It's Not How You Start, But How You Finish

Hey Cat Crave, yeah all you disgusted Panthers fans — back down off the ledge.

The NYT has that same old common wisdom up today that you’ve been desperately waiting for.  Sure it’s not about you and it only fits because it came one day after the NY Jets lost to their rival Ravens, but the message applies to you too.  It’s not how you start, but how you finish.

Over the last 20 N.F.L. regular seasons, 82 teams have won at least 12 games in a season. But not all of them won in Week 1, of course; in fact, Week 1 was among the most common weeks for those teams to drop a game.

It’s true that since the N.F.L. realigned the divisions in 2002, 52.3 percent of 1-0 teams made the playoffs compared with just 22.7 percent of teams that dropped their first game. But if you have faith in your team being one of the better ones in the league, a loss in October wouldn’t rattle your beliefs. So why should one this past weekend?

And here’s an interesting stat for all you Giants fans out there.  How rare and special was that 2007 playoff run that began with a goal line stop in week 3 against the Redskins?

Even an 0-2 start, provided that the team hasn’t had serious injuries or doesn’t appear to have deeper issues than a play here or there at the end of games, isn’t as bad as it sounds. Statistically speaking, only 11.3% of 0-2 teams have made the playoffs since ‘02…

Five teams over the past five seasons have made the playoffs after starting the season 0-2, a feat usually accomplished by a good team that just had some back luck early in the year.

So lots of other teams have made the playoffs after starting out horribly, and under this microscope light the Giants turnaround in 2007 to make the playoffs isn’t all that rare.  Winning the Superbowl against an undefeated team  after starting 0-2, however, is the unprecedented part.

But before we get too fired up about Big Blue doing unprecedented things, let’s remember last season’s 5-0 start, which turned into a lousy 8-8 finish and a missed playoff birth. That feat was also unprecedented.  So the message applies to Giants too, it’s all about how you finish.

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