Which NFL Franchise Has Been Worst Over the Last 15 Years?
We've talked enough about the Patriots and Seahawks -- two unbelievable teams -- over the last two weeks. It's about time we change things up a bit and get a little depressing.
When analyzing the Super Bowl, I came across an alarming number surrounding the Patriots (surprisingly, it wasn't PSI-related). Over the last 15 years, New England's average nERD score -- the number of points you'd expect a team to win by against an average squad on a neutral field -- per season was 7.01. That number is roughly 1.8 points better than any other team in the NFL.
In fact, the difference between New England to the number-two team, Green Bay, was greater than the difference between Green Bay and the seventh-ranked Denver Broncos.
I then looked at the bottom of the list. Which teams, over the last 15 years, have averaged the lowest nERD score per season? We have to show the losers some love too, right?
Before revealing the biggest loser, let's break down just how bad this team has been. Since 2000, the highest single-season nERD from this squad was 1.52. That came in 2001. Every other season, the franchise has been below average.
According to our Net Expected Points metric, this team has had two above-average offenses over the last 15 years (2002 and 2007). The defense has played above expectation just twice as well (2001 and 2003).
Any guesses? No, it's not the Raiders -- don't forget, Oakland was pretty good from 2000 to 2002, and they lost a Super Bowl. Because of those seasons, Oakland is actually the fourth worst (-4.11 average nERD) franchise over the last 15 years.
Jacksonville? Not quite. People tend to forget that the Jags weren't horrendous under Jack Del Rio, and they had three well above-average seasons from 2005 to 2007 as a result. They come in fifth-to-last.
Perhaps you're thinking about Detroit? That's not a bad guess at all. In fact, Detroit would be the worst team analytically since 2000 if not for two solid seasons in 2011 and 2014.
So which franchise has been the worst since the turn of the century?
The Cleveland Browns, of course.
|Team||Average nERD Since 2000||Rank|
The average nERD for Cleveland since 2000 has been -5.69, which is well over 12 points worse than the New England Patriots. It's also over a point worse than the 31st-ranked Detroit Lions. If an average Browns team during this time would have played in 2014, they would have ranked 29th in the NFL.
That's how bad it's been for Cleveland.