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Guest Blog: What It Takes to Get to the Super Bowl

Csaba, president of the Hungarian chapter of Redskins Nation, is a huge fan who recently got married in Hungary (congrats) and always sends me insightful emails, including this one, which we've turned into a guest blog. It's a thorough breakdown of some of the statistical realities of recent Super Bowl teams, and how it relates to this year's Redskins.

I'll step out of the way now and let Csaba take over:

i am currently in between jobs and having a week off before i start my new one. just like you, i love stats and since it's my job to make sense of figures i thought i'd use some of time off and try to figure out what makes a Super Bowl team statistically. i know there are many ways to build a good team, but i wanted to go back to the last 10 SBs and look at the 20 teams and see if there is a common pattern of their success. it's also a good reality check for the Redskins to see after 6 games if they have what it takes - statistically - to make it all the way to the SB.

So here are the 9 statistical categories that i looked at:

1) QB passing yards: the "average Super Bowl QB" has passed for 3,450 yards in the regular season, good news for the Skins is that Campbell is on course to a 3,365 yard season, which is pretty decent, however the stats also show that every season there is about 10 QBs exceeding this yardage, so this must be hardly the most important indicator of success.

2) Passer rating: the "average Super Bowl QB" has a QB rating of 92.3 in the regular season. In contrast to passing yards, there is only about 4-5 starting QBs every year who finish the season with a better rating, so it seems that it is much better indicator of successful teams. Campbell is currently on a 96.2 rating, it seems it is essential he maintains his stellar season, keeping his completion rate high and INTs down.

3) Leading receiver: the "average Super Bowl WR" has 1,074 receiving yards, it is hardly exceptional and the Skins have Moss who is well capable of delivering that to the team.

4) Leading rusher: the "average Super Bowl RB" has rushed for 1,244 yards in the regular season, there are usually only 7-8 teams in a season with a feature back behind their QB who can deliver that kind of performance. Portis is having an amazing Pro Bowl season so far and is on course for a 1,700+ yards season, so the Skins has this element sorted alright.

5) Pass rushing: the "average Super Bowl team" has a leading pass rusher with 11 sacks in the regular season. This is clearly an area of concern for the Skins, not only this year, but back in the last decade, the only two times they had that kind of performance was Marco Coleman in 2000 and LaVar in 2002.

6) Interceptions: the "average Super Bowl team" has a leading ballhawk who delivers 5 interceptions a season, hardly exceptional.

7) Field goals: the "average Super Bowl kicker" has an 82% FG completion rate, nothing spectacular and Suisham is currently on 80%, so this seems sorted as well.

8) Penalties: the "average Super Bowl team" picks up 868 yards of penalties on a course of a season. After years of epic struggle with penalties, the Redskins is on course to a very-very modest 627 penalty yards season, should they make the Super Bowl that would be lower than any of the 20 teams in the last 10 years. Talking about improved team discipline!

9) Turnovers: the "average Super Bowl team" has a turnover ratio of +9. The Skins, even with last week's fumble frenzy performance, is on course for a +11 season.

So, what seems to be the key - statistical - ingredients of a Super Bowl team? 1) have a QB who takes good care of the ball, not necessarily a great passer, but with a great TD/INT ratio; 2) have a powerhouse running game with an established 1,300+ yards feature back; 3) have a pass rush to put pressure on opposing QB with your best guy delivering 10+ sacks a season; 4) keep penalties down; 5) keep turnovers in the positive

What does it mean for the Skins? Campbell's continuous steady performance is quintessential; keep pounding the ball, keep penalties to the minimum. It's a fragile situation, frankly we don't know how Campbell would respond to a poor, multiple INT game and God help us keeping injuries away from Portis, but so far it seems that most of the ingredients are in place. To me the missing piece of the puzzle is forcing more turnovers, stripping the ball away from opposing players and hanging on to potential interceptions. The rest might just follow and the Z-Men might just make it to the Zuper Bowl.


By Jason La Canfora  |  October 17, 2008; 8:50 AM ET
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Nice Melons....

Posted by: isnadd | October 17, 2008 8:57 AM | Report abuse

Question for those in the know:

I'm coming down for the Dallas game, and am thinking about purchasing tickets in the 109 section of the stadium. They seem like good seats, anyone who wants to weigh in on them, I'd appreciate it

Posted by: BeantownGreg | October 17, 2008 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: joeblazin | October 17, 2008 9:01 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Joe, but I can't access that at work.

Posted by: BeantownGreg | October 17, 2008 9:05 AM | Report abuse

Well, 109 is at the corner of the lower level

Posted by: joeblazin | October 17, 2008 9:07 AM | Report abuse

Good seats in your opinion??

Posted by: BeantownGreg | October 17, 2008 9:08 AM | Report abuse

I'd be fine with 109. Mine are currently up in 441.

Posted by: hobbes9 | October 17, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse


From what I can see they are endzone seats off to the side of the goalpost with a great view, pretty close to the field.

They look good to me.

