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Super Bowl notes: Stat of the Year and Updated SRS Standings

Posted by Chase Stuart on January 26, 2011

My vote for Stat of the Year, courtesy of Big Lead superstar/PFR family member JKL: the Packers haven't trailed by more than seven points at any point this season. Let's take a look at Green Bay's six losses:

  • In Chicago, the Packers got up 7-0 and 10-7, trailed 14-10, took a 17-14 lead, and lost 20-17.
  • In week five in Washington, the Packers led for most of the game before the Redskins scored 10 fourth quarter points to force overtime. Washington won 16-13. Yes, Washington beat this team.
  • In week twelve, the Packers lost another close one in Atlanta. The teams exchanged scores all game, alternating with a Falcons field goal, Packers field goal, Falcons touchdown, Packers touchdowns, Falcons touchdown, Packers touchdown, Falcons field goal.
  • In Detroit, playing the majority of the game without Aaron Rodgers, the Packers lost 7-3.
  • The next week, a loss in New England without Rodgers looked disastrous in the standings but respectable on the field. The Packers got up 3-0 and then 10-7 and 17-7. Two Patriots touchdowns made it 21-17, but Green Bay responded with another touchdown. The Patriots scored last, winning 31-27.

The Packers never trailed by a score in any of their 13 victories, either. Even trailing early wasn't an impediment to a big game, like when the Falcons went up 7-0 in the playoff game. So how rare is it for a team to go an entire season without trailing by more than 7 points? As you could guess, extremely.


The 1942 Redskins. George Halas' 1948 Bears. And the 1962 Detroit Lions, a team that had to compete with the buzzsaw that was the 1962 Packers. Head to head, the Lions outplayed Green Bay's greatest team Under Vince. Detroit dropped the first game in Green Bay 9-7, on a field goal in the final minute; the Lions crushed the Packers in the rematch, racing out to a 26-0 lead before a couple of late scores made the final tally 26-14.

Those three teams are the only teams since 1940 to never trail by more than 7 points, unless the Packers keep their streak going in Super Bowl XV. Green Bay would become the first team in the Super Bowl era to never trail by more than a touchdown, an incredible feat in any season, but especially so given the injury-plagued year the Packers endured. What's the biggest margin some other great teams have faced? The table below lists the "low point" on the season for each of the first 44 Super Bowl champs:

Team Year Margin Against
NOR 2009 -21 DAL
PIT 2008 -17 TEN
NYG 2007 -31 MIN
IND 2006 -27 JAX
PIT 2005 -19 IND
NWE 2004 -21 PIT
NWE 2003 -31 BUF
TAM 2002 -17 PIT
NWE 2001 -20 MIA
BAL 2000 -17 JAX
STL 1999 -21 TEN
DEN 1998 -15 MIA
DEN 1997 -17 SFO
GNB 1996 -21 KAN
DAL 1995 -25 SFO
SFO 1994 -32 PHI
DAL 1993 -20 ATL
DAL 1992 -24 PHI
WAS 1991 -14 PHO
NYG 1990 -18 PHI
SFO 1989 -17 RAM
SFO 1988 -25 RAM
WAS 1987 -16 NYG
NYG 1986 -17 NOR
CHI 1985 -21 MIA
SFO 1984 -10 CIN
RAI 1983 -17 SEA
WAS 1982 -17 DAL
SFO 1981 -24 ATL
OAK 1980 -31 KAN
PIT 1979 -31 CIN
PIT 1978 -14 HOU
DAL 1977 -15 PIT
OAK 1976 -38 NWE
PIT 1975 -23 BUF
PIT 1974 -17 OAK
MIA 1973 -16 BAL
MIA 1972 -10 NYJ
DAL 1971 -17 NOR
BAL 1970 -31 KAN
KAN 1969 -11 CIN
NYJ 1968 -16 BUF
GNB 1967 -17 DET
GNB 1966 -14 CLE

The '84 49ers and '72 Dolphins combined to lose just one game, and neither faced a deficit of more than 10 points at any time during the year. Outside of them, only Hank Stram's '69 Chiefs didn't have to deal with a two-touchdown margin on the scoreboard at least once during the season.

Here's a list of all teams that never trailed by more than 20 points in a season, from 1940 to 2009:

