Friday 5 – Exciting Defenses

When I say exciting defense, what are some of the teams that immediately jump to your mind? The Ravens? Steelers? Vikings? Jets? Cowboys? What if I told you that this Friday 5 is my list of the top five most exciting defenses in the NFL right now, and not a single one of the teams I just mentioned is on it? Now hear me out before you jump to conclusions and discredit the rest of this post. I came up with with this list of top five most exciting defenses by basing it solely on numbers. That’s right, my list is purely from a statistical perspective, and that’s right, none of those teams made the cut. I started out by asking myself the basic question of what are the most exciting defensive plays? I think it’s pretty straight forward to say that they would be interceptions, forced fumbles and sacks. Bone-crushing hits would also be in there but there is no statistic for that, plus a lot of those hits result in sacks and/or forced fumbles anyhow. Starting with this as my foundation I started looking up the numbers for last season. In 2009 there were a total of 1101 sacks, 525 interceptions and 509 forced fumbles. So as a general statement (using 1 sig-fig, if you will) I think it’s fair to say that interceptions and forced fumbles are twice as exciting as sacks, based on how frequently they happen. So I developed two basic formulas:

One for the total number of exciting plays: S + I + F = N

And one for the level of excitement the team causes: S + 2I + 2F = X

Where S represents the number of sacks a team had, I represents the number of interceptions, F represents the number of forced fumbles, N represents the total number of exciting plays and X represents the level of excitement rating. I ranked the teams using the first formula, then I ranked them using the second formula, and after that I took their average from those two rankings and used that as my final number to sort the teams by. As a tie-breaker I used defensive touchdowns scored. Here’s how it panned out: Continue reading

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