09.  The Falcons' first three years comes out to -39.9%.  The 04-06 49ers (the other one I thought of) averaged -38.9%

32 I had forgotten how bad…

I had forgotten how bad those Rams teams were.  Just a quick glance leads me to believe that the '07-'11 Rams would have to be the worst 5 year stretch for any franchise at -36.5%.  (The '05-'09 Lions are -34.88%)

 

Edit:

 

FWIW, the '06-'10 Lions (-37.65%) look like the worst 4 year stretch, though the '04-'07 49ers are close enough (-37.525%) that the difference could almost  be rounding error.

 

And yes, I have way too much time on my hands being in lockdown.

36 Speaking of the Falcons, I…

Speaking of the Falcons, I'm surprised that the '77 Falcons defense (especially the pass defense) doesn't rank higher on these lists.  I'm not old enough to remember that team, but on paper, it's pretty impressive.

Not only did they allow a mere 9.2 PPG (lowest ever, or at least during the time period in consideration here), but that year, they also allowed the 2nd fewest total yards in the league (and by far the fewest passing yards), and they had the 2nd most takeaways in the league.

37 Atlanta's stats may just not…

Atlanta's stats may just not stand out enough in that last year before the major rule changes. Allowing less than 10 points per game is pretty crazy, but two other teams (LA and DEN) came in at 10.4 and 10.6 in '77. Pittsburgh allowed 9.9/game in '76 and the Rams again allowed just 9.6 in '75. Those are all still by far the best numbers of that era, but in that context they start to look more like one of the best of the decade rather than best of all time.

Since pfr has estimated sacks in the years before they were officially counted, you can also see that Dallas's pass defense actually finished with a better NY/A than Atlanta's that year too. Those two units were still the best in the league at defending the pass by a pretty significant margin, but even then, teams rushed for more yards than they passed in 1977, and Atlanta's rushing defense appears to have been merely good.

I had never really spent much time looking at league-wide offensive & defensive stats from the mid-70s before this. Holy cow. There were offenses that were almost completely incapable of moving the ball or scoring. Even leaving the Buccaneers out of it, you have like a quarter of the league that barely managed (and a few teams that didn't manage) to average 4 yards/play and 12 points/game. The '78 rule changes were not even remotely an overreaction.

38 You are a wise man, Dank. I…

You are a wise man, Dank.

I am old and was, therefore, a percipient witness to 1970s football.

There is some circular logic to this, but much of you describe is the result of "prevailing wisdom" in the coaching community.  You played for field position.  You didn't take any risks on your side of mid-field.  These were Truths, presumably etched in stone retrieved from a burning bush (PSA: please, take all appropriate safeguards), and therefore beyond challenge.

One of the reasons for adhering to this philosophy was that throwing the football was really hard, comparable to a scratch-off ticket. Defenders were allowed to obstruct/molest a would-be receiver as long as he didn't hold (at any time) or make contact with the ball in the air.  In 1977 the Oakland Raiders had an athletic tight end named Dave Casper.  The Denver Broncos employed an inside linebacker named Joe Rizzo.  Rizzo's assignment versus the Raiders was to disrupt Casper at every turn:  at the line of scrimmage; two yards deep; if he goes deeper, continue to "chuck" him, as we said in those days.  In reaction, the NFL implemented the "5 yard chuck" rule, at the time referred to as the "Dave Casper rule" or the "Rizzo Rule".

By any name, the 1978 rules changes you refer to were a sea change.  The most significant rules event.

 

 

 

 

 

39 Don't overlook the head slap…

Don't overlook the head slap by pass rushers being banned, and offensive linemen being allowed to extend their arms, with an open hand, while pass blocking. If Reggie White had been allowed to club a blocker upside the head, while the guy trying to block him had to keep his hands closed, arms not extended, White may have had a 35 sack season, and averaged over 20 a year.

There is a clip in the NFL Films vault of Carl Eller going up against Forrest Gregg, as Starr takes a deep drop. Eller hits Gregg in the head so hard that Gregg's helmet flys 15 yards through the air, as Gregg tries to continue the block helmetless, while clearly concussed (if the pass rusher slapped the earhole just right, it maginified the effect on the brain). Starr gets crushed, to say the least, in a manner that would draw a flag today. Yeah, it was an entirely different game, and the rules had to change.

