This fanpost started in a comment on a fanshot and I really liked the premise, so I decided to elaborate and turn it into a full blown post of its own. Basically I wanted to find a way to take Tebow's extremely small sample size and use it as a basis for making a baseline of expectations for the remainder of the season. Obviously this isn't going to be anywhere near realistic... but if gives a decent idea of some things moving foward as well as a fun peak into the future based on stats that aren't non-relevant to winning. Let's jump!
Basically... the ONLY stat that I find to have almost a direct correlation to winning games is Net Points. They are not 100% accurate display of a team's W-L record, but they are about as close as a stat that you can get without adding in a million and one different factors.
Net points are the amount of points attributed to a team when you add together all of the offensive points and special teams points scored and subtract the points allowed by the defense and special teams. Or basically an (A1 + A2) - (B1 + B2) = C equation.
With Tim Tebow leading the team last year we scored 75 points on our opponents in the last three games of the year, whilst giving up 95 points to give us a net total of -20 points. During Tim's half of a start in 2011 against the Chargers two weeks ago we scored 14 whilst allowing 6, leaving us with a net total of +8. So our combined Net Total for the entire time Tim Tebow has been the starter is -12 Net points.
Those -12 Net points are what we got in 14 quarters with Tim as the starter. There are 64 total quarters in a 16 game season. So if we divide the -12 by 14 and then multiply that answer by 64, we get -55 Total Net points over 64 quarters (or 16 full games). It was actually 54.857...blah blah blah, so I just rounded up to the nearest whole number.
-55 Net points for a 16 game season is not great, its not good, but it's not the bottom of the barrel either either, its just bad. To put it in perspective lets take a look at the last three seasons records.
In 2010 there were several teams that scored in this ballpark of numbers (+/- 15), and there net points and W-L records were as follows::
SF -41 Net Points for a W/L record of 6-10
DAL -42 Net Points for a W/L record of 6-10
MIA -60 Net Points for a W/L record of 7-9
CLE -61 Net Points for a W/L record of 5-11
JAC -66 Net Points for a W/L record of 8-8
MIN -67 Net Points for a W/L record of 6-10
Although the range of wins in this set is anywhere from 5 to 8, the average Wins for these teams amounts to 6.3 or roughly 6. (I also didn't mention the Seattle Seahawks who scored a whopping -97 Net Points to end up 7-9 and in the playoffs, a fluke, but a statistic non the less).
Lets look at the teams from 2009. Only four teams fit our parameters in this year.
TEN -48 Net Points for a W/L record of 8-8
CHI -48 Net Points for a W/L record of 7-9
BUF -68 Net Points for a W/L record of 6-10
WAS -70 Net Points for a W/L record of 4-12
The range in this set stretches from 4 to 8 wins and the average for this year is 6.25 wins. In 2009 the Jacksonville Jaguars also scored in the -90's of points and still managed a 7-9 record. Something to think about.
On to 2008, only TWO teams fit our parameters here:
SF -42 Net Points for a W/L record of 7-9
JAC -65 Net Points for a W/L record of 5-11
The average for these two team was exactly 6 wins. If I had used a wider range of our -55 points here like +/-25 than the list would have included two 8-8 teams, which were us scoring a whopping -78 net points and Washington who scored -31 net points. If I had included these two teams the average would have bumped up to exactly 7 wins.
Lets do one more year, just to see what we get, 2007 where ZERO teams fit our parameters. The closest two teams were:
CHI -14 (31 points below our target of -55) 7-9
CAR -80 (25 points higher the target of -55) 7-9
As you can see from the data above, both of these teams went 7-9, making the obvious average of 7.
Given the last 4 years of data, targeting teams with a +/- 15 points of our projected net points with Tebow starting, we can see that the average amount of wins we can expect is almost an even 6.
If we plug in the numbers from 2008 and 2007 with a wider range of +/- 31 points then our average raises up to 6.5 a little too far away to call it a rounded 7. So we will stay with 6.
The Win ceiling we could hope to get based on these statistics is 8 wins, while the basement is 4 wins. Keep in mind that only ONE team in our parameters had a 4 win season, whilst two teams went 8-8 (FOUR teams went 8-8 if you include the Broncos and Redskins from 2008). Aside from the fluke Seattle Seahawks of last year who scored -97 net points and made the playoffs, no team in our parameters got within 4 draft positions of a playoff berth.
Heck, why don't we look at Draft position while we're at it. Since everyone (not necessarily at MHR) wants to talk about the "Suck for Luck Sweepstakes" this year.
