The San Francisco 49ers have had a lot of struggles the past two years, and for nearly a decade prior to Jim Harbaugh’s arrival. They’ve won seven games the past two seasons, and averaged 5.75 wins per season from 2003 through 2010. There are teams that have done worse, but the win totals coupled with the drama and problems have made for a rough period.
However, it is no surprise that in weighting out franchise win percentage, the 49ers still end up near the top of the list. Chase Stuart put together a look at franchise winning percentages to come up with a way of measuring fan utility. It is a very simple calculation, and there is room for plenty of changes, but it is interesting to consider.
Stuart took each season, and gave more weight to recent seasons. He used a multiple of total seasons to adjust each win percentage. The Patriots have played for 57 seasons, so 2016 was multiplied by 57, 2015 was multiplied by 56, 2015 was multiplied by 55, and so forth, and then dividing the total by (57*56*55…..*1).
The New England Patriots finish at the top, followed by the Denver Broncos, and Pittsburgh Steelers. These teams have had a lot of success lately, so it is not surprising. The San Francisco 49ers rank No. 8. They have 71 years of history, and in spite of their futility in the 50s, 60s, a sizable chunk of the 70s, and most of the 00s, that run in the 80s and 90s, coupled with their success in 2011, 2012, and 2013 bolsters the number considerably.
There are plenty of factors to consider when thinking about this kind of measurement. We know that fan pleasure yo-yos with regularity. A team can win the Super Bowl, and by that follow, a few bad decisions will leave fans feeling miserable. I see it with San Francisco Giants fans on my Facebook feed and on Twitter. They won three World Series titles in five seasons, but you wouldn’t know that based on how people have spoken about the team in the years they didn’t win them. That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with that, but rather just to point out that people’s opinions of their team swing quite drastically.
We’ve seen plenty of that in recent years with 49ers fans, which goes to show the context of the organization can impact it as well. Given how things went down with Jim Harbaugh, and how things have gone since his departure, 49ers fans prior to the hiring of John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan were rather miserable. I suppose there could be a “current mood” and “bigger picture mood” assessment, but fans generally are looking ahead to the next chance at a championship. So, there is weighting, just a different kind.