An objective look at the most successful VFL/AFL teams

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PumpyChowdown

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This is a cause of much debate always on these boards - just who is the most successful team of all time. There are so many parameters to divide the game up which makes answering the question extremely difficult.

I've looked at many different ways to assess the respective success each teams and after a fair bit of thought, I've takens the Occam's Razor approach of simplicity. My formula is as follows:

Premierships won multiplied by the amount of teams playing in the premiership year, divided by the amount of years in the competition. For example:

Hawthorn 2013 = 18 Premiership points

Essendon 1897 = 8 Premiership points

By then dividing the total number of Premiership points by the amount of years each team has been in the competition, you then get an average number of Premiership Points Per Year. This figure I believe is the best way to objectively analyze which team has had the most success whilst playing in the VFL/AFL since inception.

PS - PLEASE don't let this turn into a "BUT PORT WON 158 FLAGS IN THE SANFL!!!"

PPS - for the sake of this exercise I have combined the premierships of Fitzroy and Brisbane.

Without further adieu...

 

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boncer34

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Hawthorn's flag competition contained teams like GWS, GC, Melb, St Kilda etc who were never in competition for the flag.

So really last years premiership should be given 14 points? Depending on your point of view.

So no not objective. Very much subjective.
 

greatwhiteshark

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This is a cause of much debate always on these boards - just who is the most successful team of all time. There are so many parameters to divide the game up which makes answering the question extremely difficult.

I've looked at many different ways to assess the respective success each teams and after a fair bit of thought, I've takens the Occam's Razor approach of simplicity. My formula is as follows:

Premierships won multiplied by the amount of teams playing in the premiership year, divided by the amount of years in the competition. For example:

Hawthorn 2013 = 18 Premiership points

Essendon 1897 = 8 Premiership points

By then dividing the total number of Premiership points by the amount of years each team has been in the competition, you then get an average number of Premiership Points Per Year. This figure I believe is the best way to objectively analyze which team has had the most success whilst playing in the VFL/AFL since inception.

PS - PLEASE don't let this turn into a "BUT PORT WON 158 FLAGS IN THE SANFL!!!"

PPS - for the sake of this exercise I have combined the premierships of Fitzroy and Brisbane.

Without further adieu...


Why do you guys always want to hide from reality? Why won't you ever start a thread about who has won the most 1st tier premierships? Why is it always just about the VFL?
I actually like the way you did your list and I like your formula.

But there is no need to even mention the "don't talk about SANFL premierships" comment. Does it really hurt you guys that much that Port Adelaide, Norwood, East Fremantle and West Perth have won the most 1st tier premierships in Australian Football history?
It should not matter, in fact it should be admired.
 

PumpyChowdown

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Hawthorn's flag competition contained teams like GWS, GC, Melb, St Kilda etc who were never in competition for the flag.

So really last years premiership should be given 14 points? Depending on your point of view.

So no not objective. Very much subjective.
Every year of the competition there have been very poor teams. The last few years haven't really been that extraordinary. My intention was to keep the data as simple as possible with no subjective interpretations, therefore the outcome should be "pure" for want of a better word.
 

PumpyChowdown

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Why do you guys always want to hide from reality? Why won't you ever start a thread about who has won the most 1st tier premierships? Why is it always just about the VFL?
I actually like the way you did your list and I like your formula.

But there is no need to even mention the "don't talk about SANFL premierships" comment. Does it really hurt you guys that much that Port Adelaide, Norwood, East Fremantle and West Perth have won the most 1st tier premierships in Australian Football history?
It should not matter, in fact it should be admired.
It was more to avoid getting the thread off topic. There has been a lot of these threads and all of them turn into a VFL vs SANFL vs WAFL dick-waving contest. I agree that the achievements in those leagues deserve to and should be admired, but that's for another thread.
 

greatwhiteshark

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It was more to avoid getting the thread off topic. There has been a lot of these threads and all of them turn into a VFL vs SANFL vs WAFL dick-waving contest. I agree that the achievements in those leagues deserve to and should be admired, but that's for another thread.
Fair enough mate.
Good list. Well done.
 

madmug

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It was more to avoid getting the thread off topic. There has been a lot of these threads and all of them turn into a VFL vs SANFL vs WAFL dick-waving contest. I agree that the achievements in those leagues deserve to and should be admired, but that's for another thread.
You should at least include Port Adelaide. They have gone from tier 1 to the AFL, just like the other VFL teams have done.
 

Demonic Ascent

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I don't really think you can "weight" premierships, I would just go with premierships/number of years in competition. Pretty sure WCE would still be on top but that may have changed in the last couple of years.
 

PumpyChowdown

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I don't really think you can "weight" premierships, I would just go with premierships/number of years in competition. Pretty sure WCE would still be on top but that may have changed in the last couple of years.
They aren't "weighted". It's statistically far more difficult to win a premiership when there are 18 teams in a competion compared to when there are only 4. By not factoring the amount of teams it gives a far greater advantage to teams such as Carlton, Essendon and Collingwood who all won a lot of flags with 8 or sometimes 4 teams competing for them.
 

jim boy

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Why start at 1897? What was wong with the VFA before that? It was the premier competition.

FWIW - The only 'objective' assessment of the most successful AFL teams can only look at the AFL competition, not the VFL, not the SANFL, but the AFL since 1990.
 

