This season may or may not end up having more teams at either end of the standings as opposed to the middle - there's still a long way to go.
But overall the NFL continues to be almost unpredictable from year to year.
Looking at the NFL win-loss records from 2002-2008, the correlation from year to year is minimal.
Well, here are the stats:
|02-03 and 03-04
|03-04 and 04-05
|04-05 and 05-06
|05-06 and 06-07
|06-07 and 07-08
|07-08 and 08-09
For reference, consider the following two points:
First, any correlation coefficient having a magnitude 0.3 or less is considered to represent only a small correlation.
Second, the correlation number for both the NBA (0.65 between 07-08 and 08-09) and MLB (0.48 between 08 and 09) are significantly higher (I've check more seasons for the NBA before but lost the data, I believe that is representative though).
Another way of saying this (looking also at the weekly values for the NFL) is that we know more about how an NBA season will end one month before it starts than how the NFL season will end one month after it begins.
Also, the Detroit Lions won a game.
In his conclusion at the end, he fails to mention the current salary structure of the draft, which I firmly believe handcuffs the bad teams by forcing them to spend such a large chunk of their cap number on unproven rookies.
This is brought up a lot in this kind of topic, and I just don't buy it.
Sure, I agree that Oakland would love to have all the money they gave and promised Russell back.
But the salary cap numbers don't seem to agree with the theory that teams at the top of the draft have a harder time of it.
When I look through the cap numbers(estimated cap numbers as of 9/13/09
), the feeling I get is that those perennial bad teams are spread out across the board.
The Bucs, Chiefs, and Browns have been pretty bad with some high picks the past few years, but are 3 of the teams with the most space.
The Lions and Raiders are near the worst teams in terms of wins and cap space.
But so are good teams like the Steelers, Colts, and Giants.
I don't see a trend.
The cap space is just too high in general, so if a team wants to get right up against it they have to go out and get a bunch of players.
Heck, the Vikings were able to sign Favre to a $12 million/year contract in August and still have over $5 million in cap space.
That's enough to sign a pro bowl type player at most positions - not that they're available in the fall - and over 20 teams have that kind of space.
The other part is that really the first handful, not even all the way through the first ten picks, are big hits on your salary cap.
Consider that AD at #7 is about $5 million/year against the cap.
That's something like 4% of the total cap.
And keep in mind that good teams have to pay to re-sign their players.
Just off the top of my head it seems that good teams, especially Super Bowl teams, usually have a lot of players that other teams want.
They may have to pay a premium if they're going to keep the team together.