Last four games of the NFL season: Important in the journey to the Super Bowl?

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a biweekly blog published every Wednesday and Sunday with a bonus “SIX STATS…” posting every Friday.

How important is momentum heading into the NFL playoffs? With four games left in the regular season, how important is it for the teams looking to make an appearance in the Super Bowl to go into the playoffs with a steady stream of victories?

As I hope you have come to expect with this blog, there is a quantifiable answer to the above questions. Taking a look at the previous 45 Super Bowls and the two teams that faced each other in those games, we discover the following numbers:

Logo of the National Football League Playoffs,...

Image via Wikipedia

* Of the 90 Super Bowl teams, 31 (34%) went 4-0 in their last four regular season games. Nineteen of those 31 teams won the Super Bowl; meaning 19 of the 45 Super Bowl winners (42.2%) won all four of their final four regular season games.

* Of the 90 Super Bowl teams, 39 (43%) went 3-1 in their last four regular season games. Seventeen of the 39 teams won the Super Bowl; meaning 17 of the 45 Super Bowl winners (37.8%) won three of their last four regular season games.

* One team, the 1966 Kansas City Chiefs, went 3-0-1 in their last four regular season games.

* Thirty-six of the 45 Super Bowl winners (80%) went either 4-0 or 3-1 in their last four regular season games.

* Seventy-one of the 90 teams (78.8%) that played in the Super Bowl went either 4-0, 3-0-1 or 3-1 in their last four regular season games.

* No Super Bowl team has gone 0-4 in their last four regular season games.

* Three Super Bowl teams went 1-3 in their last four regular season games: Philadelphia, 1980; Denver, 1989; New Orleans, 2009. The 2009 Saints are the only team in NFL history to win a Super Bowl after winning only one of their final four regular season games.

* Sixteen Super Bowl teams went 2-2 in the final four regular season games. Eight of those 16 went on to win the Super Bowl. The last team to go 2-2 in their last four regular season games and win the Super Bowl? The 2010 Green Bay Packers.

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