#10 San Francisco 49er's: Greg Hartley is back and a permanent part of the league! Statistical record holders beware, your place in history is now in jeopardy. In a world where we measure and rate everything, there isn't a measurable for the lack of everything that Greg brings to the table.
In two games against the Buccaneers as the interim coach of the Lion's in Season 9, Coach Hartley gave up 537 yards rushing.
537 yards rushing. That's more yards running in two games then four teams had as a TOTAL in Season 9 (to be fair, one of those team was the Lions...)
331 of those yards came in one game.
The Buc's called one pass play, combined, in both games.
The Buc's did to Coach Hartley what Hitler tried to do to the Jews, only the Buc's pulled it off!
There is one team that *does* compare to what Coach Hartley did in Season 9. Let's look at the measurables
Lions Unnamed Team
Pts P/G: 5.40 v 5.25
Pts Against P/G: 38.60 v 53.75
Yards P/G 84.0 v 109.50
Def Yards P/G: 266.3 v 271.9
+/-: -17 v -13
Who is this unnamed team? From the first season of the rebooted NFTGL, Coach Smutnik, coach of the Rams and current defending Man Bowl Champ.
With that said, Coach Hartley will be lucky to win all of his computer games, let alone win the ManBowl.
#9 Detroit Lions: Coach Jones had a hell of a strange season last year. You could make a strong argument that at one point in Season X, the Lion's were the most interesting team to watch--everyone wanted to see if they could continue their precision air attack that was picking teams a part!
It wasn't that they had won three man games (tied for the most the team has won since moving to 5min quarters), it's that they won three of four and almost won four in a row, losing a tough one to the Packers, 3-0. You have to set aside the seasonal statistics for this comparison (His overall Season X stats looks pretty similar to Season VIII...which wasn't too great a year) because those games passed the "eye exam."
For what felt like the briefest of moments in the eternity of the season, it felt like Coach Jones had cracked the code and was about to make an unprecedented run. Any coach who watched those games that says otherwise is a liar.
Of course... then he met the ManBowl champ, lost 36-7... then ran into the Bucs and lost 43-3.
All was right with the world.
...or will we get more of what we saw last season? The promise of something great hidden behind blowouts?
#8 Green Bay Packers: We want to rank this team higher. The offense. The defense. The team is too good to *not* rank higher.
Let's go through their man record the past 4 seasons:
At this rate of growth, the Packers should make the playoffs by season XX? We're not sure what this team is missing at this point that is stopping them from winning but, perhaps someone will let us know?
Perhaps though, the truth of the Packers lay in their past two seasons worth of matches against division juggernaut, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
21-7 Bucs (total yds 107 to 106 in favor of the Packers)
7-7 tie (both scores coming in the 4th qtr!
12-7 Bucs (8-7 Buc lead headed into the 4th qtr)
7-7 tie (Packers lead all the way through the 3rd quarter with both teams missing FGs to win it)
Do we think there might be something more to this team?
#7 Minnesota Vikings: We're constantly waiting for this team to click. It's not that Coach Summerfield doesn't enjoy the game. It's not that he doesn't put his heart and soul into it. It's not that he doesn't have a capable team lead by the most dynamic player in the NFTGL.
It's that Bill Summerfield is the coach of the Minnesota Vikings still.
Something positive to think on?
The Vikings have increased their scoring every year on average:
VII - 12.1
VIII - 14.5
X - 19.3
If you look at the regular season, Coach Summerfield was the second highest scoring team in the league in Season X behind the Buccaneers.
The Vikings have also had three straight years where they have had a positive plus/minus differential.
This team either needs to break less at the goal or score more against teams that matter.
The *only* time this team won more then two man games it made the playoffs. If they can't find two winnable games on their schedule, its time to pack it in.
#6 Carolina Panthers: What do we have to do here? This is the same team that was "disrespected" in the first season of the rebooted NFTGL and then pretty much fulfilled the promise of failure we predicted in that power ranking for the past two years. They're no longer the main competition for the once perennial winner, New Orleans Saints. Perhaps all it takes for them to start winning is to be ranked lower and lower?
Or perhaps Barry Sanders is the key here?
