Six Stats you might not know about… NFL divisional races and how they affect the Super Bowl teams

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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.

Packers get a shot at another reigning Super Bowl champ

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Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published with a focus on stats that go beyond the numbers.

The Green Bay Packers this week will face the reigning Super Bowl champs, the Baltimore Ravens. This will be the second straight year that the Pack will face off against the Super Bowl champs in the regular season; the Packers lost 38-10 to the 2012 (2011 regular season) Super Bowl champion New York Giants last year.

This will be the second time the Packers have faced off against the Ravens after the Baltimore franchise won a championship. In 2001 the Ravens won the Super Bowl; in the 2001 regular season the Packers beat the reigning Super Bowl champion Ravens 31-23 in Green Bay.

So how have the Packers historically done in games against the reigning Super Bowl champs? Not too well. Since 1967, the Packers have faced the defending Super Bowl champs in 24 games (includes playoff games). Their record in those games is 7-17. (.292 winning percentage). This century, however, the Pack has had a little more success in playing the reigning champs: Since 2000, the Packers have played the defending champs five times, winning three.

Here’s a look at those five contests:

2012: Lost to the New York Giants, 38-10

2009: Lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 37-36

2003: Defeated the Tampa Bay Bucs, 20-13

2002: Defeated the New England Patriots, 28-10

2001: Defeated the Baltimore Ravens, 31-23

Here’s a few more notes about the Packers playing the defending Super Bowl champs.

* The Packers are 3-5 against the defending Super Bowl champs at home; they are 4-12 when they played the Super Bowl champs on the champs’ home turf.

* Seven of the 24 games were decided by three points or less; 11 of those 24 games were decided by seven points or less. In six of those games the margin of victory in the game was 20 points or more; the Packers lost all six of those games.

99 Stats Until Kickoff (#72) 15 regular season stats that impact the Super Bowl winner

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From May 30 and every day until September 5… the start of the 2013 NFL season… Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ will publish “99 Stats Until Kickoff” a daily dose of NFL stats that will get you ready for the 2013 NFL season.)

Looking for a sure thing when it comes to picking the winner of the Super Bowl? I wish I had some magical formula I could give you (or use myself), but there just doesn’t seem to be such a thing out there.

I can, however, give you a look at some stats that may help you when it comes time to choose the team that will win the Super Bowl. I’ve looked at 15 regular season stats from the past 47 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 the next Super Bowl.

1. Wins. Thirty-nine of the 47 Super Bowl champs won 11 or more games in the regular season. (The Ravens won last year’s Super Bowl with 10 regular-season wins) Only three times in Super Bowl history did a team with less than 10 regular season victories win the Super Bowl: The first two were in 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 don’t remember, the 2011 champion New York Giants became the third team in this stat when they defeated the New England Patriots. The Giants only had nine regular-season wins in 2011; they became the first team with less than 10 wins from a 16-game NFL season to ever win a Super Bowl.

2. Turnover Ratio. Forty-one of the 47 Super Bowl champs had a positive turnover ratio; 21 of the 47 had a +10 or more turnover ratio in the regular season. Both teams in last year’s Super Bowl had a regular-season turnover ratio of +9.

3. Offensive rank by points. Forty of the 47 were in the Top 10 in offense based on points. Baltimore ranked 10th in this category last season and became the 40th team in this stat.

4. Offensive rank based on yards. Thirty-six of the 47 were in the Top 10 in offense based on total yards. Both of last year’s teams ranked outside the Top 10; the 49ers were 11th, the Ravens were 16th.

5. Defensive Rank by Points. Thirty-five of the 47 were in the Top 10 in defense based on points. The lowest ranked defense (by points) to win a Super Bowl were the 2011 Giants, who were ranked 25th that year on their way to a title. The Ravens were ranked 12th in this category in 2012.

6. Defensive rank based on yards. Thirty-eight of the 47 ranked in the Top 10 in defense based on total yards allowed. The Giants in 2011 established a new “low” in this stat as they won the Super Bowl with a “D” that was ranked 27th in yards allowed. The Ravens were ranked 17th in this category last season.

