You may or may not remember the Sturm NFL Formula, but here is the 2007 (post Super Bowl XLI) edition. To recap, a few years ago, a good strong listener asked me to rank the franchises from #32 to #1 based on their accomplishments from Super Bowl I to present.
So I did. I wanted it to be objective, not subjective. I wanted it to be a formula and you would just enter the numbers and it would spit out the rankings with no favoritism or prejudice.
Here is how it works. Each Franchise gets 1 point for each season it makes the playoffs. Then, if it reaches the Conference Championship Game it gets a total of 3 points. If it makes the Super Bowl it gets 5, and if it wins the Super Bowl it wins the maximum total of points in a given year of 11. It used to be 10 for the Super Bowl, but I have adjusted it this year because I didn’t like the idea that 2 Super Bowl losses equaled a Super Bowl win. So, Now 11 points for a win and 5 for a loss in the Super Bowl.
I have been asked why no points are given for wins in the Wildcard round, but I decided that would not make sense with the idea that the playoffs have grown over the years and there is no way to equalize a smaller field to a larger one. Also, a Wildcard win is not that big a deal anymore with 6 teams in the playoffs, so unless you reach the Conference Title game, no additional points beyond the 1 for making the post-season.
Just add up the points for all the years, and that is the entire formula. Otherwise, I break ties based on the team with more Super Bowl wins, then Super Bowl losses, then Championship Game wins, etc. There are no ties. I will settle it somehow.
#1 - The Dallas Cowboys
Total Points: 106
Total Playoff Years: 66C, 67C, 68, 69, 70SL, 71S, 72C, 73C, 75SL, 76, 77S, 78SL, 79, 80C, 81C, 82C, 83, 85, 91, 92S, 93S, 94C, 95S, 96, 98, 99, 03, 06
Without Question, the heavyweight champion of this exercise is the Dallas Cowboys. Out of towners may assume this is biased to help the home town Cowboys, but trust me, you can change the point values any way you want and the Cowboys still finish first. It should be noted, though, that the lead has been shrinking since 1995. The Steelers have cut their deficit in half since then.
#2 - The Pittburgh Steelers
Total Points: 90
Total Playoff Years: 72C, 73, 74S, 75S, 76C, 77, 78S, 79S, 82, 83, 84C, 89, 92, 93, 94C, 95SL, 96, 97C, 01C, 02, 04C, 05S
The Steelers with Cowher did not equal the Steelers with Noll, but it has still been very nice to be in Pittsburgh. With the win in Detroit at Super Bowl XL, the Steelers blew past the 49ers into 2nd place.
#3 - The San Francisco 49ers
Total Points: 85
Total Playoff Years: 70C, 71C, 72, 81S, 83C, 84S, 85, 86, 87, 88S, 89S, 90C, 92C, 93C, 94S, 95, 96, 97C, 98, 01, 02
The first team to win 5 Super Bowls, and still undefeated in the Super Bowl at 5-0, the 49ers resume is solid. They obviously have not done too much since Steve Young was injured, but the quality from Montana to Young and from Walsh to Seifert put them into the top group.
#4 - The Oakland Raiders
Total Points: 77
Total Playoff Years: 67SL, 68C, 69C, 70C, 72, 73C, 74C, 75C, 76S, 77C, 80S, 82, 83S, 84, 85, 90C, 91, 93, 00C, 01, 02SL
The Raiders were always the bridesmaid in the 1970's and if it wasn't for the Steelers they would have been Champions plenty more. But, with the two titles in the 1980's with Tom Flores, the point total vaulted them into the top group.
#5 - The Denver Broncos
Total Points: 57
Total Playoff Years: 77SL, 78, 79, 83, 84, 86SL, 87SL, 89SL, 91C, 93, 96, 97S, 98S, 00, 03, 04, 05C
The Broncos have certainly had many quality teams, mostly due to the John Elway era. But make no mistake, 1 player does not elevate a franchise to the top 5 in the NFL. 6 Super Bowl appearances is very impressive for anyone, and now with decent post-Elway runs, they are the best of the rest.
#6 - The Miami Dolphins
Total Points: 57
Total Playoff Years: 70, 71SL, 72S, 73S, 74, 78, 79, 81, 82SL, 83, 84SL, 85C, 90, 92C, 94, 95, 97, 98, 99, 00, 01
The Dolphins level of quality is among the best in the AFC, but falls short of the top 5. Since 1973, the Dolphins have been close, but no cigar. Still the only team to navigate through a season undefeated, the Dolphins have a proud past.
#7 - The Washington Redskins
Total Points: 55
Total Playoff Years: 71, 72SL, 73, 74, 76, 82S, 83SL, 84, 86C, 87S, 90, 91S, 92, 99, 05
Let's not kid ourselves - since 1992, when Joe Gibbs and the boys exited stage left, things have not been very good in Washington. Despite that, they are merely a few points out of the top 5 proving that they have a very solid resume in the Allen/Gibbs eras.
