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Good Story...The Kings of Capology


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Apr 3, 2002
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Miami FLA
An interesting article on the Salary Cap Guru's

I found this on another board and thought I'd share it for those who have yet to see it!

Numbers show Packers, Broncos are cap era kings
May 10, 2002
By Jay Glazer Senior Writer

Check the numbers, they rarely lie. This is exactly what needed to be done one week after expounding upon the importance of salary capologists, those whacky, yet lovable crusaders roaming front offices throughout the NFL. has scoured the numbers to garner an inside look at which teams have truly been able to marvel in the current NFL salary-cap stratosphere and which franchises seem to be floating in space and perennial mediocrity. The truth is out there.

First, we must set the criteria for our fact-finding mission. This study is based upon team-by-team analysis of win-loss percentage and postseason history during the salary-cap era inaugurated eight years ago (before the 1994 season). Also factored in -- number of seasons a team has fared below the .500 mark, and strength of division schedule.

So, which teams have been able to mow the lawn of today's NFL landscape and which teams have been stuck in the weeds?

Without further adieu, a New Jersey drum roll please maestro ... Ba Da Bing, Ba Da Bing, Ba Da Bing ...

According to the numbers, the Green Bay Packers, Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Minnesota Viking, New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs have done the best job of battling the cap and their competition in the salary cap era.

Just how did we come to name these teams in our Elite Eight? Let's begin with the first few teams.

The Packers and Broncos edge out Miami simply based upon Super Bowl wins -- the ultimate goal in the NFL. During the salary cap era, Green Bay has been to a pair of Super Bowls and taken home the trophy baring their former coach's name once. Denver is the only team during the salary cap period to have won two Lombardi Trophies.

Miami, however, has qualified for the postseason more than any other team in the NFL during this period, having pulled in some extra postseason bonus cash in a whopping seven years. Green Bay, Minnesota and the 49ers have each qualified for the postseason six times while the Steelers, Patriots and Cowboys have qualified five times, Jacksonville four times and Kansas City three.

Green Bay has also faced the stiffest competition during this period. The NFC Central proved to be the NFL's toughest division, comprising a league-best .538 winning percentage and 22 collective playoff appearances. In addition, NFC Central squads failed to crack the .500 mark only 12 times in eight years.

Despite facing such division strength, the Packers have the best won-loss record since the inception of the cap, having won .672 percent of their games, or a record of 86-42.

The Dolphins are tied with Minnesota for the fifth-best record at 77-51, or .602 percent. However, Green Bay and Miami are the only teams to have absolutely zero seasons in which they finished below .500 since 1994. None! Zero! Nada! A string of eight consecutive seasons without a losing season in today's age, when rosters roll over more than a dog on Ritalin, is quite astounding.

Both the Dolphins and Packers have also endured at least one major overhaul in coaching and roster makeup during this period. The Packers went from the Mike Holmgren-Ron Wolf era to the Mike Sherman and, well, Mike Sherman era rather smoothly, having only to overcome the Ray Rhodes debacle.

Miami had to endure the passing of the torch from the legendary Don Shula to Hall of Fame candidate Jimmy Johnson to the solid Dave Wannstedt. Many teams would have languished in salary cap purgatory during a transition from Shula to Johnson. After all, Johnson overhauled the team to become more defense oriented rather than the offensive thoroughbred they were with Dan Marino, and tried to bring in several of "his type" of guys.

The Dolphins, however, were able to make this transition without sacrificing talent level and without destroying their cap. In fact, Miami might be the only team that has not yet had to battle the demons of a cap purge during the past eight years. Their current team, with coach Wannstedt, personnel chief Rick Speilman and cap mavens Bryan Wiedmeier and Matt Thomas, epitomize the recipe for success in handling today's cap.

"It's really a three-headed system now," Seattle's senior vice president Mike Reinfeldt, a former Packer executive with Holmgren in Green Bay, said last week. "You really need a very good coach, a strong players guy or talent evaluator and a solid cap guy. The good teams have three or more strong people all working together."

The Broncos and Steelers have each won .617 percent of their cumulative contests during this time period. While the Steelers have not won the big game, they have played in one Super Bowl and have come away with more division titles than any other team in the league with five. Pittsburgh has also hosted a staggering total of eight combined divisional and championship playoff games -- more than double every team in the NFL with the exception of the
49ers. Pittsburgh has also reached nine or more wins in six of these eight seasons and 11 or more in four. They have suffered through just two sub-.500 seasons.

The Steelers' success has stemmed from a tremendous personnel system. Their cupboard gets raided year in and year out, yet they always seem to reload through superior drafts.

Denver has endured only a pair of losing seasons during the past eight seasons, one of which was the first year of the cap's existence. They have qualified for the playoffs four times, hosted two divisional playoff games and one conference championship game and, again, brought home the whole enchilada twice.

The Broncos have bested their divisional foes in overall record during the past eight years in the solid AFC West, which has boasted a winning percentage of .516. The Broncos have not yet had to gut their franchise, despite enduring the retirement of perhaps the greatest comeback artist to ever take a snap from center and suffering injury upon injury to their starting running backs. Every year, they have pursued and signed big-check players in the
free-agency markets.

The 49ers are next and make an interesting model to examine. Their numbers would indicate that they too have mastered the cap era better than just about every other team. However, this was certainly not the case a couple of seasons ago as they have undergone one of the most drastic purges in recent memory.

