Read and React: Ranklings


Well-Known Member
Jan 22, 2006
Reaction score
Read and React: Ranklings

By Charles Robinson, Yahoo! Sports

Somewhere, there is a fan who thinks his or her favorite team has gotten exactly the credit they deserve. Unfortunately for the mailbag, that fan doesn't appear to own a computer.

But the griping masses do, and they didn't waste time complaining about the recent offseason rankings. It's become an offseason staple, really. The AFC and NFC rundown is pieced together and unveiled – and the readers band together like torch-bearing villagers and incinerate the mailbag.

Seemingly nobody was happy this week, whether it was the Seattle Seahawks fans who are once again crying about East Coast bias, or the New York Giants fans who think the No. 1 rating is a preseason curse (I mean, come on people). And, of course, there are the perpetually whiny New England Patriots fans, who watched their team lose key pieces this offseason but can't fathom how New England could possibly be just another good-but-not-great AFC team.

But I'd be lying if I said this wasn't music to my ears. Keep the nasty emails coming. Keep formulating the 10-page diatribes that always begin, "You are an idiot." I'll be more than happy to print them. But remember to include your first and last name and your city and state. And as always, my comments will be in italics.

To the mail …

AFC RANKINGS ("Steel the one," May 10, 2006)

I seriously think you're mistaken. You make no mention of two key Super Bowl pieces missing from the Pittsburgh Steelers' roster in Jerome Bettis and Antwaan Randle El, not to mention the fact that Ben Roethlisberger is overrated.

Justin Matthew Cope
Columbus, Ohio


So six of your top seven were the AFC playoff teams last year, and you even suggest that with Philip Rivers at the helm in '06, the Bolts may struggle, making the Jags more likely to grab that last wild-card spot. Frankly, you're not exactly going out on a limb here.

V. Allen

The day someone explains to me why "going out on a limb" constitutes good analysis is the day I'll make it a staple of the rankings.


How in the world can you rank the Kansas City Chiefs as the ninth-best team in the AFC? Do you remember how good of a run they were on the latter part of last season? Do you remember how Larry Johnson would have shattered all records if he had played all season at the pace he was when he came in for an injured Priest Holmes?

Bentonville, Ark.

I said it last year and got killed for it, but I'm going to say it again: The Chiefs are getting old. They are a torn Willie Roaf ACL from going 8-8.


The Steelers No. 1? You are five months late with this ranking. Keep putting the San Diego Chargers ahead of the Steelers. Your rankings never fail to amuse me for sheer stupidity.

Matthew Domanski
Los Angeles

I can't even begin to comprehend what Matthew is upset about.


The Chargers at No. 5 with an unproven quarterback? You have got to be kidding.

Michael Coffey

I think the defense is going to be vastly improved this season. And with LaDainian Tomlinson and Michael Turner getting plenty of carries, Rivers won't have to work miracles – just be efficient and smart with the football.


Placing the Patriots sixth is an insult. They get a full year of Tedy Bruschi and will get Rodney Harrison back, at the worst, a few games into the season. They get either a healthy Corey Dillon or Laurence Maroney (who is a stud). They get a healthy Matt Light who was out for most of the year. They get Ben (freak of nature) Watson for a full season, and they have one of the best front sevens in football. Anyone who doubts the Pats will be sadly mistaken come playoff time.


Frankly, I simply don't think New England did much in free agency to improve the team. If the Patriots are injury-free – and that's highly unlikely – it's hard to believe this defense is going to be a top-10 unit.


Picking the Buffalo Bills to finish behind the New York Jets, Houston Texans, Oakland Raiders, and Cleveland Browns? Peerless Price is going to have another 2002 season and show fans what J.P. Losman can really do.

Mark Perrott
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario


Your bias is showing again. At least you're not jumping on the Indianapolis Colts' bandwagon early. Indy is not Indy without Edgerrin James. If anything, this is Jacksonville's year to move up. As for the Denver Broncos, they were a non-playoff team with a weak schedule that made the playoffs. This year will bring them back to life with a much tougher schedule.

New York

Someone mark it down. The annual "this is Jacksonville's year to move up" email has finally arrived.


Your picks for the AFC were to say the least crazy! Pittsburgh is definitely No. 1, but Denver is more like No. 4, as the Colts and, yes, the Patriots are VASTLY better than the Broncos. But that isn't the worst. You did NOT put the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 3! A team with great offense but a poor D? How you can rank them ahead of Indy is beyond any logic at all.

Jim B.
Derry, N.H.


Bengals third in the AFC? Tennessee Titans dead last? You sir, are stupid.

New Smyrna Beach, Fla.


NFC RANKINGS ("East meets best," May 12, 2006)

I'm an East Coast guy, but four of the five top teams all in the NFC East? Come on. Just a hunch, but those teams are likely to beat up on each other a bit, and it's hugely unlikely all four will have a winning record. A little bias there?

Phil Hawken
Arlington, Va.

The rankings aren't based on what teams will win the most games. They are an opinion of strongest to weakest teams.


There is no way the Philadelphia Eagles are among the top-five NFC teams. Donovan McNabb is overrated and definitely won't produce with second-string receivers. And how can you knock the Minnesota Vikings for having Brad Johnson at 38 running the helm? Look at the 1998 team, with Randall Cunningham leading the charge (who coincidentally was around the 38 mark as well).

