Saturday, February 05, 2011

The "Stay at Home Bowl": Dubious Achievement Update

In 2003, I gave a list of all of the teams to defeat both Super Bowl participants. Teams that can sit at home and say, "We can beat either of these guys." At the time, I was rooting for a Patriots-Seahawks Super Bowl, since the (5-11) Redskins had beaten both teams and would have tied the 1981 Browns for the worst team to have this "dubious achievement" had the Seahawks not exited the playoffs before the Big Game. I was reminded of this post recently when I heard Bob Ryan on Tony Kornheiser's radio show talk about how great the 2010 Patriots were because they had beaten both Super Bowl entrants. So which teams in the past 8 years get added to the list?

  • 2010 New England Patriots (14-2)
  • 2008 Philadelphia Eagles (9-6-1)
  • 2008 New York Giants (12-4)
  • 2005 Jacksonville Jaguars (12-4)
  • 2004 Pittsburgh Steelers (15-1) 
The Patriots are second only to the 2004 Steelers for the team with the best record to hold this distinction. Let's ask the following question, though.  Of the 15 previous winners of the "Stay at Home Bowl", how did each team fare the following season?
  • Won Super Bowl: 2005 Steelers
  • Lost Super Bowl: 1979 Rams
  • Lost in Conference Championship: 1980 Chargers*, 1981 Chargers, 2008 Eagles
  • Lost in Divisional Round: 1994 Dolphins
  • Lost in Wild Card Round: 1982 Browns, 1987 Seahawks
  • Missed Playoffs: 1986 Dolphins, 1997 Cowboys, 2001 Titans, 2001 Redskins, 2006 Jaguars, 2009 Giants
So these teams have a 60% success rate making the playoffs next year, well above the normal rate (which has been between 35 and 43 percent, except for the 1982 strike year). Perhaps more impressive, these teams have a 33% rate of making the conference championship game, well above the 12-15% rate when you consider all teams.
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