Does it matter if an NFL team is the only team in their division to win 10 or more games? Does it matter if a team wins a divisional title by five or more games? If a team is one of three in their division to win 10 or more games, do they have a better chance to reach the Super Bowl? Do teams that win their division by one game or less (or tie for the divisional title) have a better chance of winning the Super Bowl than say a team that wins their division by five or more games?
Let’s try to answer these questions. Back in 2002, the NFL went to a four-division format in each conference. That gives us 11 years of past history to analyze divisional races and how they affect the Super Bowl teams (and winners). The following stats reflect the past 11 NFL seasons, 88 different divisional races.
1. In 43 of the 88 divisional races since 20002, the race ended with only one team in the division winning 10 games or more. In 33 races, two teams in the division won 10-plus games; in nine races, none of the teams win 10-plus games; and in three races, three different teams won 10 or more games.
2. Of the 22 teams that played in the Super Bowl since 2002, exactly half (11) came from a division that had only one team with 10-plus wins; nine of the 22 came from a division with two 10-plus win teams. Two teams came from a conference that had no team winning 10 or more games. Since 2002, none of the three divisions that had three teams with 10-plus wins has made it to the Super Bowl.
3. Seven of the 11 Super Bowl champs since 2002 came from a division with two teams with 10 or more wins.
4. Fifty-six of the 88 division races since 2002 (63.6 percent) finished in a tie or the first place team won the division by two games or less over the second place team. Eighteen teams since 2002 won their division by five games or more over the runner-up.
5. The last three Super Bowl champs came from divisions that were decided by one game or less.
6. Teams that won their division by one game or less are 5-2 in the Super Bowl since 2002. Teams that won their division by 1.5 to four games are 6-3 in the Super Bowl. Teams that won their division by five or more games are 0-6 in the Super Bowl in the last 11 years.