Zack Martin

Randall was 35 in 1998, and he was surrounded by Randy Moss, Cris Carter, Robert Smith and Jake Reed. Brad will be 38 and will be working with Koren Robinson, Travis Taylor, Marcus Robinson and Chester Taylor. See the difference?

To be continued next post......
Love your ranking of the Giants as the top team in the NFC. It appears they have the talent on paper to make the next step, if (and it's a big if) Eli Manning takes the next step forward. However, you have to look at the Giants' schedule for 2006 and say to yourself that the team will struggle to win nine games, even if they are good.

John Zullo
Metuchen, N.J.


New York Giants No. 1? Washington Redskins ranked higher than the Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers? Did you pull team names out of a hat and base your rankings on this method?

Eric Surretsky
Shelby, N.C.


You have to be kidding me with ranking the Panthers at No. 7 in the NFC. If you didn't forget, the Panthers were only one step away from the Super Bowl last season and they improved on both sides of the ball. On defense, nobody will be able to run the ball against that big defensive line, and when the ball gets thrown, you have one of the best cornerback duos in the league and Julius Peppers and Mike Rucker in the face of the quarterback.

Los Angeles


Still no respect for the Seahawks, huh? The team looks better than last year, when they barely lost the Super Bowl, and yet you can't bring yourself to rank them above the unproven Giants. It's kind of sad, really.

Brooklyn, N.Y.


How can you rank the Redskins No. 4 when you state they may not even be in the postseason race? Are you drinking the Dan Snyder Kool Aid?

Brian Lennen

Actually, what I said was: "Even with all the additions at wideout, Mark Brunell will have to grind out another quality season for Washington to stay in the playoff mix."


Calling Jamie Winborn a "quality signing" for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers demonstrates how little you know about professional football. He's merely going to be Tampa's head start on the injured reserve list.

Martin Bradley
Knoxville, Tenn.


I was just blind-sided by your thoughts that the Detroit Lions are the second-worst team in the NFC! I don't understand how you could put the Green Bay Packers and the Vikings ahead of them. I know they aren't great, but the Lions are way better than Green Bay and at least as good as Minnesota.

Joshua Merklinger
Jackson, Miss.


I think you are an idiot. The following quote says it all: "The division is busting at the seams with new talent, thanks to superstar acquisitions in New York (LaVar Arrington) and Dallas (Terrell Owens)." They were already in the NFC East last time I checked.

Greenville, N.C.

Good catch. Dumb statement on my part.


Thanks a LOT for giving the Giants the kiss of death! Why don't you pick someone else as tops in the conference?

Edison, N.J.


DRAFT GRADES ("AFC draft report card," May 1, 2006, and NFC draft report card," May 1, 2006)

Come on Charles. Are you living in some weird state of denial? You only gave the Monsters of the Midway a C? What the heck is the matter with sportswriters today? If you had any knowledge whatsoever about sports you would have given Jerry Angelo and his Bears the credit they deserve: a D-minus.



Kansas City didn't address the cornerback needs in the draft? How about when we sign Ty Law?

Clyde, Kan.


I'd like to see a stiffer curve on the grading done by the "experts." Too many As and Bs and hardly any Ds. Certainly never an F.

George Amer
York, S.C.

As I have said in the past, I don't like to give Ds and Fs on report cards because as long as a team is drafting players it is adding bodies and potentially helping itself. Only on rare occasions, when a team absolutely blows its draft priorities, does such a low grade become appropriate.


So when do all the quality drafts by the Arizona Cardinals start paying off in wins? I realize Dennis Green started with a limited talent base, but has he now had enough time for the fans to expect a winner?


That's a fair question. I've wondered that myself.


Matt Leinart is not a "Detroit" kind of guy. Period.

Kevin Wright
Berkeley, Calif.

Motown is a long way from Paris.


Your grades are amusing. You must base them on the alignment of the stars and whatever gray matter you can chip out of your ears. I might as well have read any year you have written about: Player is a good pick, this guy is a reach, they get a D. You are great comedy.

Semion Sellers
Quartz Hill, Calif.

I didn't hand out a D, so I don't know what you're complaining about. As for talking about why a player is a good pick or a reach, what did you expect? A breakdown of their favorite colors?


What do you think the San Francisco 49ers were thinking in the fourth round when they took Michael Robinson instead of Darnell Bing (who was taken right after they picked)? I think Bing would've helped the team a lot more than Robinson will.

Tracy, Calif.

Some personnel people think Robinson has an excellent shot at being a Pro Bowl player at running back. There is some potential at wideout, too, but his hands leave a lot to be desired.


You and so many other pundits refuse to give the Texans an A for their draft simply because of the Reggie Bush pick. None of you saw it coming even though the Texans were sending clear signs through the entire process. If they picked No. 2, they would have an A for certain.


Passing on a fantastic playmaker like Bush for an "upside" guy like Mario Williams gets you knocked down a grade.


In your post-draft grading, do you even consider the possibility that teams aren't drafting to fill needs? Teams that did draft heavily for needs ended up "reaching" to get their best-ranked player at a position who is likely not the best value.

Portland, Maine

I love how this "best player available" theory has become so popular. The Lions drafted that way and landed Charles Rogers, Roy Williams and Mike Williams in three consecutive drafts. And that has sure worked out great, huh?
This thread has been closed due to inactivity. You can create a new thread to discuss this topic.