In 2008 resulting from the 2007 season records: no team hit our mark of 6-10, though there were a whopping SEVEN teams who hit 7-9 (which is the next closest W/L record to our 6.3 - 6.5ish win average) Of these four teams, the Cincinnati Bengals got priority, who with the 9th overall pick selected: KEITH RIVERS LB USC)
In 2009 for the 2008 season records: there was only ONE team that had a record of 6-10, the current reigning SuperBowl Champion Green Bay Packers, who with the 9th overall pick selected B.J. RAJI DT Boston College.
In 2010 for the 2009 season records: again there was only ONE team who managed to suck up a 6-10 record, the Buffalo Bills. With the (yet again) 9th overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, select C.J. Spiller RB Clemson.
And finally in 2011 for the 2010 season records: again SEVEN teams tied for a losing record, this time actually at 6-10. The lucky dogs getting to pick first out of the bunch ended up being the San Francisco 49ers, who with the (finally something different) 7th overall pick selected Aldon Smith DE Missouri.
So in Summary:
If we expect that the Denver Broncos behind Tim Tebow make absolutely ZERO improvement and maintain the status-quo of points for and against per game (or quarter I suppose), then we will find ourselves likely looking at a W/L record of 6-10. There is a VERY minute chance we could not win another game and end at 1-15, but there is a larger (though still small) chance we could end up 8-8 at this pace. So we're looking at a 4 to 8 window for wins, with the likely number being 6, and a good possibility of maybe getting 7. Out of teams finishing with these records (6-10 for most, 7-11 for the odd year of the 2008 draft - the 2007 results) NO team picked lower than the 7th overall pick, and the average draft selection ends up being 9th (rounded up from 8.5, I chose to round up because 3 of the 4 teams ACTUALLY picked 9th overall). So the basement pick we are likely looking at this year (again, this is IF and ONLY IF we make absolutely NO improvement whatsoever this year!) is the 7th overall pick, but we will probably end up with the 8th or 9th overall pick.
Even with these baseline, low-as-I-can-go statistical predictions... 6-10 is STILL better than 4-12 (not much better) and is probably guaranteed to take us out of the "Suck for Luck Sweepstakes", a player who I would be SHOCKED to see escape the top five. Again, some of the teams picking with a 7-11 record, or even an 8-8 record had draft picks as high as 16th or 17th overall... WAY out of the Luck range.
I personally expect Denver to make improvements, Tebow and the offense BIG STRIDES even, as well as incremental growth and gains for our defense. We are stock full of young players starting, so there will be some pains, but overall they should improve on the season. I feel safe predicting a 7-9 season or DARE I SAY 8-8? Who wants to be mediocre again (and reminiscent of my favorite Monty Python movie: "Thoust shall never say two unless immediately preceding onto three!), with the caveat that it is the stepping stone to a winning season in 2012!
If you made it this far, CONGRATULATIONS! and GO BRONCOS! Enjoy your weekend! I will be using Friday and Saturday to get my new Series kicked off: "Striking the Anvil, Then and Now - A look at the rebuilding efforts" with the first installment ":The Starting Line". There is a preview for the series HERE. Until next time...
Over and Out
((edit: I kind of forgot to include the fact that Orton bombed out our first 4.5 games... so we will actually be hitting a little lower than my personal projection of 7-9 or 8-8... I think we will improve enough to pull off a 7-9 season still... but 8-8 is quite a stretch with the hole Orton's left us in. Anyhow, enjoy the statistics and tweak your own windage knob, cause I'm WAY to tired to recalculate anything right now! Lol)
(second edit: Obviously this post is poor format to predict what our current season's W//L Record and Draft position will look like. It is much better suited for prediction what kind of Season Tim could have had if he started from Day one this year. Of course there are going to be TONS of additional factors that would tweak the numbers this way or that, but the point of this post was to AVOID the millions of different variables and try to project a simple one (net points). And then take the expected W-L record of teams with those types of net points and find out what position in the draft they might be. Was trying to keep it extremely simple...
If I would add anything as far as Win Loss record we could get even simpler and show that Tebow has managed to win about 1 out of 3.5 games - so take 11 games remaining and divide by 3.5 and we come up with about 3.14. So if we looked SOLELY at Tim's Win-Loss record we see a 4-12 season. On the other hand if you take our current net points -35, and add to them the projected points for 11 games or 44 quarters we would get - 38 additional points. So added to -35 is -73 net points. So we'd be looking at only a slightly higher increase than the first projection, what would amount to about a 5-11 record season. However, as I stated above I DO believe we will improve as a team, especially on offense as they gel and get used to Tim's playing style and learn how to take advantage of it. And the Defense should play a little stouter with the extra motivation knowing that he will keep them in the game. I think it will net us at least one, if not two or three more wins. So I stand firm at my 7-9 projection and think 8-8 could STILL be possible, even though the chances are quite slim. I don't think we'll be a 5 win team, regardless of what the odds look like.))