Monday, May 14, 2012

ESPN power rankings... with a twist

It's human nature to rank things.  We love to categorize, list, and order whatever it is that’s put in front of us.  It helps keep us sane in a world of constant disorder, and when all else fails it gives us a meaningless exercise when there's nothing better to do.

Just ask Mel Kiper, who has made a career out of it.  He has been ranking college players that are getting ready for their NFL careers since I was in diapers.  During the draft off-season, Kiper has a radio show that KNBR syndicates on Saturday mornings in which he always seems to be teasing his weekly "top five lists." "Coming up, my top five taco shops in the greater New York area!" Man, I can't wait until I have Saturdays off.

Just prior to the NFL Draft, ESPN released their "Off-season power rankings".  They placed the 49ers 3rd, I believe, behind the New York Giants and Patriots.  Predictable, but my guess is that's not what ESPN wanted.

Let's take a look at the ESPN Power Rankings from a different angle.  Rather than judging teams based on talent or win-loss record, let's judge them based on ESPN's interest in them.  By the time I'm finished, I'll have sufficiently killed any chance of working for the mothership, but oh well.  Who really wants to live in Connecticut anyway?

1.  The New York Jets - No real explanation necessary here.  We have a New York team, head-manned by a coach with an affinity for talking - A LOT.  They traded for Tim Tebow.  They're not all that good at football, so even when there's no controversy to speak of, we can always discuss their "struggles." They signed Tim Tebow this year.  They have a lot of players that love to put their feet in their mouths like Bart Scott.  Oh yeah, did we mention Tim Tebow?

2.  The New York Giants - Here's another New York team that loves to talk.  They won a Super Bowl, their quarterback's last name is Manning AND they're pretty good at football.  If THEY signed Tim Tebow, the list would start and end with them.

3. The Denver Broncos - The ghost of Tebow past resides in the Mile High City, which means we would have left them high on our list because of the whole "how the Broncos are doing without Tebow Time" angle anyway.  Luckily for Colorado sports fans, they pulled off signing Peyton Manning, so the Broncos will be good for endless hours of debate come football season.  We pray for Peyton's neck on a daily basis.

4. The New England Patriots - We would love this team a lot more if Bill Belichick would talk a little more.  We're also hoping Tom Brady gets himself into some kind of trouble - a DUI, a divorce, whatever.  After all, being controversial is better for ratings than being good at sports is.

5. The Indianapolis Colts - The ghost of Peyton past lives here, but Andrew Luck should provide us plenty to talk about for Indianapolis this year.  If he's good, we'll slobber on him.  If he sucks, we'll point and laugh.  Perfect.

6. The Dallas Cowboys - Even without Tony Romo and all of his mediocre tendencies, this team would still be high on our list.  They are "America's team," so everybody loves them... Right?

7. The Philadelphia Eagles - Even though Vince Young is gone, the Eagles are still the number one dream team in our hearts.

8. The Green Bay Packers - The whole "small market" aspect of the cheese heads makes us want to ignore them, but their pesky knack for winning overrides that.  Discount Double Check!

9. The Detroit Lions - We love Ndamukong Suh's nasty attitude.  We also love nicknames like Megatron.  Jim Schwartz is kind of douchy, so we like that too.

10. The Washington Redskins - We're hoping Robert Griffin III sucks so we can keep our streak of ridiculing the Redskins alive and well.

11. The New Orleans Saints - If it wasn't for this team, we wouldn't have had much NFL to talk about this offseason.  Keeping the "bountygate" storyline on life support is our number one priority here at ESPN.

12. The Chicago Bears - Brandon Marshall is nuts.  Jay Cutler throws interceptions. Devin Hester will probably take a few to the house.  Get your popcorn ready, folks!

13. The Pittsburgh Steelers - Troy Polamalu's hair!  Terrible Towels!  Ben Roethlisberger's wacky bar bathroom antics!  Blue collar!  Lunch pail football!

14. The Carolina Panthers – Cam Newton throws for 500 yards per game and still loses.  But who cares, because offense is more important than winning.

15. The San Francisco 49ers - Like we said, offense is more important than winning.

16. The Baltimore Ravens - They are the 49ers of the east coast, so we considered switching spots here.  In the end, Jim Harbaugh's handshake situation gave the 49ers the edge.

That's it.  
Wait, there's more?  Damn it!

17. The Houston Texans - Matt Schaub to Andre Johnson, and Arian Foster can run fast.  Enough said.

18. The San Diego Chargers - We're still waiting for Philip Rivers to completely lose it before we really start covering this team.

19. The Cincinnati Bengals - They had a breakout season last year, but they can’t seem to breakout of their legal issues. Give me a break - we're ESPN, not TruTV.

20. The Oakland Raiders - Their new coach is Dennis Allen?  Zzzzzz...

21. The Atlanta Falcons - Dear Falcons regular season performances,

We don't believe you.

Sincerely, ESPN

22. The Miami Dolphins - The way Stephen Ross swings and misses, we're going to have to send Buster Olney to cover the Dolphins pretty soon.

23. The Kansas City Chiefs - We're still pissed that they ended the Packers' perfect season last year.

24. The Seattle Seahawks - We won't pay attention to them until we have to sell you reasons to watch those Monday Night Football games that we scheduled for them late in the season.

25. The St. Louis Rams - We're praying for Sam Bradford's ankle.

26. The Buffalo Bills - We're praying for Ryan Fitzpatrick's beard. We're also praying that Mario Williams injures Mark Sanchez, and doesn't injure Tom Brady.

27. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.

28. The Arizona Cardinals - If it's Kevin Kolb, sure, why not?  If it's John Skelton, forget it.

29. The Tennessee Titans - It was fun pretending that Peyton would go to Tennessee, wasn't it?

30. The Minnesota Vikings - Adrian Peterson may crack SportCenter’s top ten plays, but that's about it.

31. The Cleveland Browns - Let's play "who is younger than your rookie quarterback"!

32. The Jacksonville Jaguars - There's a team called the Jaguars?  Where the hell is Jacksonville anyway?

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