#8 - The New England Patriots
Total Points: 54
Total Playoff Years: 76, 78, 82, 85SL, 86, 94, 96SL, 97, 98, 01S, 03S, 04S, 05, 06C
The first time I did this study, New England was well out of the mix. They were ranked somewhere in the bottom third of the league in 2000. But since then, Brady and Belichick have added up 37 points in 6 seasons, shooting up into #8. That deserves a "wow".
#9 - The Green Bay Packers
Total Points: 50
Total Playoff Years: 66S, 67S, 72, 82, 93, 94, 95C, 96S, 97SL, 98, 01, 02, 03, 04
Green Bay has had some HUGE gaps in their runs. After Lombardi left in 1967, they accomplished nearly nothing until hiring Mike Holmgren and Ron Wolf in 1992. They get the tie-breaker with the Rams for #9 due to the total number of Super Bowl wins (3) to the Rams (1).
#10 - The St Louis/Los Angeles Rams
Total Points: 50
Total Playoff Years: 67, 69, 73, 74C, 75C, 76C, 77, 78C, 79SL, 80, 83, 84, 85C, 86, 88, 89C, 99S, 00, 01SL, 03, 04
There is no question that the Rams and the Vikings have some of the best consistent quality over the course of the last 40 years. The Rams lost in 6 different NFC Championship Games, and lost two more Super Bowls. From 1973 to 1989, the Rams may have had the best run of anyone in the NFC, but only 1 Lombardi trophy.
#11 - The Minnesota Vikings
Total Points: 48
Total Playoff Years: 68, 69SL, 70, 71, 73SL, 74SL, 75, 76SL, 77C, 78, 80, 82, 87C, 88, 89, 92, 93, 94, 96, 97, 98C, 99, 00C, 04
Without question, no team in football has had more good teams and won less than the Minnesota Vikings. Look at the playoff years that demonstrates no lengthy gaps between playoff caliber teams. But, alas, despite always being in the hunt, the Vikings have never closed the deal. Snakebit is an understatement.
#12 - Indianapolis/Baltimore Colts
Total Points: 47
Total Playoff Years: 68SL, 70S, 71C, 75, 76, 77, 87, 95C, 96, 99, 00, 02, 03C, 04, 05, 06S
With 11 big points in 2007, the Colts are fresh off their First Super Bowl win in 36 years. The Colts had nice teams in the Shula and post-Shula eras, then some decent Bert Jones squads. Beyond that, and the 1995 Harbaugh run, it is all about Peyton Manning. And with him in his prime, they will be higher up this list in no time.
#13 - The New York Giants
Total Points: 36
Total Playoff Years: 81, 84, 85, 86S, 89, 90S, 93, 97, 00SL, 02, 05, 06
The Giants won two Super Bowls in 5 years (lest we forget) and compiled many points during the Parcells years. Before and since, it has been pretty slim pickings - save for the Super Bowl run in 2000. Nothing wrong with #13 on the list.
#14 - The Buffalo Bills
Total Points: 34
Total Playoff Years: 66C, 74, 80, 81, 88C, 89, 90SL, 91SL, 92SL, 93SL, 95, 96, 98, 99
Close calls all around for the Bills. Four Super Bowls, four defeats. But, the quality of that team that Marv Levy put together is there for all to see as they were in the mix every year except 1994 from 88 to 96. That is impressive in the NFL these days, but still no rings.
#15 - The Chicago Bears
Total Points: 31
Total Playoff Years: 77, 79, 84C, 85S, 86, 87, 88C, 90, 91, 94, 01, 05, 06S
If they would have won Super Bowl XLI, they would have shot all the way into 13th place. As it stands, they sit in 15th place, with the Super Bowl XX crown jewel. The Bears wish they had more to show for the 1980's powerhouse, but they sit in the top half of the league.
#16 - The Kansas City Chiefs
Total Points: 30
Total Playoff Years: 66SL, 68, 69S, 71, 86, 90, 91, 92, 93C, 94, 95, 97, 03, 06
The Chiefs barely rank in the top half of the league, and have one world title (Super Bowl IV) along with a far number of nice teams that have not quite achieved in the post-season. Overall, not bad, but their fans would have liked plenty more.
#17 - The Philadelphia Eagles
Total Points: 30
Total Playoff Years: 78, 79, 80SL, 81, 88, 89, 90, 92, 95, 96, 00, 01C, 02C, 03C, 04SL, 06
Philadelphia = 30 points. Philadelphia Before Andy Reid = 14 points. Since, Andy Reid = 16 points. I think that proves that he has done a pretty nice job for them. Still 0 Super Bowl titles, but there is no doubt that this team has been the NFC power since 2000.
#18 - The Tennessee Titans/Houston Oilers
Total Points: 28
Total Playoff Years: 67C, 69, 78C, 79C, 80, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 99SL, 00, 02C, 03
Obviously, the Oilers had some real nice teams, but never could get past the AFC title game. Then, the Titans finished 1 yard short in Super Bowl XXXIV. Therefore, they are in the midst of a number of similar teams that had some nice teams, but generally no titles (aside from the Jets).
