Power Rankings: Patriots dynasty?

Originally Published: January 17, 2011
By Greg Hardy | Special to Page 2

Hang up that ripped-up Patriots hoodie and start studying the Page 2 Power Rankings! Our formula combines the results of two surveys: a human poll concocted by ESPN Page 2's Greg Hardy and a scientifically calibrated poll generated by computer analysis. Unfortunately, our computer was too wrapped up in trying to calculate which New York tabloid would be the first to incorporate the image of Monty Python's giant stomping foot into a Jets graphic. To the results!

1. What Dynasty?

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.7 9.5 19.2

Credentials: We understand there's always a danger in sports of "peaking too early." In the case of the Belichick era, it seems as though the Patriots were peaking before the Spygate era, and it's been one big inglorious downhill skid since. Maybe at their Hall of Fame inductions, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning can get into a debate as to which QB saw the most Dream Seasons get thrown under the bus. To keep things fair, we'll have Brett Favre moderate the discussion.

2. Jets-Speak

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
9.2 9.2 18.4

Credentials: Rex Ryan has mastered the art of the bewildering pre-game motivational remark. Antonio Cromartie has mastered the art of the shocking put-down. Bart Scott has mastered the art of the postgame interview. The moral of the story? If you want to be taken seriously in the NFL, say it loud and say it proud. Wes Welker, nobody gets points for subtlety in these parts. Please spend your off-season enrolled in the New York Jets School of Public Speaking.

3. Ricky Gervais' roasters

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
8.6 8.5 17.1

Credentials: Did the snarky British standup comic cross the line with his celebrity insults at the Golden Globes? Despite the fact that the celebrities have all the looks, the cash, the power, the adulation, (did we mention looks, cash, power and adulation?) they apparently have zero sense of humor when it comes to outsiders publicly pointing out their horrific personal and career choices. That's why the latest joke around Hollywood this week is: "Ricky Gervais walks into a bar. He walks out, but his movie career doesn't." Hey, we didn't say it was funny. The celebs are just saying what they know his true.

4. Denver Nuggets trade saga

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.9 7.8 15.7

Credentials: As the Nets' Mikhail Prokhorov and minority owner Jay-Z get ready to sing a duet to lure Carmelo Anthony to the east, maybe the Denver organization should think of organizing a "Melo Throwback Jersey Night" for fans. And by that, we mean making the fans happy by giving them jerseys with rocks sewn into them, so they can pelt Melo when he takes the floor during player introductions. Hey, it'll be dark, no one will know who threw what.

5. Oakland Raiders Mystery Coach

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
7.0 7.7 14.7

Credentials: Anyone miss Tom Cable yet? For some odd reason, this is the one coaching job that's still open in the NFL. There are Taco Bell cash registers in this country that have seen less turnover than the Raiders sideline. Maybe instead of actual identifying an actual human being as Oakland coach, Al Davis should just introduce each next coach as "The Oakland Raiders Mystery Coach." And that guy would be introduced at a press conference wearing a silver and black mask and cape. Only when the Raiders win a Super Bowl will that coach's true identity be revealed. Sound a touch melodramatic? Only at places other than the Black Hole. Evildoers, beware!

6. NBA L.A. tempers

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
6.1 6.6 12.7

Credentials: Push came to shove in the final seconds of Sunday's Lakers-Clippers game, and four players were ejected. But please, don't try to sell this to us as though this is the fuse that sparks a nasty new Staples Center blood feud. If The Rock was trading punches with Billy Bob Thornton at mid-court, we'd consider that a confrontation that a more authentic put-on. Save the anger for being stuck in traffic.

7. Packers vs. Bears

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.8 5.5 11.3

Credentials: Hey, Big Ten conference. Take a look at Soldier Field this weekend to see how Midwestern dominance on the gridiron is done. In honor of how bone-crushing good this game will be, you should drop those dopey "Legends" and "Leaders" labels for your divisions and go with "Da Packers" and "Da Bears." Hmm, there's probably a slew of copyright issues that would prohibit that. How about the "Lovie Division" and the "McCarthy Division"? They'll be honored.

