In September 2012, Neil Paine wrote a great article at this website titled: Are NFL Playoff Outcomes Getting More Random? In it, Neil found that randomness had increased significantly in the NFL playoffs, with “recently” defined as the period from 2005 to 2011.
In fact, while 2005 was a pretty random postseason, 2006 was one of the more predictable playoff years. But the five-year period from 2007 to 2011 was a really random set of years. Consider that:
- In 2007, the Giants won three games as touchdown underdogs, including the Super Bowl as a 12.5-point underdog. The Chargers also won a playoff game against the Colts as an 11-point dog.
- In 2008, five of the eleven playoff games were won by underdogs! That list was highlighted by the Cardinals winning in Carolina as a 10-point underdog in the divisional round.
- The following year, five of the eleven playoff games were upsets, including the Jets winning as 9-point underdogs in San Diego.
- In 2010, for the third straight year, there were five playoff upsets, including two huge ones: the Jets as 9.5 point dogs in Foxboro, and the Seahawks as 10-point home dogs against the Saints.
- Noticing a trend? Well, in 2011, five of the playoff games were again won by the underdog. The two big upsets here were the Tim Tebow-led Broncos against the Steelers, and the Giants winning in Lambeau Field against the 15-1 Packers.