Super Study Breakdown of Super Bowl XLVII, Part 3

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Feb 02, 2013



By Adam Dobrowolski (@tabsports)
Cold, Hard Football Facts Super-Powered Mathlete

Already two parts into our look back at the epic Super Study conducted earlier this month, and it's already become apparent that some of the "red flag" factors were misleading in determining the Baltimore Ravens' run to Super Bowl XLVII. As explained yesterday, the decision by Ray Lewis to retire after this postseason completely washed away any negative momentum from 1-4 finish to the regular season. Actually, this storyline arguably put the Ravens in better position to make the run to the Super Bowl than the San Francisco 49ers.

Of course, we here at Cold, Hard Football Facts like to think that there's more than a retirement storyline that'll determine if the Ravens, the fifth team with a 9-7 or 10-6 record in the last six years making the Super Bowl, can pull off the upset against the 49ers.

Remember, the epic Super Study showed the 2012 49ers had only two red flags, making them a decent candidate to win Super Bowl XLVII. Meanwhile, the 2012 Ravens had six red flags, proving this run was an unlikely and special one. In the last seven Super Bowls, the team with more red flags won six times.

Today's part of the study looks at how blowout losses and point differential will impact Super Bowl XLVII.

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First, let's look at the blowout losses for each team this season. During the Super Study, we classified "blowout losses" as losses by more than two possessions. For teams that lost multiple games by at least 17 points, it shows potential significant shortcomings in the overall quality of a team. Elite teams should not be blown out.

The chart below looks at each Super Bowl team's number of blowout losses. Note that we provided different standards for the winners and losers during the Super Study, something which we will probably have to review in the future.

Winners

Losers

SB

Team

Count

 

SB

Team

Count

I66 Packers

0

 I66 Chiefs

1

II67 Packers

0

 II67 Raiders

0

III68 Jets

0

 III68 Colts

0

IV69 Chiefs

0

 IV69 Vikings

0

V70 Colts

2

 V70 Cowboys

2

VI71 Cowboys

0

 VI71 Dolphins

1

VII72 Dolphins

0

 VII72 Redskins

0

VIII73 Dolphins

0

 VIII73 Vikings

1

IX74 Steelers

1

 IX74 Vikings

0

X75 Steelers

0

 X75 Cowboys

0

XI76 Raiders

1

 XI76 Vikings

0

XII77 Cowboys

1

 XII77 Broncos

0

XIII78 Steelers

0

 XIII78 Cowboys

0

XIV79 Steelers

2

 XIV79 Rams

4

XV80 Raiders

1

 XV80 Eagles

0

XVI81 49ers

1

 XVI81 Bengals

1

XVII82 Redskins

0

 XVII82 Dolphins

0

XVIII83 Raiders

0

 XVIII83 Redskins

0

XIX84 49ers

0

 XIX84 Dolphins

0

XX85 Bears

0

 XX85 Patriots

1

XXI86 Giants

0

 XXI86 Broncos

2

XXII87 Redskins

0

 XXII87 Broncos

1

XXIII88 49ers

2

 XXIII88 Bengals

1

XXIV89 49ers

0

 XXIV89 Broncos

0

XXV90 Giants

1

 XXV90 Bills

2

XXVI91 Redskins

0

 XXVI91 Bills

1

XXVII92 Cowboys

1

 XXVII92 Bills

3

XXVIII93 Cowboys

1

 XXVIII93 Bills

2

XXIX94 49ers

1

 XXIX94 Chargers

1

XXX95 Cowboys

1

 XXX95 Steelers

2

XXXI96 Packers

0

 XXXI96 Patriots

1

XXXII97 Broncos

1

 XXXII97 Packers

0

XXXIII98 Broncos

0

 XXXIII98 Falcons

1

XXXIV99 Rams

0

 XXXIV99 Titans

2

XXXV00 Ravens

0

 XXXV00 Giants

0

XXXVI01 Patriots

1

 XXXVI01 Rams

0

XXXVII02 Bucs

0

 XXXVII02 Raiders

0

XXXVIII03 Patriots

1

 XXXVIII03 Panthers

1

XXXIX04 Patriots

0

 XXXIX04 Eagles

2

XL05 Steelers

1

 XL05 Seahawks

0

XLI06 Colts

1

 XLI06 Bears

2

XLII07 Giants

2

 XLII07 Patriots

0

XLIII08 Steelers

1

 XLIII08 Cardinals

4

XLIV09 Saints

0

 XLIV09 Colts

1

XLV10 Packers

0

 XLV10 Steelers

0

XLVI11 Giants

1

 XLVI11 Patriots

0

If we held the same standards for winners and losers, there would be 11 red flags for the Super Bowl losers. Of all the factors from the Super Study, this proved to be very telling throughout all the eras. Of the underdog conference champions, only the 2007 Giants and 2008 Cardinals suffered multiple blowout losses. Meanwhile, only two teams (1988 49ers and 2007 Giants) with multiple blowout losses defeated teams with less than two blowout losses.

Regardless the outcome of Super Bowl XLVII, the winner will become the third team with multiple blowout losses to defeat another team with multiple blowout losses, as you'll see below.

  • Baltimore Ravens: 2 blowout losses (43-13 at Texans, 34-17 v. Broncos)
  • San Francisco 49ers: 2 blowout losses (26-3 v. Giants, 42-13 at Seahawks)

For each team, the blowout losses seem to be as much a product of the competition as any shortcomings for those teams. The Seahawks and Broncos finished first and second respectively in the Quality Stats Power Rankings. Meanwhile, the Texans and Giants were both top five teams in the first half of the season, when those two games occurred.