55 Heck, unofficial sack totals were even larger earlier

Sack totals in the 1970s, which as most of us know were collected unofficially by teams back then, were huge, but they may have been even bigger before that.  Back in the 1950s the Eagles had a defensive end named Norm "Wildman" Willey.  According to the Eagles Encyclopedia, in a 1952 game against the Giants, Willey collected 17 sacks IN A GAME, including sacks on 11 consecutive Giants passing plays.  Now that was an unusually good game, but if a player can have 17 sacks in a spectacular game, how many sacks did guys have back then in merely good to great games?  You have to figure 5-8 sack games by individual players occurred somewhat regularly, probably every few weeks in the NFL as a whole, back in the 1950s, especially before pass blocking schemes fully matured.

54 1977 Cowboys

One thing I noticed when responding to a discussion about the best teams in various' franchises histories on Reddit a few weeks ago was that the 1977 Cowboys led the NFL in both most yards gained on offense and fewest yards allowed on defense.  VERY few NFL teams, especially since the AFL-NFL merger, have done that.

18 Combined DVOA rankings

Is there anyway we could get the combined total DVOA for every franchise (or at least the 32 that still exist)? Most should be near 0% (especially the older franchises), but it could settle once and for all who really is the best team.

24 I looked into this back when…

I looked into this back when the article first ran in 2013. Here is what I wrote:

"I checked using actual DVOAs from 1989-2013 and estimates before. The Lions have averaged a DVOA of -3.9% since 1950, which is bad but not close to the worst ever. The Cardinals, Texans, Falcons, and Bucs have all had an average DVOA of around -10.5%, with the Cardinals being the worst.

On the other side, the Ravens have the highest average DVOA (11.4%), with the Cowboys (8.2%) and 49ers (6.0%) being the next best. "

22 Wondering how bad the…

Wondering how bad the Packers were when Lombardi took over and what his successful teams were like?

Would be interesting to know if there's a way to rate all the coaches based on their DVOA records.

26 However, by the time…

However, by the time Lombardi arrived in 1959, the Packers had not had a winning season since 1947. It was obviously in good measure a coaching failure. The 1-10-1 1958 roster featured 4 players who ended up in the HOF, and some other high quality players.

25 A better way to do it might…

A better way to do it might be to calculate average regression to the mean, and then see which coaches were best at avoiding that -- that avoids penalizing coaches who took over terrible teams and took a year or three to get up to speed.

 

....It's a long, weird offseason; maybe we'll do just that.

27 The easiest Super Bowl wager…

The easiest Super Bowl wager of all time should have been Super Bowl IV. The Vikings were a terrific team with a historically great defense, but they were favored by 11 to 13 points against one of the top 10 teams in history, with a gigantic advantage at qb and at kicker, when the disparities in the Field Goal unit performance could mean a lot more than they do now. Being a little kid I don't remember much of the game, but by the time I was about 13 I understood how ridiculous that point spread was.

31 The 1991 Eagles

One small correction: The 1991 Eagles were not exactly a Buddy Ryan defense. They were Buddy Ryan's players, coached by Bud Carson. If you're not familiar with Bud Carson ... he was the DC behind the Steel Curtain. So Buddy picked the players for #1-3 and Bud Carson coached #1, 6, 8, and 11.

The 1991 Eagles aren't famous because they got 4 passes from Randall Cunningham (Byrce Paup says hi!) yielding to a QB rotation of a battered Jim McMahon, the corpse of Pat Ryan, Jeff Kemp, and Brad Goebel. The latter three managed to throw 15 interceptions in less than 200 passes and have a combined sack % over 10.

Just for giggles I looked up the Eagles Off. DVOA in 1990 (11.1) and 1992 (10.5) [healthy Randall, everyone else was pretty much the same]. Reasonably splitting the difference for an imaginary "healthy Randall" in 1991, the Eagles would have had an overall DVOA of 53.3.

This would mean they were the 2nd best team of the DVOA era ... and the 2nd best team in their own division that year! Seriously, I was there. The 1991 Redskins were really, really good.

