Great Playoff Runs

by Vince Verhei

In the Super Bowl XLII Audibles discussion, I raised the question of whether the Giants had faced the most difficult schedule of any Super Bowl champion. To review, the Giants beat the following teams to win the Super Bowl: Tampa Bay, Dallas, Green Bay and New England. What are the odds that the Giants, or any other team, would have completed that four-game sweep?

To a degree, we can answer that question with two tools: The Pythagorean theorem and the log5 method. Like many other sports statistics, these were both originally developed by baseball statistician Bill James, then used by others to examine other sports. In a nutshell, the Pythagorean theorem uses each team's points scored and allowed to predict that team's winning percentage, while the log5 method predicts the odds of one team defeating another, taking the strength of both teams into account. More on the theorem can be found by reading this article on the pro-football-reference.com blog. (I should add that all numbers in this study were taken from PFR.) More on the log5 method can be found in this article at Diamond Mind Baseball.

There are two ways to determine the difficulty of the Giants' playoff slate. We can estimate the odds of of the Giants running the table, but that will skew the results; the Giants finished the regular season with a Pythagorean rating of just .536, the lowest of any Super Bowl champion. (The highest rating of any Super Bowl champion belongs to the 1985 Chicago Bears at .8784; the 1975 Pittsburgh Steelers are right behind at .8783.)

Instead, we're going to measure each Super Bowl winner's playoff schedule in two ways: the odds of that particular team running the table, and the odds of a .750 team (about the average Pythagorean rating for a Super Bowl winner) pulling off the same feat. There are plenty of factors that could throw this number off -- injuries, home-field advantage, strength of schedule, overall league strength, etc. -- but it should be fairly accurate for most teams.

(I should also add that this is not the prediction method used elsewhere on this site, including the Playoff Odds Report, which uses Weighted DVOA and does account for home-field and other factors.)

The following table lists the Giants' four opponents, the Giants' odds of beating that team, and the "Typical" Super Bowl winner's odds of beating that team:


Team Pythag Giants' odds "Typical" odds
Tampa Bay .623 41.1% 64.5%
Dallas .689 34.2% 57.5%
Green Bay .722 30.8% 53.6%
New England .860 15.8% 32.8%

So the Giants had a 41.1 percent chance of beating Tampa Bay, a 34.2 percent chance of beating Dallas, a 30.8 percent chance of beating Green Bay, and merely a 15.8 percent chance of beating New England. (Note that these numbers were calculated using New York's final regular season Pythagorean rating. We could add the results of each progressive playoff game, but A) the numbers would change very little, and B) we're going to compare New York to other Super Bowl winners, whose ratings would also improve as the playoffs progressed.) Multiplying all those percentages leaves us with a very small number; we would predict that the Giants had only 0.7% chance of winning the Super Bowl against that schedule. (That is not a typo: 0.7%, as in, if they faced that schedule 1,000 times, they would win about seven Super Bowls.) This is the lowest expected rate for any Super Bowl winner going into the postseason. The fact that the real-life Giants actually did win the Super Bowl does not necessarily mean they were "lucky" to do so. It means that faced with a longer and more difficult road than any Super Bowl winner before them, they still emerged triumphant.

Our "typical" Super Bowl champion, facing that same schedule, would have about a 6.5 percent chance of winning the Super Bowl. That makes this a very difficult slate, but not the most difficult of all time. That honor goes to John Madden, Ken Stabler, and the rest of the 1976 Oakland Raiders, which is all the more remarkable given that the Raiders only played three playoff games.

First, the Raiders beat the Steve Grogan/Sam Cunningham Patriots (Pythagorean rating: .751) 24-21 in the divisional round, the famous "Sugar Bear Hamilton roughing the passer" game. Next, the Raiders squared off against the Pittsburgh Steelers, whose Steel Curtain defense was at its absolute peak. The defending champion Steelers had started 1976 very slowly, just 1-4. Then they won their final nine regular season games, and only once in those nine games did they allow seven or more points. They pitched five shutouts, including three in a row. They finished with a Pythagorean rating of .896 -- yes, even higher than the 2007 Patriots. They whipped the Baltimore Colts 40-14 in the opening round of the playoffs, but in the process lost both of their leading rushers, Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier, to injury. Without their ground game, they were no match for the Raiders, who won the AFC Championship 24-7. Oakland then finished off the Minnesota Vikings (Pythagorean rating: .786) to win the Super Bowl. In those three games, the Raiders beat two teams that were typically good enough to win Super Bowls, and in between they beat one of the greatest teams of all time. The "typical" champion, facing this schedule, would have just a 5.8 percent chance of winning the Super Bowl.

