How do you determine the "team of the decade"? You determine who it is using regular season wins, postseason wins, division titles, and Super Bowls.
Sure, sounds easy, but combining these numbers to determine an overall "team of the decade" is much more complicated to produce.
The guys at the "Worldwide Leader" this week decide to pose the question: Who is the NFL's best franchise of the 2000s?
They came up with a formula by multiplying several numbers by .900, then adding together the totals and publishing a list.
For all the talk on their networks about college football needing a playoff in favor the the BCS formula, they sure sound hypocritical in their so-called, "expert" analysis, when it comes to this subject.
Their top five looks like this.
1. Patriots (102 wins, 3 Super Bowl wins and a loss)
2. Colts (101 wins, 1 Super Bowl win)
3. Steelers (94 wins, 2 Super Bowl wins)
4. Eagles (92 wins, 1 Super Bowl loss)
5. Ravens (83 wins, 1 Super Bowl win in 2000, which is technically not part of this decade)
There were several things omitted from their formula that only people, not computers, as is the case with the BCS, can see.
For starters, if you want to value regular season wins, please include overall strength of schedule. The Patriots have faced the Bills, Dolphins and Jets 18 times in the regular season. The combined playoff appearance total from those three teams is six.
The Colts have one fewer win than the Patriots, they face teams such as the Jaguars, Texans and Titans. Those three teams also have a total of six playoff appearances.
The Steelers are the next closest team to the 100 win mark with 94. They face the Bengals, Browns and Ravens. While that competition isn't strong, it so happens those three teams have six playoff appearances also.
The Eagles play in arguably the toughest division of all the top five teams. The Cowboys, Giants and Redskins have ten playoff appearances.
The Ravens wrap up the top five with 83 wins, however, due to the Steelers success, have faced arguably a tougher schedule than their AFC North counterparts. The Bengals, Browns and Steelers have eight playoff births, the Steelers holding six themselves.
The Eagles and Ravens have in essence faced tougher competition during the regular season, thus potentially being the reason for fewer regular season wins.
When it comes to playoff appearances, the Colts have been to the postseason eight times, yet have only seven wins. The Steelers have ten wins in two fewer appearances.
This brings to the discussion my first problem with these rankings, how are the Colts overall ranked ahead of the Steelers?
The Steelers have three more postseason wins and one more Super Bowl title.
My second problem is the biggest question mark of all. How much was the notorious "Spygate" scandal discussed when producing the final results?
How can a team, that has been exposed and found guilty of cheating, worthy of the top spot on the poll?
Three Super Bowls is good and well, great, but video taping games for halftime adjustments in the NFL is just about as bad as using steroids to hit home runs in MLB.
If the fellas in Bristol wish to promote sportsmanship and positive athletics, you would think they might include a disclaimer in their research. In all honesty, the team of the decade should represent all the positives of a professional organization.
Throw out all the .900 times this and divided by that, look at the facts. Strength of schedule, consistency and championships. Not just Super Bowls, but division crowns as well.
Winning with integrity is the most important aspect in sports. Thus, listed below is a true top five list of the teams of the decade.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers—The most respected and admired organization in sports should be the team that leads all others. With two Super Bowl titles to their credit along with five division crowns. They advanced to four AFC title games, winning two and losing the other's to the scandalous clad Patriots. Ask Joey Porter what he thinks of those two loses!
2. Indianapolis Colts—The Colts edge out the Eagles for the two spot on because they have WON a Super Bowl this decade. The Colts haven't had the strongest competition, but they have been the most consistent team this decade.
3. Philadelphia Eagles—By default, the Eagles inability to win a Super Bowl drops them to third. However, they were in one and also played in five NFC title games. That feat in itself deserves respect. Facing the Cowboys, Giants and Redskins year in and year out, twice a season is not an easy task.
T-4. Baltimore Ravens/New York Giants—If we go with Bristol's numbers, the Ravens Lombardi is in this decade. It so happened that win was over the Giants. However, the Giants recovered nicely, drafted Phillip Rivers, traded him for Eli Manning and won their own Super Bowl as well. The Ravens had their success while being overshadowed by the Steelers.
The Giants are in the same boat as the Eagles, tough competition year in and year out. The Giants defeated the "undefeated" Patriots to win their Super Bowl. They didn't need cameras or illegal information. They won the way champions do, with heart.
Somewhere outside the top five falls the Patriots. Spygate is an automatic "see-you-next-decade" when it comes to ranking as a top team in a ten year span. Not only do they not deserve the praise they received from the other dot-com, but their competition as noted, hasn't been that strong.
Other technicalities can be included in this debate as well. For starters, four-team divisions replaced five and six team divisions in the early part of the decade.
An argument can also be made about strength of conferences, to go along with division superiority.
The biggest gaffe of them all is crowning a team before the decade is complete! Who is to say the Steelers won't repeat as Super Bowl champions? That would pull them even with the Patriots at three. What if the Giants or Colts, Ravens or Eagles were to win this year? That would up their status and their ".900" mark!
One final, yet repetitive note before I sign off, "Cheaters never win."