35 And it wasn't just the…

In reply to by T_McClure

And it wasn't just the Redskins, either.  They were also in the same division as the Giants, who had won the SB the year before, and the Cowboys, who would go on to win it the next year (and the year after that).

In fact, during the 10-year stretch from 1986-1995, the NFC East produced 7 SB Champs (Cowboys 3, Redskins 2, Giants 2).  It was just a brutally tough division.

41 LOB

Just noticed that the 2012, 2013 and 2015 Seahawks are in the top 20 overall all time. Impressive, RW is on his way to Canton with a good assist from his teammates.

44 Even before we get to the…

In reply to by eagle97a

Even before we get to the game's ending, absent injuries to Seattle's defense earlier in the contest, the Seahawks likely beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl, and the conventional wisdom on Pete Carroll, which is already generally favorable, likely views him as a lock 1st ballot HOFer. Of course, having injuries which occur during the Super Bowl play a large role in the outcome is not unusual. Stephen Neal getting hurt really had a huge impact on the first Giants/Patriits upset.

45 Coming into the 2011 season,…

In reply to by eagle97a

Coming into the 2011 season, I predicted that the Seahawks would be the worst team in the NFL. A contender in the 2000s had grown old and fragile and on it's it's legs, but an all time crappy division gifted them a playoff birth at 7-9(to be fair, they pulled off an all time upset). My 49er friend emphatically agreed. After the 2011 season, I called my friend to explain how badly I had gotten the Seahawks wrong.

That's Seahawks team is an example of how a turn around can happen overnight. While people will sing Wilson's praises, those early years were all about Wilson's supporting casts. The o line was good, they had a HOF running back, and hit the defensive gold mine in the draft and free agency. All of their talent was young too.

I remember looking forward to their matchup with the 49ers, who similarly were brimming with talent. 

 

Chancellor, Thomas, Sherman, Wright, Wagner, Wilson,  and Baldwin is an all time draft success. It's I suppose bittersweet that they only won 1 SB and did not become the dynasty of the decade.

47 The margin between a great…

The margin between a great team and dynasty is so slim. Seattle's aggressiveness in the trade market has paid off well for them with some of the players they've been able to acquire for cheap (Marshawn Lynch, Chris Clemons, Jadeveon Clowney), but at the same time they threw away multiple first round picks plus all-pro C Max Unger chasing skill position players they didn't need (Percy Harvin, Jimmy Graham). Their draft success was always going to regress to the mean, but could they have been in a stronger position to weather the injuries and inevitable roster turnover if they'd given themselves a little more margin of error to work with? Could they have avoided the disaster their offensive line became in the back half of the decade? (Maybe Tom Cable is the original sin there.)

49 Winning SB 49 definitely…

Winning SB 49 definitely would have changed the narrative, and potentially even their ability to keep some of their defensive stars happy/under contract longer, although injuries really probably played the biggest role in breaking up the Legion of Boom. But since 2014, they've kind of been stuck at 10-11 wins and haven't been able to secure a first round bye. It's a much more difficult path back to the Super Bowl where you need more bounces to go your way.

51 The 2010s Seahawks have…

The 2010s Seahawks have undoubtedly had bad luck wrt the strength of their division. The 49ers, Cardinals, and Rams have all been elite teams at one time or another the past decade. Indeed even during their 4 year DVOA dynasty stretch (2012-2015), they twice failed to win their own division! Without wanting to flog a dead horse, compare that to the Patriots....

46 As a separate thought, idk…

In reply to by eagle97a

As a separate thought, idk how Seahawks fans view Chancellor, but I definitely feel like reputation wise he gets seriously short changed. Everyone will remember him as maybe the 4th or 5th most important Seahawks team member, but he was so much more than that. 

 

I might anger a lot of Steeler fans, but Chancellor is the ideal safety you want out of your strong safety. He had the size and speed to matchup against the big and fast tight ends. It also meant the Seahawks suffered little in run support and he added abilities as a blitzer when necessary. People will rightly praise Thomas' range over Chancellor's physical capabilities, but they work in tandem. Lose Chancellor and its much harder to allow Thomas to free range back there. 

 

He won't get any hall of fame recognition, but I think he deserves to at least be recognized, if not get in.