A few years ago the Clayton County Parks and Recreation Department published an insightful article about youth football rankings and the culture it has created here in the Metro Atlanta area. Calling the ranking of youth football teams by media entities “bogus”, “harmful” and an overall HUGE marketing ploy to get local teams to play in a popular “State Championship” tournament. The article raised a bunch of good points about the validity of these rankings and how “no one knows how the rankings are established and nobody knows who is doing the voting”. So in keeping with our motto of being the NEW STANDARD we took those valid points raised in the article and created our very own Coaches Poll ranking formula that not only is transparent, but one that isn’t based upon a popularity contest as if we were teenagers in high school or based on who made financial contributions to those publishing the polls. We also created something that all of our fans could get involved with as well, our Fan Poll.
Our Fan Poll was created for one purpose and one purpose only to let our fans vote for their favorite team and show some team spirit. These votes don’t count towards our rankings in the coaches poll, but they do allow each team to have some bragging rights when it comes to which team has the most or best fans. Just like in the NFL where Pittsburgh fans are known far and wide across the globe, we want to create something similar on the youth level where these is “fandemonium” amongst each organization within our league. We believe in keeping our fans engaged and from the early results it looks as if they have responded positively to this endeavor to do so.
Agreeing in some sense that rankings can be harmful and bogus in youth football if they are the driving force as to why coaches coach and parents “park hop, but we wanted to provide a different approach to rankings and allow our volunteer coaches be the driving force behind it. What we’ve learned is that who better to know what teams are solid and most competitive than those coaches facing each other week in and week out in that particular each group. Our ranking process is very simple and straight to the point in our coaches poll. Each head coach for each age group is provided a ballot each week beginning after week 1 to vote for their Top 5 teams, excluding their own. Note these ballots are not anonymous. The criteria we ask the coaches to base their rankings on is win/loss record, points scored, points against, and quality opponent win/losses. Each team ranked 1 will receive 5 points, teams ranked 2 will receive 4 points, so forth and so on creating what we hope will be our version of a true coaches poll. Teams on the cusp of cracking the Top 5 will be honorable mentions and each week the voting numbers will be displayed so there is some transparency. Now we aren’t saying our process is ironclad and fool proof, but we do think it does provide some transparency and puts the power back into the hands of those volunteer coaches dedicating their time to the youth.
Our ranking system will consist of teams from both the Metro Atlanta Youth Football League and the Metro Atlanta Youth Football Conference joint venture. To read more from the Clayton County Parks & Recreation Department article “Youth Football Rankings Are Harmful and Bogus” click here.