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Author Topic: The 43 Super Bowl winners' strength of schedule  (Read 906 times)
Steelerdipwad
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« on: Feb 10, 2009 at 09:43 »

I was curious where the Steelers schedule ranked in terms of difficulty relative to other Super Bowl winners. The following list is the winning percentage of each team's opponents against all teams except that opponent from most difficult schedule to least (includes playoff games):

1. '07 Giants .583
2. '04 Pats .582
3. '82 Redskins .581
4. '90 Giants .572
5. '06 Colts .569
6. '91 Redskins .568
7. '96 Packers .5646
8. '05 Steelers .5645
9. '80 Raiders .563
10. '67 Packers .562
11. '88 Niners .561
12. '69 Chiefs .5603
13. '79 Steelers .5597
14. '75 Steelers .558
15. '77 Cowboys .556
16. '03 Pats .555
17. '76 Raiders .554
18. '97 Broncos .553
19. '73 Dolphins .552
20. '83 Raiders .551
21. '08 Steelers .550
22. '95 Cowboys .547
23. '86 Giants .543
24. '93 Cowboys .541
25. '85 Bears .539
26. '02 Bucs .536
27. '71 Cowboys .535
28. '81 Niners .532
29. '98 Broncos .527
30. '66 Packers .526
31. '94 Niners .520
32. '01 Pats .519
33. '89 Niners .517
34. '68 Jets .516
35. '78 Steelers .513
36. '92 Cowboys .512
37. '74 Steelers .507
38. '00 Ravens .505
39. '84 Niners .488
40. '87 Redskins .487
41. '72 Dolphins .476
42. '99 Rams .443
43. '70 Colts .440

Taking the next step, if we compare each of those team's winning percentage to the winning percentage of other opponents against the teams that team played, we get a snapshot of how much better they were than the rest of the league, the first number is that teams winning percentage, the second is the opponent's as figured above, and the last number is how much better that team performed than other teams against its opponents):

1. '82 Redskins .923/.581 +.504 (13 games, strike shortened year)
2. '76 Raiders .941/.554 +.495
3. '85 Bears .947/.539 +.486
4. '04 Pats .895/.582 +.477
5. '72 Dolphins 1.000/.476 +.476
6. '91 Redskins .895/.568 +.463
7. '03 Pats .895/.555 +.450
8. '75 Steelers .882/.558 +.440
9. '77 Cowboys .882/.556 +.4384
10. '86 Giants .895/.543 +.4381
11. '84 Niners .947/.488 +.435
12. '73 Dolphins .882/.552 +.434
13. '98 Broncos .895/.527 +.422
14. '90 Giants .842/.572 +.414
15. '89 Niners .895/.517 +.412
16. '78 Steelers .895/.513 +.408
17. '96 Packers .842/.565 +.407
18. '66 Packers .875/.526 +.401
19. '69 Chiefs .824/.560 +.384
20. '81 Niners .842/.532 +.374
21. '06 Colts .800/.569 +.369
22. '94 Niners .842/.520 +.362
23. '71 Cowboys .824/.535 +.359
24. '92 Cowboys .842/.512 +.354
25. '97 Broncos .800/.553 +.353
26. '79 Steelers .789/.560 +.349
27. '83 Raiders .789/.551 +.340
28. '08 Steelers .789/.550 +.339
29. '95 Cowboys .789/.547 +.336
30. '93 Cowboys .789/.541 +.330
31. '68 Jets .813/.516 +.329
32. '02 Bucs .789/.536 +.325
33. '05 Steelers .750/.565 +.315
34. '80 Raiders .750/.563 +.313
35. '00 Ravens .800/.505 +.305
36. '74 Steelers .794/.507 +.301
37. '67 Packers .735/.562 +.297
38. '70 Colts .853/.440 +.293
39. '99 Rams .842/.443 +.285
40. '07 Giants .700/.583 +.283
41. '87 Redskins .778/.487 +.265
42. '01 Pats .737/.519 +.256
43. '88 Niners .684/.561 +.245

