Depending on what college football team you follow, the days between the end of National Signing Day (our second unofficial American holiday, or is that Columbus Day?) and the Super Bowl (our first unofficial American Holiday) might be the best time of the year to be a football fan.
To stay In the spirit of these things, I thought it might be interesting to see how the recruiting rankings by Rivals applies to the players who will be competing in this weekend's Super Bowl.
Since we are all super-secret friends here on the DTN who just happen to be in the know due to our inside connections with everyone who matters, I thought you might be interested too.
Recruiting rankings are an indicator of a player's potential. So just how good are the rankings?
Join me after triple password protected pay wall after the jump to find out!
The main source for this analysis is the recruiting grades handed out by Rivals - the gold standard of recruiting services.
Secondly, the Rivals' recruiting rankings only start in 2002 which means that most of the more experienced players on the rosters are not evaluated in this survey (alas, we are not able to evaluate players like Hines Ward who has been in the NFL forever, and who was probably the most highly sought after high school recruit in the country back in his day). We just have to do the best with the data we have.
Speaking of Hines Ward, he recently had some interesting views to share on the NFL's concussion policy.
To say the league really cares? They don't give a fuck about concussions. And now they want to add on two extra games? Are you kidding? Come on, let's be real. Now that these new guidelines are in place, you'll see more and more guys lying to doctors to stay on the field. Contracts aren't guaranteed. If a guy's contract is coming up and he gets his bell rung-and if he has a concussion, he'll have to leave the game and maybe miss another one-trust me, he ain't tellin' nobody.
Maybe Mr. Ward, Dr. Robert Cantu and the fine folks on the Tech BOR should have a chat sometime, because here at Texas Tech we do give a f*** about concussions. But I digress.
Thirdly, if a player was unranked coming out of high school, I assigned a minimum of one star to those players instead of assigning a score of zero. Yes, this approach inflates the average score, but come on - we are talking about future NFL players, surely they were worth more than zero stars! Besides, what's wrong with a little grade inflation anyway? If prices can go up, why can't recruiting scores?
See the attached files which list the teams' active Super Bowl rosters (or at least what I think are the rosters), the players' respective alma maters, positions and of course their Rivals recruiting rating (number of stars).
I wasn't able to find every player in this analysis. If I couldn't find the player's recruiting score and that player joined their respective college teams in 2002 or afterwards, I marked them down as not rated. In some cases, as with a player like Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews, this could mean the player was a walk on (he was in fact a walk on at USC) or the player played at an obscure university, or the player was not ranked coming out of high school, or whatever. If I missed on a couple of these, please feel free to correct.
Overall Key Findings
Based on the average stars assigned by Rivals, I was able to evaluate 28 players on the Steelers' 53 man roster; and 44 players on Green Bay's 53 man roster.
As an aside, Green Bay is a much younger team than Pittsburgh. The average NFL tenure for Pittsburgh's players is 5.3 years compared to Green Bay's players which have just 3.7 years of experience.
Got it? Ok!
The Steelers average star rating?
A pedestrian 2.85 average star rating. Perhaps the Steelers could learn a little bit about evaluating talent by spending more time with Mack Brown.
And Green Bay you ask?
How about an Akron-esque average star rating of 2.23!
The Break Down
Here's how the Pittsburgh Steelers' "recruits" stack up:
- 5-Star Recruits: 2
- 4-Star Recruits: 9
- 3-Star Recruits: 3
- 2-Star Recruits: 9
- NR Recruits: 4
Here's a little graph for you:
Pittsburgh Steelers Roster (players recruited out of H.S. from 2002 to the present)
That's right. Somehow the Steelers made it through the gauntlet of the regular season, the AFC playoffs, and are heading into the Super Bowl with a roster in which 59% of its players were graded as a 3-star athletes or less out of high school.
The amazing power of luck clearly knows no boundaries.
As for the Green Bay Zips, er Packers:
- 5-Star Recruits: 0
- 4-Star Recruits: 7
- 3-Star Recruits: 8
- 2-Star Recruits: 17
- NR Recruits: 12 (To paraphrase a certain Nelson, "Ha, ha!")
And let's throw up a graph for the Packers (this should be fun!)
Green Bay Packer Rosters (players recruited out of H.S. from 2002 to present)
Did you read that right? Why yes, you did.
Eighty-four percent of the Packers' roster is made up of 3-star players or less. A full 66% of the roster is made up of walk-ons and two stars (and to think the Packers actually pay these guys!)
Based on the teams' recruiting classes, this won't even be close.
I think it's safe to say the Steelers should win this year's Super Bowl game in a romp.
Pittsburgh Steelers: 58
Bethune-Cookman Packers: 7
If only the NFL used the BCS system instead of this antiquated thing they call (airquotes) "playoffs." Now THAT would be something!