Here are the numbers for each Super Bowl champion, ranked by the odds of that particular team winning the Super Bowl against that particular schedule:


Team Year Pythag Playoff
games
Odds of that team
winning Super Bowl*
Odds of "typical" champion
winning Super Bowl**
NYG 2007 .536 4 0.7% 6.5%
IND 2006 .600 4 1.3% 6.2%
OAK 1980 .601 4 3.5% 12.9%
OAK 1976 .716 3 4.2% 5.8%
PIT 2005 .726 4 5.5% 7.1%
GB 1967 .694 3 5.6% 8.2%
SF 1988 .631 3 5.9% 14.6%
NYJ 1968 .722 2 6.5% 8.0%
NE 2001 .676 3 7.2% 12.8%
BAL 2000 .766 4 9.0% 7.7%
Team Year Pythag Playoff
games
Odds of that team
winning Super Bowl*
Odds of "typical" champion
winning Super Bowl**
WAS 1982 .718 4 12.1% 15.5%
DEN 1997 .765 4 12.6% 11.1%
LARD 1983 .654 3 13.6% 24.3%
KC 1969 .842 3 14.8% 6.3%
DAL 1992 .775 3 16.8% 13.9%
NYG 1990 .749 3 16.9% 16.7%
DAL 1971 .807 3 17.4% 10.8%
SF 1981 .699 3 17.7% 24.1%
WAS 1987 .663 3 17.8% 28.9%
DEN 1998 .759 3 18.6% 17.5%
NE 2004 .774 3 18.8% 15.8%
Team Year Pythag Playoff
games
Odds of that team
winning Super Bowl*
Odds of "typical" champion
winning Super Bowl**
PIT 1974 .757 3 19.1% 18.3%
BAL 1970 .679 3 19.2% 28.6%
NE 2003 .711 3 20.7% 26.0%
DAL 1993 .764 3 21.2% 19.3%
NYG 1986 .745 3 22.4% 23.1%
TB 2002 .794 3 24.1% 17.9%
DAL 1977 .760 3 24.2% 22.8%
SF 1989 .790 3 25.9% 20.0%
PIT 1978 .806 3 26.2% 18.0%
DAL 1995 .722 3 26.8% 31.0%
SF 1994 .780 3 28.8% 24.2%
Team Year Pythag Playoff
games
Odds of that team
winning Super Bowl*
Odds of "typical" champion
winning Super Bowl**
PIT 1979 .749 3 31.2% 31.3%
GB 1996 .863 3 33.9% 14.5%
MIA 1972 .873 3 35.2% 14.0%
GB 1966 .846 2 35.5% 19.9%
MIA 1973 .877 3 35.7% 13.3%
SF 1984 .852 3 39.4% 20.9%
PIT 1975 .878 3 43.8% 18.4%
WAS 1991 .862 3 49.9% 27.5%
CHI 1985 .878 3 50.4% 23.7%
STL 1999 .863 3 52.9% 29.8%
* Odds of that team winning Super Bowl against that specific schedule.
** Odds of a "typical" champion winning Super Bowl against that specific schedule.

