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Week 2 Power Rankings: How Cutler is your QB?

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This morning I returned from a trip to Chicago, not only with newfound appreciation for lasagna masquerading as pizza, but also for what competent quarterbacking looks like. During Monday night’s schooling at the hands of a quarterback making his second career start, Jay Cutler threw another classically terrible interception, before walking off of Soldier Field in a moment that truly felt like the beginning of his end in the Windy City.

Cutler will be out for at least a few weeks with another thumb injury, and the rebuilding Bears have to already be prepping for which QB’s name they’ll be calling next April. While Cutler may own every significant Bears passing record, he hasn’t been able to win consistently with this team, and now is as good a time as any to move on. (Actually the best time to move on would have been before his seven-year, $126 million deal, but I digress.)

Having spent a fair share of the last seven years operating as a Cutler apologist, it’s hard for me to just let go. It’s even harder for me to stand by while the Stephen A. Smith’s of the world call him “the worst quarterback in football.” Cutler’s like a gas station burrito; he may not be your first choice for late-night eats, but he’s better than going hungry.

And so, since my Week 1 Power Rankings are still flawless, this week I thought we’d update the QB rankings, using our new (patent-pending) Cutler quarterbacking scale. Are there really 31 QBs in this league that are better than him? (Hint, no.) Let’s see where the QBs stack up with (sadly) the Bears’ all-time leading passer.

(The number next to their name represents their ranking, not where they appear on the page. The next ranking will be more in-ordery, I swear.)

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Rankings

Week 1 Power Rankings: Let’s Draw Conclusions!

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extrapolate: [verb] extend the application of (a method or conclusion, especially one based on statistics) to an unknown situation by assuming that existing trends will continue or similar methods will be applicable.

Sometimes starting a piece with a definition is a profound way to sum up your topic. Sometimes it’s just a nice way to eat up space. I think this time it’s the former …

Having not done any Power Rankings before the season (I was busy doing far more important things), this will be my first time organizing teams in a manner that typically angers 31 of a possible 32 fanbases. It also means I’m going to put far too much stock into Week 1 performances, extrapolating (see, I told you there’d be a tie-in) the results across the entire season. If I do it right, there will never be a need to update this list.

The biggest lesson we can draw from Week 1 is that the AFC rules, the NFC drools, and Kevin Harlan is cool(s). Using 16 games’ worth of data, here is exactly how the NFL stacks up for 2016.


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Rankings

The 6 Most Over-Hyped Rookies this Season

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The preseason has been a month of overreacting to what little glimpses we’ve had of our favorite stars. But no one gets more smoke blown up their poopers than rookies who have never played a down of competitive professional football. It’s time for someone to knock these kids down a peg. Otherwise, their heads will get too big, and they won’t be able to get their helmets on. (Although, somehow Colin Kaepernick finds a way to get his lid on.)

Granted, for all I know, these kids could all go on to be great this season and well beyond. But heading into their first NFL season, here’s a few rookies who are getting too much love for how little they’ve accomplished.

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Rankings

Rating Week 1 Games by Awesomeness

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The exit sign is fast approaching: NFL football in just 18 days. But, as with driving, sometimes when your brain has been dealing with the sheer torture of waiting, you find yourself unprepared when you finally reach the destination. Have you planned where you’ll be watching the Week 1 slate of games? Do you even know who’s playing?

As with most fans, you’ll likely end up watching your favorite team on Sunday afternoon, while flipping back and forth with whatever games feature your fantasy players. There’s nothing wrong with that strategy; I’ve employed it many times myself. But if you’d actually like to maximize your Week 1 viewing pleasure, there’s a better way.

We’ve ranked every game on the schedule, from best to worst, in terms of how awesome it will (probably) be. Use this as a guide and I guarantee you won’t waste a minute of your weekend. (Unless you’re the type of person who considers watching 15-plus hours of football a waste.)


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Rankings

The 4 Best Players NOT in the HOF

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Once I got a taste for one ultra-controversial article, I was hungry for more. Yet my quest to piss off every fan-base in the league still seems incomplete. If neither of those first two articles soured your opinion of me, then maybe this one will. (Am I wrongfully assuming that I was liked before?)

