The 1999 Rams weren’t a fluke. They were a shocking team that went from terrible to excellent overnight, but their success in 2000 and 2001 proved that the team wasn’t a fluke.
The 2015 Panthers? That may be a different story. In 2014, Carolina went 7-8-1, before winning 7.5 more games (counting a tie as half a win) in 2015 as part of a magical 15-1 season. Last year, Carolina’s win total dropped by 9 games to 6-10. That means the Panthers 2015 season was, on average, 8.25 wins better than how the team performed in the two surrounding years.
How does that stack up among all teams since the merger? Well, it’s the second biggest outlier since 1970. Can you guess the first?
The third team, after the 2014-2016 Panthers, with the biggest swing? The 1997-1999 Falcons, who went from 7-9 to 14-2 to 5-11, for an average drop of 8.0 wins. The table below shows the teams since 1970 to have one positive outlier season that produced an average of 6.0 wins (after pro-rating for non-16 game seasons) more than in the year before and year after:
|Rk||Team||Year N||N-1 W%||Yr N W%||N+ W%||Avg Win Change|
|5||San Francisco 49ers||1981||0.375||0.813||0.333||7.33|
|9.5||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||2010||0.188||0.625||0.250||6.50|
|9.5||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||2005||0.313||0.688||0.250||6.50|
|17||Green Bay Packers||2007||0.500||0.813||0.375||6.00|
|17||New York Jets||2006||0.250||0.625||0.250||6.00|
|17||St. Louis Rams||1999||0.250||0.813||0.625||6.00|
As always, please leave your thoughts in the comments.