A few final notes:

  • The last three Super Bowl winners have each been among the five least likely champions of all time. This is largely because they each have had to win four games to pull it off; most Super Bowl winners have only had to win three. The Giants and Steelers each had to beat teams that flirted with perfection, while the Colts beat three teams -- the Ravens, Patriots, and Bears -- with Pythagorean ratings greater than .750.
  • The easiest schedule of all time, based on the odds of a typical Super Bowl winner, belongs to the 1979 Pittsburgh Steelers, whose first playoff opponent, the Miami Dolphins, was actually their most difficult, with a Pythagorean rating of .662. They then beat two completely mediocre teams -- the Houston Oilers (.553) and the Los Angeles Rams (.526) -- to win the Super Bowl. The next easiest playoff slates belong to the 1995 Cowboys and the 1999 Rams.
  • Winning the Super Bowl is really, really hard. Only two champions -- the 1985 Bears and 1999 Rams -- began the postseason with a 50 percent chance of winning the Super Bowl. One team had an historically great defense, the other an historically great offense. They both faced relatively poor competition. And yet each was basically an even-money bet to not win the Super Bowl. (This year's Patriots would have joined them. They had a 51.7 percent chance of beating the Jaguars, Chargers and Giants. Things didn't work out that way.)
  • New England fans can take some solace in the fact that two teams with even higher Pythagorean ratings than the 2007 Patriots have also lost Super Bowls: the 1969 Vikings (.923) and the 1968 Colts (.919) More evidence that public perception of the difference between the AFL and NFL before the merger was really off.
  • Going back to the days before the Super Bowl, this was not the first Giants team to pull off a big upset and spoil a perfect season. In 1934, the 8-5 Giants (Pythag: .680) beat the 13-0 Chicago Bears (.945) in the NFL Championship. This became known as the Sneaker Game. Freezing rain overnight left the playing surface at the Polo Grounds as slick as a hockey rink. Trailing 10-3 at halftime, Giants head coach Steve Owen frantically acquired sneakers for his team to wear instead of their football cleats. The extra traction proved to be a huge boost, and Chicago head coach George Halas was never able to adjust. The Giants scored four touchdowns in the second half, winning by a final score of 30-13. The log5 method predicts that the Giants had just an 11.0% chance of winning that game.

Comments

181 comments, Last at 19 Feb 2008, 9:08pm

151 Re: Great Playoff Runs

> Where is (“with baseball to the point where you can actually plug in the day’s starting lineups and run a simulation with some level of reliability”) this being done it on the web? I do not follow baseball but it seems the batting/runs variance from game to game would have large variance and be unreliable. I would guess worthless in April.

To my knowledge it's not being done regularly anywhere publicly, although I know teams like the Red Sox use such lineup simulations. And I'm not saying that the method will have great significance with an individual game, because of the high variance you mention. Such analysis could just give you an edge, predicting/betting over many games, that's all. Yes, even in April, where pitching performance may be more unpredictable, but where offensive performance still holds up pretty well year to year (and as you know, the starting pitching matchups are paramount in setting game lines in baseball, the dominant factor actually).

152 Re: Great Playoff Runs

Very nice article. I guess I am pretty late here, but I would just add a note on the question of how the best Steelers team in history failed to make the Super Bowl. The usual statement is the one made by Vince that the Steelers starting RBs (Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier) got injured. What people forget is that the backups, who were pretty good (Frenchy Fuqua and Preston Pearson) were also injured, leaving the Steelers with only their 5th string, special-teamer, Reggie Harrison. You couldn't adjust the rosters in those days, so the Steelers had to play with one RB, and Noll spent the week trying to install a new offense, as the Steelers didn't have a one RB offense. It didn't work so well.

Madden outcoached Noll in that game. It was apparent that the Steelers defense came in with the mindset that it needed to pitch a shutout, or close to it, and it was ferociously rushing the passer on every play, trying to make sure that Stabler did not hit anything. The Raiders were very much a passing team, and no one ran on the Steelers anyway, but Madden crossed them up by running the ball a lot. Because the Steelers were selling out on the pass rush, the Raiders' RB (Marv Hubbard?) had a big day and Oakland controlled the game. The Steelers probably should have given up on the idea of creating a new running offense in one week, and just let Bradshaw try to win the game on his own. He would have had three and outs, and probably some INTs, but he might have generated some points also and let the D feel that it could play the game more straight. But Noll didn't have that kind of faith in Bradshaw until later in his career.

