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The Complete History of the NFL

One of FiveThirtyEight's many projects, "The Complete History of the NFL," a data visualization project featured in the 02-01-2019 Scout Report (and updated in February 2020), provides a fun way to see how your home team has ranked over time. Fans of American football may appreciate FiveThirtyEight's interactive visualization of NFL history. This project graphs the performance of every current NFL team over time (as well as many teams that no longer exist) to create a visual assessment of each team's strength relative to the rest of the league. Visitors can select their favorite team and view its graph alone, or they can choose to compare it to another NFL team. They can also zoom in to examine the graph in greater detail, and hovering over the graph displays the details of individual games with championships marked by yellow circles. Several highlights are chosen and briefly explained below the graph, including the San Francisco 49ers's strength in the 1980s and 90s and the Dallas Cowboys' resurgence in the 1990s. To quantify and compare the teams' performances across the years, FiveThirtyEight uses the Elo method, which it describes as "a simple measure of strength based on game-by-game results," to calculate ratings for every game in NFL history. This project was designed by visual journalist Reuben Fischer-Baum, with its statistical model by Nate Silver and additional contributions by Jay Boice and Matthew Conlen. The project was last updated in February of this year.
Archived Scout Publication URL
Scout Publication
Date of Scout Publication
June 5th, 2020
Date Of Record Creation
January 29th, 2019 at 11:05am
Date Of Record Release
January 29th, 2019 at 2:06pm
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