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Men Lie, Women Lie, Numbers Don’t….for the Steelers

26 Jan

All six of Pittsburgh's Super Bowl rings.

Mathematically speaking, how amazing is the Pittsburgh Steelers’ postseason success? A closer look at the numbers shows us that what they’ve done is highly unlikely.

In the 41 seasons since the NFL-AFL merger, there has been an average of 29 teams per season in the league. In each season within that span, exactly eight teams have made the Divisional Playoffs, four teams have made the Conference Championship games, two teams have made the Super Bowl, and (obviously) there has been one Super Bowl winner.

Dividing each of those numbers into 29 gives the average probability of any team making to any of those rounds in a given season.

In those 41 seasons, the Steelers have made the Divisional Playoffs 22 times, the Conference Championship Game 15 times, and the Super Bowl eight times.

They’ve won the Lombardi Trophy six times with a possible seventh coming on February 6. Pittsburgh has the most appearances in each of these rounds among all NFL franchises since the merger (the Steelers are tied with the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl appearances with eight).

If you assume seasons are independent from one another, then you can calculate the probability of a given team making so many appearances in each of those playoff rounds using the single-season probabilities above. While clearly seasons aren’t independent, assuming so is valid for these calculations because each team starts each season 0-0 and therefore has the same “built-in” chance of making any given round of the playoffs at the beginning of the season.

These extremely low probabilities — less than 0.7 percent in each case — show that the Steelers’ record of success is truly amazing. It is simply not probable that a given franchise could have this much repeated postseason success in an over four-decade span.

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NBA Team Reviews: L.A. Lakers

24 Dec

By Karim Dixon

In the coming days (or weeks depending on how much my girlfriend complains about the lack attention) we’ll be reviewing all 30 teams. I’ll (notice how I switch between I and we… once again the girl friend thing lol) be highlighting progress, future prospects and other random quirky fun facts and observations.

Tomorrow’s Christmas schedule is a big one for the league. Many marquee match ups take place, so why not start with the Lakers. As of this post, the Lakers are 1st in the Pacific and 3rd in the West. Let’s not read to much into that last part, though. I don’t care how many 12-game winning streaks the Mavericks and Spurs go on the Lakers are still the West’s top squad. The season doesn’t start for them until after the 82nd game. Also with Bynum returning to the fold we’ll finally get to see what this team is capable of when healthy.

That being said, there are still a few question marks. It seems like this team went from being one of the youngest teams to being an elder statesman over night. Sure Gasol is still in his 20’s but the fatigue is already taking it’s toll on him from extended minutes. Kobe is the new Iverson with 18 injuries and when is the last time you’ve heard a non pop culture reference of Artest. That’s right folks currently Artest is more popular for his quotes and off the floor antics than his play. Andrew Bynum can be a great player (when he plays), but the question is always for how long? I’ve learned to temper my expectations with him always being a hangnail away from being out from the season.

Even with all those questions marks they’re still my western favorite. They’re a team stacked with too much greatness. Great depth, versatility, experience, Kobe and Phil Jackson. I haven’t even mentioned the 3 killer B’s (great nickname from J. Rose). Steve Blake, Shanon Brown, and Matt Barnes, have been filling in nicely. I’m not so sure about the Joe Smith trade they made. I mean when is the last time Smith has played any meaningful minutes (See what I mean about the team getting old?)? I also like Vujacic off the bench because he can play both PG and SG and shoot lights out – when he’s not adjusting his bangs. But even so the core pieces remain in tact and the Lakers have a few more finals appearances in them going forward.