Published: September 6th, 2008 | Tags: New York Giants
There are never any guarantees in the NFL, but there are trends. And they start as early as Kickoff Weekend. History indicates that the best way for a team to start its drive towards a possible Super Bowl championship is to win in Week 1.
Since 1978, when the NFL went to the 16-game schedule, and excluding the strike-shortened season of 1982, teams that are victorious on Kickoff Weekend are more than twice as likely to reach the playoffs than losers of an opening game:
Of the 426 teams that won openers, 225 went to the playoffs, including 130 of whom were division winners.
Of the 426 teams that lost openers, 99 went to the playoffs, including 55 of whom were division winners.
The reason is that teams that win gain momentum and confidence, two of the most important factors in determining the success of a team’s season.
However, as the Super Bowl XLII champion New York Giants proved last season, a loss on Kickoff Weekend can still lead to a championship season. But not generally.
The 42 Super Bowl winners have a 34-7-1 record in the Kickoff Weekend games of their title seasons.
Opening day is only one game. But it has proven to be an important game.