FanPost

Can we predict our future by looking at the past?


We had a great turnaround season in 2010.  But despite our inclinations to think that this sort of thing is unique, it isn't.  From 2001-2008, 27 teams have improved their record by 5 or more wins, and 14 teams have improved their record by 6 or more wins.  I've created a few charts to see how all these teams did the year following a great turnaround.  Please keep in mind that while turnarounds are completely typical, I understand that every team has a plethora of reasons for improvement, and each teams' reasons are very different from another.  This is simply a statistical look at averages.

  All data was collected from various places on nfl.com

  Bad Year Bad Year Wins Good Year Wins Next Year Wins
Chargers 2008 8 13 9
Packers 2008 6 11 10
Saints 2008 8 13 11
Bengals 2008 4 10 4
Jets 2007 4 9 9
Panthers 2007 7 12 8
Falcons 2007 4 11 9
Dolphins 2007 1 9 7
Ravens 2007 5 11 9
Browns 2006 4 10 4
Packers 2006 8 13 6
Bucs 2006 4 9 9
Jets 2005 4 10 4
Baltimore 2005 6 13 5
Saints 2005 3 10 7
Dolphins 2004 4 9 6
Giants 2004 6 11 8
Bears 2004 5 11 13
Bucs 2004 5 11 4
Steelers 2003 6 15 11
Chargers 2003 4 12 9
Falcons 2003 5 11 8
Patriots 2002 9 14 14
Bengals 2002 2 8 8
Chiefs 2002 8 13 7
Cowboys 2002 5 10 6
Rams 2002 7 12 8

 

This is a list of all the teams from 2002 to 2009 that had an increase in wins of 5 or more.  I couldn't do last season's improvements because we don't have the data to show how they will do next year yet.

Based on these statistics, during the bad year these teams averaged 5.26 wins for the season.  During the "turnaround" season, these teams averaged 11.52 wins per season, a jump of about 6 games.  During the following year, the teams averaged 7.89 wins per season, about halfway between the previous two seasons.  If we base next season's projections soley on how these teams performed, we can expect about 8 wins next season. 

 

Next we'll look at teams with a 6 or more win improvement.

  Bad Year Bad Year Wins Good Year Wins Next Year Wins
Bengals 2008 4 10 4
Falcons 2007 4 11 9
Dolphins 2007 1 9 7
Ravens 2007 5 11 9
Browns 2006 4 10 4
Jets 2005 4 10 4
Baltimore 2005 6 13 5
Saints 2005 3 10 7
Bears 2004 5 11 13
Bucs 2004 5 11 4
Steelers 2003 6 15 11
Chargers 2003 4 12 9
Falcons 2003 5 11 8
Bengals 2002 2 8 8

 

 The data here varies slightly. The averages are: 4.15 wins bad year, 10.86 wins turnaround year, 7.29 wins following year.  The following year's numbers are lower by about 1/2 a win, but the previous year's wins is also lower, but by about 3/4 a win.  Looking at this data, we can expect to have about 7 wins in 2011.

 

Now it gets ugly.  There have only been three teams during this span that went from 4-12 to 10-6.  The 2008/2009/2010 Bengals, the 2006/2007/2008 Browns, and the 2005/2006/2007 Jets.  All three teams ended up with a whopping 4 wins the following year. 

There were certainly reasons for each of these teams' significant drops.  It seems that our team is built for the long haul, while these teams were not.  Our team's statistics back our improvement--tops running, middle of the pack everywhere else.  These other three teams weren't necessarily great teams, they just had great years.

 

What to take away

While conducting this research, I kept remembering various reasons for the teams' downfalls the following year. Whether it was a coach leaving, a player leaving, someone getting injured, a more difficult schedule...there were lots of reasons for the drops. 

 I also noticed that some of the best teams had turnaround years.  Look who's on this list, after all: The Packers twice, the Patriots, The Steelers, the Saints twice...teams we consider elite right now.  It just goes to show that even the best teams go up and down.  So if, and I'm not expecting a big drop, but if the Chiefs' win total drops next year, it's just one part of the journey. 

On a very positive note, I looked at Pioli's Patriots on this list.  They went from 9 wins to 14 wins to 14 wins again. That's okay with me! 

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Arrowhead Pride's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Arrowhead Pride writers or editors.

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