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Best of times, worst of times

Posted by Doug on August 11, 2006

Which, if any, of today's NFL franchises are currently enjoying the best time in their history? Which are at their lowest point?

I looked at every four-year period in each franchise's history, and tallied up the number of wins. Then I gave one bonus win if they made the playoffs, another bonus win if they reached the Super Bowl, and three additional bonus wins if they won the Super Bowl. Yes, this tilts things toward the Super Bowl era. I can live with that. I did at least pro-rate each season's win total to a 16-game season. I spent about twenty seconds thinking about the methodology, so feel free to offer suggestions, but it feels roughly OK to me.


Franchise Best 4 years Worst 4 years
==============================================
49ers 1987-1990 (63) 1977-1980 (15)
Bears 1985-1988 (60) 1972-1975 (17)
Bengals 1973-1976 (45) 1991-1994 (14)
Bills 1990-1993 (57) 1968-1971 (11)
Broncos 1995-1998 (58) 1963-1966 (14)
Browns 1950-1953 (57) 1999-2002 (22)
Buccaneers 1999-2002 (50) 1983-1986 (12)
Cardinals 1946-1949 (46) 1942-1945 ( 5)
Chargers 1979-1982 (47) 1972-1975 (16)
Chiefs 1966-1969 (57) 1975-1978 (17)
Colts 1967-1970 (58) 1981-1984 (13)
Cowboys 1992-1995 (65) 1960-1963 (16)
Dolphins 1971-1974 (67) 1966-1969 (18)
Eagles 2001-2004 (53) 1939-1942 (10)
Falcons 1977-1980 (37) 1966-1969 (14)
Giants 1959-1962 (51) 1973-1976 (14)
Jaguars 1996-1999 (49) 2000-2003 (24)
Jets 1966-1969 (47) 1993-1996 (18)
Lions 1951-1954 (51) 1946-1949 (13)
Packers 1964-1967 (58) 1948-1951 (14)
Panthers 2002-2005 (39) 1998-2001 (20)
Patriots 2001-2004 (63) 1989-1992 (14)
Raiders 1974-1977 (61) 1961-1964 (21)
Rams 1973-1976 (54) 1959-1962 (14)
Ravens 2000-2003 (46) 1996-1999 (24)
Redskins 1982-1985 (57) 1958-1961 (14)
Saints 1989-1992 (43) 1974-1977 (16)
Seahawks 2002-2005 (43) 1991-1994 (21)
Steelers 1972-1975 (61) 1938-1941 (11)
Texans 2002-2005 (18) 2002-2005 (18)
Titans 1999-2002 (48) 1970-1973 (11)
Vikings 1973-1976 (59) 1961-1964 (22)


  • We laugh about the Cardinals, Bengals, Lions, and Saints, but the Falcons high point of 37 is truly remarkable. As you probably heard at the end of last year, they have never had two straight winning seasons.

  • Unless you want to count the Panthers (the Texans obviously don't count), the Seahawks are the only team in the league right now that is at their high point. The Eagles' and Patriots' best four-year stretches ended in 2004.

  • The Vikings and Browns get the award for the team that has avoided being truly, truly awful for a stretch. Even in the worst of times, they averaged 5.5 wins per year.

  • As sick as we all are of the 1972 Dolphins, that 71--74 run was unbelievable. In four years, they lost eight games, they appeared in three Super Bowls and won two of them. I also did not realize that that run took place just two years after the lowest point in franchise history. Also worth noting: the Dolphins had just one losing season from 1977 to 2003.

  • Perhaps these numbers need to be parity-adjusted to account for the fact that it's harder to remain good from year to year than it was in the past. I guess I'd need to use z-scores or something.

This entry was posted on Friday, August 11th, 2006 at 4:12 am and is filed under History. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.