Not only did the Boston Red Sox give their hometown fans a gift by allowing them to celebrate a World Series title in Fenway (a 95-year wait), but their victory over the St. Louis Cardinals has given the Angels, Blue Jays, Brewers, Giants, Mariners, Mets, Padres, Phillies and Rockies a glimmer of hope as these teams approach the 2014 MLB season. (The glimmer may be somewhat smaller for the Astros, Cubs, Marlins, Twins and White Sox.)
The Red Sox became the 14th team in MLB history to win the World Series a year after finishing with a winning percentage under .500. In 2012, the Red Sox were 69-93 (a .426 winning percentage). Their .426 winning percentage the year prior to their World Series title is the lowest in major league history.
Here’s a rundown of the teams that won World Series the year following a sub .500 season.
World Series champion year, Team (previous season winning percentage)
2013: Boston Red Sox (.426 in 2012)
2002: Florida Marlins (.488)
2001: Anaheim Angels (.463)
1996: Florida Marlins (.494)
1990: Minnesota Twins (.457)
1989: Cincinnati Reds (.463)
1987: Los Angeles Dodgers (.451)
1986: Minnesota Twins (.438)
1968: New York Mets (.451)
1964: Los Angeles Dodgers (.494)
1958: Los Angeles Dodgers (.461)
1953: New York Giants (.455)
1932: New York Giants (.468)
1913: Boston Braves (.457)
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If you would have told Seattle head coach Pete Carroll that his Seahawks would only collect 135 yards in total offense in their October 28 game against the St. Louis Rams, he might have responded, “How bad did we get beat?”
Fortunately for Carroll and the Seahawks, Seattle was still able to come away with a 14-9 win despite the dismal offensive display. Consider this: Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson had almost two-and-half-times more yards in his record-setting game on Sunday than the Seattle offense had on Monday night. Johnson, in his 329-yards receiving game against the Cowboys had more yards last Sunday than 16 NFL teams in Week 8! But let’s get back to Seattle.
You would think that having less than 135 yards in total offense would not be a good omen. The Seahawks’ win was only the 28th time since 1970 (AFL-NFL merger) that a team with 135 or fewer total yards of offense won a game. The last time it happened was in 2010 when the Miami Dolphins amassed only 131 total yards of offense in a 10-6 win over the New York Jets. Since 2000, teams with 135 or fewer yards of offense in a game have won 13 and lost 60 (a .178 winning percentage).
Let’s expand the parameters a little. Let’s take a look at how well teams have done when they have gained less than 200 total yards in a game since 2000. There have been 468 times since 2000 that an NFL team had less than 200 yards of offense in a contest; in those games, that team won only 67 times, a .143 winning percentage. The Cleveland Browns had the most games with less than 200 yards of offense since 2000 with 37. They won only one of those games.
Here are the number of games each team had less than 200 yards of total offense in a game since 2000. Their record in those games is listed in parenthesis.
Cleveland: 37 games with less than 200 yards of offense (1-36 record in those games)
San Francisco: 28 games (4-24)
Buffalo: 25 games (3-22)
Chicago: 24 games (5-19)
Arizona: 22 games (5-17)
Oakland: 21 games (2-19)
Carolina: 19 games (2-17)
Cincinnati: 19 games (1-18)
Seattle: 19 games (4-15)
Baltimore: 18 games (7-11)
New York Jets: 17 games (1-16)
St. Louis: 17 games (2-15)
Detroit: 15 games (2-13)
Houston: 15 games (3-12)
Miami: 15 games (5-10)
Tennessee: 15 games (6-9)
Washington: 15 games (1-14)
Tampa Bay: 14 games (3-11)
Dallas: 13 games (1-12)
Kansas City: 12 games (1-11)
Philadelphia: 12 games (1-11)
Atlanta: 11 games (0-11)
Jacksonville: 10 games (1-9)
Minnesota: 9 games (2-7)
San Diego: 9 games (1-8)
New York Giants: 8 games (0-8)
Pittsburgh: 8 games (2-6)
New England: 7 games (1-6)
Indianapolis: 6 games (0-6)
Denver: 3 games (0-3)
Green Bay: 3 games (0-3)
New Orleans: 2 games (0-2)
There have been five games since 1970 where a team gained less than 100 yards of offense and still won the game. The five games:
* Tennessee over Jacksonville, 24-17 in 2006. Titans had 98 offensive yards.
* Oakland over Pittsburgh, 20-13 in 2006. Raiders had 98 offensive yards.
* Houston over Pittsburgh, 24-6 in 2002. Texans had 47 offensive yards.
* San Francisco over Atlanta, 10-3 in 1977. Forty-Niners had 97 offensive yards.
* Minnesota over Green Bay, 3-0 in 1971. Vikings had 87 offensive yards.
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