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Changes to the Ranking System

Explaining the changes to the Ranking System to incorporate other important plays.

Hopefully we won't need a rocket scientist to figure out how to rank NFL teams.
Hopefully we won't need a rocket scientist to figure out how to rank NFL teams.
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The old formula for the Ranking System overlooked certain areas that I felt needed to be added to the new formula. Such things include performances on situational downs, incorporating punts that land inside the opponent's 20, and changing existing formula. These are the changes I've made to the system.

Offense and Defense: I've added a Situational Downs that uses 3rd down, 4th down, and Red Zone situations. The Situational Downs grade averages the scores for each individual category. The final offensive grade includes the situational grade and averages it with the previous categories. I'm hoping that adding a grade to the mix for how well a team converts on those critical downs paints a truer reflection of each team's offense and defense.

Special Teams: Instead of having two separate grades for field position, I have decided to average the two values for a single Field Position Grade. The touchback grade and punting grades have been added to the kick and punt coverage grades. The punt coverage grade also includes a grade that includes a ratio of punts inside the 20 to touchbacks. The punt coverage grade includes net punting, punt return average, and pin ratio (Inside 20/Touchbacks). Kick return and punt return grades are still the same. The final Special Teams grade is an average of the 4 Special Teams units and Field Position grade.

In terms of the individual grades are the same. The number will be rated against league average, which is still scored as a 50. The grades are listed on the right side of each individual sheet for ease of viewing. The changes are only on the 2015 Spreadsheet.

On the 2015 Spreadsheet, the Patriots offense drops to a 92, defense to 51, Special Teams to 46, and Overall to 73. The Patriots are still the top rated team, but there are certain instances where 1 really bad component grade affects a unit grade. For example, the Patriots kick return grade is a -22, but in reality the team hasn't attempted an actual return attempt. The -22 KR grade skews the overall special teams grade. The overall ranking system is still in the beta testing phase, but hopefully becomes a useful tool in the future.