#19 - The New York Jets
Total Points: 26
Total Playoff Years: 68S, 69, 81, 82C, 85, 86, 91, 98C, 01, 02, 04, 06
Super Bowl III is still the one shining moment for the Jets. They have had some nice years, but have not had the type of playoff runs that score many points in the Sturm Formula.
#20 - The Cleveland Browns
Total Points: 24
Total Playoff Years: 67, 68C, 69C, 71, 72, 80, 82, 85, 86C, 87C, 88, 89C, 94, 02
If only the Drive didn't happen. If only the Fumble didn't happen. If only. A rich tradition has gone by the boards since 1966.
#21 The Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Total Points: 23
Total Playoff Years: 79C, 81, 82, 97, 99C, 00, 01, 02S, 05
Tampa Bay has shot up the list since I started doing this years ago, and the last decade has pushed them from nearly dead last into the middle third of the league. All Hail, Tony Dungy and Jon Gruden as the uniform change has changed the fortune of this floor mat of the 1980's.
#22 The San Diego Chargers
Total Points: 17
Total Playoff Years: 79, 80C, 81C, 82, 92, 94SL, 95, 04, 06
With many years of decent teams that never did much in the playoffs, the Chargers have scored some points - just not as many as they would have liked. Dan Fouts and the boys never could get over the hump. But they always had nice uniforms.
#23 - The Cincinnati Bengals
Total Points: 16
Total Playoff Years: 70, 73, 75, 81SL, 82, 88SL, 90, 05
Despite 15 seasons between playoff years from 1990-2005, the Bengals used two Super Bowl losses in the 1980's to grab a decent position.
#24 - The Seattle Seahawks
Total Points: 15
Total Playoff Years: 83C, 84, 87, 88, 99, 03, 04, 05SL, 06
The Seahawks have been bad far more than they have been good, but, obviously Holmgren has the team as good as it has ever been in the history of the franchise. Once again, uniform/stadium change coincides with fortune changes.
Part 1, Teams #29-#32
#25 – The Baltimore Ravens
Total Points: 14
Total Playoff Years: 00S, 01, 03, 06
The Ravens history is merely from the move to Baltimore on. Part of the settlement with the league is that they lose all of the history from Cleveland. So, technically, the Ravens have only existed since 1996. Anyway, with the aid of the winning of Super Bowl XXXV, they get the tie-breaker over the Atlanta Falcons and come in at #25.
#26 – The Atlanta Falcons
Total Points: 14
Total Playoff Years: 78, 80, 82, 91, 95, 98SL, 02, 04C
The Falcons have had a largely anonymous existence, but the last decade has been pretty decent by their standards. The Super Bowl Loss in SB33 and the Championship Game Loss in 2004 are the high water marks for them.
#27 - Carolina Panthers
Total Points: 11
Total Playoff Years: 96C, 03SL, 05C
Every time that the Panthers have made the playoffs, they have won at least one game. And, given that they are only a decade old and have somehow been to three NFC Championship games points to the horrid histories of Arizona and Detroit.
#28 - Detroit Lions
Total Points: 11
Total Playoff Years: 70, 82, 83, 91C, 93, 94, 95, 97, 99
Detroit has managed to make the playoffs a few times, especially in the Barry Sanders era. But, nearly each time, it was followed with a quick exit. Seldom has any franchise done less with more chances. They got killed in the 1991 NFC Championship Game, and besides that – nothing in 41 years.
#29 – The Jacksonville Jaguars
Total Points: 9
Total Playoff Years: 96C, 97, 98, 99C, 05
The first 5 years of the franchise, the Jags made the playoffs 4 times. Since then, it has been pretty light, but they have done pretty well in just a decade. Twice they have been 1 game from the Super Bowl.
#30 – The New Orleans Saints
Total Points: 8
Total Playoff Years: 87, 90, 91, 92, 00, 06C
They made us happy in 2006, but know that this is the high-water mark in the history of the franchise. Scoring 3 points with their NFC Championship loss puts them safely ahead of Arizona, but still much work to be done to catch expansion teams of the 1990’s.
#31 – The Arizona/St Louis Cardinals
Total Points: 4
Total Playoff Years: 74, 75, 82, 98
Without Question, the most embarrassing franchise in the NFL. There is nothing nice to say about a team that has made the playoffs 4 times in 41 years. Maybe the saddest franchise in all of sports.
#32 – The Houston Texans
Total Points: 0
Total Playoff Years: None
Kind of unfair since the Texans have not existed for very long, but 0 points means they have never made the playoffs, so it is tough to make that sound any better than it is. Jacksonville and Carolina both made the Conference Title game in their 2nd years, so Houston must be disappointed that their biggest win might still be their first game against Dallas in 2002.
Explanation of Years: Just the year means they made the playoffs (1 point). Year followed by “C” means they lost in the Conference Championship Game (3 points), Year followed by “SL” means they lost the Super Bowl (5 points), and Year followed by “S” means they won the Super Bowl (11 points).