Power rankings are designed to be equivalent to an approximate rankings of NFL teams, No. 1-32. What it actually turns into is an over-hyped barometer that shamelessly follows winning and losing streaks, and has no ability to predict future results.
In other words, it’s pointless in principle, product and practice. But they are fun when your team is winning.
Throughout the course of the season, win or lose, I’ve brought you the power rankings roundup, looking at the somewhat respected rankings of CBS, FOX, NBC and ESPN. Before Week 1, the Redskins were ranked in the bottom five teams on all charts.
Going into the team’s Week 5 bye week, the team ranked as high as the Top-10 on the ESPN charts, and was not far behind on others. After Week 17, the Redskins are a whole lot closer to the Week 1 rankings than most would have predicted in Week 5.
But, as I noted before, power rankings do little to predict where a team is going–only where it’s been. So take these power rankings as you will:
CBSSports.com gave the Redskins No. 24, same as last week’s No. 24:
NBC/Profootballtalk.com held the Redskins steady at No. 26, same as last week’s No. 26 (and the week before):
ESPN.com held the Redskins at No. 26, same as last week’s No. 26:
NFC East blogger for ESPN.com, Dan Graziano, offered a candid assessment of the team’s rise and fall from glory. Of course, my favorite part is the fable about a frog with wings:
They began the season at No. 28, got as high as No. 10 and then settled right back down around where they started. I don’t think the fast start was a mirage. I think the Redskins just didn’t have enough to overcome their injury problems. And yes, that means they’re not a great team. The Giants had injury problems too. Maybe even worse, and look at them. Had they stayed healthy all year, I agree with Mike Shanahan that the Redskins could have been a contender. But if a frog had wings, it wouldn’t bang its little froggy butt on the ground when it hopped, right?
This team found a number of solid contributors this year that have the ability to grow into stars. The weakness of this year’s team was injuries that forced young players into roles that they weren’t necessarily ready for. But the experience that those players gained will be a strength for this team moving forward.
The preseason rankings for the Redskins indicated that there was little reason to hope for this year, and maybe those prognosticators were right, maybe they were wrong. But from a franchise perspective, I think there’s a lot of reason to believe that this team is back on the right track, heading towards future success.