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The only reliable thing in Cleveland

Since Joe Thomas entered the league, the Browns have a record of 48-112. That translates to a 0.300 winning percentage, the second-worst in the NFL over the last decade.

That’s bad, but not as historically bad as I would have thought. From 2000 to 2006, the Detroit Lions had a 0.295 winning percentage, the worst in the NFL. And from 2007 to 2011, the Rams had an anemic 0.188 winning percentage, the worst in the NFL. There was a common denominator for both of those teams: defensive end James Hall.

How did I find Hall? I looked at all players with 100 career games played. Then I calculated the winning percentage for his team in each season of his career, weighted by the number of games he played that season. So when calculating the adjusted career winning percentage for Hall, who played in 165 games and in 16 games for the 2008 Rams, 9.7% of his Adj Car Win% is based off of that team’s 2-14 record. The 2000 Lions went 9-7, but Hall only played in 5 games that year, so the 9-7 mark only counts for 3% of his career record. And the fact that the Lions went 3-2 in the 5 games Hall actually played is irrelevant: for calculating Adj Car Win%, I just used the team’s overall winning percentage multiplied by the number of games he played.

There are over 4,000 players who have played in 100 career games, and Hall has the lowest adjusted career winning percentage. The second-lowest? That honor belongs to John Greco, who was a teammate of Hall’s in St. Louis from 2008 to 2010, and has been a teammate of Thomas in Cleveland ever since.

Below are the 100 players with the worst adjusted career winning percentages: Thomas checks in at #35.

RkPlayerGFirst YearLast YearAdj Car Win%
1James Hall165200020110.236
2John Greco111200820160.238
3Randy Grimes118198319920.246
4Don Morrison123197119790.256
5Paul Guidry106196619730.257
6Joe Carter109193319450.267
7Brock Gutierrez114199720050.269
8Tyson Alualu110201020160.269
9Nick Harris183200120120.270
10Joe Federspiel141197219810.273
11Rob Taylor110198619930.274
12Jeff Backus191200120120.276
13Rod Breedlove101196019670.277
14Paul Posluszny129200720160.277
15Archie Manning151197119840.278
16Jerry Sturm144196119720.281
17John Cannon122198219900.282
18Elex Price103197319800.284
19Tom Myers136197219810.284
20Jim Schrader116195419640.285
21Richard Neal120196919780.285
22Steve Bush118199720050.287
23Chuck Hinton123196419720.287
24Gerald Carter103198019870.290
25O.J. Atogwe101200520110.290
26Mike Tilleman149196619760.291
27John Pitts115196719750.293
28Kalimba Edwards101200220080.293
29Chris Hetherington126199620060.294
30Henry Childs103197419840.295
31Mel Tom117196719750.297
32Freddie Jones123199720040.298
33Tyler Brayton141200320110.298
34Dick James117195619650.300
35Joe Thomas160200720160.300
36Danny Abramowicz111196719740.300
37Jared DeVries120199920080.301
38Scot Brantley114198019870.301
39Wali Rainer110199920050.301
40Kirk Morrison112200520120.304
41Bob Pollard154197119810.305
42Rod Jones145198619960.305
43Ernie Sims109200620130.306
44Lee Calland101196319720.307
45Chad Stanley116199920060.308
46Maurice Hurst105198919950.308
47Goose Gonsoulin108196019670.309
48Robert Gallery104200420110.311
49Billy Lothridge104196419720.311
51Michael Bankston144199220000.313
50Marv Cook112198919950.313
52Tony McGee156199320030.313
53Doug Pelfrey111199319990.314
54Nnamdi Asomugha157200320130.314
55Ralph Heck120196319710.315
56Brian Orakpo103200920160.315
57Damion McIntosh125200020090.315
58Gene Mingo130196019700.315
59Mark Nordquist111196819760.315
60David Logan112197919870.316
61John Copeland107199320000.317
62Tommy Nobis133196619760.317
63Matt Joyce122199520040.318
64Stanford Routt119200520120.318
65John Paluck105195619650.318
66Roy Miller112200920160.318
67Bob Scarpitto102196119680.318
68James Wilder129198119900.318
69Daylon McCutcheon103199920050.319
70Ervin Randle105198519920.319
71Adam Goldberg112200420110.319
72Don Talbert103196219710.320
73Tom Carter118199320010.320
74Tim Goad141198819960.320
75Steve Tovar121199320000.320
76Chris Dressel111198319920.321
77Harvey Salem126198319920.321
78Dominic Raiola219200120140.321
79Jerry Simmons106196519740.321
80Mike Gann118198519930.321
81Brian Kelley143197319830.322
82Errol Linden134196119700.322
83O.J. Simpson135196919790.323
84Billy Bajema120200520130.323
85Al Cowlings101197019790.324
86Earl Little107199820050.324
87L.J. Shelton146199920080.324
88Steven Jackson160200420150.324
89Jacob Bell109200420110.325
90Ian Beckles126199019980.325
91John Hill177197219850.325
92Richard Wood146197519840.325
93Fran O'Brien124195919680.326
94Darren McFadden103200820160.326
95Marty Carter161199120010.326
96Willie Broughton111198519960.327
97Kevin Murphy116198619930.327
98Paul Butcher134198619960.327
99Ryan Pontbriand134200320110.327
100Bern Brostek105199019970.328

