The above shows what we all already know…statistics and the users of them decrease worldwide sexual activity on an exponential level (and they do so at an alarming and increasing rate). Other than that, the above shows that the amalgamation of rankings based on NFL turnover margin, yardage gained/allowed and points scored/allowed versus the league reveals an overall “strength-against-the-league” percentage. Such a percentage works where the lower the number is the stronger a team is against the league. Looking at the Saints overall history (above) for scores where the strength percentage is lower than 37%, reveals the Saints strongest years versus the league, stat-wise. It’s important to note that the “Avg.” column is the one you should focus on and that the percentages are averages based on league occupancy versus the specific ranks.
The list itself is unsurprisingly dominated by Jim Mora and Sean Payton coached teams. Only the Jim Haslett season, where the Saints won their first playoff victory, is the exception. It also hints that an ’87 Saints team, that lost out on an NFC West Championship only to a dominant 49ers team, was possibly the greatest Saints team, statistically versus the league–though likely not the best Saints team overall/ever. [Actually, it doesn’t hint at that, it says it outright–that’s why stats are great, because they are so forthright.]
Not including the year in progress–which currently holds a very low (and very promising) average–the Saints Super Bowl Season is only fourth on the list of best strength against the league ratings. Why is that? Like everything else in statistics, this statistic tells a story. It is a story buried deep into the numbers and also buried deep into the issues that have no bearing on the numbers. Number 1. the three teams ahead of the Championship 2009 season did not win a playoff game. Playoff games aren’t included in the statistics. So really, the statistic is saying “based on regular season statistics” the ’87 team performed better on average against the league than did the rest of the Saints seasons/teams. That may also be due to a significant number of factors: competition level in the league being one of them.
At any rate, the statistic for this year’s team is definitely a positive one. One thing that is not included in this grouping of stats is the variation among the five different categories. Just as in real football-life, you would like a team that is really good at everything and not just one thing while being deficient in others. So it is equally important to not find a category amongst the five that is very low. Though, this is not always a killer if there is ONLY one area of deficiency. Especially if that one area negative can be covered up by an equal but opposite positive. Such was the case with the 2009 Saints who were abysmal when allowing opposing offenses to run wild (ranked 25th in yardage allowed) but not only did that not translate into a point differential (ranked only 18th in points allowed) but were exceptional when it came to turnover margin (ranked 3rd in turnover margin) which ultimately made the difference. (see: Tracy Porter INT, Manning Face) The 2011 version of the Who Dats illustrated the point further. They ranked very low in yards allowed (24th) but were unable to compensate in the turnover department where they ranked again very low (19th). As if to turn these points into reality, you can simply re-watch Super Bowl XLIV and the Saints v. 49ers 2011 Divisional. Although I definitely would not suggest the latter as it still gives me hives just thinking about it. How Roman Harper was unable to even foul Vernon Davis by tackling/holding let alone cover him is beyond my understanding. Not only did he have Alex Smith throwing to him but he’s also HUGE! Take his legs out, ROMAN!!!!
Wrapping this up, if the current version of the Saints can simply either keep their areas relatively high and even OR find one area to truly excel and cover another weaker area then we should be in for some postseason happiness.