One last thing. An indicator of how dominant the Steelers were viewed at the time is that they were 5-6 point favorites, on the road, against a team that went 13-1, despite all their RB injuries. (Though I think there was some doubt until game time whether Harris and/or Bleier might play.)

153 Re: Great Playoff Runs

> Madden outcoached Noll in that game.

I agree. I'm a Steelers fan, and I've always thought that the Harris/Bleier injury excuse has been somewhat overstated given the way the game actually played out-- as a near blowout. The Raiders' fine offensive performance won that game as much as the lack of a Steelers' offense lost it.

By the way, it was rookie Jack Deloplaine who was injured (he was almost entirely a special teamer), and Preston Pearson was on the Cowboys by 1976. Frenchy Fuqua also played some, and Reggie Harrison was 11-44 rushing, so he wasn't completely ineffective. Mostly as you suggest minus a true fullback it was the change to a multiple TE offense and Bradshaw's spotty performance (14-35, 176, 1 INT) that was the problem on offense.

154 Re: Great Playoff Runs

Re '76 AFC Championship:

I've also wondered whether, in that age of QBs calling their own plays, Bradshaw could absorb a new offense in a week. But it's not like they lost to an awful Oakland team (when they met in the playoffs for the fifth straight year).

155 Re: Great Playoff Runs

To further understand how NYG won the Superbowl it may be worth comparing their road and home performances,especially as three of their playoff games were on the road and the fourth was on neutral turf.

Overall,based on home and away regular season performances,the Giants were an above average defense,with a very good running offense and a poor passing one.On the road they were still good at what they did well overall, but the passing game improved to become just better than average,mainly due to Eli's better accuracy.

If you matched the road Giants up against the home performances of their three initial playoff rivals,then NYG were around a 50% chance to beat Tampa,a 40% chance to beat Dallas and a 50% chance to defeat GB.

If you further decided that a neutral game is closer to a road game than a home one and match NYG(away) with New England(away),you can make a case for the Giants to be about a 60% chance to win the Superbowl game.

Overall a 6% chance for the road Giants to win against their actual playoff schedule.

Quite a bit of after the facting,I know and you'd need compelling reasons to take a teams away record in isolation instead of using the larger sample size contained in their 16 game regular season history........Maybe the home away dvoa splits and variances may shed more light.

156 Re: Great Playoff Runs

The main reason the Giants home record was worse was because their home games were against more difficult teams than were their road games. During the regular season basically against any good team they lost and basically against any bad team they won, they also did ok against the decent teams

157 Re: Great Playoff Runs

Re 156.

When you allow for the different quality of home and away opponents faced the Giants were still much better on the road.

For example the home Giants gained only 5.2 yards per pass against defenses who allowed 6.1 yards per pass.A below average performance.

On the road they gained 6.5 ypp verses defenses who allowed 6.4 ypp.An above average performance.

158 Re: Great Playoff Runs

All that stat shows is that New York is harder to throw in than other places, which could be a function of the weather

159 Re: Great Playoff Runs

"So we’re stuck choosing between a rare in-season improvement in skill and a rare run of good luck"

Another option-- the skill level was high, and their early season performance was a rare run of bad luck.

Think about it-- the last two years, the Giants were in the playoffs. Both years, they were absolutely decimated on defense during the course of the year (losing their entire linebacking corps and some of the backups two years ago, losing many linebackers and much of the defensive line (including the studs) as well as most of the defensive backs last year.

They did lose Tiki, but were well stocked at the position.

So my assertion is that the Giants were better than people thought (remember, last year they gave the Colts all they could handle week 1). Then they got better through the year as the excellent rookie crop integrated themselves into the play. They had some sloppy play, some bad luck, and it took them a while to learn Spagnuolo's scheme. But the talent was there and had been there for years, frustrating Giants fans who saw it and couldn't believe that we were so mediocre anyway, and lulling everyone else into thinking this was a bad team.

