Wild-Card Round Power Rankings: A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney

Welcome to the Wild-Card Round edition of Someone Still Loves You Alberto Riveron’s weekly NFL power rankings. To help us make sense of what happened during this last batch of NFL action, we’ve asked longtime 60 Minutes contributor and current dead guy Andy Rooney to share his thoughts with us below. Please enjoy.

All day long here in the afterlife, I hear souls of all different social classes and backgrounds prattle on and on about how wonderful peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, of course. But after trying one of those sandwiches the other day I have to question what all the hubbub is about. I suppose if you apportion the sandwich with exactly the right amount of peanut butter and exactly the right amount of jelly, then you may have something that tastes fine. But how do you know when you’ve applicated the correct amount of both peanut butter and jelly? I always end up with one of two problems when I make my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Either I allocate too much of my resources to the peanut butter and the resulting sandwich is dry and sticks to the roof of my mouth for weeks. Or I go the other way and stick too much jellly on the bread and feel the coming wrath of adult onset diabetes when I bite into it.

And even before you attempt the herculean task of maintaining an ideal peanut butter-to-jelly ratio, there’s the matter of determining which brands of peanut butter and jelly you would most enjoy. Look at some of these brand names. “Skippy.” “Smuckers.” “Berryhill.” “Jiffy Lube.” Just reading those product names, I can’t decide whether I’m in the mood for eating lunch or getting my oil changed. Whatever happened to companies seeking to secure the goodwill of the consumer by clearly stating the product they were selling and the general quality contained therein via their corporate names? As far as I can tell, this is a tradition that ended back in 1947 when “Rosenstein’s Slightly Above-Average Bagel Shop” closed its doors for good, thereby depriving all frequenters of W 32nd St. in Manhattan of both good, honest business practices and slightly above-average bagels. No, this peanut butter and jelly craze isn’t for me. I’m just fine with good, old plain white bread, thank you very much (but with all the crusts removed and each piece of bread cut in a way so as to mimic the outline of George McGovern’s face).

In much the same way, I’m not sure I get what all the fuss is about when it comes to this supposed new breed of “mobile” and “athletic” NFL quarterbacks that have come along in the past few years. I often like to turn on my ten-inch DuMont, black-and-white television and check to see if my Giants are playing. They usually aren’t. Instead, often all I hear about is the “read option” play where the quarterback makes a quick decision about whether to hand the ball off or keep the ball himself. Whenever I hear the announcers talk in such glowing tones about this supposed “innovation,” I chuckle to myself. Have we all forgotten the Wishbone offense? That scheme was very popular in colleges during the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s and featured the same tenets as the current “read option” craze, as well as quite a few more ideas that never see the light of day in today’s NFL. And like the “read option,” I also thought the Wishbone was a bunch of hippie crap that detracted from the militaristic struggle that defines the game of football. I remember Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers rarely lining up in anything other than the I Formation – no tricks, no chicanery, no deception. I also remember things working out fairly well for Vince. At least until the tumor in his colon killed him, that is.

Deception is the weapon of the weakling. Whether the subject is different brands of peanut butter or well-worn football tactics masquerading as the “hot new thing,” I’m always skeptical of strategies that primarily rely on beguiling others. An example of this was the first time that I stepped into a Walmart department and warehouse store in 1977. I was looking to fix a 3-foot-by-5-foot hole in my living room wall that took its origins from a New Year’s Eve fistfight involving Mike Wallace and Barbara Walters and I walked into my local Connecticut Walmart expecting quality wall pieces at a reasonable price. Contrary to what its name would suggest, however, I failed to find a single wall piece for sale in the entire building. Chuckling to myself, I could only shake my head and say, “You can only lure people into your establishment with promises of wall parts for so long a time.” And given that I haven’t heard of Walmart in the years since, it would seem that my statement has been proven correct. Perhaps they would have had more success if they had been straightforward with their business approach and named themselves “Large Combination Department and Grocery Store at Discount Prices?” Then again, there’s an old saying about common sense: it’s not nearly as common as you think…

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Even though the regular season’s over, we’ll still plow forward with the weekly power rankings of all the postseason teams to update any major changes in team quality that may happen along the way (and, more importantly, to have an excuse to write stupid, tongue-in-cheek essays). Of the four winners Wild-Card Weekend, Baltimore was considered the most impressive by both Adjusted Yards per Play and Predictive Yards per Play and moved up a slot in both rankings. Other than that, not a whole lot changing here, although feel free to note that each eliminated playoff team is now represented with a strikethrough; I hummed “Another One Bites the Dust” for about ten minutes while putting together these numbers and suggest you do the same.

Adjusted Yards per Play Differential (league average: 0.00): a descriptive metric that is designed to give an accurate representation of how each team has played thus far.

