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.
Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a biweekly blog published every Wednesday and Sunday with a bonus “SIX STATS…” posting every Friday.
How important is momentum heading into the NFL playoffs? With four games left in the regular season, how important is it for the teams looking to make an appearance in the Super Bowl to go into the playoffs with a steady stream of victories?
As I hope you have come to expect with this blog, there is a quantifiable answer to the above questions. Taking a look at the previous 45 Super Bowls and the two teams that faced each other in those games, we discover the following numbers:
* Of the 90 Super Bowl teams, 31 (34%) went 4-0 in their last four regular season games. Nineteen of those 31 teams won the Super Bowl; meaning 19 of the 45 Super Bowl winners (42.2%) won all four of their final four regular season games.
* Of the 90 Super Bowl teams, 39 (43%) went 3-1 in their last four regular season games. Seventeen of the 39 teams won the Super Bowl; meaning 17 of the 45 Super Bowl winners (37.8%) won three of their last four regular season games.
* One team, the 1966 Kansas City Chiefs, went 3-0-1 in their last four regular season games.
* Thirty-six of the 45 Super Bowl winners (80%) went either 4-0 or 3-1 in their last four regular season games.
* Seventy-one of the 90 teams (78.8%) that played in the Super Bowl went either 4-0, 3-0-1 or 3-1 in their last four regular season games.
* No Super Bowl team has gone 0-4 in their last four regular season games.
* Three Super Bowl teams went 1-3 in their last four regular season games: Philadelphia, 1980; Denver, 1989; New Orleans, 2009. The 2009 Saints are the only team in NFL history to win a Super Bowl after winning only one of their final four regular season games.
* Sixteen Super Bowl teams went 2-2 in the final four regular season games. Eight of those 16 went on to win the Super Bowl. The last team to go 2-2 in their last four regular season games and win the Super Bowl? The 2010 Green Bay Packers.
“SIX STATS…” is a bonus feature of Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ and is published every Friday.
1. The Packers have scored 20 or more points in each of their 12 games this season. If they score 20 or more points in their remaining four games and win the Super Bowl, they would become only the third Super Bowl champion in history to score 20 or more points in every regular season game during their Super Bowl season. The other two: St. Louis Rams, 1999; Los Angeles Raiders, 1983.
2. Green Bay has allowed 30 or more points in three of their wins in 2011. Should the Pack win the Super Bowl, they would become the first Super Bowl champs to win three regular season games when allowing 30 or more points. The 2007 New York Giants and the 1983 L.A. Raiders each allowed 30 or more points in five regular season games in the year they won the Super Bowl. The Giants lost all five of those games; the Raiders lost four of those five games.
3. Green Bay is 5-0 in home games this year. Should they defeat Oakland, Detroit and Chicago in their three remaining home games and go on to win the Super Bowl, they would become the 14th Super Bowl champ to go undefeated at home in the regular season. The last team to accomplish this feat? The Indianapolis Colts in 2006.
4. Green Bay is 7-0 in away games this year. If they defeat the Chiefs on December 18 in Kansas City and go on to win the Super Bowl, the Packers would become only the fifth Super Bowl champ to go undefeated on the road. The others? San Francisco (1989), San Francisco (1984), Washington (1982) and Miami (1972).
5. The Packers defense is currently ranked 17th in the league in defense. Of the 45 Super Bowl winners, only five teams had a defense ranked outside the Top 10. The worst ranked defense of a Super Bowl champion? The 2006 Indianapolis Colts “D” was ranked 23rd. Note: Of the past five Super Bowl winners, three were ranked outside the Top 10: (New Orleans, 2009 ranked #20; New York Giants, 2007, ranked #17; the Colts in 2006, ranked 23rd).
6. The Packers have allowed 262 points to the opposition this season after 12 games, an average of 21.8 points per game. If the Packers continue at this pace, they would give up 349 points for the season. Most points given up in the regular season by a Super Bowl champ? Indianapolis in 2006 with 360.
Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a biweekly blog published every Wednesday and Sunday with a bonus “SIX STATS…” posting every Friday.
