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Feb 17

Super Bowl Super Study, Part 1: The Home-Away Split

Over two weeks, we’re conducting a super study to assess Super Bowl teams. With this painstakingly-detailed look at playoff team precedence, a few key outliers can illustrate which future playoff teams are likely to win the Super Bowl and which future playoff teams are likely to come up short. This study includes 13 statistical factors that impact a playoff team’s championship viability.

Today, the study focuses on the difference of how a team plays on the road, compared to how it plays at home. The table below examines the home and away for EVERY Super Bowl combatant. The outliers are highlighted in either red or amber.

Table 1: The Home-Away Split

SB Winner W-L (H/A) SB Loser W-L (H/A)
I 66 Packers 12-2 (6-1 / 6-1) I 66 Chiefs 11-2-1 (4-2-1 / 7-0)
II 67 Packers 9-4-1 (4-2-1 / 5-2) II 67 Raiders 13-1 (7-0 / 6-1)
III 68 Jets 11-3 (6-1 / 5-2) III 68 Colts 13-1 (6-1 / 7-0)
IV 69 Chiefs 11-3 (6-1 / 5-2) IV 69 Vikings 12-2 (7-0 / 5-2)
V 70 Colts 11-2-1 (5-1-1 / 6-1) V 70 Cowboys 10-4 (6-1 / 4-3)
VI 71 Cowboys 11-3 (6-1 / 5-2) VI 71 Dolphins 10-3-1 (6-1 / 4-2-1)
VII 72 Dolphins 14-0 (7-0 / 7-0) VII 72 Redskins 11-3 (6-1 / 5-2)
VIII 73 Dolphins 12-2 (7-0 / 5-2) VIII 73 Vikings 12-2 (7-0 / 5-2)
IX 74 Steelers 10-3-1 (5-2 / 5-1-1) IX 74 Vikings 10-4 (4-3 / 6-1)
X 75 Steelers 12-2 (6-1 / 6-1) X 75 Cowboys 10-4 (5-2 / 5-2)
XI 76 Raiders 13-1 (7-0 / 6-1) XI 76 Vikings 11-2-1 (6-0-1 / 5-2)
XII 77 Cowboys 12-2 (6-1 / 6-1) XII 77 Broncos 12-2 (6-1 / 6-1)
XIII 78 Steelers 14-2 (7-1 / 7-1) XIII 78 Cowboys 12-4 (7-1 / 5-3)
XIV 79 Steelers 12-4 (8-0 / 4-4) XIV 79 Rams 9-7 (4-4 / 5-3)
XV 80 Raiders 11-5 (6-2 / 5-3) XV 80 Eagles 12-4 (7-1 / 5-3)
XVI 81 49ers 13-3 (7-1 / 6-2) XVI 81 Bengals 12-4 (6-2 / 6-2)
XVII 82 Redskins 8-1 (3-1 / 5-0) XVII 82 Dolphins 7-2 (4-0 / 3-2)
XVIII 83 Raiders 12-4 (6-2 / 6-2) XVIII 83 Redskins 14-2 (7-1 / 7-1)
XIX 84 49ers 15-1 (7-1 / 8-0) XIX 84 Dolphins 14-2 (7-1 / 7-1)
XX 85 Bears 15-1 (8-0 / 7-1) XX 85 Patriots 11-5 (7-1 / 4-4)
XXI 86 Giants 14-2 (8-0 / 6-2) XXI 86 Broncos 11-5 (7-1 / 4-4)
XXII 87 Redskins 11-4 (6-1 / 5-3) XXII 87 Broncos 10-4-1 (7-1 / 3-3-1)
XXIII 88 49ers 10-6 (4-4 / 6-2) XXIII 88 Bengals 12-4 (8-0 / 4-4)
XXIV 89 49ers 14-2 (6-2 / 8-0) XXIV 89 Broncos 11-5 (6-2 / 5-3)
XXV 90 Giants 13-3 (7-1 / 6-2) XXV 90 Bills 13-3 (8-0 / 5-3)
XXVI 91 Redskins 14-2 (7-1 / 7-1) XXVI 91 Bills 13-3 (7-1 / 6-2)
XXVII 92 Cowboys 13-3 (7-1 / 6-2) XXVII 92 Bills 11-5 (6-2 / 5-3)
XXVIII 93 Cowboys 12-4 (6-2 / 6-2) XXVIII 93 Bills 12-4 (6-2 / 6-2)
XXIX 94 49ers 13-3 (7-1 / 6-2) XXIX 94 Chargers 11-5 (5-3 / 6-2)
XXX 95 Cowboys 12-4 (6-2 / 6-2) XXX 95 Steelers 11-5 (6-2 / 5-3)
XXXI 96 Packers 13-3 (8-0 / 5-3) XXXI 96 Patriots 11-5 (6-2 / 5-3)
XXXII 97 Broncos 12-4 (8-0 / 4-4) XXXII 97 Packers 13-3 (8-0 / 5-3)
XXXIII 98 Broncos 14-2 (8-0 / 6-2) XXXIII 98 Falcons 14-2 (8-0 / 6-2)
XXXIV 99 Rams 13-3 (8-0 / 5-3) XXXIV 99 Titans 13-3 (8-0 / 5-3)
XXXV 00 Ravens 12-4 (6-2 / 6-2) XXXV 00 Giants 12-4 (5-3 / 7-1)
XXXVI 01 Patriots 11-5 (6-2 / 5-3) XXXVI 01 Rams 14-2 (6-2 / 8-0)
XXXVII 02 Buccaneers 12-4 (6-2 / 6-2) XXXVII 02 Raiders 11-5 (6-2 / 5-3)
XXXVIII 03 Patriots 14-2 (8-0 / 6-2) XXXVIII 03 Panthers 11-5 (6-2 / 5-3)
XXXIX 04 Patriots 14-2 (8-0 / 6-2) XXXIX 04 Eagles 13-3 (7-1 / 6-2)
XL 05 Steelers 11-5 (5-3 / 6-2) XL 05 Seahawks 13-3 (8-0 / 5-3)
XLI 06 Colts 12-4 (8-0 / 4-4) XLI 06 Bears 13-3 (6-2 / 7-1)
XLII 07 Giants 10-6 (3-5 / 7-1) XLII 07 Patriots 16-0 (8-0 / 8-0)
XLIII 08 Steelers 12-4 (6-2 / 6-2) XLIII 08 Cardinals 9-7 (6-2 / 3-5)
XLIV 09 Saints 13-3 (6-2 / 7-1) XLIV 09 Colts 14-2 (7-1 / 7-1)
XLV 10 Packers 10-6 (7-1 / 3-5) XLV 10 Steelers 12-4 (5-3 / 7-1)
XLVI 11 Giants 9-7 (4-4 / 5-3) XLVI 11 Patriots 13-3 (7-1 / 6-2)
XLVII 12 Ravens  10-6 (6-2 / 4-4) XLVII 12 49ers 11-4-1 (6-1-1 / 5-3)
XLVIII 13 Seahawks 13-3 (7-1 / 6-2) XLVIII 13 Broncos 13-3 (7-1 / 6-2)
XLIX 14 Patriots 12-4 (7-1 / 5-3) XLIX 14 Seahawks 12-4 (7-1 / 5-3)

