Super Bowl Super Study Says Patriots, Broncos Built Like Champs

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Jan 06, 2013



7. Record against Non-Quality Opponents (and One-Possession Wins)

At Cold, Hard Football Facts, we use our Quality Standings as an important indicator for which teams can perform well against quality competition. The theory follows that the better teams against quality competition in the regular season will perform better against playoff opponents than the teams that did not perform well against quality competition. This study would like to take that theory to a new level.

Not only should elite teams play well against quality competition, but they should easily handle their inferior opponents. Teams that frequently earn close wins against inferior competition are normally teams that cannot step up their playing level to an elite level come playoff time. Of course, if the playoff teams are frequently losing to non-quality opponents, it says a more telling and ominous story.

The table below examines each Super Bowl team’s record against non-quality opponents (teams with a .500 record or worse) with the number of one-possession wins in parentheses.

Winners

Losers

SB

Team

W-L (OPW)

 

SB

Team

W-L (OPW)

I66 Packers

7-2 (1)

 I66 Chiefs

6-0 (2)

II67 Packers

6-2-1 (1)

 II67 Raiders

7-0 (3)

III68 Jets

7-2 (2)

 III68 Colts

7-0 (0)

IV69 Chiefs

8-1 (2)

 IV69 Vikings

5-2 (2)

V70 Colts

10-0-1 (6)

 V70 Cowboys

8-0 (2)

VI71 Cowboys

9-2 (2)

 VI71 Dolphins

8-2-1 (1)

VII72 Dolphins

12-0 (3)

 VII72 Redskins

7-2 (1)

VIII73 Dolphins

7-1 (0)

 VIII73 Vikings

9-0 (2)

IX74 Steelers

10-2 (4)

 IX74 Vikings

8-3 (2)

X75 Steelers

8-0 (1)

 X75 Cowboys

7-2 (3)

XI76 Raiders

9-0 (4)

 XI76 Vikings

10-1 (4)

XII77 Cowboys

8-1 (3)

 XII77 Broncos

7-0 (3)

XIII78 Steelers

10-0 (4)

 XIII78 Cowboys

8-1 (1)

XIV79 Steelers

5-1 (2)

 XIV79 Rams

7-2 (4)

XV80 Raiders

8-1 (5)

 XV80 Eagles

9-1 (2)

XVI81 49ers

10-3 (5)

 XVI81 Bengals

8-3 (3)

XVII82 Redskins

5-0 (3)

 XVII82 Dolphins

4-0 (2)

XVIII83 Raiders

8-0 (2)

 XVIII83 Redskins

7-1 (2)

XIX84 49ers

11-0 (3)

 XIX84 Dolphins

8-1 (2)

XX85 Bears

10-0 (2)

 XX85 Patriots

9-1 (4)

XXI86 Giants

9-1 (5)

 XXI86 Broncos

5-1 (1)

XXII87 Redskins

10-3 (6)

 XXII87 Broncos

5-1-1 (2)

XXIII88 49ers

4-4 (1)

 XXIII88 Bengals

7-1 (3)

XXIV89 49ers

8-0 (2)

 XXIV89 Broncos

6-2 (2)

XXV90 Giants

9-0 (4)

 XXV90 Bills

9-0 (2)

XXVI91 Redskins

8-0 (3)

 XXVI91 Bills

11-1 (4)

XXVII92 Cowboys

10-1 (3)

 XXVII92 Bills

6-2 (1)

XXVIII93 Cowboys

7-2 (3)

 XXVIII93 Bills

8-0 (3)

XXIX94 49ers

9-1 (1)

 XXIX94 Chargers

7-2 (1)

XXX95 Cowboys

7-2 (2)

 XXX95 Steelers

8-3 (1)

XXXI96 Packers

9-0 (1)

 XXXI96 Patriots

7-1 (3)

XXXII97 Broncos

10-1 (3)

 XXXII97 Packers

6-2 (1)

XXXIII98 Broncos

11-1 (4)

 XXXIII98 Falcons

11-0 (6)

XXXIV99 Rams

13-2 (0)

 XXXIV99 Titans

10-2 (5)

XXXV00 Ravens

7-1 (2)

 XXXV00 Giants

9-1 (7)

XXXVI01 Patriots

8-2 (2)

 XXXVI01 Rams

8-1 (2)

XXXVII02 Bucs

8-0 (2)

 XXXVII02 Raiders

5-3 (0)

XXXVIII03 Patriots

6-2 (4)

 XXXVIII03 Panthers

10-2 (8)

XXXIX04 Patriots

7-1 (2)

 XXXIX04 Eagles

11-2 (3)

XL05 Steelers

8-1 (1)

 XL05 Seahawks

10-1 (4)

XLI06 Colts

8-3 (5)

 XLI06 Bears

11-2 (5)

XLII07 Giants

9-1 (4)

 XLII07 Patriots

9-0 (2)

XLIII08 Steelers

8-0 (3)

 XLIII08 Cardinals

7-1 (2)

XLIV09 Saints

8-2 (2)

 XLIV09 Colts

8-1 (4)

XLV10 Packers

6-3 (2)

 XLV10 Steelers

9-0 (4)

XLVI11 Giants

8-4 (4)

 XLVI11 Patriots

12-1 (3)

The outliers marked in red expose the 14 Super Bowl combatants who (A) lost at least three games against non-quality opponents, or (B) won six or more one-possession games against non-quality opponents.

For those wondering if Andrew Luck deserves serious consideration for the Rookie of the Year, it’s important to note how many of Luck’s close victories came against non-quality opponents. The 2012 Colts own an 8-2 record against non-quality opponents with seven one-possession wins. This includes three fourth-quarter comebacks and five game-winning drives. Luck doesn’t deserve that hardware, and he likely won’t add a Super Bowl ring to the collection this year either.

Luck’s OROY counterparts also had their own struggles against non-quality opponents. Russell Wilson and the 2012 Seahawks lost four games to non-quality opponents, while Robert Griffin’s 2012 Redskins lost three games to non-quality opponents. There are multiple reasons why a rookie quarterback never started in any of the first 46 Super Bowls, and this part of study seems to point to one of those reasons. Not only do these rookies have their growing pains, but so do the teams that employee them. Eventually, those growing pains catch up to them.

Finally, it seems like Mr. Ryan and Mr. Dalton continue to face bad news. The 2012 Falcons owned a 10-3 record against non-quality opponents, with all three losses coming against fellow NFC South teams. Meanwhile, the 2012 Bengals owned a 7-4 record against non-quality opponents, including the first three games of a four-game losing streak in Weeks 5-9. My condolences, guys.

 

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