The Rams are Literally the Most Underperforming Team of the Century
By Jeff Arnaudo
You might be excited by the Rams. After a 46-9 mollywhop of the Indianapolis Colts that included an inspiring performance by Jared Goff, and a touchdown catch by the first ever cup to play professional football; folks betting the over (5.5) on the Rams 2017 win total are likely feeling pretty good.
But please, allow me to ruin it.
The St. Louis, currently Los Angeles, Rams have been the most underperforming team of the century. Like, statistically.
According to archived NFL futures odds, since 2002*, no team has won less games than they were “predicted” to than the Rams. If you question the relevance of the data, it also showed that New England has over-performed more than any other team (sensible), and that Cleveland slips in right behind the lowly Rams as the second most-beaten-by-the-odds franchise (also, duh). Find all of the data here.
That’s how many games, cumulatively, the Rams have come in under the line since 2002. That’s 3.5 more games than the Browns. For perspective, coming up 25 wins short is like dropping every win from three and a half “Jeff Fisher Seasons” (7-9, Everytime™). Not enough perspective? The Patriots have cumulatively come in 26 games OVER their projected win total, a whopping 51 game difference from the guys with two swirls (that are definitely not horns) on their helmets.
Now, this isn’t really all that surprising. The Rams have been consistently hyped, and then consistently plagued by injuries, inept coaching, and quarterback play that’s best described as really, really boring.
But let’s point some more personal fingers.
How about Marc Bulger? He’s essentially the “Rams franchise” of overrated players. He threw 23 INTs in 2003 (against 22 TD’s), and made the Pro Bowl. He followed that up with just one winning season in six years, and for whatever reason, St. Louis kept starting him (restarting?).
We can also blame the combination of millennium blue and century gold. The Rams switched to that color scheme in the early 00’s, and it did them zero favors. It’s impossible to win when your jersey was secretly the only real Y2K threat.
And yes, sorry, Jeff. You’re the featured image of this article for a reason. Jeff Fisher redefined mediocrity during his time in St. Louis and Los Angeles. The new definition is: any team coached by Jeff Fisher from 2012-2016, or, more specifically, the Rams. The Jeff-led Rams won an average of 6 games per year, so honestly, not even 7-9. Stick to buying groceries, fellow Jeff. Such a bad photo. Damn.
Long story short? Take the under on the Rams. That being a great bet is actually the best thing about the Rams. Also, it might not be a great bet. It’s kind of impossible to tell. The ugly part of this data? Coming in behind New England as the most over-performing franchise since 2002: the Indianapolis Colts. The same franchise that just lost to the Rams by 37 points. The same franchise that would be lucky to notch 7 wins this season. The same franchise th– wait, is that Jeff Fisher getting on a flight to Indy?
Other takeaways from the NFL win total odds archives:
The Kansas City Chiefs and Minnesota Vikings were the only two franchises to earn a “0,” meaning their average seasonal win total was nearly exactly the same as their average lines. Both teams averaged just below 8 wins per season.
The Philadelphia Eagles were the only team to average a winning season, but still come in beneath the line, cumulatively.
The New England Patriots have averaged 12.3 wins per season since 2002, but the line hovered around an average of 10.6. What does this mean? Oddsgate 2017.
The Cleveland Browns were the only team with a line that averaged below 7 wins, and they still underperformed. Poor Browns fans.
The Carolina Panthers cracked the top 5 of over-performers (in order: Patriots, Colts, Broncos, Steelers, Panthers). This was a surprise to me. Since 2002, those all feel like dominant franchises, except maybe Carolina. But look at average win totals: Pats (12.3), Colts (10.6), Broncos (9.7), Steelers (9.2), Panthers (8.4).