A Complete History of the AFL

We’ve used our Elo ratings system to rate each team before and after every AFL game, resulting in over 10 000 ratings in total1, and now you can explore the full history of AFL team ratings using the graph below. The graph covers the AFL era, which began in 1990.

The graph is interactive. You can choose your favourite team from the drop-down menu and drag to select a period of time you’re particularly interested in. If you hover your mouse over individual games, you can see the team’s rating after each game they played. All the other teams are shown in grey and you can hover over those lines to see more information as well. 2


Read more: How our ratings work | 2017 ratings and projections | Tips for upcoming games

Elo ratings are a simple but powerful team way of comparing teams’ strength over time. At its core, the system is quite simple. Before each game, we calculate an expected result, based on each team’s pre-game rating and the size of the home-ground advantage. After the game, teams’ ratings rise if they did better than expected and fall if they did worse. The average rating is 1500 and higher ratings are better.

More stories using our Elo ratings:

Thanks to FiveThirtyEight for the obvious inspiration.

 

 

  1. Our ratings actually start in 1897; there are around 30 000 in total if you include the VFL era. Only the AFL ratings are shown in this post, but the pre-1990 games were used to determine the strength of teams at the start of the AFL era.
  2.  The Brisbane Bears and Lions are considered to be the same team for the purposes of our ratings.

Creator of The Arc