NFL ranking of defenses

Story (or rant) provided by Al McDougal.

Comments from football fans appreciated.

As an NFL fan, I have determined that I am dissatisfied by the way that the NFL
ranks defenses. They are ranked simply by yards given up per game. Obviously
the team with the lowest number is the best defense. This system, however, does
not take into consideration other very important aspects of team defense. I
propose a new formula that includes other important factors. (The reverse of
this method would probably be a better way to rank offenses too, but we will
save that for another day.)

My formula involves 4 numbers. A and B are added together and C and D are
subtracted. The total number is divided by the number of games played and the
resultant number becomes the Defensive Rating. The smaller the number, the
better the defense.


A is the number of yards allowed on an offensive scoring drive. The point here
is to not penalize a defense for yards that did not result in a score. Which is the
better defense, the one that only allows 100yds per game or the one that only
allows 3 pts per game? Isn’t it much better to give up 80 yds that do not
result in a score than to give up a 20 yd td drive?


B is the number of points allowed. This is pretty self explanatory. Included
are all extra points or 2 point conversions following an offensive td and all
field goals following an offensive drive. Note that points scored on special
teams, against the offense, or field goals not preceeded by an offensive play do
not count as points against the defense.


C is a category that is not even included in team defense stats on the NFL
website. This is defensive points. Any touchdown or safety is included here.
Again, all extra points and 2 pt conversions following a td are included.

D is return yards. Return yards, however, are only counted from the initial point of possesion by the opposing offense. Since yards not resulting in points do not count against a defense, they should not be given “extra credit,” so to speak, for return yards unless the int or fumble is actually returned beyond the point where they first took the field. Included in return yards are any defensive stops that result in the opposing offense kicking from behind their initial spot of possession. This includes fg attempts. For instance, if an offense takes the field at the opposing team’s 10 yd line, losses 10 yds then kicks an fg from the 20, the defense is given credit for 10 return yds. But they still gave up the field goal. That drive would result in -7 points for the defense: 0 yards given up on a scoring drive, +3 points allowed, no points scored, -10 return yards.

(A + B) -(C + D)/ number of games played= low number for a good defense.