Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics - An Exremely Early and Extremely Misguided NFL Prediction

Things occur to me from time to time. Like, I really enjoy milk. Or, making the bed is stupid.

Recently it occurred to me that the NFL team I cheer for, the Kansas City Chiefs, are potentially the worst team in the league. What am I basing this on? How about the fact that on the Official Kansas City Chiefs Store there are 4 (FOUR!) replica jerseys for sale. And three of those players haven't even played a game for Kansas City yet - Matt Cassel, Mike Vrabel and Tyson Jackson.

When I first saw this yesterday I was outraged by the low jersey total, but then I actually though about it - whose jersey from this team would you actually want? Larry Johnson is the only name missing from that list who could actually sell some jerseys.

Ok, so Kansas City is probably going to be terrible and they have almost no players whose jersey you'd want to wear. Fine, I can live with. But certainly Kansas City can't have the lowest number of jerseys for sale, can they? Surely there must be another team more miserable and worse off.

No, no there's not. Trust me, I looked into it.

Because I was curious as to what other teams had for sale I decided to look into it and check out all 32 teams. But before I share the results, here are a few ground rules I used in my not-so-scientific study:

- The jersey type I used for calculating the totals for each team were Home Replica jerseys, because they are the most common and what kind of jagoff pays 250 bucks for an authentic jersey?

- Only the home jerseys were counted, no aways, throwbacks or alternates.

- Only the jerseys of players currently on the team were counted, with two exceptions - Sean Taylor and Pat Tillman.

- The jersey totals were taken from each team's official store website. The official NFL.com store was not used.

And here are the winners and loser (by team and number of applicable jerseys for sale):

1.(tie) New England Patriots - 19
1.(tie) Pittsburgh Steelers - 19
These two are not really surprising - tons of recent success, superstar players, fans who think the Earth revolves around their team
3. Washington Redskins - 16
Washington scores high on the fan-arrogance scale, but not so much in recent success category
4.(tie) Indianapolis Colts - 15
4.(tie) Buffalo Bills - 15
4.(tie) Green Bay Packers - 15
Ok, Indy I understand - what with their decade of success, at least in the regular season. But Buffalo? What the crap is going on there? And no, 14 of those jerseys do not have the name Owens on the back. And Green Bay just seems to be selling jerseys for their whole team - including the kicker
7. Carolina Panthers - 14
That seems a little high, doesn't it? I can't imagine there's too much call for Dwyane Jarrett jerseys.
8. New York Jets - 13
9.(tie) Philadelphia Eagles - 12
9.(tie) Baltimore Ravens - 12
Those ones seem about right to me.
11.(tie) San Francisco 49ers - 11
11.(tie) Detroit Lions - 11
San Francisco seems fine, but Detroit? C'mon! Somebody's got delusions of grandeur. Let's face it, people in Detroit are worried about finding couches to burn for warmth, not buying Larry Foote jerseys.
13.(tie) Chicago Bears - 10
13.(tie) Atlanta Falcons - 10
13.(tie) Cleveland Browns - 10
13.(tie) Tennessee Titans - 10
13.(tie) San Diego Chargers - 10
I would have thought the Charges would have had more for sale. And I think the Cleveland total will be dropping to 9 soon, as I can't imagine they're going to sell the Donte Stallworth jersey for much longer. Also, I can't even name 10 Tennessee Titans - what's going on there?
18.(tie) New York Giants - 9
18.(tie) Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 9
18.(tie) Seattle Seahawks - 9
18.(tie) Cincinnati Bengals - 9
18.(tie) Oakland Raiders - 9
Seems like the Giants should have more, at least double digits. Cincinnati wins the award for the most poorly designed website in the league - not surprising if you've ever read this site. I'm serious it took me quite awhile to find the jersey selection - not a good business plan to confuse and enrage your customers.
23.(tie) Dallas Cowboys - 8
23.(tie) Minnesota Vikings - 8
23.(tie) Arizona Cardinals - 8
I'm shocked that the Cowboys fell this far. I suppose they don't have the star power they used to but this was surprising to me. Arizona and Minnesota being down here was not surprising to me. And Minnesota will have another one to add as soon as the corpse of Brett Favre signs with them
26. Jacksonville Jaguars - 7
Can you name 7 Jacksonville Jaguars? I can't and I just looked at their website.
27. Miami Dolphins - 6
28.(tie) New Orleans Saints - 5
28.(tie) St. Louis Rams - 5
28.(tie) Houston Texans - 5
28.(tie) Denver Broncos - 5
Hmmm, seems like these teams have something in common - not much success lately.
32. Kansas City Chiefs - 4
Somebody pass me a tissue.

So what should we learn from all this?

First, I have too much time on my hands.

Second, and more important, I think these numbers can be used to predict the future. From what I can tell, the outcomes look a lot like the divisional standings will at the end of the year. By most jerseys available by division, the teams break down like this:

NFC East
NY Giants

NFC North
Green Bay

NFC South
Tampa Bay
New Orleans

NFC West
San Francisco
St. Louis

AFC East
New England
NY Jets

AFC North

AFC South

AFC West
San Diego
Kansas City

I think that all looks pretty good to me - Detroit might be a stretch, but who knows. I'll have to compare this list to the final standings at season's end. And you know what the Chiefs at the bottom means - Kansas City with the #1 overall pick in the draft next year, baby!


Rider Prophet said...

Oakland is a surprise, not sure I could name 9 Raiders period let alone 9 that deserve a jersey.

Napoleon in Rags said...

But there are a lot of hoodlums in the world, and they all need Raider jerseys. Nothing says 3 to 5 like a Raider jersey.

Rider Prophet said...

So one year for each game the franchise wins?

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, i don't like your analysis. According to you I would have been better off flushing money down a toilet or donating money to charity, than putting $10 in Vegas on the Chiefs winning the superbowl. 75-1 baby! If the Chiefs were all in quarantine during a massive H1N1 outbreak, and the rest of the league couldn't field teams in the playoffs due to swine flu, do you think Vegas would honour my bet?

Super Bowl by acclimation is my only chance.


Napoleon in Rags said...

A fool and his money are soon parted.

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