Why is Football Outsiders biased in favor of the New England Patriots (or Pittsburgh Steelers, Seattle Seahawks, etc.)?
We're not biased against your favorite team; we're actually biased against you personally, as well as your race, religion, city of origin, sexual activities, and your promiscuous mother. No, no, that's a joke. But since you must know, the statistical rankings here are based entirely on the NFL's play-by-play data, and are not adjusted to reflect bias for or against any particular team. Whenever formulas are adjusted, it is to improve their performance for over 25 years of data and over 750 team seasons, and changes are not geared toward screwing over any one team.
On the other hand, all of the writers here are fans first, and it has always been the policy of Football Outsiders to be very upfront about which teams we root for. Here is a list, just in case readers want to go looking for hints of bias:
- Dave Bernreuther: Indianapolis Colts / Syracuse Orange
- Zachary O. Binney: Miami Dolphins / Jacksonville Jaguars
- Ian Boyd: Texas Longhorns
- Cale Clinton: New England Patriots
- Brian Fremeau: Notre Dame Fighting Irish
- Tom Gower: Tennessee Titans
- Derrik Klassen: No team in particular
- Bryan Knowles: San Francisco 49ers
- Rivers McCown: Houston Texans
- Ben Muth: Arizona Cardinals / Stanford Cardinal
- Chad Peltier: Georgia Bulldogs / Ohio State Buckeyes
- Andrew Potter: New Orleans Saints / Jacksonville Jaguars
- Aaron Schatz: New England Patriots
- Scott Spratt: Carolina Panthers
- Vincent Verhei: Seattle Seahawks
- Robert Weintraub: Cincinnati Bengals / Syracuse Orange
- Carl Yedor: Seattle Seahawks / Washington Huskies
The most common bias complaint is that we are pro-Patriots, but this is easy to explain. Aaron Schatz, the editor-in-chief, is a Patriots fan and the most visible writer on the site. Most of the media attention during the first year of Football Outsiders came from Boston Sports Media Watch, Boston sports radio, and the Boston Globe. We've done polls, and more Patriots fans read FO than fans of any other team (Eagles and Steelers are second and third) which means there's lots of Pats talk in the discussion threads. Plus, the Patriots happen to have won the Super Bowl in the first two years of our existence, so we couldn't exactly say nasty things about them.
What's the deal with all the mentions of Brown University (or James Develin and Zak DeOssie)?
The initial founders of Football Outsiders, for the most part, were brothers at Zeta Delta Xi at Brown University (creator Aaron Schatz, designer Benjy Rose, cartoonist Jason Beattie, and original Scramble for the Ball writers Ian Dembsky and Al Bogdan). James Develin and Zak DeOssie are the only two Brown alumni currently on NFL rosters. Brown doesn't send a lot of people to the pros, so we end up talking about these obscure players a lot.