I'm not a "stats" guy. Some people get really jazzed about things like DVOA, adjusted PPG, YAC, and other abbreviations which (in my not-so-humble-opinion) have little to do with what actually happens on a football field. As silly as it sounds, the only stats I look at are Ws and Ls. Unlike most other sports, professional football is a game of intangibles. Yes, things like YPP, Completion %, Points Scored, and TD to INT ratio are important stats, but even more important are intangible factoids like the competence of the Head Coach, the toughness of your QB, and the conditioning of the team physically (just to name a few). I know many here, and at other blogs, love the work Football Outsiders does. Their stat collecting is excellent, and they do have a good system for calibrating stats.
However, like most stats, the numbers simply don't add up when you see the final product on the field.
Case in point: Last season, Football Outsiders' DVOA ranked the Baltimore Ravens #1 over all other NFL teams. San Diego was #2 and the Philadelphia Eagles ranked #3. Meanwhile, the four teams that played in the Championship Games (Indianapolis, New England, Chicago, and New Orleans) ranked #7, #5, #4, and #9 respectively. The #1 ranked team (Baltimore) was physically dominated by Indianapolis, and San Diego was beaten at home by New England. New Orleans's 9th overall ranking meant nothing to them as they beat Philly, the best ranked team in the NFC.
The obvious point here: DVOA's mean absolutely nothing in the post-season, and I'm tired of people using them as a barometer for who is "the best."
Again, nothing against people who love stats (because stats are fun), but realistically stats don't tell you much about how good or great a team is. Last season, the Colts had the worst rushing defense in NFL history. They surrendered 173 rushing yards a game, but still won 12 games. For all of us here, we all knew that if Bob Sanders was healthy, if Cato June could re-learn how to tackle, if Gilbert Gardner was booted from the starting SAM position that those 173 yards were not a true reflection of the team. And look what happened: The Colts run defense dominated the 2006 season playoffs.
So, when people throw around numbers and rankings and all that stuff, please don't be offended if I pay them no mind. I'll remind you of what one person at Football Outsiders said prior to the start of this season; it's yet another reminder that Michael David Smith simply doesn't know anything about the sport in which he covers: