Category Archives: AFC North Comparisons

A Quick Look at the AFC North, Mid-Term


Photo via [Doesn’t this just sum up AFC North football?]

Thank heavens there is football this weekend. All the sordid discussion about compensation packages and injuries was getting me down. And that was just Ivan. Heaven only knows when Homer is going to chime in. But as they say, “idle hands are the devil’s playground.”

So instead let’s have a look at how things are going in the glorious AFC North.

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A Brief History of Time—in the AFC North

photo via

I hope you all realize I’m not claiming to be the Stephen Hawkings of football. Au contraire. Not even about the AFC North. But after four games it’s worth taking a look at where we are and seeing if we can find some trends.

As I’m quite sure everyone reading this is aware, the Steelers are currently in sole possession of the divisional crown—for the nonce. But it’s still a long way to January. So let’s look at the other teams and what potential threats might lurk. Because as we all know, when it’s AFC North Football anything can happen.

I’m going to try not to be too stats-nerdy with this. For one thing, stats only tell you what has happened, in a completely un-nuanced way. The interpretation of them can result in very diverse potential scenarios. So I’ll give some numbers just to keep myself honest, and commit myself to what I think they are telling us. I will update them at various points throughout the rest of the season.

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Tracking the AFC North Draft Picks, Rounds 2 and 3


How did Momma miss this guy?

I’m going to go live here, because why not? I will be updating as there is anything interesting to add.

The first AFC North pick in the second round was scheduled to be the Bengals, as the Browns had traded up with the Packers to take TE David Njoku at No. 29. But they traded down with the Vikings, and so the AFC North picks will be pretty condensed in Round 2 – Nos. 15, 16 and 20, and then of course the Steelers at 30.

I was curious as to which of the more highly rated players were left on the board at this point. I’m using a grade of 6.0 out of 10 as the cutoff point, since that encompasses the first 34 prospects. Read more

The Weirdness that is the NFL Free Agency, and What it Looks Like in the AFC North

NFL: Chicago Bears at Pittsburgh Steelers

via USA Today

Another year, another frenzy in the meat market known as NFL Free Agency. We can always count on a few stunners, and this year has been no exception. And, so far at least, this year is no exception in the Steelers’ reluctance to wade very far into these very expensive waters.

As Kevin Colbert recently noted, more teams are following the Steelers’ model of drafting and retaining their own players, and this makes the ones who do hit free agency all the more expensive. Read more

The AFC North Injury Report (Unofficial)


Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Matt Freed photo

This may seem like an odd subject for a post, but the whole question of injuries has a strange fascination for me. I suspect it is connected with the cognitive dissonance, you might say, I feel in regards to the subject at large, particularly in terms of head injuries.

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Ravens—Steelers: The Big Picture


Ozzie Newsome—via

The Steelers hired a new head coach in 2007, and the Ravens did the same in 2008. Both coaches were given an effective and intelligent front office staff headed by a long-time executive. Ozzie Newsome began working as an executive for the old Cleveland Browns and transferred, apparently seamlessly, to the newly-created Baltimore Ravens. However, he did not head their front office until 2002, when he was the first African American to be the general manager of an NFL team. Kevin Colbert was hired away from the Detroit Lions, where he was their head of scouting, to be the GM of the Steelers in 2000.

It occurred to me that following the path of each organization would be a fascinating comparison of the relative success of their philosophies in terms of hiring, scouting, and so on. As with all things NFL it’s difficult to draw hard and fast conclusions because of the small sample sizes and consequently larger-than-optimal role luck plays in the whole process, but there still should be some interesting trends.

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Opponent Preview: Bye Week

Regular Season


Last year I did an elaborate bye week post calculating all sorts of win percentages for various teams and so forth. You can read the whole thing here if you so desire, but I’m going repeat some of the information and add last season’s figures to the chart, so you might not want to bother.

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A Brief History of Time in the AFC North


Ron Schwane/AP Photo

Perhaps my title is overambitious. The fact that the “time” in question is less than a week would indicate this. The “brief” part, however, is correct, as I’m going to just skim rather lightly over the other teams in our division, not even making a bunch of charts or citing long lists of stats. I do not promise, however, that this will continue.

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Gamesmanship and the NFL Draft—How Much Funny Business Goes On?

imageDuring the first round of the 2016 NFL draft,  Roger Goodell barely had time to walk off the stage after announcing the Bengals’ pick—of the guy most people thought the Steelers wanted, William Jackson III—before he had to turn around and announce the Steelers’ pick. Apparently it came in seconds after the Steelers were on the clock. If they were heartbroken by the loss of Jackson they hid it pretty well.

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Rebuild vs. Reboot, Part II


In Part 1 we looked at the Carolina Panthers, who had the worst record in the league in 2010 and went to the Super Bowl after the 2015 season. I’m not whether the Panthers ownership would have called it a reboot, but it certainly had many of the elements, at least, of one: new coaching staff, and [eventually] a new general manager, high draft picks for a few years, cutting and/or letting walk in free agency over half of the roster.

Compare this to the Steelers—no change in head coach or general manager, minimal (and incremental) changes to the remainder of the coaching staff, a slow, steady divesture of the older veterans, and a good enough record during the process to never get a higher draft pick than No. 15 (and mostly lower.)

Today’s comparison is to the Baltimore Ravens, a traditional, bitter rival, and a team whose front office, and particularly their GM, Ozzie Newsome, is very highly regarded throughout the league. Read more

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