Power Rankings are like a dull needle: POINTLESS.
I’ll give ya’ll a moment to appreciate how good that line was.
Okay. Power Rankings are stupid. I hate them. They are the definition of pointless.
Problemo numero uno: They are subjective. The folks who do power rankings may have their own system of stats or whatever, but when it ultimately comes down to it, they are a subjective ranking by the author. So really, they are only applicable to the author. Power Rankings are basically an opinion piece. It’s the author going “I THINK THIS TEAM IS BETTER THAN THAT TEAM BECAUSE OF REASONS THAT I PERSONALLY VALUE MORE THAN OTHERS”. It’s about as in depth and useful as a bar conversation, but it’s hidden under the pretext of NFL “experts”.
Problemo numero dos: They just change every week. During the offseason, okay. I can see that a bit, it’s a prediction thing. You think Denver is the strongest team before the season starts? Okay whatever, I’m fine with that. But during the season? When we have games every week? What’s the point? All you’re doing is seeing who won, putting them up a few slots, and downgrading the teams that lost. So Denver lost a tough matchup and is now ranked #3, at week whatever. Don’t try to pass this off as some big insight.
Problemo numero tres: They ultimately impact nothing. Ranking Denver and Seattle in the top two slots means jack, because those teams aren’t going to play each other very frequently. Teams go down all the time to freakish unforseen luck, it’s part of the game. Saying Seattle is the best team right now means nothing because they could drop two spots with one unlucky bounce costing them a win. But saying they are the best also doesn’t mean they will win the superbowl or anything. Ranking Seattle first is just you going “I think Seattle is currently the best team in the league!”. Okay, woo for you I guess?
I think power rankings stemmed from the BCS. In college ball, power rankings actually matter, because they determine the best teams in the country and who will play each other. The BCS is basically power rankings. The entire sport is determined by power rankings. But the NFL doesn’t work the same way. The NFL uses a playoff system, a system of “Send the best 6 teams from each conference to a tournament and let them duke it out for victory”. That playoff system renders power rankings moot, because playoffs don’t care who the better team is, luck and good play do.
problemo numero quatro: They are essentially lazy click-bait. Power Rankings can get farted out by a sportswriter in about 15 minutes, go to the front page of any sports site, and then tons of stupid people will debate in the comments about where their personal favorite teams should be ranked because for some reason they need validation of their fandom from some guy on the internet. The authors don’t care about the rankings, in fact they can probably get more hits by deliberately making a few controversial picks, just to make the dummies argue some more. Power Rankings exist because they are easy to make and generate hits. It’s far easier to do that then quality journalism or even mildly deeper analysis. Lazy sportswriting isn’t a new thing, and not even all that bad, but Power Rankings are the epitome of it.
Power Rankings are pointless dribble and if you argue about someone else’s subjective ranking of teams on the internet you should sit down, look at yourself, and figure out if this is at all worth it.