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The Rams Break Math

The Rams are an interesting team to follow over the past 3 years.  Their win totals have gone from 3 to 2 to 1 in the NFL that sees franchises bounce back within 1 to 2 years every season.  The Rams are not yet one of those teams.

Last February before the 2009 season, I looked at the Rams and some of the regression math based on teams that changed coaches and concluded that after the Rams 2-14 finish in 2008 the Rams had a 97% chance to increase their win total in 2009.  As we all know, that did not happen.  The Rams were throwing a ball against the size of a barn with the tiniest glass window in it.  And they hit that window.  Hard.

Let’s quote heavily from the essential Advanced NFL stats and feel free to insert the Rams and their 2008 or 2009 records below for the Lions.

Regression to the mean is not a rule, but it is a law. In other words, in some cases good outcomes get even better the next time, or sometimes bad outcomes get even worse. But the fact that most of the time good outcomes won’t be as good and that bad outcomes won’t stay as bad is an unalterable fact of life.

For example, when the 2008 Detroit Lions went 0-16, it was because they had injuries at critical positions, little talent on defense, a tough schedule, plus the ball never really bounced their way. Next year, it’s unlikely that all those things will occur again, and they’ll likely win a handful of games.

The mean record in the NFL is 8-8.  The Rams have not regressed up to the mean in the last 2 seasons since they have decreased their wins from the previous year.

What is the moral of the story?  The Rams should soon begin to regress back up to 8-8 because they are far beyond due to regress.  They should have a season in which they are not plagued by injuries.  They should have a season that a few young players have breakout seasons and become solid NFL starters.  They should have a season in which the ball bounces their way a few times presenting a few unexpected wins.

There is always a bright side Rams fans, math is on our side.


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