160 Re: Great Playoff Runs

One thing that people are failing to mention is that:

1) NYG had 1 turnover in 4 postseason games combined

2) They had extremely good fumble luck
in the playoffs

3) Many of their players had some of their better games of their season/career in the playoffs

** Despite all of this it took:

-A last second touchdown to win 1 game

-A last second interception in the endzone to win another game

-An overtime victory in a 3rd game

NYG are the champs but it took very good fortune for them to win their last 3 games. I see them as having a good chance of not even making the playoffs next year

161 Re: Great Playoff Runs

Jason,

And a lot of people thought there was a good chance that they wouldn't make the playoffs this year.

So it is very unlikely to bother any Giant fan to hear a skeptic. They are world champs.

The G-men had good fumble luck in the Super Bowl, it is true. Only one of those fumble recoveries had any impact on the game (the one where Bradshaw managed to get underneath the pile). The Giants had very bad luck on the interception, and quite frankly the Patriots were VERY lucky to be in a position to win the game with the way the Giants defense was playing. They were lucky that Manning missed Burress with a wide open flip. They were lucky that Bradshaw had fumbled a handoff with no reason to, killing another drive. They were lucky for a few other drops.

So, yeah, the Giants had some luck. So did the Pats. Almost any SB winner will have had some. It's not the damning attribute you seem to think.

162 Re: Great Playoff Runs

"Only one of those fumble recoveries had any impact on the game "

Every fumble has a huge impact. Heck take the Brady fumble that NYG revovered. If NE recovers they are at midifield and have a decent chance to score by halftime.

Manning missed that throw more due to his being an average qb than because of bad luck.

Their luck goes beyond the SB. Go to the GB game, if GB falls on the ball instead of trying to pick it up when Mcquarters fumbled GB has the ball at midfield and quite likely would have gone into position to kick the game ending fg.

163 Re: Great Playoff Runs

"Heck, take the Brady fumble that NYG revovered. If NE recovers they are at midifield and have a decent chance to score by halftime."

The Giants recovered the ball with 7 seconds left in the half, in NE territory. Had NE recovered it, the clock would have been running. They would have had to call their last timeout and been 25 yards away from FG territory with the only chance of a score being a 25 yard sideline route taking less than 7 seconds followed by a very long FG on grass.

This word 'decent'. I don't think it means what you think it means.

164 Re: Great Playoff Runs

Having watched the game a 2nd time now, it is really clear to me that the luck in this game was pretty evenly distributed.

The pats lucky breaks included a blatant missed personal foul facemask on the opening kickoff, an astonishingly flukey int that should have been a completion, a highly questionable delay penalty.

The giants breaks included a dropped INT on their final drive, and recovery of the fumbles. Interestingly the fumble luck has been much discussed but really didn't impact the game.

At the end of the day, to say that luck really impacted the game more than the play by the 2 teams just doesn't align with what I saw.

165 Re: Great Playoff Runs

"The pats lucky breaks included a blatant missed personal foul facemask on the opening kickoff, an astonishingly flukey int that should have been a completion, a highly questionable delay penalty.

The giants breaks included a dropped INT on their final drive, and recovery of the fumbles"

You can't really be comparing penalties to turnovers. Turnovers are way more important.

166 Re: Great Playoff Runs

"The Giants recovered the ball with 7 seconds left in the half, in NE territory. Had NE recovered it, the clock would have been running. They would have had to call their last timeout and been 25 yards away from FG territory"

The Giants recovered at the NE 49 with 10 seconds left. I am not sure how you figure that they were 25 yards away from a fg. Last time I checked NFL kickers can kick fgs further than 41 yards

167 Re: Great Playoff Runs

Jason: I'm looking at all of the plays that are really pure luck favoring one team or the other. The pats were the recipient of one totally flukey int that SHOULD have been a giants 1st down in the red zone at best, or a short FG attempt at worst. They dropped an INT on the final drive, although it would have been a spectacular INT if it had been hauled in.

And yes, in some instances a penalty is as important as a turnover - when it stops a drive in the red zone. As an example, the turnover at the end of the 1st half likely cost the pats nothing, as has been pointed out. In the case of the bogus delay penalty, it negated a play in which it appeared Brandon Jacobs was going to have a lot of room to run.