Thomas has a career AV of 82; what if we limit our list to players with career AVs of at least 75? Thomas has the second lowest adjusted career winning percentage.

RkPlayerGAVFirst YearLast YearAdj Car Win%
1Archie Manning15175197119840.278
2Joe Thomas16082200720160.300
3O.J. Simpson13598196919790.323
4Norm Snead17887196119760.353
5Calvin Johnson13578200720150.370
6Takeo Spikes21984199820120.376
7Steve DeBerg20679197819980.389
8La'Roi Glover19391199620080.391
9Jim Everett15887198619970.406
10Dick Butkus11978196519730.406
11Ray Donaldson24477198019960.409
12Mike Kenn25195197819940.410
13Mike Stratton15679196219730.412
14Chris Chandler18077198820040.415
15Willie Anderson19590199620080.416
16Wes Chandler15080197819880.419
17Vinny Testaverde23397198720070.422
18Joe DeLamielleure18587197319850.423
19Julian Peterson15875200020100.426
20Cortez Kennedy167101199020000.428
21Daunte Culpepper10586199920090.430
22Karlos Dansby19679200420160.431
23Aeneas Williams211104199120040.432
24Fred Smerlas20081197919920.433
25Bruce Armstrong21282198720000.436
26Jeff Van Note24677196919860.436
27Chris Hinton17779198319950.437
28Andre Johnson19395200320160.442
29Herschel Walker18779198619970.445
30Andre Tippett15190198219930.446
31Boomer Esiason187106198419970.446
32Leslie O'Neal19688198619990.447
33Doug Wilkerson20486197019840.450
34Simeon Rice17488199620070.450
35Gino Cappelletti15379196019700.453
36Joe Ferguson18681197319900.454
37Bert Jones10281197319820.455
38Joe Fields18680197519880.455
39Harold Carmichael18279197119840.455
40Willie Roaf189107199320050.457
41Jim Zorn14076197619870.459
42David Harris15481200720160.460
43Marvin Powell13376197719870.460
44Mo Lewis20091199120030.461
45Ray Brown26282198620050.461
46Tamba Hali17277200620160.461
47Warren Sapp198120199520070.461
48Lomas Brown26395198520020.462
49Matthew Stafford10975200920160.462
50Derrick Johnson16780200520160.464
51Joey Galloway19877199520100.464
52Henry Ellard22896198319980.466
53Roger Wehrli19382196919820.468
54Greg Landry14680196819840.469
55Chad Johnson16687200120110.469
56Charley Johnson16579196119750.471
57Irving Fryar25579198420000.471
58Jimmy Johnson213100196119760.472
59London Fletcher25697199820130.473
60Rob Burnett20281199020030.473
61Harry Carson17391197619880.474
62Eddie Meador16383195919700.474
63Brandon Marshall16783200620160.475
64Mike Munchak15991198219930.475
65Deron Cherry14875198119910.476
66Chester McGlockton17979199220030.477
67Jay Cutler13984200620160.477
68Mario Williams15876200620160.479
69Russ Washington20085196819820.479
70Eric Moulds18676199620070.480
71Clay Matthews27894197819960.480
72Bill Bergey15984196919800.481
73Barry Sanders153121198919980.482
74Matt Forte13478200820160.482
75Dan Dierdorf16077197119830.483
76Albert Lewis22580198319980.484
77John Gilliam15176196719770.485
78Jim Harbaugh17778198720000.485
79Lawyer Milloy23479199620100.485
80Steve Largent200103197619890.485
81Freeman McNeil14478198119920.485
82Dan Fouts181122197319870.486
83Jake Plummer14377199720060.486
84Larry Grantham17585196019720.487
85Joe Namath14094196519770.487
86Steve Smith219103200120160.487
87Joe Nash21876198219960.487
88Junior Seau268130199020090.488
89Brian Waters18685200020130.488
90Kerry Collins19881199520110.489
91Bobby Mitchell14888195819680.490
92Deion Sanders188117198920050.490
93Jeff Garcia12589199920090.491
94Brian Sipe12575197419830.491
95Lincoln Kennedy16977199320030.492
96James Hasty20681198820010.493
97Larry Fitzgerald20285200420160.494
98Darrelle Revis14089200720160.494
99Jared Allen18799200420150.495
100Larry Wilson16985196019720.496
101Bruce Matthews296135198320010.496
102Clyde Simmons23687198620000.496
103Ronde Barber241111199720120.496
104Deacon Jones19191196119740.496
105Jessie Armstead17681199320030.497
106Jim Hart20199196619840.497
107Isaac Bruce223102199420090.498
108James Brooks16284198119920.498
109Keith Fahnhorst19375197419870.500

