Rant Sports recently released the Rant Sports 2012 NFL Power Rankings. There was at least one writer per team commented on their team’s ranking but no one really commented on the significance of the list.
Power rankings are valuable because they provide NFL fans with a perspective on how good their team will be in the upcoming season compared to the rest of the league. This is especially important because only six teams per conference are allowed to compete in the playoffs.
You may ask, “so what does it mean if my team is highly ranked on the list?” It means that on paper the talent and pedigree of your team indicates it is a top contender. Does that mean your team will be a top contender? Not necessarily, in fact the low number of games per season, compared to that of other professional sports, makes it hard to predict which teams will be in the playoffs.
Every year a team that’s said to be a lock to make the playoffs, before the season starts, misses out on a spot or puts up a miserable record. It is a well known fact that the losing team in the Super Bowl usually doesn’t make the playoffs and post losing records the following year.
No fan should assume anything about their team. Basic statistics posted on NFL.com, such as total defense or touchdown passes thrown, are completely misleading when determining how good a unit or player is.
The New England Patriots did not have the worst defense in the NFL and Matthew Stafford was not the third best quarterback in the NFL during the 2011 season, though statistics that the league provides would have some fans believing the opposite is true.