So, can the case be made that the '76 Raiders had the best single season of all time? (I'm not gonna just hand that over to a team that played in a strike shortened year like the Skins did)
« Last Edit: Feb 10, 2009 at 10:13 by Steelerdipwad » Logged

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DCSteelers
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« Reply #1 on: Feb 10, 2009 at 10:22 »

Interesting statistics... I'm surprised to see the 08 Steelers in the middle of the pack...Even though Cincy and Cleveland tanked,  the AFC South and NFC East simply was no picnic.

09 Steelers, what do you say, 16-0??? Smiley   I think the have a shot of at least 13+ wins..

Cincy twice (another god awful team)
Stains twice (rebuilding...Mangini, enough said)
Balti twice (Toughest team we will play IMO, but, they will have new faces on DL/LB)
KC, Oakland, Denver (All rebuilding projects)
San Diego (toughest AFC west team, but potentially Sproles-less
Minnesota (Tavaras Jackson??? If MN gets a QB, could be a tough team)
Chicago, GB (Middle of the road and could be tough games, but nothing brutal like the NFC east)
Detroit (lol)
Miami (could be tough, but not sold on the D or Pennington)
Tenessee (Second toughest team, but payback is a bitch)

13+ could be easily done IF there is no SB hangover like in 2006.
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Steelerdipwad
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« Reply #2 on: Feb 10, 2009 at 10:25 »

Interesting statistics... I'm surprised to see the 08 Steelers in the middle of the pack...Even though Cincy and Cleveland tanked,  the AFC South and NFC East simply was no picnic.

09 Steelers, what do you say, 16-0??? Smiley   I think the have a shot of at least 13+ wins..

Cincy twice (another god awful team)
Stains twice (rebuilding...Mangini, enough said)
Balti twice (Toughest team we will play IMO, but, they will have new faces on DL/LB)
KC, Oakland, Denver (All rebuilding projects)
San Diego (toughest AFC west team, but potentially Sproles-less
Minnesota (Tavaras Jackson??? If MN gets a QB, could be a tough team)
Chicago, GB (Middle of the road and could be tough games, but nothing brutal like the NFC east)
Detroit (lol)
Miami (could be tough, but not sold on the D or Pennington)
Tenessee (Second toughest team, but payback is a bitch)

13+ could be easily done IF there is no SB hangover like in 2006.

If we go any worse than 13-3, I'll be dissapointed.
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« Reply #3 on: Feb 10, 2009 at 10:42 »

I hate to start expecting 13 wins right away but looking at that schedule ...

A 10-2 record heading into Dec would be nice though.  You gotta figure 12-4 would be good enough for that first round bye again.

I'm sure the Titans will be a tough game again but wouldn't expect a run like they put together last season.  They were beatable.  And catching Miami as a strength of schedule opponent is a HUGE break.
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« Reply #4 on: Feb 10, 2009 at 10:42 »

I would argue that the second numbers do not show how much better they were than the rest of the league, but rather how much better they were compared to the league average.  

In that 1976 season, there seemed to be a lot less parity and a lot more polarization.  We might forget that now, through the lens of a decade-plus of the salary cap era.  

1976 Teams with Winning Records (Team, W, L, T, Win %, PF, PA)

Oakland Raiders   13   1   0   .929   350   237
Minnesota Vikings   11   2   1   .821   305   176
Baltimore Colts   11   3   0   .786   417   246
New England Patriots   11   3   0   .786   376   236
Dallas Cowboys   11   3   0   .786   296   194
Los Angeles Rams   10   3   1   .750   351   190
Washington Redskins   10   4   0   .714   291   217
St. Louis Cardinals   10   4   0   .714   309   267
Pittsburgh Steelers   10   4   0   .714   342   138
Cincinnati Bengals   10   4   0   .714   335   210
Cleveland Browns   9   5   0   .643   267   287
Denver Broncos   9   5   0   .643   315   206
San Francisco 49ers   8   6   0   .571   270   190

