Does being the last undefeated team in the NFL make a difference in playoffs? Yes, according to this chart by Reddit user Tripp Jones, a Postdoc at the University of Colorado Denver. Using data from SportsDelve, Jones looked at which teams lasted the longest without losing a game. Sometimes, that's not very long. In 2010, for example, the Kansas City Chiefs were the last undefeated team at 3-0. Unsurprisingly (lots and lots of teams have started their seasons at 3-0) it didn't mean much in the post-season, as they exited the playoffs in the wildcard round.
But teams that go undefeated longer do tend to do better overall, too. Eleven Super Bowl winners going back to 1970 were the last team in the league to lose. The only undefeated teams left this season are the 5-0 Atlanta Falcons and the 4-0 Houston Texans, who play the Jets tonight.
"A lot of my Atlanta friends were excited that the Falcons are doing well, so it got me wondering what the historical success was for teams that stayed unbeaten the longest," Jones told The Atlantic Wire via email. "I was actually pretty surprised that these teams do so well—the so-called 'Last Team Standing'— has only failed to make the playoffs three times."
Of course, a long undefeated streak is no guarantee, either: The New England Patriots lasted the had 18 wins in 2007, only to lose the Super Bowl against the Giants.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.