In an attempt to split hairs to determine who has the advantage, we go back to a claim made in yesterday's part of the study. The claim stated:

"Believe it or not, though, the blowout loss against Denver helped in the long run. The Ravens saw what the Broncos did well on both sides of the ball, and they made the necessary adjustments in the Divisional Round. Without that first time battling the Broncos, perhaps the Ravens would be eliminated at this point."

While it's not good for playoff teams to suffer multiple blowout losses, it's important to note how tough it is for a playoff-quality team to be blown out twice by the same team. The Ravens were good enough to make the most of their second encounter of the Broncos, giving them the advantage among two teams with a red flag. Advantage: Ravens

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For the second part of today's analysis, we look at scoring margin. The "blowout losses" red flag can be misleading, as the losses could be an outlier for some teams. Point differential helps to indicate if those losses are outliers. The 49ers lost the two aforementioned games by a combined 52 points. If they finish with a strong overall scoring margin, it would suggest that the losses were out of the ordinary. Meanwhile, if the scoring margin is rather weak, it illustrates how the losses with a sign of some shortcomings. We investigate scoring margin for each Super Bowl team in the chart below.

Winners

Losers

SB

Team

Margin

 

SB

Team

Margin

I66 Packers

+172

 I66 Chiefs

+172

II67 Packers

+123

 II67 Raiders

+235

III68 Jets

+139

 III68 Colts

+258

IV69 Chiefs

+182

 IV69 Vikings

+246

V70 Colts

+87

 V70 Cowboys

+78

VI71 Cowboys

+184

 VI71 Dolphins

+141

VII72 Dolphins

+214

 VII72 Redskins

+118

VIII73 Dolphins

+193

 VIII73 Vikings

+128

IX74 Steelers

+116

 IX74 Vikings

+115

X75 Steelers

+211

 X75 Cowboys

+82

XI76 Raiders

+113

 XI76 Vikings

+129

XII77 Cowboys

+133

 XII77 Broncos

+126

XIII78 Steelers

+161

 XIII78 Cowboys

+176

XIV79 Steelers

+154

 XIV79 Rams

+14

XV80 Raiders+58 XV80 Eagles

+162

XVI81 49ers

+107

 XVI81 Bengals

+117

XVII82 Redskins

+62

 XVII82 Dolphins

+67

XVIII83 Raiders

+104

 XVIII83 Redskins

+209

XIX84 49ers

+248

 XIX84 Dolphins

+215

XX85 Bears

+258

 XX85 Patriots

+72

XXI86 Giants

+135

 XXI86 Broncos

+51

XXII87 Redskins

+94

 XXII87 Broncos

+91

XXIII88 49ers

+75

 XXIII88 Bengals

+119

XXIV89 49ers

+189

 XXIV89 Broncos

+136

XXV90 Giants

+124

 XXV90 Bills

+165

XXVI91 Redskins

+261

 XXVI91 Bills

+140

XXVII92 Cowboys

+166

 XXVII92 Bills

+98

XXVIII93 Cowboys

+147

 XXVIII93 Bills

+87

XXIX94 49ers

+209

 XXIX94 Chargers

+75

XXX95 Cowboys

+144

 XXX95 Steelers

+80

XXXI96 Packers

+246

 XXXI96 Patriots

+105

XXXII97 Broncos

+185

 XXXII97 Packers

+140

XXXIII98 Broncos

+192

 XXXIII98 Falcons

+153

XXXIV99 Rams

+284

 XXXIV99 Titans

+68

XXXV00 Ravens

+168

 XXXV00 Giants

+82

XXXVI01 Patriots

+99

 XXXVI01 Rams

+230

XXXVII02 Bucs

+150

 XXXVII02 Raiders

+146

XXXVIII03 Patriots

+110

 XXXVIII03 Panthers

+21

XXXIX04 Patriots

+177

 XXXIX04 Eagles

+126

XL05 Steelers

+131

 XL05 Seahawks

+181

XLI06 Colts

+67

 XLI06 Bears

+172

XLII07 Giants

+22

 XLII07 Patriots

+315

XLIII08 Steelers

+124

 XLIII08 Cardinals

+1

XLIV09 Saints

+169

 XLIV09 Colts

+109

XLV10 Packers

+148

 XLV10 Steelers

+143

XLVI11 Giants

-6

 XLVI11 Patriots

+171

The threshold for the outlier in this part of study is an average scoring margin less than +5.0 points per game. This stat suggests that the 2005 Steelers and 2010 Packers were much better than their six seed indicated. However, other underdogs (like the two Giants teams) were certainly as mediocre as their regular season record suggested. We can now see one of the reasons why not all underdogs are alike, and that's why the Super Study has an important role in future postseason historical analysis. As for this Ravens squad, where do they stand?

  • Baltimore Ravens: +54 points (11th in the league)
  • San Francisco 49ers: +124 points (fourth in the league)

Remember back in the first part of the study, when we discussed how the Ravens had five one-possession wins against non-quality opponents, as opposed to the 49ers having only one. That plays a big factor in separating these two in point differential. San Francisco certainly took advantage of weak opposing offenses (Bills, Dolphins, Jets, Cardinals, Rams), but their schedule honestly wasn't easier than Baltimore's. The Ravens played the AFC West and NFC East. San Francisco more than doubled Baltimore's point differential against arguably a tougher schedule. The advantage is quite clear, and this might be the biggest advantage for the 49ers. Advantage: 49ers

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In the next installment, Adam Dobrowolski concludes this series with a look at the starting quarterbacks and their postseason experience. What does Super Bowl history say about Joe Flacco and Colin Kaepernick?








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