San Francisco has held a winning percentage of .648, second only to the Packers. The Niners have also qualified for six postseason appearances, tying Green Bay and Minnesota and one behind the 'Fins. San Francisco has hosted more divisional (three) and conference championship games (two) than every team aside from Pittsburgh with five total and have hoisted the Lombardi Trophy once.

However, and it's a big however, much of the .648 winning percentage is padded by pre-salary cap talent pool. The 49ers and the Cowboys took much of their pre-cap rosters to battle into the post-cap era. San Francisco finished with 11 or more wins in each of the first five seasons following the inception of the strict cap.

Their spending caught up to them in dramatic style following the 1999 season and the Niners were forced to dump their mother ship on the side of the road. They simply couldn't make their payments any longer. They plummeted to 4-12 that year and followed up with a 6-10 campaign the next season.

They have, however, rebounded nicely, going 12-4 last season. Still, how much of this was luck -- which is often a dominant factor. Had CFL refugee Jeff Garcia not turned into Joe Montana Jr., would the Niners be near the pinnacle of their division? Had running back Garrison Hearst not magically recovered from what had previously been considered career-ending injury, do they run through the opposition like they did last year? Maybe, maybe not.
Still, the Niners should be given tremendous credit for resurrecting themselves from cap death much, much more prematurely than most teams would have thought they would.

Minnesota is the next batter having slugged out a .602 winning percentage during the past eight years and protected against a losing season every year until 2001 when the cap, age, retirement and interpersonal communication difficulties caught up. Like the Packers, the Vikings get points for roaming the dreaded NFC Central, a landscape so tough that a 9-7 record could only gather a fourth-place division placement in 1997.

The Vikings' money man Rob Brzezinski is solid, but nobody would be able to keep together Randy Moss, Cris Carter, John Randle, Todd Steussie, Robert Smith, Randall McDaniel, Jeff Christy and Daunte Culpepper forever. They have purged much of their Pro Bowl-laden roster and their head coach, yet are now sitting with more than $9 million in cap room.

The Patriots place seventh, largely propelled by a pair of Super Bowl appearances (one victory) and competing in the extremely difficult AFC East. This division is tied with its AFC counterpart in the West with a .516 collective winning percentage. However, the East beats the West, having a collective 22 playoff qualifiers and fewer sub-.500 teams than any other division in the NFL. In eight years, the AFC East has produced just 11 squads to
finish below .500.

The Patriots have also endured several major transitions, including one in the aftermath of Bill Parcells, who often leaves his previous teams in shambles and forces the "new guy" to clean up his mess. The Patriots have a .547 winning percentage, qualified for the postseason five times, won three division titles and twice won the conference title.

The Chiefs beat the Jags for the final spot in our Elite Eight. K.C. has held the seventh-best record in the NFL during the past eight seasons with a .570 won-loss percentage. They have qualified for the playoffs three times, failed to finish over .500 three times but won a pair of division titles. Last season was their worst since the inception of the cap as they finished with a 6-10 slate after overhauling their team for Dick Vermeil.

The Chiefs beat the next two teams (Jacksonville, .554 pct. and Dallas, .531 pct.) because the latter two have thrust themselves into the salary-cap abyss.

The Jags' former money man Michael Huyghue mortgaged the team's future by over-paying for veterans they hoped would send them to the Super Bowl. The Jaguars have had solid coaching from Tom Coughlin and have one of the league's better personnel departments during their seven-year existence yet the combination is not strong enough to overcome the cap hell that Huyghue put them into. Still, the Jags have enjoyed four playoff appearances.

Dallas, like the 49ers, enjoyed holdover success from the pre-cap days but has had just one winning season in the past five years.

The bottom of the pack is predictable with the Bengals, Cardinals, Saints, Chargers and Panthers. (The Browns and their .250 percentage are actually exempt from the study because they have existed for only three years). Cincy has languished at the .328 mark having failed to make the playoffs or crack .500 in every year since the cap was established.

The Cards have compiled a .375 record and hit the .500 plateau twice, making one postseason appearance in 1998.

New Orleans has partied to the tune of a .383 won-loss percentage but won its division two seasons ago.

San Diego has sun-bathed in the rays of .398. The Chargers, however, went to a Super Bowl during the first year the cap was instituted.

Final observation: one team that is charging up this chart and appears to be quickly proving to have a tremendous grasp of the cap is the Philadelphia Eagles. Head coach Andy Reid has proven to be one of the NFL's better leaders and team president Joe Banner has established himself as an extremely strong money man. Philly's eight-year winning percentage of .492 does not reflect accurately upon their current situation.

The Eagles have finished 11-5 the past two seasons, having won a division title. Despite the recent Jeremiah Trotter debacle, they have many of their top players locked up and are sitting with a league best estimated number of $9.8 in salary cap space currently available.

Take a look. The numbers don't lie.


The Shiznit
Mar 17, 2002
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Opium induced haze...
How can a team be called cap salary kings and have a VERY VALUEABLE 3RD ROUND PICK TAKEN AWAY FOR BAD CAP MANAGEMENT??????

That is a contradiction in itself. They are sooooo good at managing the cap that thgey had a 3rd rounder taken away for cap violations? That doesn't ound right to me.


Welcome to Miami Daunte!!
Sep 19, 2001
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That was a great and insightful article. Thanks for posting it.:cool:
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