With their 25-14 win over the Atlanta Falcons last Sunday night, the Green Bay Packers became the seventh Super Bowl champion in NFL history to start the following season 5-0. But let’s take it a step (or two) further…
When you consider that the Packers won the last two regular season games in their Super Bowl season, followed by their playoff wins and a 5-0 start this season, the Pack is only the fourth team in NFL history to accomplish that feat. Finally, with wins in their final two regular season games, four playoff wins and a 5-0 record so far this season, the Packers are the only team to accomplish that feat. The other three teams that won their last two regular season games in their Super Bowl season, won their playoff games and went 5-0 in the first five games the following season won just three playoff games whereas the Packers won four playoff games in their Super Bowl season.
Here are the seven Super Bowl champions that started the following season with at least a 5-0 record:
Team, Super Bowl season Wins to start the next season
Chicago Bears, 1985 6-0
San Francisco 49ers, 1989 10-0
Denver Broncos, 1997 13-0
St. Louis Rams, 1999 6-0
New England Patriots, 2003 6-0
Indianapolis Colts, 2006 9-0
Green Bay Packers, 2010 5-0 (as of Oct. 9, 2011)
Here’s a few more stats looking at how well Super Bowl champions did through their first five games of the following season:
* Nine of the 45 Super Bowl champs had a losing record after their first five games the following season. One team, the 1987 New York Giants, were 0-5 after winning the Super Bowl the previous season.
* The 1999 Denver Broncos lost their first four games following their Super Bowl victory. They won Game Five.
* If you consider their two-game winning streak to end the 2010 regular season, their four wins in the 2010 playoffs and their five-game winning streak to start this season, the Packers are currently on a 11-game winning streak. The 2003 Super Bowl champion Patriots ended the 2003 regular season with 12 straight wins, won three playoff games and won their first six games of 2004 to have a 21-game winning streak. The Packers would have to finish with a 16-0 regular season record in 2011 to top the Patriots mark.
* In case you were wondering, the 1972 Miami Dolphins went 14-0 in the regular season, won three playoff games then lost their second game in the 1973 season for a streak of 18 straight wins. The 1971 Dolphins ended their season with a loss to the Dallas Cowboys in the Super Bowl.
TRIVIA ANSWER: The 2009 Saints and ’67 Packers are the only two teams in NFL history to lose their last two regular season games and go on to win the Super Bowl that same year.
Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a biweekly blog published every Wednesday and Friday with a bonus “SIX STATS…” posting every Friday.
Two games does not an NFL season make, and it may not be enough to prompt some fans to go out and purchase Super Bowl tickets or give up on their team’s chances for the 2011 campaign, but what does two games into the season tell us? More importantly, can past history predict if the Super Bowl champs this year will come from the teams that are now 2-0, those at 1-1, or those still looking for their first win of 2011?
In looking at the past 45 Super Bowl champions, we discover that 30 of them (66.7%) were 2-0 in the first two games of their championship season. Ten of the teams had one win and one loss, three teams were 0-2, and two teams had one win and a tie after their first two games.
WE INTERRUPT THIS BLOG FOR A TRIVIA QUESTION: Can you name the last team to start the season 0-2 and win the Super Bowl that year? Answer at the end of the blog.
This year after two weeks of the season we are already down to only seven undefeated teams at 2-0 (Buffalo, Detroit, Green Bay, Houston, New England, New York Jets and Washington). Time will tell if all, any, or some of the seven make the playoffs, but over the past five seasons we’ve seen that close to half of the playoff teams have been 2-0 after Week Two. Of the 60 playoff teams from the five seasons spanning 2006-2010, 29 teams were 2-0, 26 were 1-1, and only five teams that started 0-2 made the playoffs in the last five seasons. Note: In the last two NFL seasons (2009 and 2010) no 0-2 team made the playoffs in those years.
Including this season and going back another five seasons, two teams have started 2-0 in four of those six years, most in the NFL: the New England Patriots, and the Green Bay Packers. Four teams, Cleveland, Oakland, Philadelphia and St. Louis have no 2-0 starts in the last six NFL seasons.
TRIVIA ANSWER: The 2007 New York Giants started the season 0-2 and won the Super Bowl that year.