But the real point, is that if you look at the game objectively, each team got a handful of lucky breaks, but the reality is that these taken together didn't dramatically favor either team. At the end of the day, one team outplayed the other, and they won. I think the fact that the team that lost was clearly the stronger team all year is causing people to try to explain it away, since it just seem so inconceivable that the Giants could have outplayed the pats.

FWIW, if the pats hadn't made some uncharacteristically bad decisions (4th and 13, and their playcalling in the last 30s) they'd have still had a shot to win.

168 Re: Great Playoff Runs

"The Giants recovered at the NE 49 with 10 seconds left. I am not sure how you figure that they were 25 yards away from a fg. Last time I checked NFL kickers can kick fgs further than 41 yards"

1) The Giants did recover with 10 seconds left. I stand corrected by three seconds. Of course, the refs stop the clock immediately on a change of possession. If there was no change of possession, the clock would have kept running until the Pats called timeout. 7 seconds left is a good estimate for what would have been left.

2) I hate to break it to you, if the ball is on the NE 49 yard line, it is in NE territory and would NOT be a 41 yard FG. Even if it was on the NYG 49, it would NOT be a 41 yard FG.

Do you know how long the Giants' FG was? It was a 32 yarder. Do you remember what yard line was the line of scrimmage on the kick? The NE 14 yard line.

To give NE a chance at a 50 yarder, they would have had to get to the 32 yard line. That would have been 19 yards. To give them a chance at a 45 yarder it would have been 24 yards.

Gostkowski was, IIRC, 1 for 3 from 40 yards plus when kicking on grass in 2007. He did not attempt a 50 yarder on grass in 2007.

I stand by my statement. While a NE score was possible if they kept possession there, one was very unlikely.

169 Re: Great Playoff Runs

"2) I hate to break it to you, if the ball is on the NE 49 yard line, it is in NE territory and would NOT be a 41 yard FG. Even if it was on the NYG 49, it would NOT be a 41 yard FG"

-Gerry I hate to break it to you but I was referring to you saying they were "25 yards away from fg territory" If they recovered at the 49 then you were saying NE had to get to the 24 yard line to be in fg range, therefore a 41 yard fg.

-Almost any NFL kicker has the leg to attempt a 52 yard fg, especially on the last play of a half when field position from a miss is irrelevant. This means NE would have only needed a 12 yard pass to get into fg position, hardly an ovewhelming prospect

170 Re: Great Playoff Runs

#158.It shows that for whatever reason passing the ball at NYG was a problem for Eli.

He completed 52% of his passes at home compared to 61% on the road.

The Giants eight visitors completed 63% of their passes when they played the Giants.When they went on the road to play anyone but the Giants they completed 64% of their passes.Virtually no difference.They didn't have anything like the struggles Eli had.

The Giants success is inextricably linked to why Eli was a QB capable of winning a Superbowl,but only on the road.

171 Re: Great Playoff Runs

Jason, in order to kick a 45 yarder, they would have had to get to the 27 yard line. To kick a 41 yarder, they would have had to get to the 22 yard line.

To get to the 22, that would be just under 30 yards. I was saying to have much of a shot at all, they would need to get to the 27 (for a 45 yarder), which would have been 24 yards needed in one play.

Maybe you think the odds of getting 24 yards plus a really long (45 yard) FG on grass, or getting 29 yards plus a still pretty long (40 yard) FG on grass, are 'decent'.

I'd say they are pretty long. Quick, give some examples of where teams in the NFL with no timeouts went from their own territory into FG range and converting when having less than 10 seconds on the clock and no timeouts. If the chances are 'decent', there should be many, many examples.

172 Re: Great Playoff Runs

I'll make my assertion even simpler.

I would say that if a team lines up to kick a 50 yarder on the last play of a half, they have a less-than-decent chance of scoring.

I would say that if a team lines up to kick a 45 yarder on the last play of a half, they have a decent chance of scoring.

I would say that if a team lines up to kick a 40 yarder on the last play of a half, they have a good chance of scoring.

I would say that if a team needs to go 20 yards to get to the first situation, 25 to get to the second, or 30 to get to the third, and they only have one play to do it and have no timeouts (meaning it has to go to the sidelines), the odds of them even getting in the position to kick are slim. Not decent-- slim.

