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You gotta finish strong and head into the playoffs with momentum

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Momentum doesn't exist in a vacuum come playoff time.

You also have to have the talent and some luck to hoist the Lombardi.

Washington and Miami were too talent deficient.

Likewise, Pittsburgh hit on the 8-8/ 6th seed with rookie QB/ 9-7 route.

For us, the "tuck rule" cancelled out the helmet catch.
 

PatsFanSince74

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There's 2 different ideas being talked about here. One is momentum as it pertains to the results of a football game. For example, do you have to be winning your games and playing great team football in december in order to succeed in the playoffs.

The other and more important aspect IMO is the fighting hard as a team and with intensity going into the playoffs vs. being physically fresh/healthy but potentially rusty going into the playoffs.

Obviously many things go into winning in the playoffs and winning a superbowl, but that doesn't mean other factors can help or hurt your CHANCES. If it were proven that momentum is good to have going into the playoffs, that doesn't mean it's required or necessary.

IMO the Colts hurt themselves more than help themselves by over-resting players. The body is very quick to adapt, too much time on or off is a bad thing.

That's well said. In that sense, a 2--2 finish with a couple of gutsy performances could be better than a 4--0 finish against inferior competition that had given up or competition that had nothing to play for.

In any event, I looked at the last ten SB winners and did a simple calculation.

I compiled their W/L record over their last four games: it was 32--8. Four went 4--0, four went 3--1 and two (cited in the OP) went 2--2.

I was curious and also looked at the ten SB losers and they had an identical 32--8 record. Four went 4--0. Four went 3--1 and two went 2--2.

So, ten years of data on the 20 teams that went to the SB show that they had a combined record of 64--16 (.800) in their last four games.

I guess I'd conclude that, if you want to go to the SB, it's better to end the Regular Season strong, but that four outliers at 2--2 suggest that all is not lost if you have a so-so finish.
 

makewayhomer

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
That's well said. In that sense, a 2--2 finish with a couple of gutsy performances could be better than a 4--0 finish against inferior competition that had given up or competition that had nothing to play for.

In any event, I looked at the last ten SB winners and did a simple calculation.

I compiled their W/L record over their last four games: it was 32--8. Four went 4--0, four went 3--1 and two (cited in the OP) went 2--2.

I was curious and also looked at the ten SB losers and they had an identical 32--8 record. Four went 4--0. Four went 3--1 and two went 2--2.

So, ten years of data on the 20 teams that went to the SB show that they had a combined record of 64--16 (.800) in their last four games.

I guess I'd conclude that, if you want to go to the SB, it's better to end the Regular Season strong, but that four outliers at 2--2 suggest that all is not lost if you have a so-so finish.

now you are confusing 2 things: momentum vs simply being a great team

the 2004 Pats were 10-1 coming into December and went 4-1 to finish the season. they didn't "get hot" or 'start playing their best" at the end of the year, they were awesome the entire season. you could even argue that they played their best in November that year, going 4-0 with 3 blowouts and 1 8 point win. good teams win lots of games throughout the year, so you can't just look at December records and say "see momentum is really important!". they were a very good team all throughout the year, not a 'hot team at the end of year'
 
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now you are confusing 2 things: momentum vs simply being a great team

the 2004 Pats were 10-1 coming into December and went 4-1 to finish the season. they didn't "get hot" or 'start playing their best" at the end of the year, they were awesome the entire season. you could even argue that they played their best in November that year, going 4-0 with 3 blowouts and 1 8 point win. good teams win lots of games throughout the year, so you can't just look at December records and say "see momentum is really important!". they were a very good team all throughout the year, not a 'hot team at the end of year'

They were still "hot" at the end of the season...unlike we've seen before with some other teams like the Eagles or Colts that had their playoff spots locked up playing awesome football (a bunch of times undefeated) then cooled off the last few games (when they took their foot off the gas).
 

emoney_33

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
now you are confusing 2 things: momentum vs simply being a great team

the 2004 Pats were 10-1 coming into December and went 4-1 to finish the season. they didn't "get hot" or 'start playing their best" at the end of the year, they were awesome the entire season. good teams win lots of games throughout the year, so you can't just look at December records and say "see momentum is really important!". they were a very good team all throughout the year, not a 'hot team at the end of year'

You can have momentum at the end of the year while still playing good football to win in the beginning of the year. It isn't mutually exclusive, the argument never was "momentum at the end of the year if and only if you lacked it early on".

