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Power Rankings

You love them.  I love them.  But what can we learn from power rankings, especially early ones?  I broke down the last 10 years of week one power rankings for the two teams that made it to the Super Bowl to see how much they meant when compared to reality.


The format below follows:

YEAR...SB Winner- Power Rank week 1; SB Loser- PR week 1

Power Rankings:

2009...Saints- 18; Colts- 6

2008...Steelers- 6; Cardinals- 21

2007...Giants- 18; Patriots- 1

2006...Colts- 4; Bears- 13

2005...Steelers- 5; Seahawks- 15

2004...Patriots- 1; Eagles- 2

2003...Patriots- 6; Panthers- 22

2002...Bucs- 8; Raiders- 7

2001...Patriots- 25; Rams- 1

2000...Ravens- 10; Giants- 13

That’s 10 years of Power Rankings, how have they done?  Considering these were all taken from week 1, a lot happens in a season, and it’s impossible to predict certain things.  But this should at least tell us how teams did in reality compared to their pre-season hype.

Here’s what we can gather:

Mean/Median/Mode of winner is: 10.1 / 7 / 6&18

Mean/Median/Mode of loser? 10.1 / 10 / 13

# of times SB winner was the best team week 1?  Once.
# of times SB winner was top 5 week 1? 3 times.
Top 10? 7 times.

# of times loser was best in week 1? Twice.
Top 5? 3 times.
Top 10? 5 times.

# of times a team in bottom half of league won SB? 3 times
# of times a team in bottom half of league made it to SB? 5 times

Chances of a team outside top 10 making SB? 40%.
Chances of a team outside top 5 making SB? 70%.

So, look at it this way:  According to expert predictions, there is an equal chance of the Super Bowl winner being ranked in either the top 5 or the bottom half of the league on week 1; and any time there is an equal chance of either heads or tails...you have nothing but a random guess; and can anyone argue that we should put any more stock in it than that?

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