Dominance has a new name: New England

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Oct 13, 2007



As Luke Wilson said after getting his good arm ripped off by a lion in Anchorman, "Aw, God! This is getting to be ri-god-damn-diculous!"
 
The Patriots are ri-god-damn-diculous right now. They are off the charts, and the Cold, Hard Football Facts always enjoy watching the pursuit of history.
 
We were watching last year when Chicago had one of the great starts in recent memory, but those Bears have nothing on these Patriots.
 
As it stands now, the Patriots are on pace to break the all-time records for:
  • Wins, 16 (currently 15 by three teams)
  • Points, 613 (currently 556 by 1998 Vikings)
  • Point differential, +23.0 PPG (currently +19.8 by 1962 Packers)
  • Touchdown passes, 56 (currently 51 by 2004 Colts)
  • Touchdowns, 77 (currently 70 by 1984 Miami Dolphins)
Not a bad list, and there are plenty of other lesser ones they're on pace to shatter.
 
New England's remarkable 48-27 win in Dallas erased all shreds of doubt (doubt we had last week because of NE's easy schedule) that we are witnessing one of the special teams of all time.
 
One of our favorite NFL books is Eddie Epstein's "Dominance," which tried to establish by statistical method the 12 most dominant teams in modern history (1950 to present).
 
Epstein's teams had to be champions in their given season (something the Patriots are far from achieving), and otherwise had to show dominance all across the board.
 
Here's his list, in chronological order, with some pertinent numbers:
 
MOST DOMINANT NFL TEAMS (per "Dominance" by Eddie Epstein)
Team
Record
Point Differential
Yards differential
1955 Browns
9-2-1
+10.9 PPG
+94.1 YPG
1958 Colts
9-3
+14.8 PPG
+104.6 YPG
1962 Packers
13-1
+19.8 PPG
+108.1 YPG
1971 Cowboys
11-3
+13.1 PPG
+111.9 YPG
1972 Dolphins
14-0
+15.3 PPG
+124.2 YPG
1979 Steelers
12-4
+9.6 PPG
+124.3 YPG
1985 Bears
15-1
+16.1 PPG
+106.3 YPG
1989 49ers
14-2
+11.8 PPG
+103.1 YPG
1991 Redskins
14-2
+16.3 PPG
+90.5 YPG
1994 49ers
13-3
+13.1 PPG
+76.3 YPG
1996 Packers
13-3
+15.4 PPG
+86.2 YPG
1999 Rams
13-3
+17.8 PPG
+107.1 YPG
AVERAGE
.846 win %
+14.5 PPG
+103.1 YPG
 
And here 's New England's projected line:
  • 2007 Patriots, 16-0 (1.000), +23.0 PPG, +174.2 YPG
Those are truly remarkable numbers, not just great, but all-time great – greater than all-time great in every category.
 
Even if the Patriots fell off significantly the rest of the way, their numbers could still hang with the all-time greats. Let's say they lose two games, and halve their current level of dominance in points and yardage.
 
Their final numbers in that scenario would be:
  • 2007 Patriots, 14-2, +15.8 PPG, +119.8 YPG
That's still an all-time great team, a top five team all time – even with a 10-game "slump" figured into the equation. 
 
Frankly, the Cold, Hard Football Facts are in pure statistical awe of this Patriots team, and can't wait to see where the final totals lie ... and whether they can keep it up in the playoffs, when all the stats in the world aren't going to make you a great team if you get bounced early.

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