What a season.
Our beloved Colts started the season off right, knocking off arguably three of the top teams in the NFL in Seattle, San Francisco, and Denver. Sure, we dropped one to Miami at home and lost a Snoozefest in San Diego, but I think we all felt both losses, though bad, were somewhat justifiable. Then came this last stretch of games:
- A miracle comeback win against the Texans -- a game we shouldn't have won
- An EMBARRASSING blowout home loss to the Rams -- ouch
- Another somewhat-miraculous comeback win against the Titans
- An EMBARRASSING blowout loss to the Cardinals
- A Yawnfest home win against the Titans -- most unsatisfying win of the year
History proves that this is the exact pattern that the most recent Super Bowl winners followed: strong starts, and a stumble into the playoffs. An article written on LucidSportsFan.com says it best:
With the 2013-2014 NFL schedule kicking off tonight, media prognosticators everywhere are making a wide variety of predictions about what will happen this year. I'm not going to tell you who is going to win the Super Bowl, but I am going to describe what the eventual champion's season may look like.
Last year the Ravens started 9-2, and were coming off a ridiculous momentum building 16-13 OT win over San Diego, in which Ray Rice converted a 4th and 29. But then Baltimore dropped 4 of their last 5, and limped into the playoffs at 10-6. The season before that the Giants jumped out to a 6-2 record, but went just 3-5 in the second half before backdoor-ing their way into the playoffs at 9-7. In 2010 the Packers began 7-3, stumbled to 8-6, then snatched up the NFC's final postseason spot at 10-6. And in 2009 the Saints opened the year 13-0 before losing their final 3 regular season games to finish 13-3.
Just in case you've been living in a cave, those are your past four Super Bowl winners. In recent years getting "hot down the stretch" hasn't translated into championships. The path to a title appears to be a strong start, followed by a mid to late season slump that isn't quite bad enough to keep you out of the playoffs.
You could even throw in the 2005 Steelers and the 2006 Colts. Thoughts? How is this year's Colts different from the others? I'm curious to know what you all think.