Posted by: Flounder21 | October 17, 2008 9:10 AM | Report abuse

Sec. 109 is nice. I go to games and either sit in 132 or 111 both of them are end zone seats, opposite ends. 109 should be more toward the corner endzone i think. Anyways those are great seats, depending on the row could be very great. One of the reedeming qualities of FEDEX is that the lower level seats are very low to the field. In the end zone its great cause you dont have players standing in front of you. Some stadiums the walls are 8 or more feet high, FEDEX there like 4 maybe so you get a real up close view of the game. Sitting in 132 a few years back almost caught an interception Lavar threw into the seats guy a row infront and a couple over got it.
So if you can get s close row you will be very pleased. if not there still good, i really wont even go to a game if its in the uppers at fed 400s, terrible views.

Posted by: Stu27 | October 17, 2008 9:11 AM | Report abuse


I used to have seat that were a little to the left and higher up from 109 (right under the scoreboard, actually). I enjoyed those seats. They were GREAT when the action was coming down to your end, and I really liked being able to see TD plays happen in the endzone right in front of me. Or seeing offensive/defensive plays run from the angle of a Madden video-game. The drawback is when the action is on the far end and you really can't make out much - bring some binoculars and it helps.

Posted by: p1funk | October 17, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

My Cousin's highschool up in NY is starting to install this A-11 style offence now. He says its a lot of fun to watch them run it. Strikes me that it would be fairly easy to defend against with a drop 10 into a Cover-2/3/4 zone, and have a OLB/DE shadow the QB's. Finally a package that could actually be defended by the UFO. Am I right in understanding that NFL and NCAA rules would prohibit this system?

Posted by: alex35332 | October 17, 2008 9:14 AM | Report abuse

I think the most telling statistics for Super Bowl teams are avg points scored, avg points against, redzone scoring/TD percentage, and redzone scoring/TD defense. These are the areas I'd like to see how the skins measure up.

Posted by: psps23 | October 17, 2008 9:17 AM | Report abuse

P.S. Bean,

The RedSox are freaking annoying. Just lose already.

Posted by: p1funk | October 17, 2008 9:19 AM | Report abuse

Redskins should also sign Ty Law. the Skins need help in the secondary...especially with Springs and Smoot always banged up.....Law is avaiable in shape and ready to play...Why not do it?

Posted by: leevi98 | October 17, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Thanks guys, appreciate the input on the seats....

Posted by: BeantownGreg | October 17, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

To hype a cool topic on the other segment of the sports blog on the post "the league", sorry, I know thats your job Cindy. But they ask a good question on playoffs format, and I think I came up with a excelent proposal to changing the format but its rather long.
If the NFL ever does expand again (I assume it will be to 40 teams, yikes!) then go to an 8 team playoff per conference and make the first round a Division championship game, this will help divisional rivalries become strong again, and no team should be handed a trophy or title for not playing a championship game.
For now I see only one change I would like to have happened, 7-9 and 8-8 teams should not be allowed in just for wining their conference, unless that record actually gets them in the top 6 teams. So if the Seahawks win the NFC west at 7-9 and the Eagles are sitting at 9-7 at the end of the year, the no 1 WC would supplant the Seahawks. This would make the playoff quality far better and force teams to build to beat the conference and not the division. But if the Seahawks can go 9-7 & the no 3 in the WC race is 10-6 than the Seahawks are still in.
It only happens every 3-5 years but let’s get rid of it anyway. No team should ever be allowed in the playoffs at .500 or less unless there are not enough teams to fit the format.

Posted by: alex35332 | October 17, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

All of this discussion about super bowl is premature. the cleveland game is going to be as difficult as the rams, due to the injuries for the redskins.

if they lose to the browns, the washington media will have egg on their face for writing that the skins will be on top of the world after their three game stretch.

Posted by: tbarz1 | October 17, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

This is a very nice guest blog, well done by our Hungarian friend, but any talk of this "Super Bowl" makes me a little nervous.

Remember how excited we all were during the week leading up to the Rams game? Visions of sugar plums danced through our heads... and look where that got us.

We've got the Brownies on Sunday, that's the focus now, let's take care of business. February will get here soon enough... how about let's enjoy the ride.

Posted by: NateinthePDX | October 17, 2008 9:53 AM | Report abuse

I've heard a bunch of people knock Law, but I haven't heard any specifics. What is wrong w/ Ty Law other than wanting too much $$

Posted by: DikShuttle | October 17, 2008 10:00 AM | Report abuse


I am a Redskins employee so I have a good understadning of the seats (as I am sure others of you who have responded do). 109 is a great section and it is in the corner endzone area. These seats really rock when the action is right in front of you, but are not as exciting when play is on the other side of the field. They are still nice though. For my money, I would rather be around the 30 yard line area because you get more of a great view regardless of where the action is. However, I think the best seats in the house in terms of always having a stellar view is on the Club Level (level 3). You are a little higher up, but still very close to the action. And no matter where the game is, you have a beautiful sight-line to view the game. Hope this helps. Later.

Posted by: marleyb313 | October 17, 2008 10:27 AM | Report abuse

Super Bowl?! Super Bowl! Are you kidding me? Don't talk to me about the Super Bowl!

Posted by: nojunk4me | October 17, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

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