NFL Power Rankings: Each Tuesday morning (after NFL Monday Night Football concludes the week’s activities) several media outlets come out with “NFL Power Rankings” to rate all 32 NFL teams from 1 to 32 (why the word “Power” and not just “NFL Rankings”? Interesting…)
And sometimes the rankings are similar, sometimes there is a lot of disparity. Which is why I like looking at a number of NFL Power Rankings and combine them to come up with…
NFL Combined Power Rankings!!
How do I come up with the NFL Combined Power Rankings?
This is something I’ve done on and off for awhile now. I figured maybe it would be fun to actually post this publicly.
I use a system called Relative Placement. The basics of it: majority rules. The strength of it: when you have something very highly subjective to rank (such as professional sports rankings), you grab a number of “votes” and compare and combine them to come up with a final ranking. This is commonly used in dance competitions, and I think it works very well for the NFL Power Rankings.
For more about relative placement, you can read about it here:
If you want to read more about my NFL Combined Power Rankings, read my first post about it here:
On with the show! First..the NFL Power Rankings
My resources and criteria
- Find 7 NFL Power Rankings. This was done googling “NFL Power Rankings” and selecting some links on the first page, not surprisingly they came from sources I already often read
- A team must be ranked in the top 5 in one ranking to be considered. Mostly to save time. I didn’t want to apply the relative placement system to all 32 teams for all 7 rankings
- Only top 5 scores are considered.. If a team is ranked in the top 5 by one ranking, they are eligible for this combined ranking. However, if they are not in the top 5 of a different ranking that I use, then for tallying purposes I assign them a “6th” place.
NFL Power Rankings used
I decided to stick with the Washington Post “Fancy Stats” rankings just because it is the only one that is not entirely subjective and uses some sort of number crunching and algorithm to come up with its rankings. So to me it will be interesting to see how the other more subjective power rankings differ from the number cruncher. The “Fancy Stats” description:
That being said, one source had to go, and it was Bleacher Report. Not just because it seems to be the least credible when it comes to sports sources, but gosh darn dang it’s a bit annoying to have to click and read through an article page by page.
Here are the individual NFL Power Rankings I used
Here are my NFL Combined Power Rankings
Remember, a non-top-five vote for a team is assessed “sixth” place for tallying, otherwise a “novote” for display.
1st: Denver Broncos (last week: 1)
VOTES: 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st
2nd: Dallas Cowboys (last week: 3)
VOTES: 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, NOVOTE
3rd: Philadelphia Eagles (last week: 4)
VOTES: 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 4th, NOVOTE, NOVOTE
4th: Indianapolis Colts (last week: 6)
VOTES: 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 4th, 4th, 5th, NOVOTE
5th: Green Bay Packers (last week: 7)
VOTES: 3rd, 4th, 5th, NOVOTE, NOVOTE, NOVOTE, NOVOTE
6th: Arizona Cardinals (last week: 7)
VOTES: 5th, 5th, 5th, NOVOTE, NOVOTE, NOVOTE, NOVOTE
7th: San Diego Chargers (last week: 2)
VOTES: 3rd, 4th, NOVOTE, NOVOTE, NOVOTE, NOVOTE, NOVOTE
8th: Kansas City Chiefs (last week: unranked)
VOTES: 4th, NOVOTE, NOVOTE, NOVOTE, NOVOTE, NOVOTE, NOVOTE
9th: (TIE) New England Patriots (last week: unranked)
9th: (TIE) Seattle Seahawks (last week: 5)
VOTES: 5th, NOVOTE, NOVOTE, NOVOTE, NOVOTE, NOVOTE, NOVOTE
Fell Out Of Rankings: NONE
a.k.a. no 1st through 5th Votes this week
What It Says…
Some interesting points simply from reading a relative placement sheet
- The clean majorities (aka decisive placements) run 1 through 4 this week. In other words:
- Broncos are a clear 1st with a majority of 1st votes
- Cowboys are a clear 2nd with a majority of 1st and 2nd votes
- Eagles are a clear 3rd with a majority of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd votes
- Colts are a clear 4th with a majority of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th votes
- We have an outlier judge: one judge placed the Chiefs 4th (only vote) and Seahawks 5th (only vote) which is how the Chiefs and Seahawks got into this ranking. Without this judge, the Chiefs and Seahawks would not be here
- The same outlier judged mentioned above is also the ONLY judge that did not pick the Cowboys in the top five, resulting in our 2nd place team not getting a 1 through 5 vote!
- The same outlier judge, well, we would normally be quick to wonder about this judge’s opinion on matters, except it is the only judge that relies soley on numeric calculations and not subjective feel: that’s right the Washington Post “Fancy Stats” power rankings threw a bit of a wrench into the placements, and yet that’s the only judge that is based on numbers only. Wow. That is interesting.
- The NFC West …. how low can you go? Cardinals at 6th. Then the Seahawks barely scraping in at 9. No 49ers. No Rams.
- Interesting Relative Placement: The Chargers got higher individual votes (3rd and 4th) compared to the Cardinals (5th only). However, the Cardinals get the higher combined ranking (6th) over the Charges (7th). Why is that? The Cardinals got three votes, all 5th. The Chargers got two votes, a 3rd and 4th. Read it as: Because of relative placement and majority rules, the Cardinals managed to convince three judges they are a top five team. The Chargers managed to convince two judges they are a top five team. Regardless of how high the vote is.
My personal opinion:
Very surprised the Seahawks were ranked that highly. And it was the “Fancy Stats” rankings that put them there. I of course want to question any rankings that puts the Seahawks and Chiefs in there (the only rankings that did) and neglect both the Cowboys (combinely ranked 2) and the Eagles (combinely ranked 3). Very curious what those numbers are.
The description from the Washington Post about Fancy Stats:
Each week, Neil Greenberg will give his NFL power rankings based on myriad metrics, including traditional stats that reflect recent performance such as margin of victory and strength of schedule to more advanced metrics you would find at Football Outsiders, Pro Football Focus and Advanced NFL Analytics.
So there you go.
Which also points to the strength of relative placement and “limiting power to any one judge”. The Cowboys still got their clean majority 2nd. The Eagles still got their clean majority 3rd. And the Chiefs and Seahawks are at the bottom.
About Me and About Relative Placement
I come from a background of doing a lot of swing dance competition judging. Without getting into it, there are a lot of styles to swing dancing and at an elite level you have to basically compare apples to oranges and decide which you like better. So you have to combine the scoring of seven different judges and come up with a final placement.
For that reason, I’m always interested in scoring and rankings of any sort. Especially when it is subjective like NFL football. In this case, instead of taking any one specific ranking into account, I like taking them all into account to come up with a “final” power ranking (combined power rankings)
Believe it or not, my wife and I use relative placement for a lot of different tallying, not just for swing dance judging, from ridiculous situations to sometimes very important critical decisions.
That’s this week’s NFL Combined Power Rankings! Have a great week!