7. Offensive yards per play. Thirty-eight of the 47 Super Bowl champs averaged 5.0 or more yards per play during the regular season. Twenty-two of the 47 averaged 5.5 or more yards per play. This past year in the regular season Baltimore was at 5.4 yards per play

8. Three-game losing streak. Only five 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, New Orleans in 2009 and the Giants last year. The Ravens did lose three straight in 2012 and became the fifth team in this category. Three of the last four Super Bowl champs lost three straight regular-season games in the year they won the Super Bowl.

9. Winning streak to start season. Thirteen of the 47 won five straight games to start the season; 22 won three straight games to start the season; 30 of the 47 won their first two games. Baltimore in 2012 won their season-opener, but lost the following week.

10. Away wins. Forty-six of the 47 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 fewer games on the road that regular season. Thirty-six of the 47 lost none, one or two away games during the regular season of their Super Bowl year. Baltimore went 4-4 in away games last season.

11. 1,000-yard rusher. Twenty-eight of the 47 had a 1,000-yard rusher during the regular season. Both teams in last year’s Super Bowl had a 1,000-yard rusher in the 2012 season.

12. 1,000-yard receiver. Twenty-five of the 47 had a 1,000-yard receiver during the regular season. The Ravens did not have a 1,000-yard receiver in 2012.

13. More passing TDs than running TDs. Thirty-four of the 47 had more passing TDs than running TDs for the regular season. 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. Forty of the 47 lost half or more of their defeats by one score (eight points or less). Baltimore lost six games in 2012, four of them by one score.

15. Point differential rank. Thirty-eight of the 47 ranked in the Top 3 in point differential in the regular season. Only three teams have 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; last year the Giants ranked 17th in point differential in the regular season and won last
year’s championship; this past year’s Super Bowl champs, the Ravens, ranked 11th in this category in the 2012 regular season.

“99 Stats Before Kickoff” (Stats you need to know before the start of the 2013 NFL season) is available from e-book publisher Smashwords. Go to www.smashwords.com to download a copy, including a pdf version which can be viewed on your home computer. Cost is \$2.99.

99 Stats Until Kickoff (#70) Baltimore Ravens… What will the season after another Super Bowl title look like?

From May 30 and every day until September 5… the start of the 2013 NFL season… Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ will publish “99 Stats Until Kickoff” a daily dose of NFL stats that will get you ready for the 2013 NFL season.)

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The Baltimore Ravens enter the 2013 season with a big fat target on their back signifying the champions from last season. What do the Ravens and their fans have to look forward to after another Super Bowl? Here’s a look at how the previous 46 Super Bowl champions did the season following their title.

1. Only seven Super Bowl champs increased their win total the following year after their Super Bowl win. (The New York Giants won the title from the 2011 season. They won nine games that year; they also won nine games in 2012.) Six teams had the same number of wins as their Super Bowl winning season. That means that 72 percent of the Super Bowl champions had fewer wins in the regular season the year after their Super Bowl win. Last Time: The last time a Super Bowl champ did not increase (or tie) their win total after a Super Bowl title was in 2011 when the Super Bowl champion New York Giants saw their win total stay the same from nine wins in 2011 to nine wins in 2012.

2. Thirty of the 46 Super Bowl champs (65.2 percent) won 10 or more games the next season. Last Time: The last time a Super Bowl champion did not win 10 or more games in the season after their title was last year when the New York Giants went 9-7 in the 2012 regular season after their title the previous year.

3. Thirty-two of the 46 champs (69.6 percent) made the playoffs the following season after their Super Bowl victory. Last Time: The last time a Super Bowl champion did not make the playoffs the following season was last year when the Giants failed to reach the post-season after the 2012 campaign.

4. Of those 32 teams that made the playoffs the season after their Super Bowl win, 21 (65.6 percent) won at least one playoff game. Last Time: The last Super Bowl champion to make the playoffs the following year but not win a playoff game that postseason were the 2011 Green Bay Packers.

5. Twenty-five of the previous 46 Super Bowl champs won their division the following year. Ten (including the 2012 Giants) finished second in their division; seven finished third; two finished fourth; two finished fifth. Last Time: The last Super Bowl champion that did not win their division the following season was last year’s New York Giants. They finished second in their division last season.