After the NFL made the unprecedented decision to cancel the Hall-of-Fame game at the last minute due to the tar-like field, we (football fans) have been forced to suffer on without the glimpse of football we were promised.

We did, however, get to see Brett Favre, Marvin Harrison, Tony Dungy, and the rest of the inductees trot out onto the parking lot surface in their new gold jackets. (Yes, Happy, the color does matter.)

As these deserving candidates received their recognition, I couldn’t help but feel bad for a few guys who have been waiting for what I’m sure feels like an eternity to hear their name called. But then I remembered that they’re rich and their lives are probably pretty great as it is, so I went back to enjoying my can of tuna.

Although I still don’t feel bad for those who have been overlooked, I felt the need to honour those whom the Hall has forgotten. So join me as I give some love to the guys who have been passed over by the selection committee. All I ask for in return is a VIP pass to the eventual induction ceremonies and a shout-out in their speech for all my hard work in getting them into the Hall – pretty reasonable, if you ask me.

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Rankings

Coaching Hot-Seat: Who’s Feeling the Heat?

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Coaches in the NFL are often passed around like a newborn. When a new, exciting one arrives, everyone wants to hold it; but when it starts crying and giving you trouble, you’re quick to hand it off to the next person waiting with open arms.

The carousel has been in full swing over the last couple seasons, as 2015 saw six teams enter the season with a new head coach (a seventh came just five weeks in), and six more teams will kick the 2016 season off with a new man in charge.

What is different about this season’s recruits, is that four of the six are receiving their first head coaching job in the NFL. While these first-timers have a fair amount of pressure on them to succeed, and prove their worth, they will all be awarded a couple of years to build a winning team.

The same can not be said though about each of the other 28 bench-bosses in the league.

The phrase “hot-seat” has become very common in the NFL, but I didn’t want to stop there. What the hot-seat lacks is the varying degrees of heat that each coach is facing. There are currently a few coaches who are a couple bad losses from being axed, while it may take others a poor season to justify their dismissal.

So instead of just listing Rex Ryan and a few other coaches as being on the “hot-seat,” I have taken it one step further, and created four different categories of job security that each coach can be placed in:

(1) The Seat is Sizzling – things have to go right for these coaches to keep their jobs; mediocrity will not be tolerated.
(2) Uncomfortably Warm – if things go wrong this season, they’ll pay for it; mediocrity will be tolerated though.
(3) Comfortably Warm – their team would have to endure serious hardships for their job to be taken from them.
(4) Bum is Chilly – these coaches would need to experience a couple years of brutal suffering before their team even considered dismissing them.

Now that we’re clear on the analogies, it’s time to find out how much heat each head coach’s derriere is currently experiencing.

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Rankings

The 5 Worst Teams who Won the Super Bowl

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By now, I hope you’ve taken the time to enjoy, and undoubtedly criticize, the five best teams to not win the Super Bowl. If not, click the link and join the plethora of upset fans that believe the list is absolute malarkey.

After you realize that I crudely discredited the 2015 Carolina Panthers and the 1984 Miami Dolphins by leaving them off the previous list, I would recommend checking your blood pressure, and allowing it to return to regular levels before continuing to read on.

It’s one thing for your team, who came so close to hoisting the Lombardi in a specific season, to be left off the previous list; but, it’s a whole different kind of displeasure that will arise from seeing your team, who did achieve the ultimate goal, be called out for their not-so impressive feat. I figured I already upset a good number of the 32 fan-bases, so why stop there?

What needs to be remembered here, is that every team who appears on this list did win the Super Bowl, and no one (especially me) can ever take that from them – not even Roger Goodell. (I hope I didn’t speak too soon.) In spite of that fact, there has to be a best and worst of the bunch.

Following a similar method to my previous madness, I have come up with the five worst teams who have ever won the Super Bowl. What I considered was: their performance throughout the season as a whole, the difficulty of their path to the Super Bowl, the strength of the team they did beat in the big game, and whether or not they beat my team.