8. "The Dilemma"

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.2 5.6 10.8

Credentials: The Ron Howard comedy starring Vince Vaughn and Kevin James about best friends dealing with marriage trouble seems to be underperforming at the box office with a $17.4 million weekend. Gene Siskel once said the sign of a bad movie is that a better movie would be a documentary of the same actors eating lunch. How about a documentary where Leah Remini talks about which guy was the better on-screen husband. After all, she was with Vaughn in "Old School" and James for years and years on "The King of Queens." We'd be willing to bet a lunch if she preferred Vince; and we'd lose out lunch if she said Kevin.

9. See ya, Seahawks

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
5.3 5.4 10.7

Credentials:Bottom line: Which was more disgraceful: A 7-9 NFL team qualifying for -- then advancing through -- the playoffs ... or the entire steroid era of baseball? At least the nation will never be subjected to seeing Pete Carroll testify before Congress as to reasons why he thinks Mike Singletary resorted to juggling quarterbacks Alex and Troy Smith down the stretch.

10. NFL Draft

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.7 5.5 10.2

Credentials: The deadline has passed for college football underclassmen to declare their intention to sacrifice their title of "student-athlete" and play -- for luscious, luscious cash -- at the next level. In every case, there's a degree of risk: Are they sure there's a team that will pick them in the first two rounds? What if there's a lockout? In a lot of cases, the need is too great to be in a position to be able to pay off their student loans. And by student loans, we mean the title payments for the luxury cars they've been driving around campus since freshman year.

11. Fightin' Tony Stewart

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.8 4.7 9.5

Credentials: Looks like Australia isn't big enough for the NASCAR driver. Stewart reportedly got a black eye from the co-owner of the Sydney Speedway after hitting him with his helmet. What's unconfirmed was that Stewart also was furious that he couldn't play doubles matches at the Australian Open with Andy Roddick, because officials couldn't guarantee there'd be enough room for Stewart to swing his racket out the driver's side window.

12. Sidney Crosby's health

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
4.6 4.3 8.9

Credentials: How worried should Penguins fans be that their star still hasn't been cleared to play from a Jan. 5 concussion? Relax, a brain injury isn't something that anyone expects a skater to return from in a hurry. Meanwhile, look for warning signs to see if he's confused about where he's been. No, there's no more games played in a Heinz Field outdoor rink. If he shows up for the Steelers-Jets AFC title game on Sunday laced up in his skates saying he's ready to play, contact the team doctor.

13. Dustin Johnson's love life

Human Poll Computer Poll Power Points Trending
2.1 2.4 4.5

Credentials: OK, we'll buy the young PGA star's side of the story, that he hasn't been dating the LPGA's Natalie Gulbis. If he claims he's never looked at pictures of her on the Internet? That, we're going to have doubts about.

Also receiving votes
• Rich Rodriguez gives and gives: Why are we surprised that the ex-Michigan coach donated mountains of his I-don't-need-to-be-seen-in-public-like-this-again Wolverine gear to the Salvation Army? His days in Ann Arbor always were marked by how generous he was to other Big Ten teams when it came to yards and touchdowns and victories. Here's an unintended consequence we can envision: A high school recruiting prospect happens to find a $20 bill in a maize-and-blue jacket he picks up, then commits to Michigan. Years from now, the NCAA finds out about it and declares it an improper benefit. Boom, all those wins that kid earned with the team are wiped off the books. Thanks a lot RichRod.

Never receiving votes
• Bad ads: A study by Ad Age claims that Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong were the least effective sports celebrity endorsers of 2010. We say it's too soon to give up on the idea of their star power for sales just yet. Why, put them into a Buffalo Wild Wing "here's how we secretly fix the outcomes at the doping test centers" campaign, and the comic possibilities are endless!

Greg Hardy is a Page 2 contributor. It's all pop culture all the time at

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Greg Hardy is a Page 2 contributor. It's all pop culture all the time at