The stats seem to indicate that playing well in December is very common in superbowl teams. Obviously no one thing is absolutely required to win, but an .800 win pct in December for superbowl teams is strong to suggest that playing well in December is -important-.

It makes sense, it's harder to correct things against playoff opponents in January than to correct things earlier than that to have your team playing well.

December games may also be important because in December there is a lot more tape to study and you know your opponent better than you would in September. Also most teams are fighting for playoff spots and games overall have a little more intensity during the stretch run. If we add weather factors in as well the weather in the playoffs is closer to what it is in December vs. September. There are many logical reasons why playing well in December is a good sign for teams playing well in January. I don't know that we can ever prove it one way or the other.
 

makewayhomer

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
They were still "hot" at the end of the season...unlike we've seen before with some other teams like the Eagles or Colts that had their playoff spots locked up playing awesome football (a bunch of times undefeated) then cooled off the last few games (when they took their foot off the gas).

wait a minute - isn't exactly what happened to the 2004 Pats? the Dolphins were 2-11 (!!!!) when they beat the 12-1 Pats on December 20th when the Pats were still fighting for HFA throughout the playoffs.

I don't know how you can say the Pats finished "hot" - they finished exactly as you would have predicted, or maybe even worse, after their blowout of the Ravens on November 28th left them 10-1.
 

makewayhomer

Rotational Player and Threatening Starter's Job
The stats seem to indicate that playing well in December is very common in superbowl teams. Obviously no one thing is absolutely required to win, but an .800 win pct in December for superbowl teams is strong to suggest that playing well in December is -important-.

my guess is if you look at the records of all SB winning teams, their records in their first 12 games looks a lot like their record in their last 4 games.
 
wait a minute - isn't exactly what happened to the 2004 Pats? the Dolphins were 2-11 (!!!!) when they beat the 12-1 Pats on December 20th when the Pats were still fighting for HFA throughout the playoffs.

I don't know how you can say the Pats finished "hot" - they finished exactly as you would have predicted, or maybe even worse, after their blowout of the Ravens on November 28th left them 10-1.

They were still pretty hot though...and the Dolphins are a division rival. Oh yeah, it was a Monday night game, they lost by ONE point and the game was at Miami. PS Brady threw 4 INTs and Miami scored 2 TDs in the last 2 minutes.
 

PatsFanSince74

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now you are confusing 2 things: momentum vs simply being a great team

the 2004 Pats were 10-1 coming into December and went 4-1 to finish the season. they didn't "get hot" or 'start playing their best" at the end of the year, they were awesome the entire season. you could even argue that they played their best in November that year, going 4-0 with 3 blowouts and 1 8 point win. good teams win lots of games throughout the year, so you can't just look at December records and say "see momentum is really important!". they were a very good team all throughout the year, not a 'hot team at the end of year'

I think you're mixing my post up with what others might or might not have said here. Because, I'm not confusing anything with anything.

My conclusion was intentionally drawn very narrowly, since each team and each year is different: "if you want to go to the SB, it's better to end the Regular Season strong, but that four outliers at 2--2 suggest that all is not lost if you have a so-so finish." That is completely consistent with the data, but is also "silent" on the issues you raise, neither confirming nor denying their validity. Also, I don't define "strong" in comparison to anything else or any other part of the season. But, I would argue that .800 over ten years for 20 teams is "strong," whatever its relative weight.

