Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Final NFL AP Poll: Congrats to the Seahawks

The Seattle Seahawks have finished at the top of the AP Poll for the second year in a row.  As is my usual practice, I will now regard the Seahawks as the best team in the NFL, regardless of what happens in the playoffs.

This is the fifth year we have tracked the NFL using the methods of the AP poll.  In 2010 and 2011 we did the poll ourselves; in 2012 the AP started its own poll, and we have used their results ever since.  Here are the season-ending number-one teams from the last five years, along with their result in the playoffs:

2010:  New England Patriots (14-2) (lost 28-21 to Jets in Divisional Playoffs)
2011:  Green Bay Packers (15-1) (lost 37-30 to Giants in Divisional Playoffs)
2012:  Denver Broncos (13-3) (lost 38-35 to Ravens in Divisional Playoffs)
2013:  Seattle Seahawks (13-3) (Won the Super Bowl)
2014:  Seattle Seahawks (12-4) (?????)

Because the playoffs are a bit fluky, teams like the Giants and Ravens have been able to slip into the Super Bowl -- and even win it -- in recent years.  But the polls show the extent to which a few teams have dominated the league.  Four teams have finished in the top slot in the last five years -- and all four of those teams were in the top five at the end of this season.  Here is the final top 10:

1.  Seattle Seahawks:  12-4
2.  New England Patriots:  12-4
3.  Green Bay Packers:  12-4
4.  Dallas Cowboys:  12-4
5.  Denver Broncos:  12-4
6.  Pittsburgh Steelers:  11-5
7.  Detroit Lions:  11-5
8.  Indianapolis Colts:  11-5
9.  Cincinnati Bengals:  10-5-1
T10.  Baltimore Ravens:  10-6
T10.  Arizona Cardinals:  11-5

 The Miami Dolphins (8-8) finished 19th in the final poll.  The Redskins finished 28th.

The NFL playoffs are one of the great spectacles in American sports, and I have no doubt that they will put up their usual collection of upsets, comebacks, and last-minute field goals.  But they should not distract from the fact that Seattle really is the best team in the NFL.  For that we congratulate them.


  1. You know, I'm coming around more and more to the notion of doing this poll and declaring a season champion (before, then, playing the Super Bowl tournament). One of the things that I would look at here is how the poll champion and, say, other top three finishers fare in previous and following seasons relative to the four conference finalists in the Super Bowl tournament.