The Real Reason the Patriots Will Win

 
 

The New England Patriots may have a big advantage this Sunday, and it has nothing to do with the talent on the field.

By Brad Hamilton


Sure, they have might have the greatest coach and greatest quarterback of all time, and tonight face an overachieving Eagles team that, quite frankly, isn't nearly as talented as the Patriots.

But if it seems almost impossible for New England to lose to Philadelphia today, take into account yet another big advantage for the Patriots.

Their helmets.

Don't laugh. An examination of uniforms reveals a statistically significant difference between clubs that succeed and those that don't.

And it's all about the helmet logo.

Data shows you have a much better chance of winning the Super Bowl if your team's helmet features lettering, a star, a football or a person's face.

Or more than one of those things. Like the Patriots have. Or the Steelers, whose record six Super Bowl wins is in jeopardy of being tied today.

Such teams comprise a minority of the NFL. Collectively, 15 of 32 clubs fall into this category. That's 46 percent of the league.

Yet they've won an astonishing 44 of the 51 Super Bowls played so far.

Conversely, there are 17 teams with helmet designs limited to animal features or inanimate objects like the Indianapolis horseshoe.

Those clubs collectively account for just seven wins since the advent of the Super Bowl in 1967. Despite comprising more than half the league, they've won just 14 percent of the last 51 championships.

Unfortunately for Philly fans, the Eagles are among them.

The other animal teams are the Rams, Dolphins, Jaguars, Lions, Panthers, Seahawks, Falcons, Cardinals, Broncos, Bills and Bengals.

Those featuring inanimate objects are the Chargers (bolts of lightening), Saints (fleur-de-lis), Colts (horseshoe), Vikings (horn) and Browns (the color orange).

This is a decidedly unimpressive group when it comes to the Super Bowl.

It includes three of the four teams to have never played in the big game (Browns, Jags and Lions). The Texans are the fourth, but their helmet has a star-eyed steer.

Twelve of the 17 never won it. The Bills and Vikings are both 0-4.

And the five to take home a Lombardi trophy -- the Saints, Colts, Seahawks, Rams and Broncos -- have lost more often than they've won, posting a 7-9 cumulative record in the Super Bowl.

One note: The Dolphins are a special case. That's because they won their two Super Bowls with an earlier version of their helmet design, in which the team's mascot wore a tiny helmet with the letter "M" on it. Miami later ditched that design for the current, letterless logo, and hasn't played for a title since then.

The Broncos are the one team to have bucked the trend.

They lost four times wearing their old uniform, which had a big capital D on it, then went 3-1 in the Super Bowl after a redesign that eliminated the letter.

In general, however, letter wearers have succeeded spectacularly.

This 10-team set -- the Steelers, 49ers, Giants, Packers, Raiders, Ravens, Bears, Chiefs, Jets and Titans -- has won 27 Super Bowls. Add in the two titles by the Dolphins, back when they had that mini "M," and you get 29 wins, which is 56 percent of the 51 Super Bowls played to date.

The Titans are the only member here without a win. They lost to the Rams on the final play of the 2000 Super Bowl.

Star wearers also have fared well. That would be the Steelers, Patriots, Cowboys,Titans and Texans. Together, they've won 16 Super Bowls. Only the Texans have never been.

A similar level of excellence can be found among teams with people on their helmets: the Patriots, Redskins, Raiders and Buccaneers. They've all won at least one Super Bowl and have 12 victories combined.

How about teams with footballs? That would be the Jets and Bucs. They and the Ravens are the only three Super Bowl winners to go undefeated in the game.

So should the expected occur tonight and the Patriots win again, perhaps the Eagles should consider redesigning their helmet for next season.

Might we suggest a P?



 
 
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