As the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles embark on their journey to frigid Minnesota for Super Bowl LII, there will be several story lines dominating the sports headlines such as "Dynasty vs. Dogs", Eagles QB Nick Foles's improbable road to the big stage, whether Tom Brady and Bill Belichick will stick together after next Sunday, and so on ...
However, I would like to take a mathematical spin on the dominance exhibited by the Patriots since their first Super Bowl victory in the 2001 season. Check out the schematic below.
A few days ago, I came to the realization that should the Patriots win Super Bowl LII, that will represent their 3rd title in 4 years. Sound familiar? Tom Brady began his career with New England by winning 3 titles in his first 4 years as a starting QB. He may very well end his career in the same fashion should he decide to hang 'em up at the age of 40. In between? Well it took Brady and Belichick 3 years after 2004 to get back to the big game only to lose to the New York "Football" Giants in one of the biggest upsets in sports history. Prior to this current/potential "3 out of 4 years of winning a title" run the Patriots are on right now, it was 3 years prior to the 2014 season when the Patriots lost to the Giants for a 2nd time.
Think about it ...
Brady wins three titles from 2001 - 2004, gets back to the Super Bowl three years later only to lose, then a 4 year Super Bowl appearance drought (one of those years Brady missed an entire season due to a torn ACL) before he loses in the Super Bowl again to the Giants, then another three years pass by until Brady is back to win three titles from 2014 - 2017. In the 10 years between Brady's 3rd and 4th Super Bowl titles (2004 to 2014), the Patriots made trips to the Super Bowls in 2007 and 2011. The pattern 3, 4, 3 represents the years in between the Patriots 3rd and 4th titles and the losses to the Giants.
The Super Bowl victories each follow a 3 out of 4 year title run with the first year beating an NFC West team (Rams in 2001 and Seahawks in 2014, both in dramatic fashion) for the title, then no Super Bowl in the 2nd year, another Super Bowl victory in the 3rd year against an NFC South team (Carolina in 2003 and Atlanta in 2016, also in dramatic fashion), and now the 4th year of each title run against the same team: Philadelphia!
There is an interesting symmetry with Brady's title runs so if the pattern follows form, expect the New England Patriots to hoist the Lombardi trophy for the 6th time in 17 years following the pattern 1, 3, 4, 7, 11, 14, 16, 17 with each number representing the season Brady and Belichick have been together and both appeared in the Super Bowl with losses in the middle which happen to be evenly spaced at 7 and 11 (should be lucky numbers but were not for Brady and Belichick).
I have officially let my mathematical geekdom get the best of me! Happy Monday everyone and I will be posting more material as we get closer to my favorite day of the year!