The Jets beat the Browns 24-13 today, bringing New York’s record up to 7-8. With Rex Ryan on the hot seat — more on this in a few hours — some have defended the controversial head coach by lauding his work this season. After all, if the Jets are one of the least talented teams in the NFL, isn’t it the product of great coaching that the Jets got to 7-8?
That would be true if the Jets were playing like a 7-8 team. But that’s not the case. The Jets have been outscored by 110 points this year, which makes them a bottom five team, a level of production more in line with the team’s talent. If Ryan is getting bottom five production out of a team that’s bottom five in talent, well, that’s not nearly as impressive.
But perhaps you want to argue that the Jets have overachieved in record (but not anywhere else) because of Ryan? Let’s investigate that claim. New York has just 4.45 Pythagorean wins, which means that they’ve won 2.55 more games than expected. The table below shows the 24 teams to exceed their Pythagorean record1 by at least two wins while posting a negative points differential.
The standard-bearers of overachieving excellence are Ted Marchibroda and Jeff George on the 1992 Colts. In recent years, we have seen Hue Jackson and Tom Cable and Dick Jauron and Mike Tice overachieve relative to expectations. If the reason to keep Ryan on board is because he has milked 7 wins out of this roster, the preceding sentence should provide the necessary cold water on that idea.
Here’s the less math-nerdy version. If not for a Lavonte David push in the opening game, a Nick Folk game-winner in Atlanta, and a favorable penalty call in overtime against New England, the Jets could be 4-11. Ryan wouldn’t have done any worse of a coaching job to get them to that point, either.
- Among teams in 16-game seasons [↩]