No, this isn't a lesson in geometry despite the reference to Pythagoras. Hefty math is involved however. You've been warned.
Let's start with an explanation:
The concept is simple, even though the math is tricky. The idea is that over time, a team's point differential (points scored minus points allowed) is a better indicator of how that team will perform in the future than their record is.
For example, a team that is 6-2 but has been outscored by five points on the season because of a couple of blowout losses is more likely to play like a 4-4 team going forward than like a 6-2 team.
Simple right? Some would say a team is "hot" or "getting lucky" or "has a knack for winning close games" but the math doesn't lie. If you're interested in the math click here.
Nate shows us just how good Peyton Manning was during this stretch by discussing the good years.
The Colts outperformed their expected win total every year from 2002 to 2010. The odds of this being just luck are extraordinary. Under Peyton Manning, the Colts could be counted on to pull out an extra game or two more each year than what a normal team with the same talent would. It was a remarkable run that is unlikely to be matched.
I won't ruin the surprise but you can guess what happened in 2011. Nate's article highlights just how good a certain former Colt was during his time in Indy.
yeah last year was a weird one, so many close games that we just could not pull out, hopefully this means that it will not take us as much time to get back to those winning days. I often vouched that the Colts were not as bad as they seemed, but I guess that all is relative, I think the biggest thing that we lacked was consistency from the QB position, along with bad schemes on defense. I think both of those areas will be improved in this upcoming year.
@NateDunlevy All these 'Peyton Manning was better than you think' articles make me sad. Can only hope Luck is half the QB 18 was.
This actually explains quite a bit. Those of us who have had the pleasure of watching #18 for the 13 seasons he actually played, have just known. Sure he has often had gaudy ststs, but it is more than that.
The controversy of pulling the starters against the Jets and then the Super Bowl loss... that is what usually defines the 2009 team. What is overlooked, is that really that team had no business being 14-0.
@DougEngland "What is overlooked, is that really that team had no business being 14-0."
You crushed it.
Just when I was getting ready to quit reading Nate's stuff and he goes and does something like ths.... and TOTALLY redeemed himself. This is great stuff, I love math.... this would prove to be an interesting point when considering the clutch QB articles that Kyle is finishing up right now. One could say that being clutch is the ability to overcome expectactions. An even more interesting study would be to run the formula on Tebow last year, was Denver getting lucky or was were they really trending to becoming a better team? Watching the Colts from 2009 to 2010, it just seemed that the 14 wins were mainly b/c of the team's ability to win the close games. The team was basically the same between the two years, call it luck or clutch but for what ever reason they were able to get it done in 2009. I can't seem to recall but were there more prominent injuries in 2010?
@Westhoff Sorry you've been disappointed in my work. I take it that you are in the "new direction is awesome" crowd?
Were there prominent injuries in 2010? You mean other Clark, Addai, and Collie all going out at the same time? Remember that week 6 game against the Redskins, when half the team was carted off, and most never returned.
Remember Blair White? Actually, I don't. I've blotted him from my mind forever.
Not quite, don't think its awesome but not down on them yet. I haven't seen a move that I thought was completely stupid, they haven't overspent or brought in a locker room disturbance. Some moves have been underwhelming but there's a lot of time between now and the preseason. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt until I see the on-the-field performance, mainly b/c I like to think positively even if its living in denial. As you've said before everything is moot until we see how the QB turns out. As we've seen before a great QB can make a bad team look good. If the FO decides not to draft Luck, then I'll be more pessimistic.
Yeah needed a memory refresher on '10... I could remember how great the '09 team played but '10 was more of a blur (too many beers during last season's games I guess). Loosing reliable recieving targets as well as the pass blocking RB has a big role on 3rd down conversions and red zone effectiveness which is key for winning close games.
I'd suggest that this stat tells us a great deal about why Peyton's playoff record was only so-so: his teams were seldom as good as their record. Even though their record was usually among the top 2 or 3 in the conference, their talent level was usually that of a marginal playoff team, and hence below most of the teams they'd meet in the playoffs. That 9-10 record may actually be better than what would be predicted based on this stat.
@ECB Most playoff projections for the Colts wind up with them being right around 9-10. They were only the clear-cut best team in the conference twice (2005 and 2009). They were actually underdogs in more playoff games than people realize.