NFL playoff seeds: Does it really matter? (Part One)

Created by Jason R Remy (Jayron32)

Image via Wikipedia

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

As we get ready to close the book on the 2011 NFL regular season, there are still a handful of questions that are not answered concerning the playoffs: Who will get the number one seed in the AFC? Who will win the NFC East? Who will win the AFC West? Will San Francisco or New Orleans get a first-round bye as the number two seed in the NFC?

The one thing we do know is that the Green Bay Packers will enter the playoffs as the top seed in the NFC. And it’s a good thing… for them (more on that in a minute).

Back in 1990, the NFL went to a 12-team playoff system with six teams making the post-season from the two conferences; each conference is seeded from the top seed to the #6 seed. So with all this jockeying for playoff position, the question becomes… does it really matter what seed a team is in the playoffs? The obvious answer is “Yes.” To back up that statement, let’s look at how well each seed has done in the playoffs since 1990 when the current 12-team playoff format was put in place.

Division Seed                 1990-99           2000-10                   Total

AFC #1                                      11-9                     11-10                    22-19 .537

AFC #2                                     11-10                   14-8                      25-18 .581

AFC #3                                     10-10                  12-10                    22-20 .524

AFC #4                                     15-9                      9-10                    24-19 .558

AFC #5                                      4-10                     7-11                      11-21 .344

AFC #6                                      1-10                     9-10                     10-20 .333

NFC #1                                     22-4                    15-10                     37-14 .725

NFC #2                                     15-8                      9-10                    24-18 .571

NFC #3                                      5-10                     9-11                     14-21 .400

NFC #4                                      7-10                    10-11                    17-21 .447

NFC #5                                      3-10                     7-10                    10-20 .333

NFC #6                                      6-10                     9-10                    15-20 .429

Here’s a look at the win-loss records if we combine the seeds for the two conferences.

AFC/NFC combined                         W-L, Pct

#1 Seed                                                      59-33 .641

#2 Seed                                                     49-36 .576

#3 Seed                                                     36-41 .468

#4 Seed                                                     41-40 .506

#5 Seed                                                     21-41 .339

#6 Seed                                                     25-40 .385

Did you know? Thirty-two of the 42 Super Bowl teams since 1990 have either been a #1 or #2 seed. The NFC #1 seed has won seven Super Bowls since 1990, most during that time. The AFC #2 and NFC #2 have each won three during that time. The NFC #1 seed has played in 12 of the 21 Super Bowls since 1990; the AFC #1 seed is second with eight Super Bowl appearances since 1990.

Did you know?(Part 2) The AFC #5 seed, NFC #3 seed and the NFC #4 seed have not won a Super Bowl since 1990; in fact, an AFC #5 seed has not appeared in the Super Bowl in the last 21 years.

BallHyped Sports Blog of the Year Tournament 2011

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