I don't say "momentum is really important" or that these were or were not "hot team at the end of the year." I just observe that they finished with an .800 record over a ten year period. And, of course, they could have played their best games in November...or October...or September. Nothing I say would argue against (or for) that position.

But the data are indisputable that teams that get to the SB have good records in December; those records will mean different things in different cases, as you observe. I wasn't commenting on that, nor do I have the time or data to do so.

I'd really enjoy reading what you might write if you look back over the last ten years to confirm, with data and not speculation, one or more of the suggestions you make in your post.
 
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emoney_33

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
my guess is if you look at the records of all SB winning teams, their records in their first 12 games looks a lot like their record in their last 4 games.

Rather than guess, how about you go get those numbers ;) I'd be interested to see them, and you could be right.
 

emoney_33

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
wait a minute - isn't exactly what happened to the 2004 Pats? the Dolphins were 2-11 (!!!!) when they beat the 12-1 Pats on December 20th when the Pats were still fighting for HFA throughout the playoffs.

I don't know how you can say the Pats finished "hot" - they finished exactly as you would have predicted, or maybe even worse, after their blowout of the Ravens on November 28th left them 10-1.

I don't understand what you are saying? The dolphins was a hard-fought divisional game in a place where the Patriots usually struggle, against a team that usually gives Brady problems. This was followed by 2 wins. I don't think "hot" means perfect.
 

T_Brady12

Third String But Playing on Special Teams
I think the proof alone that this theory is bunk, is the fact that teams openly give their opposition a great chance to beat them after clinching everything.

Such as Indy always does. If they thought momentum meant anything, you can bet Peyton would play and finish.
 

ewg_gestalt

Third String But Playing on Special Teams
I think the proof alone that this theory is bunk, is the fact that teams openly give their opposition a great chance to beat them after clinching everything.

Such as Indy always does. If they thought momentum meant anything, you can bet Peyton would play and finish.

It depends on what you think of as "momentum."

I tend to think the scientific definition has some merit here: mass times velocity. If not acted upon by an outside force--in football, you could construe this as injuries, personnel changes, what have you--it should remain fixed with time. However, one could argue that what the Colts' management did yesterday was an "external force"--imposing a forced bench rest when they didn't have to. We don't know what the consequences of this will be, but looking at the faces of the stunned veterans on the bench last night, it's hard to argue that there won't be an impact.
 

TheComeback

2nd Team Getting Their First Start
I think the proof alone that this theory is bunk, is the fact that teams openly give their opposition a great chance to beat them after clinching everything.

Such as Indy always does. If they thought momentum meant anything, you can bet Peyton would play and finish.
Yeah, because Indy is the place to go when you're looking for experts on "momentum" in the playoffs. Give me a break.

It's not about momentum at all. It's about correcting the issues your team has and learning how to play better football at the most critical time in the season. You aren't going to play as sharp when you come in to a playoff game not having played a single snap of real football against a live opponent in three weeks. It's impossible, and it's stupid to believe that anyone could do it. Look at how Brady struggled after missing a year, or how Manning struggled after missing training camp, or how any player struggles after missing significant practice time. It's common sense, and it's exactly the same concept.

The OP is way overanalyzing it. Momentum is BS. Improving team play isn't.

You don't take your foot off the gas three weeks before the biggest game of your season. You have to be doing everything you can to get better, whether you win or lose, because that's what your opponents will be doing.

If you play all of your healthy players in the last game of the season, and you lose, at least you know your team has a problem that needs to be corrected in practice. You learn about your team by playing your best players in December.

The Giants could have rested their starters in the 16-0 game at Giant Stadium. Instead, they played to win. The Giants players are on record as saying that game gave them the confidence to know that they could beat anyone, because they nearly defeated the best team in the league. Players are not robots, they're human beings with emotions, and one of those emotions is confidence.

