Normally, if your favorite NFL team has a bad preseason, it really doesn't mean much, but it might mean something this year, and that's because an interesting pattern has developed between preseason play and winning the Super Bowl.
So what's the pattern?
For the past 10 years, no Super Bowl champion has finished the preseason with a losing record. Here's a list of every Super Bowl champion for the past 10 years and a look at their final record during the preseason.
Fun NFL preseason fact: Over the past 10 years, no Super Bowl champ has finished the preseason with a losing record. A total of 11 teams finished the 2018 preseason with a losing record. #Falcons #Eagles #Cowboys #Seahawks #49ers #NFL pic.twitter.com/VT8iAOqJ7z— John Breech (@johnbreech) August 31, 2018
If this pattern holds up for 2018, that means we can go ahead and eliminate the Dolphins, Jets, Titans, Redskins, Eagles, Cowboys, Bears, Lions, Falcons, 49ers and Seahawks from Super Bowl contention, because they all finished the preseason with a losing record.
On the other hand, this 10-year pattern could be a total coincidence and mean absolutely nothing. However, if you're looking for a reason why Super Bowl winners have been doing well during the preseason, it likely has everything to do with their coaching staff. If a staff is good at finding talent, then the bottom of their 90-man roster is going to be better than their opponents, which is a big deal, because the players on the bottom of the roster are usually the ones playing in the second half of a preseason game.
Of course, this logic doesn't apply to every team, because no matter how many preseason games the Browns win, that never seems to translate to the regular season. The Browns went 4-0 last year during the preseason before falling on their face and finishing 0-16 in the regular season.
Another preseason stat worth noting will probably have fans in Baltimore pretty excited. The Ravens pulled off a 5-0 record in the preseason, which is actually pretty rare. Since 1980, only six other teams have finished an NFL preseason with a 5-0 record, and for the most part, those teams went on to success.
Here's a list of those teams with their final record and where their season ended:
1985 Giants (10-6): Lost Divisional Round.
1991 49ers (10-6): Missed playoffs.
1992 49ers (14-2): Lost in NFC Championship.
1992 Jets (4-12): Missed playoffs.
1997 Packers (13-3): Lost Super Bowl.
1997 Steelers (11-5): Lost in AFC Championship.
Even if you include the Jets' ugly season in 1992, that's still an average of 10.3 wins per season for every team since 1980 that's gone 5-0 in the preseason. That seems like good news for the Ravens.
Finally, we'll end with a preseason stat that was dug up by one of the stat heads at Reddit: Any team that plays four or more preseason games and scores fewer than 44 total points over those games is likely going to have zero postseason success. Since 1983, 33 teams have fit that bill and none of those 33 teams went on to win a playoff game. This is bad news for the Cowboys (43), Titans (40) and Falcons (27), who all failed to hit the 44-point mark threshold during the preseason this year.
So does the preseason matter? It looks like we'll have to check back in February and see if any of these stats actually hold up.