Power Ratings explained

Updated: October 1, 2002, 2:40 PM ET
By By Ryan Early
Power Ratings are used to rank teams based on ability, not record.

1) The Statistical Formula - These power ratings are created using a complex formula using different football statistics - (Rushing Yards / 10) + (Passing Yards / 25) - (Sacks Allowed *1.25) + (etc., etc.). The most famous version of these is the IBM Power Ratings that are broadcast on Fox Sports pre-game shows in-season. I've never understood how these things could be taken very seriously since football is such a complex game; a formula like this says it knows the exact value of every single stat toward how good a team is, and that value is constant for every team in the league. That seems rather absurd.

2) The Expert's Rankings - These are not created by any formula. Instead a football expert ranks the teams from best to worst based on his opinion. These can be pretty good, and highly entertaining. Depends on who's doing them. They are worst when the "expert" ranks the teams primarily by record, which defeats the whole purpose of doing power ratings.