6. The previous 46 Super Bowl champs are 31-14-1 in their first game of the next season after winning the Super Bowl. Last Time: The last time a defending Super Bowl champion lost their first regular-season game of the following season was last season when the Giants lost to the Dallas Cowboys 24-17 in their opening game. Prior to that, the last Super Bowl champ to lose the first game the following season was in 1999. The Denver Broncos won the ’98 title and then lost their first game of the 1999 season 38-21 to Miami. The Broncos actually went on to lose their first four games that season.

“99 Stats Before Kickoff” (Stats you need to know before the start of the 2013 NFL season) is available from e-book publisher Smashwords. Go to www.smashwords.com to download a copy, including a pdf version which can be viewed on your home computer. Cost is \$2.99.

A ‘Stats’ review of Super Bowl 46

Giants kicker Lawrence Tynes... Image via Wikipedia

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

Before we close the book on the 2011 NFL season, here’s a few stat items from the New York Giants‘ Super Bowl win over New England.

* The New York Giants became the first Super Bowl champion that lost seven games during the regular season. Three teams had won the Super Bowl with six regular season losses: San Francisco in Super Bowl 23, the Giants in Super Bowl 42 and the Packers in Super Bowl 45. The Giants are the third team in Super Bowl history to win the title with less than 10 wins. The others: Green Bay in 1967, who were 9-4-1, and the 1982 Washington Redskins, who won the Super Bowl in that strike-shortened season after an 8-1 regular season.

* The NFC has now scored first in 13 of the last 18 Super Bowls.

* The 9-7 Giants over the 13-3 Patriots was the fourth time that a Super Bowl team with three-plus fewer regular season wins than their Super Bowl opponent has won the title. The others: 1967 Packers (9-4-1) over the Oakland Raiders (13-1); 2001 New England Patriots (11-5) over the St. Louis Rams (14-2); and 2007 Giants (10-6) over the Patriots (16-0).

* Eli Manning became the 11th quarterback to win two or more Super Bowls, joining Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana with four; Tom Brady and Troy Aikman with three; and John Elway, Roger Staubach, Bob Griese, Ben Roethlisberger, Bart Starr and Jim Plunkett with two.

* Brady became the seventh quarterback to lose multiple Super Bowls. Joining Brady with two losses are Staubach, Kurt Warner and Craig Morton. Elway and Fran Tarkenton lost three, and Buffalo’s Jim Kelly lost four Super Bowls.

* The Patriots became the fourth team in Super Bowl history to lose four or more Super Bowl games. Denver, Minnesota and Buffalo have also lost four Super Bowls.

* The Giants, now with four Super Bowl wins, joined Pittsburgh (6), Dallas (5), San Francisco (5) and Green Bay (4) as the NFL franchises that have won four or more Super Bowls.

* The Giants defense, which was ranked 25th in the NFL based on points, became the lowest ranked defense (based on points) to win a Super Bowl.

* The Giants defense, which was ranked 27th in yards allowed, became the lowest ranked defense (based on yards allowed) to win a Super Bowl.

* The Giants became only the fourth team in history to win a Super Bowl after losing three straight games in the regular season. The others: Baltimore, 2000; Pittsburgh, 2005; and New Orleans, 2009.

* The Giants became the ninth team in history to win the Super Bowl after losing their first game of the season.

* The Giants ranked 17th in the league during the regular season in point differential (points scored minus points allowed). They are now the lowest ranked team in point differential to win a Super Bowl. They are only the second team to win a Super Bowl that did not rank in the Top 10 in point differential during the regular season. The other team? The 2007 New York Giants.

* The Washington Redskins defeated the Super Bowl champion Giants twice in the 2011 regular season. This was the sixth time in history that a team defeated the Super Bowl champs twice in the regular season. The other times: 1969-Oakland defeated champion Chiefs twice; 1983-Seattle defeated champion Raiders; 1995-Washington defeated champion Cowboys; 2002-New Orleans defeated champion Tampa Bay Bucs; 2007-Dallas defeated champion Giants.