Coaster2012

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Easier for WC though, just because they monopolised a huge footy state with massive talent, so they had an Allstar team walk straight into the league. No other side in history has had that advantage, besides Adelaide, but some of the best players to put on a WC jersey came out of that 87-94 era
 

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Demonic Ascent

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They aren't "weighted". It's statistically far more difficult to win a premiership when there are 18 teams in a competion compared to when there are only 4. By not factoring the amount of teams it gives a far greater advantage to teams such as Carlton, Essendon and Collingwood who all won a lot of flags with 8 or sometimes 4 teams competing for them.
I get what you are saying but personally I think each premiership is worth as much as another won in the same competition (VFL/AFL). I think it's fair to divide by years in competition to gain a true insight into how successful a team is (e.g. for WCE would be 1 premiership every 9 years, 3 flags in 27 years).
 

walhawk

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They aren't "weighted". It's statistically far more difficult to win a premiership when there are 18 teams in a competion compared to when there are only 4. By not factoring the amount of teams it gives a far greater advantage to teams such as Carlton, Essendon and Collingwood who all won a lot of flags with 8 or sometimes 4 teams competing for them.
In reality, it is not more difficult.
In 1902, you could have had added 15 more teams and Collingwood would still have won the premiership.
Hawthorn would still have won the 1988 flag if all there were 1000 teams in it.

Also - misleading thread title. If it is ALL TIME, you should not factor in how long a club has been around - that is the opposite of ALL TIME.

Based on your title, Carton and Essendon are objectively the most successful AFL/VFL clubs. that cannot be disputed as the object is to win premierships, and they have the most.

The most SUCCESSFUL football club is another story. It is probably Port Adelaide.
The GREATEST football club of all time is between Port, Collingwood, Essendon or Carlton. If Norwood, or any WA clubs were that great - they would now be in the AFL.
 

PumpyChowdown

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Why start at 1897? What was wong with the VFA before that? It was the premier competition.
The formative years of the VFA were all over the place, with teams in and out of the competition. I'm also struggling to find definitive records of the earliest seasons, so without records of the actual teams playing each season, I'm unable to input the data. The VFL/AFL has continuity and it has the data, hence it being the starting point for this exercise.

Edit - I actually found the data. The first 10 to 12 years are all over the shop, but the 10 or so years prior to the VFL switch it was very organised. Here's an updated spreadsheet of all VFA/VFL/AFL records.

Another interesting fact after doing all this; I'm pretty sure that Carlton are the only team to have played in the seniors in every single season since 1877.

VFA VFL AFL.PNG
 
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Underarm

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From 1897 - 1908 Richmond were not in the 'first tier competition, so the years in comp are wrong. I can only assume the same issue exists for Dogs, Hawks and North Melbourne. ^


Its a neat looking statistic, but I disagree that more clubs = harder or worth more.
 

Crawb

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Why start at 1897? What was wong with the VFA before that? It was the premier competition.

FWIW - The only 'objective' assessment of the most successful AFL teams can only look at the AFL competition, not the VFL, not the SANFL, but the AFL since 1990.
^ That. While the AFL is technically just the VFL renamed with about half the teams interstate now. The WAFL, SANFL, VFL (1897-1989) & the AFL (1990 onwards) are all essentially different competitions and therefore all impossible to compare. Although you could argue the "VFL" ended in 1986 and the "AFL" essentially started in 1987 with the expansion even thought it was still called VFL at the time.

A Essendon/Carlton fan bragging about having the most premierships is just as valid/wrong as a Port Adelaide fan bragging about having 37 premierships.
 

oak79

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If Norwood, or any WA clubs were that great - they would now be in the AFL.
Totally flawed logic - many VFL teams that weren't /aren't great ended up in the AFL just because they were in Victoria (and therefore in the VFL). You can't expect anyone to believe that Fitzroy, Footscray and St Kilda are 'great' successful clubs.
 

HR Roughnstuf

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Hawthorn's flag competition contained teams like GWS, GC, Melb, St Kilda etc who were never in competition for the flag.

So really last years premiership should be given 14 points? Depending on your point of view.

So no not objective. Very much subjective.
Actually what your are suggesting is subjective.
 

Air_Chester

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After years of seeing this again and again, I have to ask: does it matter? Really? It's an apples and oranges pissing contest.

The game is forever changing and if you're good enough to win a flag at any time, you've earned that flag. It's about the dumbest and most trivial thing I've ever heard of to try to place a retrospective value on a premiership.

Go tell Wayne Carey his team's 1996 flag isn't as important as Hawthorn's 2013 one. I hope he punches you in the face.
 

Demonic Ascent

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^ That. While the AFL is technically just the VFL renamed with about half the teams interstate now. The WAFL, SANFL, VFL (1897-1989) & the AFL (1990 onwards) are all essentially different competitions and therefore all impossible to compare. Although you could argue the "VFL" ended in 1986 and the "AFL" essentially started in 1987 with the expansion even thought it was still called VFL at the time.

A Essendon/Carlton fan bragging about having the most premierships is just as valid/wrong as a Port Adelaide fan bragging about having 37 premierships.
Oh please, not this rubbish again. The VFL is the same competition as the AFL just renamed. It has been one continuous competition from 1897 up to today.
 

Crawb

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Oh please, not this rubbish again. The VFL is the same competition as the AFL just renamed. It has been one continuous competition from 1897 up to today.
No sh*t sherlock. But you seemed to missed the entire point :rolleyes:. Some VFL premiership...say in the 50s has nothing on one in a national competition with 16/18 teams say in the modern era. They are in incomparable. That's my point. Note the key word essentially in my first post. They are essentially different competitions as the VFL then is so different to the VFL/AFL of the late 80s onwards.
 

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