Red flag: Losing road record OR non-winning home record
Amber flag: .500 road record received an amber flag

Now let’s compile a list of Super Bowl teams that earned red or amber flags in the 13 factors for playoff team precedence. This will allows us to see how many Super Bowl teams compiled flags and determine how many flags a normal Super Bowl team should own. We’ll then determine the most unlikely Super Bowl combatants. First, here’s the overall Super Bowl champions flag count:

  • One red flag: 1988 49ers, 2007 Giants, 2010 Packers, 2011 Giants
  • One amber flag: 1979 Steelers, 1997 Broncos, 2006 Colts, 2012 Ravens

Next, here’s the overall Super Bowl losers flag count:

  • One red flag: 1979 Rams, 2008 Cardinals
  • One amber flag: 1985 Patriots, 1986 Broncos, 1987 Broncos, 1988 Bengals

Primarily, we see a very strong precedence of a team being able to win frequently both at home and on the road. That can be supported by 84 of the 98 Super Bowl teams (85.71 percent) achieving a winning record in both splits. Most of the exceptions came during the two periods of NFL history. First, the mid-to-late 1980’s saw the AFC at its weakest, so four consecutive AFC representatives earned an amber flag. Second, the past decade’s surge in unlikely champions provided three Super Bowl winners with an red flag and two Super Bowl winners with an amber flag. We’re still trying to figure out this near decade-long trend.

Up next: Divisional Success

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