Daily Archives: January 29th, 2012

15 regular season stats that may determine this year’s Super Bowl champion

The San Francisco 49ers' Super Bowl XXIX troph...

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

What’s your prediction for this year’s Super Bowl?

Football analysts, commentators and just plain fans all have an opinion. For some, it’s a gut feeling; for others, they have analyzed, studied, and even watched game film.

Here’s my contribution to the madness. I’ve looked at 15 regular season stats from the past 45 Super Bowl champions. In some cases, there is a strong case for a particular team winning based on how they performed in the regular season. In other cases, the regular season stats don’t reveal much.

Following are 15 regular season stats that may help determine who will win on February 5.

1. Wins. Thirty-nine of the 45 Super Bowl champs won 11 or more games in the regular season. Only twice in Super Bowl history did a team with less than 10 regular season victories win the Super Bowl: 1967, when the Packers were 9-4-1, and 1982 when the 8-1 Washington Redskins won the title in that strike-shortened season. In case you didn’t know, New England won 13 this year, the Giants won nine. If the Giants win, they would become the first team with less than 10 wins from a 16-game NFL season to win a Super Bowl.

2. Turnover Ratio. Thirty-nine of the 45 Super Bowl champs had a positive turnover ratio; 21 of the 45 had a +10 or more turnover ratio in the regular season. The Patriots were a +17 in turnovers this year, New York was +7.

3. Offensive rank by points. Thirty-eight of the 45 were in the Top 10 in offense based on points. New England was third, New York was ninth.

4. Offensive rank based on yards. Thirty-five of the 45 were in the Top 10 in offense based on total yards. New England was second, New York was eighth.

5. Defensive Rank by Points. Thirty-five of the 45 were in the Top 10 in defense based on points. Won’t happen this year… New England was 15th, the Giants were ranked 25th. The lowest ranked defense (by points) to win a Super Bowl were the 2006 Colts who ranked 23rd.

6. Defensive rank based on yards. Thirty-eight of the 45 ranked in the Top 10 in defense based on total yards allowed. Won’t happen this year… New England was ranked 31st, New York was ranked 27th. This year’s Super Bowl champ will establish a new “low”… Previous to this year, the lowest ranked defense (by yards allowed) to win a Super Bowl were the 2009 New Orleans Saints who were ranked 25th.

7. Offensive yards per play. Thirty-six of the 45 Super Bowl champs averaged 5.0 or more yards per play during the regular season. Twenty-one of the 45 averaged 5.5 or more yards per play. This year in the regular season New England was at 6.3 yards per play, New York was at 6.0.

8. Three-game losing streak. Only three teams that lost three straight games during the regular season went on to win a Super Bowl that year: Baltimore in 2000, Pittsburgh in 2005 and New Orleans in 2009. New England did not lose three straight games this year; the Giants did lose three straight this year.

9. Winning streak to start season. Thirteen of the 45 won five straight games to start the season; 22 won three straight games to start the season; 30 of the 45 won their first two games. New England won their first two games of the 2011 regular season; New York lost their first game of the year.

10. Away wins. Forty-four of the 45 won four or more games on the road in the regular season. The 2011 Green Bay Packers are the only team to win a Super Bowl and win three or less games on the road that regular season. Thirty-six of the 45 lost none, one or two away games during the regular season of their Super Bowl year. New England won six away games this year, New York went 5-3 on the road.

11. 1,000-yard rusher. Twenty-seven of the 45 had a 1,000-yard rusher during the regular season. Neither team in this year’s Super Bowl had a 1,000-yard runner.

12. 1,000-yard receiver. Twenty-four of the 45 had a 1,000-yard receiver during the regular season. Both teams in this year’s game had two 1,00-yard receivers.

13. More passing TDs than running TDs. Thirty-two of the 45 had more passing TDs than running TDs for the regular season. Both teams this year had more passing TDs than rushing. The last time a team that had more rushing TDs than passing in the regular season won a Super Bowl were the 1995 Dallas Cowboys.

14. Losses by eight points or less. Thirty-nine of the 45 lost half or more of their defeats by one score (eight points or less). The three games New England lost this year were all by eight points or less. Of the seven games the Giants lost, only three were by eight points or less.

15. Point differential rank. Thirty-eight of the 45 ranked in the Top 3 in point differential in the regular season. New England ranked third in the 2011 regular season, the Giants ranked 17th. Only one team has ranked outside the Top 10 in point differential and won the Super Bowl: the New York Giants of 2007 ranked 13th in point differential when they won the Super Bowl later that year.