NFL in the 2000s

Much like my calculations measuring the performance of Major League Baseball franchises throughout the decade (which I still need to update, by the way), I give you the rankings of each NFL franchise, based on its performance throughout the decade. Let it be known that even though the Houston Texans didn’t exist for two years of the decade, they’re STILL not last in the numeric rankings. Guess who!

Again, I give more weight to how a team finished within its respective division than I do to straight-up record. If an 8-8 team makes the playoffs in the NFC while there’s a 9-7 team in the AFC that missed the playoffs, the 8-8 team is going to be ranked higher. They made the playoffs. Sorry, that’s how I roll.

1. New England Patriots, 336 pts – 3 SB wins, 4 SB appearances, 7 playoff appearances.
2. Indianapolis Colts, 306 pts – 1 SB win, 2 SB appearances, 9 playoff appearances.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers, 298 pts – 2 SB wins, 2 SB appearances, 6 playoff appearances.
4. Philadelphia Eagles, 287 pts – 1 SB appearance, 7 playoff appearances.
5. Baltimore Ravens, 254 pts – 1 SB win, 1 SB appearance, 7 playoff appearances.
6. New York Giants, 238 pts – 1 SB win, 2 SB appearances, 6 playoff appearances.
7. Green Bay Packers, 226 pts – 6 playoff appearances.
8. Denver Broncos, 217 pts – 4 playoff appearances.
9. Minnesota Vikings, 216 pts – 4 playoff appearances.
10. Tennessee Titans, 212 pts – 5 playoff appearances.
11. New Orleans Saints, 209 pts – 1 SB win, 1 SB appearance, 3 playoff appearances.
12. Seattle Seahawks, 208 pts – 1 SB appearance, 5 playoff appearances.
13. New York Jets, 205 pts – 5 playoff appearances.
14. San Diego Chargers, 194 pts – 5 playoff appearances.
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 188 pts – 1 SB win, 1 SB appearance, 5 playoff appearances.
16. Carolina Panthers, 187 pts – 1 SB appearance, 3 playoff appearances.
17. St. Louis Rams, 180 pts – 1 SB appearance, 4 playoff appearances.
18. Chicago Bears, 175 pts – 1 SB appearance, 3 playoff appearances.
19. Dallas Cowboys, 167 pts – 4 playoff appearances.
20. Atlanta Falcons, 161 pts – 3 playoff appearances.
21. Miami Dolphins, 160 pts – 3 playoff appearances.
22. Oakland Raiders, 151 pts – 1 SB appearance, 3 playoff appearances.
23. Arizona Cardinals, 141 pts – 1 SB appearance, 2 playoff appearances.
23. San Francisco 49ers, 141 pts – 2 playoff appearances.
25. Cincinnati Bengals, 140 pts – 2 playoff appearances.
26. Kansas City Chiefs, 139 pts – 2 playoff appearances.
27. Jacksonville Jaguars, 135 pts – 2 playoff appearances.
28. Washington Redskins, 130 pts – 2 playoff appearances.
29. Buffalo Bills, 101 pts – 0 playoff appearances.
30. Cleveland Browns, 86 pts – 1 playoff appearance.
31. Houston Texans, 73 pts – 0 playoff appearances.
32. Detroit Lions, 61 pts – 0 playoff appearances.

I know you’ll see some things on this list that will immediately make you want to argue, but I stand by my rankings.

  • “How are the Eagles ranked above the Ravens when the Ravens won a Super Bowl?” you ask? Well, you have to keep in mind that the Eagles made the NFC Championship Game five times this decade (one of which led to a Super Bowl appearance). The points those appearances netted them in the long run were more fruitful than what the Ravens obtained. The only other team that made five League Championship games was the undisputed king of the decade, the New England Patriots.
  • “The Denver Broncos are ranked number EIGHT with four playoff appearances, while a team like, say, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers went to the playoffs FIVE times and WON A SUPER BOWL! WTF?!” Again, it’s the weight of the points over the long run. Sure the Bucs won a Super Bowl, but they’ve had some pretty bad seasons over time to weigh that down. Let’s take a look at the Broncos’ six seasons in which they DID NOT make the playoffs: ’01: 8-8 (3rd in their division), ’02: 9-7 (2nd), ’06: 9-7 (3rd), ’07: 7-9 (2nd), ’08: 8-8 (2nd), ’09: 8-8 (2nd). That’s actually pretty astonishing. The Broncos WORST finish the entire decade was 7-9, one game below .500. Even the Patriots had a 5-11 record this decade. The Buccaneers’ records in their non-playoff years? ’03: 7-9 (3rd), ’04: 5-11 (4th), ’06: 4-12 (4th), ’08: 9-7 (3rd), ’09: 3-13 (4th). The 3-13 and the 4-12 seasons will get ya.

All rankings should be up-to-date, even including the Saints’ Super Bowl victory last night. That win alone allowed them to move from number 13 to number 11.

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