Alright, so maybe the last one didn’t really factor in, not as much as the other criterion anyways.

Fair warning, if you loved football in the 1960’s, you may want to have a doctor at your side when reading this one. But, let’s get to it…

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Rankings

The 5 Best Teams who Didn’t Win the Super Bowl

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After the Carolina Panthers reeled off a 15-1 regular season record last year, only to lose to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50, there are a few questions that arise: (1) Why did Cam Newton pull a Roger Dorn? (2) Was the 2015 Denver Broncos’ defense the best of all-time? (3) Were the Panthers the greatest team to not win the Super Bowl?

Bad news, Panthers fans (or maybe it’s good, I’m not sure), they were not the best team to fail on the biggest stage; they aren’t even in the top-five of the conversation.

Yes, Cam Newton had a remarkable season, and the Panther defense was very strong, but they don’t measure up to these five teams that I have gathered and subsequently honored.

Although comparing teams and players from different years is incredibly difficult, I have generated a fool-proof, scientific method to rank the top-five teams who failed to hoist the Lombardi trophy.

How did I do this? It certainly doesn’t just involve my opinion, that’s for sure. How is it scientific? Well, there are some numbers in there. Good enough, right?

Joking aside, I generated this list by weighing each team’s regular season performance, the strength of their schedule, how their season ended (why the 2013 Broncos also miss out), and how good the team was that ended their season.

Although I like to believe my football knowledge extends far beyond the year I was born, I have a feeling this list may tip you off to my age. All differing opinions and scrutiny are welcome, just please keep the name-calling to a minimum; that stuff’s hurtful.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, here are the top-five teams who failed to win the Super Bowl …

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Rankings

Give ’em a Start – Best Backup QBs

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Apparently it was foreshadowing.

Oh, how sweet the life of a backup quarterback. You get to impersonate other quarterbacks when running the scout team at practice, you can still tell the ladies you’re an NFL QB at the bar, you wear a slick hat on Sundays, make a few million dollars per season, and don’t have to face hits like these.

The life of a backup isn’t completely carefree. When savage hits knock their pal out of the game, they’re thrust into action without warning. Some go onto shine, others fail miserably. (See Cleveland.)

Often a team doesn’t know exactly what they have in their backup until he has to enter a game. There are certain quarterbacks who get timid when facing live bullets, and others who elevate their play in the moment. Names like Steve Young, Brett Favre, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers all spent time riding the pine (and some betting their coaches they could throw the ball to the upper deck) during their careers. But, once given the chance, they all seized the moment.

Is there a Steve Young in the league right now who’s currently relegated to holding a clipboard? Ok, Young might be too high a bar, but there are some backups are certainly competent enough to start.

Which team has the best insurance policy under center isn’t really the question at issue. The purpose of this list is to find the guys who could lead a team from Week 1 to the post-season, not come in for a couple innings of solid relief pitching! (Sorry, Matt Moore.)

In order to generate this list, I weighed a few things: how they have performed as a starter, where the unknown is benefiting many; the way their coaches and teammates, as well as the rest of the league, view them; their expectations as a pro; and how they have developed during their time in the league. If you have a more accurate method, please share your criteria!

What these rankings are guilty of is a bit of a recency bias, since rookies have yet to prove that they are inadequate.

A bit of clarification before we get started, this list will not feature Josh McCown or Colin Kaepernick, whom I assume will both start the season as backups, because they’re just a couple Griffin/Gabbert mistakes away from being a starter (if they don’t snag the job out of camp).

You also won’t find Jimmy Garoppolo on this list because he’s already getting his chance to start. By the way, has anyone considered the possibility that it was Garoppolo who ordered the air out of those footballs? Tom Brady was framed!

Geno Smith isn’t on the list either. But that’s not because he could get the chance to start; it’s because he’s not good.

I could pick on Geno all day, but these backups are already waiting patiently to get on the field, I shouldn’t keep them waiting here, too.

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