Some Clarification is in Order: A Quick Followup on Salary and Wins

In a recent fanshot Xanders had a quote about the Broncos spending history. In the comments section there was a great discussion about how to build a team. While there are plans later this off-season to go much more in depth and look at a much bigger picture than purely salary and wins. But I did some research and wanted to post it but it wouldn't fit in the comments section so I decided to make a new post about it.

So while this won't be as thorough or as well flushed out as I would normally do, this is a brief overview of the situation. Also take note that there are things in the work involving roundtable discussion, indepth studies and a much more clear view of how money affects the game of football.

So let's get to it.

Quick Preface:

So while there are no official, hard numbers on the 2011 salary numbers I used 2008-2010. Now I used three seasons because one season would work but using three allows for a bigger picture. For each team I listed the wins and salary number for that season and at the end I included an average win and salary for those three seasons so we can get a much more clear picture of each team's practices and get a more overarching view of the league as a whole. The last column is a Cost per Win statistic which takes total wins divided by total salary and we can see how each team makes the most of their money. Now with these three final columns we can see how winning teams spend and which teams spend money well, though a bad team could spend little and therefore have a quality Cost per Win metric. With that being said, let's get to the meat of the article.

The Table:

The table is sorted by Cost per Win.

Team 2010 Wins 2010 Salary 2009 Wins 2009 Salary 2008 Wins 2008 Salary Average Wins Average Salary Cost per Win
Indy 10 $103,360,985 14 $103,360,985 12 $93,373,915 12 $100,031,962 $7,897,260
NE 14 $95,977,133 10 $96,913,133 11 $92,734,120 12 $95,208,129 $8,743,604
Atl 13 $95,062,952 9 $95,062,952 11 $96,391,525 11 $95,505,810 $9,242,498
Balt 12 $108,880,797 9 $109,503,397 11 $90,713,965 11 $103,032,720 $10,079,288
Phi 10 $102,285,815 11 $106,493,095 9 $109,557,398 10 $106,112,103 $10,611,210
Minn 6 $99,802,010 12 $99,802,010 10 $132,977,805 9 $110,860,608 $10,614,314
SD 9 $116,558,935 13 $117,458,935 8 $111,813,340 10 $115,277,070 $11,155,845
Dal 6 $90,340,939 11 $90,340,939 9 $146,401,600 9 $109,027,826 $11,409,889
Pitt 12 $119,292,960 9 $119,292,960 12 $128,815,061 11 $122,466,994 $11,481,281
Tenn 6 $109,486,770 8 $113,494,050 13 $126,017,443 9 $116,332,754 $11,633,275
NO 11 $121,552,424 13 $121,552,424 8 $131,531,820 11 $124,878,889 $11,830,632
Car 2 $112,963,398 8 $112,963,398 12 $112,114,711 7 $112,680,502 $12,367,372
GB 10 $113,959,603 11 $113,959,603 6 $94,018,300 9 $107,312,502 $12,382,212
Ari 5 $101,458,306 10 $111,138,646 9 $122,110,110 8 $111,569,021 $12,396,558
NYJ 11 $120,634,420 9 $120,634,420 9 $116,910,097 10 $119,392,979 $12,946,227
NYG 10 $136,255,746 8 $138,354,866 12 $115,816,180 10 $130,142,264 $13,014,226
Den 4 $101,658,735 8 $101,658,735 8 $95,599,778 7 $99,639,083 $13,187,526
TB 10 $84,592,822 3 $84,592,822 9 $104,329,311 7 $91,171,652 $14,147,325
Hou 6 $121,943,610 9 $122,258,610 8 $108,445,418 8 $117,549,213 $14,296,526
Mia 7 $136,536,261 7 $126,383,421 11 $114,649,660 8 $125,856,447 $14,338,076
Chi 11 $120,672,110 7 $120,672,110 9 $120,065,819 9 $120,470,013 $14,456,402
Cin 4 $93,840,588 10 $93,840,588 4 $109,727,880 6 $99,136,352 $14,870,453
SF 6 $106,148,952 8 $103,738,952 7 $118,766,239 7 $109,551,381 $14,938,825
Wash 6 $99,953,611 4 $99,953,611 8 $111,963,684 6 $103,956,969 $17,326,161
Buff 4 $110,799,226 6 $111,253,126 7 $113,364,927 6 $111,805,760 $17,968,783
Jax 8 $106,879,214 7 $106,879,214 5 $122,109,207 7 $111,955,878 $17,992,909
Sea 7 $88,765,820 5 $89,075,820 4 $102,985,710 5 $93,609,117 $19,592,606
KC 10 $80,624,650 4 $81,829,650 2 $84,000,016 5 $82,151,439 $21,745,969
Oak 8 $108,020,490 5 $111,527,250 5 $152,389,371 6 $123,979,037 $23,246,069
Cle 5 $93,932,182 5 $93,932,182 4 $131,916,300 5 $106,593,555 $23,398,585
St. L 7 $99,397,892 1 $99,707,892 2 $116,677,660 3 $105,261,148 $49,860,544
Det 6 $99,910,434 2 $99,910,434 0 $95,827,117 3 $98,549,328 $63,353,140
Avg $106,298,431 $106,798,132 $113,253,609 $108,783,391 $16,641,425

Notes:

- Top 10 teams in spending averaged 9.1 wins while the bottom 10 teams average 7.9 wins.
- Top half averaged 8.5 wins while the bottom half averaged 7.5 wins.

As we can see, for 2008 to 2010 teams that spent more won more, pure and simple. Now obviously there were exceptions on both sides, but generally over the whole league, rather than picking and choosing your examples, you spend, you win. Now please remember this is just a basic overview, more on this topic will come at in later articles from MHR.


- Top 10 teams (top/best 10 means 10 teams that spend the lowest per win) in Cost per win averaged 10.3 wins while the bottom 10 teams averaged 5.3 wins.
- Top half in Cost per Win averaged 9.9 wins while the bottom half averaged 6.1 wins.
- No team in the top 5 had below 10 wins and no team in the top 10 had below 9 wins.
- No team in the bottom 5 had above 6 wins and no team in the bottom 10 had above 7 wins.

Here we see a bit clearer picture, teams that spent efficiently also won. Teams that spent a lot of money AND spent it well won games more than those who just SPEND or those who just use money EFFICIENTLY. This is the key, while spending money is very likely to help you win, there is more volatility, or a larger difference between the top 10 when just looking at spending compared to a low volatility in the Cost per Win.

To summarize, if you spend you are more likely to win, but if you spend and spend that money efficiently, you are set.

Well there you go, a quick look at a multi-year study on Salary and Wins, now like I said, please keep in mind this is just an overview, more indepth studies and conversations will come later but hopefully this helps.

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