1976 Teams with Non-Winning Records (Team, W, L, T, Win %, PF, PA)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers   0   14   0   .000   125   412
Buffalo Bills   2   12   0   .143   245   363
Seattle Seahawks   2   12   0   .143   229   429
New York Jets   3   11   0   .214   169   383
New York Giants   3   11   0   .214   170   250
Philadelphia Eagles   4   10   0   .286   165   286
Atlanta Falcons   4   10   0   .286   172   312
New Orleans Saints   4   10   0   .286   253   346
Houston Oilers   5   9   0   .357   222   273
Green Bay Packers   5   9   0   .357   218   299
Kansas City Chiefs   5   9   0   .357   290   376
Miami Dolphins   6   8   0   .429   263   264
Detroit Lions   6   8   0   .429   262   220
San Diego Chargers   6   8   0   .429   248   285
Chicago Bears   7   7   0   .500   253   216

I have no doubt the Raiders were much better than any team in that non-winning list, but let's look at playoff results.  Remember that with 3 divisions per conference and 1 wild card team per, your playoff field was all of 8 teams, compared to 4 divisions per conference today and 2 wild cards, or 12 teams.  That might be seen as a watered down modern field, but I would argue that at the very least, it makes the improbable '05 Steelers run all the more impressive.

1976 Divisional Playoffs

Los Angeles Rams 14, Dallas Cowboys 12
Minnesota Vikings 35, Washington Redskins 20
Oakland Raiders 24, New England Patriots 21
Pittsburgh Steelers 40, Baltimore Colts 14

OK, the Raiders squeaked by the Patriots, while the Vikings and Steelers flat-out dominated.  

1976 Conference Championship

Minnesota Vikings 24, Los Angeles Rams 13
Oakland Raiders 24, Pittsburgh Steelers 7

And then those two dominant Divisional Playoff teams got flattened in the Conference Championship.


1977 Superbowl

Oakland Raiders 32, Minnesota Vikings 14

To my way of thinking, it could as easily have been almost any of those playoff teams winning it all in 1976, given some close scores in the Divisionals.  Seriously, what if the Pats had upset the Raiders in the first round?  Steelers could have won out.  Or the Vikings.  You can plot out more than a few alternate universes, IMO, much more so thanthe '85 Bears.  None of the Patriots SB wins were by more than 3 points, so even the '04 winning team, IMO, was not so much greater than the competition.  I think the 16-0 Pats team was much better than the rest of the league than the '04 team that won it all.  

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« Reply #5 on: Feb 10, 2009 at 11:16 »

I actually find that very interesting, and I have a question about this.  Please excuse me if it's already been answered in your data, I didn't give it a careful read.

For the '07 Giants, how much did playing an undefeated team twice increase their opponents' winning percentage?  In other words, was the rest of their schedule just above average, but playing the Pats twice raised it to a much higher level?
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Steelerdipwad
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« Reply #6 on: Feb 10, 2009 at 12:32 »

I actually find that very interesting, and I have a question about this.  Please excuse me if it's already been answered in your data, I didn't give it a careful read.

For the '07 Giants, how much did playing an undefeated team twice increase their opponents' winning percentage?  In other words, was the rest of their schedule just above average, but playing the Pats twice raised it to a much higher level?

It helps. It helped the '04 Pats to play a 16-2 Steeler team twice too. But the Giants also had a 1-15 Miami team, so it evens out. They really did have a brutal schedule. By the way, teams that won the SB as a wild card have an advantage in the strength of schedule because they get an extra winning team on the schedule on wild card weekend, and they play teams with better records than they had. But, as a wild card, their winning percentage isn't going to be as high as the teams that don't go that route.
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