The odds of the kick being missed, depending on where it was being kicked from in case they did get into position, just make the overall odds even slimmer.

173 Re: Great Playoff Runs

I think everyone can agree that the more important part of the play where Brady fumbled at the end of the 1st half was that he was sacked, the fumble was a bonus. Prior to the sack the pats had a shot at getting some points to end the half, once they got sacked the probability dropped dramatically, the sack took it close to zero.

And we shouldn't forget that clearly BB didn't think much of his kickers odds of hitting a mid to long FG.

174 Re: Great Playoff Runs

"the sack took it close to zero."

Exactly my point-- the fumble mattered almost not at all. The difference with it was that the Giants got a shot or two at a hail mary versus the Patriots getting a single shot at one.

175 Re: Great Playoff Runs

Minnesota Vikings fans, I feel your pain. I did a statistical breakdown of NFL teams a few years ago, and the 1969, 1970 (who beat NFC champ Dallas 54-13 in the regular season), 1988 and 1998 versions of the Purple Gang were four of the strongest teams of the Super Bowl era. While the Patriots have suffered tough playoff losses the last two seasons, at least we Patriots fans have least 3 titles while you'all have none.

176 Re: Great Playoff Runs

"Jason, in order to kick a 45 yarder, they would have had to get to the 27 yard line. To kick a 41 yarder, they would have had to get to the 22 yard line."

Wrong. FG distance is basically the line of scrimmage + 17 yards. A 41 yard fg for example would come from the 24 yard line, not the 22 like you suggest

"Maybe you think the odds of getting 24 yards plus a really long (45 yard) FG on grass, or getting 29 yards plus a still pretty long (40 yard) FG on grass, are ‘decent’."

As I stated before NE only needed roughly 12 yards for a realistic field goal opporutnty. Not sure why you keep thinking they needed 20+

"Quick, give some examples of where teams in the NFL with no timeouts went from their own territory into FG range and converting when having less than 10 seconds on the clock and no timeouts. If the chances are ‘decent’, there should be many, many examples."

That is just ridiculous. Yeah let me go days on end searching the game logs of every single game. It is quite common to see a team complete a 12 yard pass and get out of bounds during a 2 minute drill

177 Re: Great Playoff Runs

Jason - the fact is once Brady got sacked, the pats odds of getting points were small. Realistically they'd have had around 8 seconds on the clock, and no TOs even if they managed to recover the fumble. Not to say they'd have no chance at points, simply that it was very unlikely. With all the significant plays in the game, its silly to think this one was likely to have impacted the outcome.

178 Re: Great Playoff Runs

"It is quite common to see a team complete a 12 yard pass and get out of bounds during a 2 minute drill"

Which would put them in position to try a 57 yard field goal.

The odds of completing a 12 yard pass on one play times the odds of hitting a 57 yard FG on grass is not what should be considered 'decent.'

179 Re: Great Playoff Runs

"FG distance is basically the line of scrimmage + 17 yards. A 41 yard fg for example would come from the 24 yard line, not the 22 like you suggest"

+18 is what I use, but whatever. If we use 17 instead of 18, then in order to kick a 50 yarder, they have to get to the 33 yard line-- and they were 18 yards from there.

The basic argument between you and me is this-- you think a team has a decent chance of connecting on a long pass, getting out of bounds, and then kicking a long FG on grass. I don't, and I am pretty sure that most people (and most statistical analysis) would concur.

180 Re: Great Playoff Runs

+17 or +18 can be correct, it depends on where the ball is actually placed. +17 is typical. So the pats needed to gain 23 yards on one play to attempt a FG that would have matched Gostkowski's longest of the year. Plus they would have needed to stop the clock by getting out of bounds. Not impossible, but based on the way the game was going, unlikely.

181 Re: Great Playoff Runs

Again, goathead, exactly.

The only controversy here is if getting a gain of that sort of yardage, stopping the clock, and nailing a long FG on grass is something that one would say has a 'decent' chance of happening.

I think it is pretty clear that in general, it doesn't. And that's without getting into if it was even less likely given the way the game was being played.