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Time of KO: a different look at some all-time great teams

Posted by Doug on December 1, 2008

By far the best college football blogger there is --- maybe the best anything blogger there is --- is Dr. Saturday over at Yahoo. He used to be known as Sunday Morning QB, and I've referenced him a few times here at this blog.

In an effort to make sense of the resumes of the three teams involved in the Big XII South logjam (yes, there are in fact three teams in the tie!), he cooked up a stat last weekend called Time of KO, which is the time on the clock at the instant the winning team scored the points that would surpass the losing team's total for the entire game.

In Thursday's Titans-Lions game, for instance, Detroit scored 10 points in the game. Tennessee scored its second TD at the 8:30 mark of the first quarter, so that's the time of KO. The Colts 10-6 win over the Browns yesterday would be classified as a fourth quarter KO. The Colts scored a touchdown to take a 10-6 lead at the 9:55 mark of the fourth, to be precise.

The knockout analogy is a bit strained. You can only recognize it in hindsight here, whereas in boxing it's pretty obvious at the time. Still, I think it's a fairly nifty way to put wins into broad general categories of impressiveness. In some situations, it misses the mark. It is possible, for instance, to register a first quarter KO in a game that was tight right down to the very end. It can also be manipulated to some extent by garbage TDs at the end of the game. If you're looking for the ultimate power index, this ain't it. But it's easy to understand, it's more informative (I think) than simple point margin, and it's fun.

Here are the number of first quarter, second quarter, third quarter, and fourth quarter KOs for every team in post-merger NFL history with 14 or more wins. As is typical, I'll let you draw your own conclusions and share them in the comments:

+------+------+------+------+------+------+------+------+
| team | year | W    | L    | ko1  | ko2  | ko3  | ko4  |
+------+------+------+------+------+------+------+------+
| NWE  | 2007 | 16   | 0    | 1    | 9    | 2    | 4    |
| PIT  | 2004 | 15   | 1    | 2    | 4    | 2    | 7    |
| MIN  | 1998 | 15   | 1    | 3    | 3    | 6    | 3    |
| SFO  | 1984 | 15   | 1    | 3    | 6    | 1    | 5    |
| CHI  | 1985 | 15   | 1    | 4    | 5    | 2    | 4    |
| STL  | 2001 | 14   | 2    | 3    | 5    | 1    | 5    |
| MIA  | 1984 | 14   | 2    | 0    | 3    | 7    | 4    |
| SFO  | 1992 | 14   | 2    | 2    | 4    | 2    | 6    |
| ATL  | 1998 | 14   | 2    | 3    | 0    | 6    | 5    |
| JAX  | 1999 | 14   | 2    | 2    | 4    | 5    | 3    |
| SDG  | 2006 | 14   | 2    | 1    | 4    | 2    | 7    |
| WAS  | 1983 | 14   | 2    | 1    | 6    | 3    | 4    |
| NWE  | 2004 | 14   | 2    | 0    | 6    | 6    | 2    |
| NYG  | 1986 | 14   | 2    | 0    | 3    | 5    | 6    |
| SFO  | 1989 | 14   | 2    | 2    | 2    | 2    | 8    |
| SFO  | 1990 | 14   | 2    | 0    | 6    | 2    | 6    |
| NWE  | 2003 | 14   | 2    | 4    | 1    | 2    | 7    |
| CHI  | 1986 | 14   | 2    | 2    | 4    | 2    | 6    |
| WAS  | 1991 | 14   | 2    | 3    | 6    | 0    | 5    |
| DEN  | 1998 | 14   | 2    | 2    | 6    | 1    | 5    |
| PIT  | 1978 | 14   | 2    | 1    | 6    | 4    | 3    |
| MIA  | 1972 | 14   | 0    | 3    | 4    | 3    | 4    |
| IND  | 2005 | 14   | 2    | 4    | 2    | 6    | 2    |
| CHI  | 2001 | 13   | 3    | 2    | 3    | 2    | 6    |
| KAN  | 2003 | 13   | 3    | 1    | 5    | 1    | 6    |
| DAL  | 2007 | 13   | 3    | 1    | 3    | 3    | 6    |
| KAN  | 1995 | 13   | 3    | 2    | 4    | 0    | 7    |
| SEA  | 2005 | 13   | 3    | 3    | 2    | 5    | 3    |
| BUF  | 1991 | 13   | 3    | 2    | 0    | 4    | 7    |
| IND  | 2007 | 13   | 3    | 1    | 5    | 4    | 3    |
+------+------+------+------+------+------+------+------+

I have purposely resisted the urge to try to mash this all together into a single number, though I may at some point do that.

