If luck didn’t have anything to do with it, I’d win everytime
There is a force in the NFL that people don’t seem to give enough credit to. It’s something that plays a huge part in the playoffs. It can help or hurt a team. Every year, a few teams seem to bottle it up to huge game breaking and history making plays. Sometimes it cripples a team emotionally and physically to the point where it takes them years to get back to the playoffs again. What is it?
Luck. In poker they call it variance. The truth of the matter, because of the format of the playoffs, a tournament, there it plays a much larger role than people care to say. In any format that crowns one team or person a champion, luck plays a bigger role than anyone cares to admit.
What truly differentiates a bad team from a good team, or a good team from a great one, is how consistently they are able to put themselves in position to make deep runs into the playoffs. Any team that can do that for over half a decade is elite in my book and the New England Patriots are just that. Let’s explore a little more…
I think the Patriots demenstrate how hard it is to win super bowls.
It’s confusing when you really look at all the statistics that go into it.
At the begining, you have a developing Tom Brady with a defensive minded coach. The defense orchestrated the bend but don’t break philosophy to protection and they made enough big plays and caused enough turnovers to win games.
On the offense you had a young Tom Brady who was extremely effecient. I think game manager is too extreme of a term to use when refering to Tom when he first started playing but he was by no means elite. He was very clutch and, as I mentioned above, extremely efficient.
He didn’t turn the ball over and also had a pretty damn good runningback in Corey Dillion.
That all changed just before Moss got there. Once Moss did get there I think it opened Brady’s as to what he was really capable of and he also progressed in a big way and became an elite QB.
But then they couldn’t win the superbowl despite the fact he was doing things at the position no one else had ever done. His offense was fun to watch and bellicheck and him dismantled teams only to flame out in the super bowl or playoffs ever since they won their last super bowl.
So what’s the explanation? It’s not spygate. I don’t believe in that overblown media frenzy. Is Tom not as clutch as he used to be? Is it a lack of an elite runner? Poot defensive play? What is it?
I don’t know but I have my theories and the only thing I can truly come up with is how much chance plays a part once you get into the playoffs. It’s a tournament format and if you lose you’re out.
If you play poker tournaments you’re familiar with how luck plays a bigger part the further and deeper you get into it.
You will consistently see the best players in the world put themselves in position to win it, only to get wiped out by a bad run of cards. The percentages are low to win a poker tournament, with the best in the world only converting 2-5% into wins.
But that’s not including 2nd-10th place, which is where the big money is. People forget easily that there is only one champion at the end of the year and because of that you also need things to fall your way AND also play well to put yourself into position to fall your way.
During the season, teams have an opportunity to fix their mistakes and right the ship. If a team stumbles to 2-3, lets say, they have a chance to correct any mental errors that cost them and make a push to the playoffs.
In the playoffs you don’t have that opportunity. You make a mistake and it’s magnified 10 fold. You can fix the mistake but can’t apply it to the next game. It’s better luck next year for you.
In a poker tournament a good player will make the money 20-30% of the time. So, that means they cash 30 times out of every 100 tournaments.
But they only win the thing 5 times out of a 100, no matter how good they are.
The mark of a great team is when they consistently put themselves in position to make deep runs into the playoffs. That’s what the Patriots have been so good at, and because they can’t turn it into super bowl wins, doesn’t mean they aren’t great anymore or that Tom Brady is passed his prime.
It just means that we should all take into consideration that luck and chance or whatever you want to call it, play a much bigger role in the playoffs than it does in the regular season.