We’ve rated every team before and after every game using our Elo ratings system and created an interactive graph containing all the AFL-era ratings. This is part of a series of posts highlighting interesting facts from the history of AFL ratings.
In the AFL era, North Melbourne has never been a terrible team. Their lowest Elo rating was 1396, a level they bottomed out at in the middle of the 1992 season. That’s not a good rating, but it’s far from abysmal. They’ve also rarely been great – even in the 1990s, when they won two flags, they didn’t come close to setting any records on the Elo scale. For much of the past few decades, they’ve hugged the middle, with an Elo rating somewhere close to average. They’re consistently middling. The Kangaroos are not very bouncy.
The Kangaroos have spent half the AFL era rated between 1483 and 1573. That’s a very narrow band between their 25th and 75th percentiles for Elo ratings, their ratings have varied far less than any other team of the AFL era. The gap between their 25th and 75th percentiles is only 87 Elo points.
Take a look at how the Kangaroos compare to the team at the other end of the spectrum, the GWS Giants. The Giants have seen it all – the terrifying lows, the dizzying highs, the creamy middles.
The Roos’ 87 point range between their 25th and 75th percentiles is the lowest in the league, followed by the Crows. The Giants have been by far the most varied team, with an interquartile range of 326 Elo points; they’ve seen some very low lows and some very high highs. The most varied of the non-expansion teams is Brisbane; the three-peat era Lions can make a case for having been one of the best teams of the modern era, while the 2016 Lions are among the worst teams the AFL has seen.
An interesting question to ponder for fans is what you’d prefer from your team. Would you prefer your team to experience dramatic highs and lows, like Brisbane, or be consistently middling like the Kangaroos?