At this time of year, before we fixate on the week-to-week triumphs and travesties of yet another AFL season, it's interesting to look at the varying fortunes of all the teams that have ever competed in the VFL/AFL.
The table below provides the Win, Draw and Loss records of every team.
As you can see, Collingwood has the best record of all the teams having won almost 61% of all the games in which it has played, a full 1 percentage point better than Carlton, in second. Collingwood have also played more games than any other team and will be the first team to have played in 2,300 games when Round 5 rolls around this year.
Amongst the relative newcomers to the competition, West Coast and Port Adelaide - and to a lesser extent, Adelaide - have all performed well having won considerably more than half of their matches.
Sticking with newcomers but dipping down to the other end of the table we find Fremantle with a particularly poor record. They've won just under 40% of their games and, remarkably, have yet to register a draw. (Amongst current teams, Essendon have recorded the highest proportion of drawn games at 1.43%, narrowly ahead of Port Adelaide with 1.42%. After Fremantle, the team with the next lowest proportion of drawn games is Adelaide at 0.24%. In all, 1.05% of games have finished with scores tied.)
Lower still we find the Saints, a further 1.3 percentage points behind Fremantle. It took St Kilda 48 games before it registered its first win in the competition, which should surely have been some sort of a hint to fans of the pain that was to follow across two world wars and a depression (maybe two). Amongst those 112 seasons of pain there's been just the sole anaesthetising flag, in 1966.
Here then are a couple of milestones that we might witness this year that will almost certainly go unnoticed elsewhere:
- Collingwood's 2,300th game (and 1,400th win or, if the season's a bad one for them, 900th loss)
- Carlton's 900th loss
- West Coast's 300th win
- Port Adelaide's 300th game
- Geelong's and Sydney's 2,200th game
- Adelaide's 200th loss
- Richmond's 1,000th loss (if they fail to win more than one match all season)
- Fremantle's 200th loss
Granted, few of those are truly banner events, but if AFL commentators were as well supported by statisticians as, say, Major League Baseball, you can bet they'd get a mention, much as equally arcane statistics are sprinkled liberally in the 3 hours of dead time there is between pitches.