Team Year diff
DET 1962 -7
CHI 1948 -7
WAS 1942 -7
CHI 1942 -8
SFO 1984 -10
MIA 1972 -10
SFO 1948 -10
MIN 1998 -11
GNB 1997 -11
OAK 1974 -11
KAN 1969 -11
OAK 1965 -11
NYG 1962 -11
NYG 1955 -11
CLE 1948 -11
NWE 2007 -12
SEA 2005 -12
MIN 1974 -12
PIT 2009 -13
MIA 1982 -13
DAL 1976 -13
SFO 1971 -13
WAS 1971 -13
NYG 2002 -14
STL 2001 -14
OAK 2001 -14
TEN 2000 -14
CHI 1993 -14
WAS 1991 -14
NOR 1991 -14
SFO 1990 -14
RAI 1984 -14
NWE 1981 -14
PIT 1978 -14
MIN 1970 -14
GNB 1966 -14
BUF 1964 -14
GNB 1964 -14
CLE 1960 -14
CHI 1959 -14
CHI 1953 -14
CLE 1952 -14
CLE 1951 -14
CLE 1950 -14
CRD 1948 -14
NYY 1947 -14
GNB 1947 -14
CHI 1946 -14
GNB 1945 -14
NYG 1944 -14
CHI 1940 -14
DEN 1998 -15
DAL 1977 -15
NWE 1974 -15
CHI 1957 -15
SDG 2005 -16
NOR 1992 -16
WAS 1987 -16
SFO 1985 -16
STL 1984 -16
PIT 1982 -16
MIA 1973 -16
MIN 1972 -16
MIN 1969 -16
NYJ 1968 -16
BAL 1957 -16
CLE 1955 -16
WAS 1945 -16
CHI 1941 -16
BAL 2009 -17
MIN 2008 -17
WAS 2008 -17
PIT 2008 -17
ATL 2008 -17
TAM 2002 -17
PHI 2001 -17
BAL 2000 -17
KAN 1999 -17
OAK 1999 -17
DEN 1997 -17
HOU 1992 -17
SFO 1992 -17
SFO 1991 -17
GNB 1991 -17
NYJ 1991 -17
DEN 1990 -17
KAN 1990 -17
KAN 1989 -17
SFO 1989 -17
CLE 1986 -17
NYG 1986 -17
RAI 1983 -17
RAM 1982 -17
WAS 1982 -17
SFO 1982 -17
KAN 1980 -17
NWE 1977 -17
MIA 1977 -17
RAM 1977 -17
CHI 1976 -17
RAM 1976 -17
CIN 1976 -17
PIT 1976 -17
MIA 1975 -17
PIT 1974 -17
RAM 1973 -17
OAK 1973 -17
PIT 1972 -17
NYG 1972 -17
GNB 1972 -17
MIN 1971 -17
DAL 1971 -17
BAL 1968 -17
GNB 1967 -17
BAL 1963 -17
CHI 1963 -17
NYG 1960 -17
NYG 1957 -17
CLE 1956 -17
RAM 1953 -17
SFO 1951 -17
NYG 1951 -17
DET 1951 -17
CHI 1950 -17
PHI 1949 -17
CRD 1946 -17
NYY 1946 -17
SFO 1946 -17
PIT 1946 -17
NYG 1946 -17
PHI 1945 -17
PIT 1942 -17
BKN 1940 -17

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I'll admit it: I'm always curious to discover the opening point spread for the Super Bowl. This year, the line opened at Green Bay -2.5, meaning the oddsmakers view the Packers as a slight favorite. This surprised a lot of people, considering how the AFC looked like the stronger conference all season and Pittsburgh's history of dominance in recent years. The Packers were hot, of course, but still have the taste of the 6 seed in the mouths of some. Who wouldn't have been surprised? Anyone looking at the updated Simple Rating System standings. Here they are, through the conference championship games:

Team Gms MOV SOS SRS
New England Patriots 17 11.5 3.0 14.5
Green Bay Packers 19 10.3 2.0 12.3
Pittsburgh Steelers 18 8.3 1.7 10.0
New York Jets 19 3.9 3.5 7.4
Baltimore Ravens 18 6.1 1.0 7.1
Atlanta Falcons 17 5.6 -1.1 4.5
San Diego Chargers 16 7.4 -3.1 4.4
Philadelphia Eagles 17 3.2 0.9 4.1
Chicago Bears 18 2.6 1.3 3.9
Indianapolis Colts 17 2.5 0.0 2.6
New York Giants 16 2.9 -0.8 2.1
Detroit Lions 16 -0.4 2.4 2.0
New Orleans Saints 17 4.4 -3.2 1.2
Tennessee Titans 16 1.1 -0.3 0.7
Miami Dolphins 16 -3.8 4.1 0.3
Oakland Raiders 16 2.4 -2.6 -0.2
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16 1.4 -2.4 -1.0
Minnesota Vikings 16 -4.2 2.6 -1.6
Cincinnati Bengals 16 -4.6 2.9 -1.7
Cleveland Browns 16 -3.8 2.0 -1.8
Kansas City Chiefs 17 0.8 -2.8 -2.0
Houston Texans 16 -2.3 0.3 -2.0
Dallas Cowboys 16 -2.6 0.4 -2.3
Washington Redskins 16 -4.7 0.8 -3.9
Buffalo Bills 16 -8.9 4.2 -4.6
Jacksonville Jaguars 16 -4.1 -0.7 -4.8
San Francisco 49ers 16 -2.4 -3.6 -6.0
St. Louis Rams 16 -2.4 -4.6 -7.1
Seattle Seahawks 18 -5.7 -3.2 -8.9
Denver Broncos 16 -8.1 -1.2 -9.4
Arizona Cardinals 16 -9.1 -4.0 -13.0
Carolina Panthers 16 -13.3 -0.4 -13.6

That's right: the SRS views the Packers as 2.3 points better than the Steelers, as they've been the second best team in the league this season. The Packers' SRS score was aided by the best post-season game of any team, a 27-point road victory against a team 4.5 points better than average. The best win of the year came from the Patriots in their 45-3 shellacking over the Jets. The home victory means a margin of victory of 39 points against a +7.4 team, for an SRS grade of 46.4. The Raiders 59-14 win in Denver (48, -9.4, 38.6) and the Patriots' 36-7 win in Chicago (32, +3.9, 35.9) round out the top three.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 26th, 2011 at 12:51 pm and is filed under Simple Rating System, Statgeekery. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.