What Does Preseason Really Mean?
After a long offseason, football fans everywhere are overjoyed to see the return of the NFL this Preseason.
Fans are being dazzled by Tom Brady’s near flawless performances, filled with optimism due to the play of EJ Manuel, eager to see what money really has bought in Miami, and…well…then there are the Jets.
Anyway, as fans everywhere are lubed up to talk about how great their teams will be based on Offseason Championships and Preseason performances, the question needs to be asked:[dropcap][/dropcap]
What does Preseason really mean?
We certainly can dissect the 90 year history of the NFL to look at the trends, but we are always reminded of how “the game has changed” or “how we cannot compare eras”. So, for the sake of argument, let’s examine the last 5 preseasons (2008-2012) to see how a team’s record affected their playoff chances after the regular season.
Record No of Teams Playoff Berths (Percentage)
4-0 10 3 (30.0%)
3-2 4 0 (0%)
3-1 41 17 (41.5%) – 2 Superbowl Champion Teams
2-3 1 0 (0%)
2-2 59 25 (42.4%) – 3 Superbowl Champion Teams
1-4 3 1 (33.3%)
1-3 29 10 (34.5%)
0-4 13 4 (30.8%)
So where do you want to be [dropcap][/dropcap]
Who can forget those 2008 Detroit Lions? A 4-0 Preseason has Detroit buzzing with excitement only to breakdown like an old Chevy Nova to the tune of 0-16.
How about those 2008 New England Patriots? Coming off a 16-0 regular season in 2007, the Patriots went 0-4 in the Preseason. Even with a healthy 11-5 regular season record, the 0-4 Preseason came back to bite those Brady-less Patriots by denying them a playoff berth.
Based on the historical trends, you are slightly more likely to make it to the playoffs if you go 0-4 vs. 4-0….WOW! WHO WOULD HAVE THOUGHT? Oddly enough, a higher percentage of teams have reached the playoffs being 1-3 than actually going 4-0 in the preseason…AMAZING YOU SAY!
Of the 8 teams that played 5 preseason games, only 1 made it to the playoffs. Sorry Dolphins and Cowboys fans…..there is always next preseason.
In fact, your team has the best percentage chance of making it to the playoffs by being 3-1 or 2-2. However, if you like Superbowl championships rather than playoff appearances, you better tell your coach to tank the remaining preseason games after the second win because teams that have gone 2-2 in the preseason have won 60% of the Superbowls in the last 5 years.
If we assume that all the AFC East teams finish preseason undefeated, the records would be as follows:
New England 4-0
NY Jets 3-1
Based on the historical percentages, the Jets would have the best chance of making to the playoffs and find themselves with the best percentage chance to win the Superbowl.
I suppose when there is no hope, something to cling to is better than nothing.
Conversely, if all the AFC East teams don’t win another game for the rest of the preseason, the records would be:
New England 2-2
NY Jets 1-3
[dropcap][/dropcap]This would lead to a three way competitive battle to get to the playoffs between the Patriots, Bills, and Jets…..Sorry Dolphins, 5 preseason games screwed you over a while ago.
So what does all this mean? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
No matter how many off season championship trophies we hold up, how many preseason victories our teams can compile, or how many times a team can be a called a “sleeper pick”, the games are played on the field and as we know: On any given day any team can win. It’s better just to sit back, enjoy the action, and see what the Regular Season will bring.
Written by: cknuckles60191