The Bryman, a somewhat newer commenter who’s quickly making a name for himself, had this interesting statistical response to Double D’s “Pre-Season Cawfy Talk” post about the Chiefs and the preseason:
Instead of taking it on faith, I went to NFL.com, and looked up the correlation between winning/losing and making/missing the playoffs. I did not count teams that went 2-2 in the preseason, only winners and losers. Here’s the result of what I found.
53 teams had winning preseason records during that period. Of those 53 teams:
Winner in preseason and made postseason: 19
Winner in preseason and missed postseason: 34
So a winner in the preseason made the postseason 36% of the time during that time.
65 teams had losing preseason records during that period. Of those 65 teams:
Loser in preseason and made postseason: 12
Loser in preseason and missed postseason: 43
So a loser in the preseason made the postseason 18% of the time during that period.
So what can we conclude on actual facts. A winner is twice as likely to make the postseason. However, the chances of a winning record meaning regular season success only happen a little better than 33% of the time.
Now that your all bored with a ton of numbers, I’m done, and if you don’t believe me, go and crunch the numbers yourself.
I can see this one from all the angles. I think it is definitely important to play well and at least win a game or two in the preseason, but I don’t think it’s the ultimate harbinger for the regular season.