As a teacher of a reasonably new curricular effort called Development Mathematics, students who failed to demonstrate proficiency were sometimes given a grade "IP" which stands for "In Progress."
Applying this idea to the Oakland Raiders would give us a little more discernment of the performance behavior of our beloved team. The Oakland Raiders get a grade of "IP" for the period spanning 2003 to present.
Here are charts to show the win-loss facts for each season we have targeted:
A graph of seasonal win-loss patterns for 2008 and 2007 is given. Oakland improved if we view the chart in 2007 (the second chart) and then compare the one for 2008.
The 2008 chart has more fluctuations, indicating more wins and a sequence of consecutive losses. During weeks three, four, and five, there were three consecutive losses.
In weeks seven, eight, nine, and 10 (2008), there were four consecutive losses.
And in weeks 12, 13, and 14 (2008), the same pattern of three consecutive losses. Note, however, that Oakland won the last two games of the 2008 season.
Here are charts for 2006 and 2005. It was a very challenging season in 2006, showing a flatline from weeks eight through 16. Only two peaks for wins in weeks six and seven, but overall the season was dominated by losses. There was a drop in performance from 2005 to 2006. From 2005 to 2006, there was a digression, not a progression upward.
The graphs for 2004 and 2003 have more fluctuations. There are game-loss-gaps of five consecutive games for 2003 and 2004. During the last three games of the 2003 and 2004, the pattern is W-L-L for both years.
Now let's look at 2009. As you can see there are more fluctuations or oscillations which means, to me, the team has become more effective, active and somewhat more efficient in winning games. The Oakland Raiders are "in progress."
The behavior in 2009 is much improved over 2006, when the Oakland Raiders had a "flatline" at the end of the 2006 season, with nine consecutive losses.
Another observation is the string of losses in 2004 and 2007. Five consecutive losses during mid-season must have been hard to digest for the Raider Nation. In 2009, the longest game-loss-gap has length three, which is much improved when compared to 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008.
Now let's look at a chart for the games played immediately following "Bye Week."
If the purpose of Bye Week is to allow the team to re-group, rest, study tapes and train, then for the Oakland Raiders it has not worked because since 2003, the Raiders have not won one single game immediately after Bye Week. Even if the Bye Week occurred early in the season, there was no difference in performance in this category.
Here is our chart for 2009. Will the Raiders end the year on a high note, or a loss. In other words, will we have a W-L-W rather than a W-L-L?
Whatever the case may be, we certainly know that the Oakland Raiders are in progress and they are not perfect, but some growth is detected.
Using a weighted average, we see the following from a numerical standpoint.
- 1.56 2009
- 1.56 2008
- 1.25 2007
- 0.65 2006
- 1.25 2005
- 1.56 2004
- 1.25 2003
Using the tally of wins and losses, I weighted the wins (five points), and losses (zero points). Then I added, and divided by 16, which is the total number of games. This method yielded the following information:
The slope of the curve is positive on the interval representing 2006 to 2008. The Oakland Raiders are definitely in a developmental stage and continuity is absolutely necessary in order to not disturb the upward movement of the curve.
What's more, the Oakland Raiders, according to this analysis of slices of the data, is "In Progress." The team is not fine-tuned, yet, but they are definitely headed in the right direction.
The Oakland Raiders are not perfect, but they are definitely "in progress."
After the last game between the Ravens and the Raiders, the regression curve has a slightly positive slope, indicating a small amount of progress from 2003 to Jan. 3, 2010.
This article is dedicated to Coach Tom Cable, Mr. Al Davis, the Oakland Raiders, and the Raider Nation. Thanks to Felix, Bret, Brent, RCA, and others for their comments and inspiration.