Here is the same chart, for all teams with three or more postseason wins:

+------+------+------+------+------+------+------+------+
| team | year | W    | L    | ko1  | ko2  | ko3  | ko4  |
+------+------+------+------+------+------+------+------+
| PIT  | 2005 | 4    | 0    | 0    | 1    | 3    | 0    |
| WAS  | 1982 | 4    | 0    | 2    | 0    | 1    | 1    |
| NYG  | 2007 | 4    | 0    | 0    | 0    | 1    | 2    |
| IND  | 2006 | 4    | 0    | 0    | 2    | 1    | 1    |
| DEN  | 1997 | 4    | 0    | 0    | 2    | 0    | 2    |
| BAL  | 2000 | 4    | 0    | 0    | 3    | 0    | 1    |
| OAK  | 1980 | 4    | 0    | 1    | 2    | 0    | 1    |
| WAS  | 1987 | 3    | 0    | 0    | 1    | 1    | 1    |
| TAM  | 2002 | 3    | 0    | 1    | 1    | 1    | 0    |
| RAI  | 1983 | 3    | 0    | 0    | 3    | 0    | 0    |
| SFO  | 1984 | 3    | 0    | 2    | 1    | 0    | 0    |
| BUF  | 1992 | 3    | 1    | 0    | 2    | 0    | 1    |
| NWE  | 2003 | 3    | 0    | 0    | 1    | 0    | 2    |
| OAK  | 1976 | 3    | 0    | 0    | 2    | 0    | 1    |
| SFO  | 1981 | 3    | 0    | 0    | 0    | 0    | 3    |
| NYG  | 1986 | 3    | 0    | 2    | 0    | 1    | 0    |
| NYG  | 1990 | 3    | 0    | 1    | 0    | 0    | 2    |
| SFO  | 1994 | 3    | 0    | 0    | 3    | 0    | 0    |
| DEN  | 1998 | 3    | 0    | 1    | 0    | 1    | 1    |
| PIT  | 1978 | 3    | 0    | 1    | 1    | 0    | 1    |
| GNB  | 1996 | 3    | 0    | 0    | 3    | 0    | 0    |
| NWE  | 2004 | 3    | 0    | 0    | 1    | 1    | 1    |
| BAL  | 1970 | 3    | 0    | 1    | 0    | 1    | 1    |
| MIA  | 1972 | 3    | 0    | 0    | 1    | 0    | 2    |
| MIA  | 1973 | 3    | 0    | 1    | 2    | 0    | 0    |
| PIT  | 1974 | 3    | 0    | 0    | 1    | 1    | 1    |
| PIT  | 1975 | 3    | 0    | 0    | 0    | 1    | 2    |
| DAL  | 1977 | 3    | 0    | 0    | 3    | 0    | 0    |
| MIA  | 1982 | 3    | 1    | 0    | 2    | 1    | 0    |
| NWE  | 1985 | 3    | 1    | 0    | 1    | 2    | 0    |
| SFO  | 1989 | 3    | 0    | 1    | 2    | 0    | 0    |
| STL  | 1999 | 3    | 0    | 0    | 0    | 0    | 3    |
| SFO  | 1988 | 3    | 0    | 1    | 1    | 0    | 1    |
| DAL  | 1992 | 3    | 0    | 0    | 2    | 0    | 1    |
| WAS  | 1991 | 3    | 0    | 0    | 2    | 1    | 0    |
| DAL  | 1993 | 3    | 0    | 0    | 1    | 2    | 0    |
| NWE  | 2001 | 3    | 0    | 0    | 0    | 1    | 2    |
| DAL  | 1971 | 3    | 0    | 0    | 2    | 1    | 0    |
| PIT  | 1979 | 3    | 0    | 1    | 1    | 0    | 1    |
| CHI  | 1985 | 3    | 0    | 3    | 0    | 0    | 0    |
| DAL  | 1995 | 3    | 0    | 0    | 1    | 1    | 1    |
| TEN  | 1999 | 3    | 1    | 0    | 0    | 1    | 2    |
| CAR  | 2003 | 3    | 1    | 0    | 2    | 0    | 1    |
+------+------+------+------+------+------+------+------+

This entry was posted on Monday, December 1st, 2008 at 4:23 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.