05 Jan 2009
by Ned Macey
The linked article talks about how match-ups allowed the Cardinals to advance. Just for fun, I've decided to include my mini-research project into below average playoff teams. The Cardinals had the lowest DVOA of any team to make this year's playoffs, but I was curious as to how often a "below-average" team won a playoff game. Going back to the first year we have DVOA, 1995, Arizona is now the 12th team with a negative DVOA to win a playoff game.
*Team somehow received first round bye despite below average play.
This list is not really fair to Arizona, since they are just barely negative in DVOA. Last year's Super Bowl champions just missed this list by finishing exactly league average. Still, the futility of this group in the next round bears mentioning. The group went 2-9 with eight double digit losses and a net -172 point differential.
Atlanta, by the way, becomes the fourth best team to lose to a below average playoff team. The three better teams were Dallas twice (to Arizona in 1998 and Seattle in 2006) and those lovable losers the Detroit Lions who with a 15.7% DVOA somehow got blown out by the 1995 Eagles and their -5.8% DVOA.
I think this list is complete, but let me know in the comments if I've missed someone.
8 comments, Last at 06 Jan 2009, 12:59pm by JSL
Possibly the closest Super Bowl matchup in history also poses the question: how much does it mean when certain aspects of an NFL team improve dramatically in the second half of the season?