Worst. Playoffs. Ever.
After the first 6 NFL playoff games this year, I asked “Where are all the close NFL playoff games?” We were promptly treated to a to two games that were both decided by three or fewer points. The playoffs were exciting again….momentarily. Then the conference championship games treated us to 19 and 23 point blowouts in the AFC and NFC, respectively. So are these the worst playoffs ever? Probably not, but they are definitely the worst in quite some time. See this graph:
Each boxplot summarizes the distribution of scores for margin of victory in each season’s playoff games. It’s immediately evident that the past 5 or 6 seasons have had much closer games than this season.
I’ve also compared the CDF of the margins of victory for the playoffs since 2000:
On this plot, a lot of close games will pull a seasons curve up towards the upper left corner, whereas lots of games that are not close will pull the curve towards the lower right corner.
Time for some fun fact! The average margin of victory for a playoff game in the 2016-17 season was 15.7, which is the highest since 2002-03 when the average margin of victory was 17.09 (driven in large part by the 41-0 beatdown the Jets put on the Colts). Further, the median margin of victory this year so far is 18. That’s the largest median margin of victory in the playoffs since 2000-01 when the median was also 18.
So far of the 10 games played so far, only 2 of them were decided by 10 points or less. This is the smallest number of games decided by ten or less points during 2000-2016. In 2000-01 and 2002-03, there were 3 games in each of those playoffs decided by 10 or less points. The last time there was as few as 4 games decided by ten or less was 2009-10. In 2003-04 and 2010-11, 8 of the 11 playoff games were decided by ten points or less, the most of these types of games in a single season of playoff games since 2000.
After much thought and reflection, I’ve decided to part ways with the @Patriots as a fan. It’s been a hell of a 35 years. 1/2
— SITW (@StatsInTheWild) January 26, 2017