As always, please leave your thoughts in the comments.

  • sacramento gold miners

    Ruben Brown is a good comp for Joe Thomas, one offensive lineman just doesn’t have the same impact on the offense that a QB does. In the second table, Archie Manning, who really didn’t have the opportunity to escape New Orleans, and rarely vocalized his frustration. Manning grew up in an era when athletes generally didn’t talk about the direction of their team, and that probably hurt him with the Saints.

    Steve DeBerg was the guy Bill Walsh correctly traded when DeBerg was battling Joe Montana for the starting job in San Francisco.

  • It looks like Thomas is primed to go down as the “losingest” HOFer ever, unless he doesn’t make it (unlikely) or the Browns start winning or he gets trade to a winner (also unlikely?) and he passes OJ.

    • Tommy Nobis is another good comp.

      In case anyone was wondering, Ollie Matson is at 0.336. So he just misses the first list, and he doesn’t have enough career AV (because most of his career came in the pre-AV era) to make the second.

  • sacramento gold miners

    Wes Chandler is ranked 16th on the AV table, and amassed over 500 receptions after his age 30 season. It was shaping up to be a potential HOF career, but Chandler faded quickly, and he washed out with the 49ers.

  • Idk if you follow reddit, but I post the articles I find most interesting to r/nfl and usually get good discussion. This was by far the most hated of your stuff I’ve ever seen; it’s currently down at 9% upvoted (so about one upvote for every ten downvotes). Most seem to take issue with the seeming discrediting of the stat when you simply ignore the team record while the player is actually on the field and lump it in with the team’s rest-of-year record.

    As for me, I understand the logistics of not being able to do that with every single player, although I understand the grievance and the inability to take this stat seriously, as interesting as I see it at first glance. However, I’m also dubious as to how much it would change if you took those extra steps.

    • Given that game log doesn’t simply doesn’t exist for offensive linemen for most of recorded history, this would be impossible to do. I am skeptical that it would change the results in any material way.

  • sunrise089

    I see Thomas with 104 AV, what am I missing?

    • He used CarAV instead of cumulative AV. So Thomas gets credit for 100% of his best season, 95% of his second best season, 90% of his third best season, etc. It would seem he gets 12 points for his best season but only 11.4 for his other 12 AV season. His 8 AV season is reduced to 4.4 by this method.

      • sunrise089

        Thanks Bryan, figured there was something I wasn’t seeing…

  • Tim Truemper

    To Freddy- “hated?” To me Chase is merely showing what players have been on the losing end the most, using a particular measure. I don’t see any attribution to said player being the reason for the losing record. Or am I missing something in your post?

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  • jtr

    Adding a position column to these tables would be helpful. Pretty much by definition, you’re going to be pulling up some fairly obscure players when you dig deep into guys who toiled for awful teams.

  • Clint

    Interestingly enough, James Hall is responsible for a Rams win over the Browns. Pretty interesting story. The video too. He jumped the snap, forced Alex Mack back and the ball ricocheted off his foot. It rolled to Brad Maynard who somehow got it down, but the FG didn’t go through. The snapper Pontbriand (pro bowler/maybe the highest drafted LS ever) was done after that. (Also peep the illegal two-forward pass play to Seneca) http://www.cleveland.com/browns/index.ssf/2011/11/rams_coach_confirms_de_james_h.html