I’m not about to pretend this is scientific, but it does have a foundational approach and a few variables I insert into my brain to address things like bias and player usage. Here is my Power Ranking Methodology that is a gross misuse of that word methodology.
Quite simply, I’m ranking the teams based on how well I would expect them to perform in the given week against a generic, below mediocre team. I call it the 25th Element. Get it? Because of the movie, not because of Boron or Manganese. This was previously known as the the 25th Parallel, which made less sense than Manganese. I’m learning.
It’s not meant to be an actual team with players who may or may not show up that week, but a group of below average to average players, with a below average to average coach, in average playing conditions and making an average amount of plays and mistakes.
While it’s not a specific team, every so often there will be a team that fits the scenario better than anyone else, so when I see them, I’ll offer that team as guidance in an effort to provide some amount of clarity. But remember, this is not the fictional team upon which my rankings are based. It’s just the closest example relative to the current timeline so people who can’t envision the fictional team have a baseline.
- Early 2022 – Washington Commanders led by Carson Wentz
With Taylor Heinicke running the show, they’re average to above average, anywhere from 12-18 in the league. With Wentz, they’re 25th. Never so bad that there aren’t at least 7 teams that are worse, but there’s no chance they could be better than 25th. This may follow Carson Wentz wherever he goes, if he ever gets another chance.
- Placeholder: This will be a running list
Rule 1.1 – Addressing Bias
I make no secret of being a lifelong fan of the Packers. To pretend I don’t have some bias against some of their rivals would be silly. Vikings, Bears, and Lions are at the top of that bias list, with the Bucs (former NFC “Central” foe before realignment in 2002), 49ers, and Cowboys in what could be considered a second tier.
I address this in two ways, and based on a spectrum of my dislike of the team:
- 1.1.1 The more angry or annoyed or frustrated they make me, the better they must be. If I’m watching them play with a creepy smirk, they are not doing well. This is especially pronounced, of course, when they’re playing the Packers.
- 1.1.2 At my very core, I love good football. I can watch and enjoy good football no matter who is playing. Sometimes I have to consider that when also inputting 1.1.1, as I may over-compensate and think a Packers rival is better than they are because they’re both annoying and exciting to watch.
Rule 1.2 – Single Player Impact
It’s a team sport. I get that. But it’s inescapable that some players can transcend team and carry everyone around them with individual talents and unique abilities. Dual threat RPO quarterbacks who always know when to throw, when to handoff, and when to hold it and run. Wide Receivers who run immaculate routes, can find openings in coverage, and will still win even if they’re blanketed. Running Backs getting 6 or 7 yards every time against 8 or 9 in the box by both making guys miss and running them over.
These players will always give their team a boost if it’s clear the team understands their unique talents and how to use them. If most or all of my blurb about a team is focused on the dominant abilities of one player, it’s safe to assume they’re on this spectrum.