Stat of the Day: Most Improved Teams
As part of our ongoing Stat of the Day series, we're digging deep into our spreadsheets to run a new stat every weekday until Super Bowl XLIV.
Today's list is inspired by the Broncos' parting with defensive coordinator Mike Nolan, which you can discuss more here. The Broncos let Nolan go despite enjoying the second-biggest year-to-year improvement in defensive DVOA of any team we've ever tracked.
|Biggest One-Year Improvement in Defensive DVOA, 1993-2009|
The Dolphins team with a stronger improvement actually had the same head coach (Jimmie Johnson) and defensive coordinator (George Hill) as the previous two years. The biggest difference was maturing talent. Jason Taylor and Sam Madison were in their first years as starters, and Zach Thomas was in his second. They also added Brock Marion as a free agent from Dallas.
Here's a similar list for the most improved offenses.
|Biggest One-Year Improvement in Offensive DVOA, 1993-2009|
1999 was Jon Gruden's second season as head of the Oakland Raiders. He fixed the defense in his first year and the offense in his second, primarily by signing free agent quarterback Rich Gannon. The 1998 Bills also jumped in offense thanks to (10 games of) a new quarterback, going from Todd Collins to Doug Flutie and Rob Johnson. They also had a new head coach (Wade Phillips) and new offensive coordinator (Joe Pendry).
You can find a list of the most improved special teams units here. If I put together the same list now, the 2009 Vikings would be third.