Super Bowl Super Study Says Patriots, Broncos Built Like Champs

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Jan 06, 2013



10. Turnover Margin

As this study moves to more statistical aspects, we first look at arguably the important quantitative statistic in an individual game. Turnover margin plays a key role, especially in the Super Bowl. No team that lost the turnover battle won the Super Bowl until the 40th installment, when the 2005 Steelers concluded their game-changing run.

Therefore, it’s easy to argue the importance of this stat. However, this stat can be tricky simply because the regular season turnover stats can easily stack in favor of a playoff team against the worst teams in the league. Of the 37 teams to build a +20 turnover margin on better in the Super Bowl Era, only six made the big game. This suggests that these teams normally can’t handle a playoff team when they don’t win the turnover battle, the sample size needs to be a big larger before the +20 turnover teams are considered outliers in the postseason.

For now, let’s look at each Super Bowl combatant’s turnover margin.

Winners

Losers

SB

Team

Margin

 

SB

Team

Margin

I66 Packers

+18

 I66 Chiefs

+10

II67 Packers

+3

 II67 Raiders

+9

III68 Jets

+15

 III68 Colts

+7

IV69 Chiefs

+8

 IV69 Vikings

+12

V70 Colts

-2

 V70 Cowboys

+11

VI71 Cowboys

+16

 VI71 Dolphins

+8

VII72 Dolphins

+18

 VII72 Redskins

+6

VIII73 Dolphins

+1

 VIII73 Vikings

+10

IX74 Steelers

+7

 IX74 Vikings

+11

X75 Steelers

+5

 X75 Cowboys

+9

XI76 Raiders

-4

 XI76 Vikings

+3

XII77 Cowboys

+7

 XII77 Broncos

+12

XIII78 Steelers

+9

 XIII78 Cowboys

+1

XIV79 Steelers

-10

 XIV79 Rams

-8

XV80 Raiders

+8

 XV80 Eagles

+7

XVI81 49ers

+23

 XVI81 Bengals

+13

XVII82 Redskins

+8

 XVII82 Dolphins

+4

XVIII83 Raiders

-13

 XVIII83 Redskins

+43

XIX84 49ers

+16

 XIX84 Dolphins

+8

XX85 Bears

+23

 XX85 Patriots

+5

XXI86 Giants

+11

 XXI86 Broncos

+6

XXII87 Redskins

-3

 XXII87 Broncos

+11

XXIII88 49ers

+12

 XXIII88 Bengals

+9

XXIV89 49ers

+12

 XXIV89 Broncos

+11

XXV90 Giants

+20

 XXV90 Bills

+14

XXVI91 Redskins

+18

 XXVI91 Bills

+2

XXVII92 Cowboys

+7

 XXVII92 Bills

-3

XXVIII93 Cowboys

+6

 XXVIII93 Bills

+12

XXIX94 49ers

+11

 XXIX94 Chargers

+9

XXX95 Cowboys

+2

 XXX95 Steelers

Even

XXXI96 Packers

+15

 XXXI96 Patriots

+7

XXXII97 Broncos

+10

 XXXII97 Packers

Even

XXXIII98 Broncos

+10

 XXXIII98 Falcons

+20

XXXIV99 Rams

+5

 XXXIV99 Titans

+18

XXXV00 Ravens

+23

 XXXV00 Giants

+7

XXXVI01 Patriots

+7

 XXXVI01 Rams

-10

XXXVII02 Bucs

+17

 XXXVII02 Raiders

+12

XXXVIII03 Patriots

+17

 XXXVIII03 Panthers

-5

XXXIX04 Patriots

+9

 XXXIX04 Eagles

+6

XL05 Steelers

+7

 XL05 Seahawks

+10

XLI06 Colts

+7

 XLI06 Bears

+8

XLII07 Giants

-9

 XLII07 Patriots

+16

XLIII08 Steelers

+4

 XLIII08 Cardinals

Even

XLIV09 Saints

+11

 XLIV09 Colts

+2

XLV10 Packers

+10

 XLV10 Steelers

+17

XLVI11 Giants

+7

 XLVI11 Patriots

+17

These results suggest that teams that struggle with turnover margin will normally falter in some capacity in the postseason. After all, these teams either made too many turnovers or failed to consistently create turnovers. If that can’t be done against average or bad teams, how can it be done against the best? Just ask the 1983 Raiders.

In this postseason, the 2012 Broncos must overcome their -1 turnover margin from the regular season. Peyton Manning won’t be a turnover liability, but the defense doesn’t create many turnovers. The 2012 Vikings also lost the turnover battle with a -1 margin, while the 2012 Colts finished with a pathetic -12 turnover margin. Andrew Luck better hope to channel his inner Jim Plunkett in the postseason. Meanwhile, the Vikings’ struggles seem to point around the inconsistent Christian Ponder. That’s not a good sign against the Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in the wild card round.

 

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