Power rankings: Best, worst teams of decade


Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Patriots have won more regular-season, playoff and Super Bowl games than any NFL team since the 2000 season. That made them an easy choice for team of the decade.

Ranking the 31 other teams took a little more work.

I settled on a formula with five key variables: regular-season victories, playoff appearances, playoff victories, Super Bowl victories and Super Bowl defeats. The formula added the following five numbers to create a power ranking for the decade:

  • Winning percentage times nine

  • Playoff appearances divided by nine

  • Playoff victories divided by nine

  • Super Bowl victories divided by nine

  • Super Bowl defeats divided by 18

The formula, adjusted for the Texans to account for their shorter history, ranked the top eight teams as you see them in the chart. I then made a few adjustments after consulting with our other seven divisional bloggers.

Three teams -- Tampa Bay, Chicago and Arizona -- moved up two spots higher than the formula ranked them. The rationale:

  • Bucs: We agreed to move Tampa Bay into the ninth spot, leapfrogging Seattle and Denver, by valuing the Bucs' Super Bowl victory over the Seahawks' one additional postseason victory and the playoff-faltering Broncos' superior regular-season record.

  • Bears: Chicago moved past Carolina and San Diego because the Chargers never reached a Super Bowl and the Panthers' regular-season record was below .500.

  • Cardinals: Arizona moved up two spots, past the 49ers and Bills, based on the Cardinals' three postseason victories and Super Bowl appearance last season.

The formula helped cut through perceptions. For example:

  • The Raiders are routinely derided for their ongoing run of futility, but they own three playoff appearances, four playoff victories and a Super Bowl appearance during the decade. Only six teams have a higher playoff winning percentage in the decade.

  • The Cowboys are a high-profile franchise, but they're below .500 during the regular season this decade. They are one of only seven teams without a playoff victory during that time.

  • The Redskins are another high-profile franchise, but only eight teams have a lower winning percentage during the decade. Washington owns two playoff appearances and one playoff victory during the decade.

The Bills, Texans and Lions are the only teams without a playoff appearance during the decade. The Texans and Lions also owned the lowest regular-season winning percentages. That made them easy choices as the two worst teams in the rankings.

Also: Click here to download a spreadsheet ranking each team by regular-season wins, losses, ties, winning percentage, playoff appearances, playoff wins, playoff losses, playoff winning percentage, Super Bowl wins and Super Bowl losses. The spreadsheet also shows the difference between the formula's rankings and the actual rankings.