Perhaps my favorite writer on the NFL is Bill Barnwell (and no, not just because his last name is similar to mine), who contributes a lot of statistics based articles for Grantland, recently came out with a story about if second half success/swoons effect teams the following year. While I would be doing you a disservice by trying to summarize the findings instead of letting you read the article itself, there was an interesting statistic I saw that applies to the Chiefs.
In the article, Barnwell broke down every team from 1990-2011. Of those samples, 15 teams have had the same record as the 2012 Chiefs (one of those teams being, of course, the 2008 Chiefs). Of those teams, 93.3% of the teams improved their record the following year, while the remaining 6.7% actually declined. So while the odds are drastically in the Chiefs favor to improve their overall record in 2013, what does improvement necessarily mean?
According to Barnwell’s report, teams that went 2-14 averaged 5.4 wins the next season. While 15 teams is a small sample size, it is something to look at with consideration. As hopeful as Chiefs fans are in the offseason, and as bad as the team was in 2012, is it smart to expect any more than 5 wins next year?
I will say this, not many 2-14 teams seem to conduct an arms race quite like the Chiefs did this offseason. Fans have been thinking for a few years now that the team is very close to being a perennial contender, and it seems the new regime agrees. But still, we can’t overlook how bad last season was. Even Vegas, who actually gave the Chiefs 1.5 more wins on over/under than they have ever given to a team after receiving the number one overall pick since conference realignment, is still only giving them 7. While it’s nice to see Vegas acknowledge that “the core is there,” it is still a below .500 finish that wouldn’t net the playoff berth that most Chiefs fans are either expecting or very much hoping for.
So now that you are aware of the odds and the statistics going into next season, what is your realistic expectation of wins for the Chiefs in 2013? Is a playoff berth the only form of success you are willing to accept or are you just hoping for improvement and a move back towards the .500 mark?