Losses can hurt a team's confidence. But even if you lose, and aren't hot at the end of the season, there is something to be said when you play well in the following game and overcome the difficulties you had previously. That's what winners do.

What the Colts did last night was quitting, and the players know it. You could see it on their faces. Caldwell wants to win the Super Bowl, because he wants to the best team of the 2009 season. The problem with that logic is it's for underachievers. They had a chance not only to be the best team of 2009, but to be the best team EVER.

How can you say on one hand that you want to be best this year, but on the other say that being the best ever doesn't matter to you? How can that not be important to a competitive person? It makes no sense. None.
 

Boots Electric

Practice Squad Player
Yeah, because Indy is the place to go when you're looking for experts on "momentum" in the playoffs. Give me a break.

It's not about momentum at all. It's about correcting the issues your team has and learning how to play better football at the most critical time in the season. You aren't going to play as sharp when you come in to a playoff game not having played a single snap of real football against a live opponent in three weeks. It's impossible, and it's stupid to believe that anyone could do it. Look at how Brady struggled after missing a year, or how Manning struggled after missing training camp, or how any player struggles after missing significant practice time. It's common sense, and it's exactly the same concept.

The OP is way overanalyzing it. Momentum is BS. Improving team play isn't.

You don't take your foot off the gas three weeks before the biggest game of your season. You have to be doing everything you can to get better, whether you win or lose, because that's what your opponents will be doing.

If you play all of your healthy players in the last game of the season, and you lose, at least you know your team has a problem that needs to be corrected in practice. You learn about your team by playing your best players in December.

The Giants could have rested their starters in the 16-0 game at Giant Stadium. Instead, they played to win. The Giants players are on record as saying that game gave them the confidence to know that they could beat anyone, because they nearly defeated the best team in the league. Players are not robots, they're human beings with emotions, and one of those emotions is confidence.

Losses can hurt a team's confidence. But even if you lose, and aren't hot at the end of the season, there is something to be said when you play well in the following game and overcome the difficulties you had previously. That's what winners do.

What the Colts did last night was quitting, and the players know it. You could see it on their faces. Caldwell wants to win the Super Bowl, because he wants to the best team of the 2009 season. The problem with that logic is it's for underachievers. They had a chance not only to be the best team of 2009, but to be the best team EVER.

How can you say on one hand that you want to be best this year, but on the other say that being the best ever doesn't matter to you? How can that not be important to a competitive person? It makes no sense. None.

Exactly my thoughts.

I would expand on the issues with what Caldwell and Polian did yesterday but I'll save it for another time.
 

tombonneau

In the Starting Line-Up
The whole momentum debate can be argued both ways which is why it's in interesting topic. Regardless of any perceived value of momentum, I think all of us (and I'm sure the coaches & players) would love to see the NEP go on the road vs. a playoff-caliber team (which -- even though it's an outside shot -- will be treating this like a playoff game) and put together two solid halves of football for a convincing W.

I think the team could use the confidence -- they are going to have to win at least one big game on the road in the playoffs, so why not battle test your guys now to build them up. If they aren't to the task, they probably can't win in Indy or SD anyway, so what does it matter.
 

RayClay

Hall of Fame Poster
my guess is if you look at the records of all SB winning teams, their records in their first 12 games looks a lot like their record in their last 4 games.

3 Patriots teams

2001 7 of last 8, last five in a row.

2003 won their last 12

2004 8 of 9. Lost by a point to Miami, won the last two.

2005 Steelers lost three in a row, then won their last 4.

2008 Steelers won six of their last seven. Lost the second to last game, but won the final 31-0.

2002 Tampa Bay 3 of their last 4 - 5 of 7, including final game.

That only leaves the one Colts team that had to scrap til the end (remember how denver ran through them mid season?)
and the Giants team that looked like they were peaking, though we beat them in season. That's the decade.

Where are the teams that were cold, or mailed it in,or rested everyone?
 
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