  1. San Francisco2.01 (Final regular season ranking: 1)
  2. Seattle1.74 (Final regular season ranking: 2)
  3. Denver1.57 (Final regular season ranking: 3)
  4. New England1.55 (Final regular season ranking: 4)
  5. Houston: 1.11 (Final regular season ranking: 7)
  6. Washington: 0.97 (Final regular season ranking: 5)
  7. Baltimore: 0.93 (Final regular season ranking: 9)
  8. Green Bay0.85 (Final regular season ranking: 8)
  9. Atlanta0.79 (Final regular season ranking: 10)
  10. Cincinnati0.54 (Final regular season ranking: 12)
  11. Minnesota-0.09 (Final regular season ranking: 15)
  12. Indianapolis-1.59 (Final regular season ranking: 30)

Offensive Adjusted Yards per Play (league average: 4.96)

  1. Washington: 6.24 (Final regular season ranking: 1)
  2. New England6.11 (Final regular season ranking: 3)
  3. San Francisco6.02 (Final regular season ranking: 4)
  4. Atlanta5.83 (Final regular season ranking: 5)
  5. Seattle5.75 (Final regular season ranking: 7)
  6. Green Bay5.73 (Final regular season ranking: 8)
  7. Denver5.64 (Final regular season ranking: 9)
  8. Baltimore5.53 (Final regular season ranking: 12)
  9. Houston5.47 (Final regular season ranking: 11)
  10. Minnesota4.87 (Final regular season ranking: 15)
  11. Cincinnati4.73 (Final regular season ranking: 17)
  12. Indianapolis4.64 (Final regular season ranking: 19)

Defensive Adjusted Yards per Play (league average: 4.97)

  1. San Francisco4.00 (Final regular season ranking: 2)
  2. Seattle4.01 (Final regular season ranking: 3)
  3. Denver4.07 (Final regular season ranking: 4)
  4. Cincinnati4.19 (Final regular season ranking: 5)
  5. Houston4.36 (Final regular season ranking: 8)
  6. New England4.55 (Final regular season ranking: 9)
  7. Baltimore4.61 (Final regular season ranking: 11)
  8. Green Bay4.88 (Final regular season ranking: 15)
  9. Minnesota4.95 (Final regular season ranking: 16)
  10. Atlanta5.04 (Final regular season ranking: 18)
  11. Washington5.28 (Final regular season ranking: 22)
  12. Indianapolis6.22 (Final regular season ranking: 31)

Predictive Yards per Play Differential (league average: 0.99042): a metric which doesn’t give as large a penalty or bonus to turnovers or touchdowns, will also take into account strength of schedule and will (theoretically) better able to predict future performance. This metric uses probabilities drawn from research Brian Burke did back in 2008 in trying to determine which stats best correlated with future play. For example, because offensive performance is much more consistent from week-to-week than defensive performance, offensive play is more highly prioritized in these rankings.

  1. San Francisco1.915838 (Final regular season ranking: 1)
  2. Seattle1.830972 (Final regular season ranking: 2)
  3. Denver1.480366 (Final regular season ranking: 3)
  4. Green Bay1.443596 (Final regular season ranking: 4)
  5. New England1.405549 (Final regular season ranking: 5)
  6. Washington1.309908 (Final regular season ranking: 7)
  7. Baltimore: 1.243547 (Final regular season ranking: 12)
  8. Minnesota1.24276 (Final regular season ranking: 11)
  9. Houston1.145474 (Final regular season ranking: 16)
  10. Atlanta1.079219 (Final regular season ranking: 17)
  11. Cincinnati0.923978 (Final regular season ranking: 19)
  12. Indianapolis0.263978 (Final regular season ranking: 31)

Offensive Predictive Yards per Play (league average: 2.835829)

  1. San Francisco: 3.361625 (Final regular season ranking: 3)
  2. Seattle: 3.359132 (Final regular season ranking: 2)
  3. Washington: 3.336472 (Final regular season ranking: 4)
  4. New England: 3.29959 (Final regular season ranking: 5)
  5. Green Bay: 3.195541 (Final regular season ranking: 7)
  6. Denver: 3.053451 (Final regular season ranking: 11)
  7. Atlanta: 3.049094 (Final regular season ranking: 13)
  8. Baltimore: 2.994644 (Final regular season ranking: 14)
  9. Minnesota: 2.949878 (Final regular season ranking: 15)
  10. Houston: 2.877336 (Final regular season ranking: 18)
  11. Cincinnati: 2.696806 (Final regular season ranking: 20)
  12. Indianapolis: 2.549182 (Final regular season ranking: 24)

Defensive Predictive Yards per Play (league average: 1.845409)

  1. San Francisco1.445786 (Final regular season ranking: 2)
  2. Seattle1.52816 (Final regular season ranking: 3)
  3. Denver1.573085 (Final regular season ranking: 4)
  4. Minnesota1.707118 (Final regular season ranking: 8)
  5. Houston1.731862 (Final regular season ranking: 10)
  6. Baltimore1.751098 (Final regular season ranking: 12
  7. Green Bay1.751944 (Final regular season ranking 11)
  8. Cincinnati: 1.772828 (Final regular season ranking: 13)
  9. New England1.894041 (Final regular season ranking: 20)
  10. Atlanta1.969875 (Final regular season ranking: 24)
  11. Washington2.026564 (Final regular season ranking: 25)
  12. Indianapolis2.285204 (Final regular season ranking: 32)
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