Coach Lutton finished 5th in rushing in season X. 9th in rushing in one of the most embarrassing seasons the Panthers have ever endured, in Season IX... and even in Season VIII, when they went to the Man Bowl and lost, the Barry Foster lead Panthers finished 4th in the league in rushing.
One of the best running backs in the league and you're not in the top two?
How about this little stat?
Man record the past four years:
Perhaps the Packers and the Panthers are trading places? Who else would like to see that match-up right now?
#5 Chicago Bears: This team is completely and totally uninspiring. I don't believe anything has changed in my opinion of this team since the Season IX power rankings:
How Coach Fonovic continues to achieve mediocrity with Mark Carrier and Donnell Woolford in his secondary is amazing. Yet, here we are, again. Middle of the pack and unable to reclaim the throne in the NFC Superior. What we’re supposed to assume is not having a top flight LB is what the issue is but, I can think of some other teams doing just fine without one. The excuses need to end and this team needs to step up considering the talent level they’ve got.
The real tale of the tape is found here:
Against the Buccaneers: 6 - 16
Against the Saints: 3 - 9
Against the rest of league: 44 - 14
#4 Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons acquired Jim Kelly in the off-season.
Some interesting notes about the Falcons year:
-Last season saw the Falcons have the most yards per game over their entire history.
-They scored the second highest amount in Coach Soffer's coaching career.
-Seven man wins is the most Coach Soffer has had in any single season.
-There turnover differential of -9 was second worst in the league (7 of those interceptions coming by the Rams)
We're not sold on Kelly being the great savior as we were never sure that Jeff George was a bad fit for this team. Is Jim Kelly worth 32 points in the ManBowl? It's really hard to say...this is a team that, by far, leads the league in being shutout (adding another in Season X to make it 12 times). Can Kelly cut into that at all?
They're going to need to come up with a way to beat the Saint's regularly that doesn't involve the entire New Orleans's team being hauled off in a body bag.
#3 New Orleans Saints: Without Eric Allen... and they move up a spot in the power rankings from last year.
Coach Bordier experienced his worst overall statistical season of his career.
-His first negative differential season since Season 3.
-His lowest scoring season ever.
-Third worst points against per game.
-Second worst total yards per game.
Some of that can come from not forcing turnovers (-1 differential) and having the ball less (in contrast, Coach Bordier was a +19 the year priorr when he lost to the Bucs in the ManBowl)
Despite all of that, they still won the division in epic fashion as the Season X Cetera Bowl champions with every one of their players lying on the ground dead... which lead to them immediately losing in their playoff game against the Falcons.
This division still goes through the Saints until someone in the Fluff can prove they're able to beat them with consistency. Which we doubt will happen, even if the gap appears to be getting closer.
#2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Buccaneers found themselves humbled in the playoffs once again. At least they walked away scoring some points this year! The showdown between the Rams and Bucs will probably go down as a classic to some but, it'll go down as "same ol'" to the #1 seed Bucs, who were one and done again.
-In the modern (five minute) history of the NFTGL, allowing under 10 points per game in a season has been done 5 times. Three of those were by the Bucs. This was done back to back in Seasons IX and X.
-+12 is the highest differential any non Eric Allen team has had since Season III.
-The Bucs have won their division the last four seasons and seven of the last eight seasons.
-They have the dubious distinction of having the most ties (3) of any team in the NFTGL
The only thing the Bucs can take away from last year is that it was the first time they played Steve Smutnik... and they historically struggle in their first game against new coaches (not named Hartley).
Looking at it from that perspective, we almost made the Bucs the favorite this year.
#1 St Louis Rams: To quote the power rankings to begin Season X: "If only this team could hire someone to coach them on the field as well as they make trades in the off-season."
They upset the favored defending ManBowl champs in a defensive battle that ended on a clutch FG and then vanquished the mighty Falcons in the biggest slaughter in NFTGL ManBowl history.
I do believe we can say that Rams have officially arrived... or can we?
Are they able to beat a fully healthy Saints team? That will always be their monkey for ... they need a win against a fully (minus Allen) loaded Saints team to convince anyone they're for real.
Until then, they can wear that belt loud and proud. Welcome to the big leagues young buck.
Man Record: 9-24
Playoff Record: 2-0
That says it all. This is the Man League.