GDHQNFL14_f-Continuity5

Cincinnati Bengals Gameday HQ

1993, it was relatively simple for teams to keep a couple dozen players from each squad each season. The Super Bowl champs regularly put out 25-30 40- plus gamers every season. In fact, the 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers were able to field 32 40-plus gamers from their 45- man Super Bowl roster. But what makes today’s 40-plus gamer teams special is that they are the minority, with 200-plus rookies entering the league via draft and free agency, while a 100-plus vets change teams via free agency as well. All of the above makes it tough for a Super Bowl-winning team like the Seattle Seahawks to maintain continuity for a title defense. But you find in time that the teams that prioritize continuity over free agency tend to be the teams that contend year after year. Nothing describes that scenario better than a look at our graphic on Top Continuity Scores 2014, which shows the Bengals, Packers, Broncos, Vikings, 49ers, Seahawks and Redskins all have chances of fielding 26 or more players who reach the 40-plus game standard with their teams. Three of those seven played in their conference championship games last season, while the other conference finalist (Patriots) could possibly field 23 40-plus gamers this season. That’s pretty impressive and speaks loudly for continuity. That’s why you see recently-made head coaches like Chuck Pagano (Indianapolis), Jeff Fisher (St. Louis) and Mike Zimmer (Minnesota) slowly but surely build their new teams from the values instilled by old, successful organizations. Consequently, the Colts who had only 10 40-plus gamers in 2013 may have as many as 17 in 2014; the Rams could go from 12 to 22; the Vikings, from 19 to 28. And then, on the flip side of things, you see the strugglers never learn the lesson: the Jacksonville Jaguars had 11 40-plus gamers in 2013 and can do no better than 10 in 2014; the Oakland Raiders had nine 40-plus gamers in 2013 and can do no better than 10 in 2014. Such is life in the NFL. The good organizations consistently get continuity, and with it, wins. The bad ones continuously do not. TOP CONTINUITY SCORES 2014 2014 NFL TEAMS 40+G 24G-39G 40+G RANGE Cincinnati Bengals 19 11 30 Green Bay Packers 23 5 28 Denver Broncos 14 14 28 Minnesota Vikings 14 14 28 San Francisco 49ers 19 7 26 Seattle Seahawks 16 10 26 Washington Redskins 16 10 26 Atlanta Falcons 17 7 24 Baltimore Ravens 15 9 24 New England Patriots 17 6 23 Pittsburgh Steelers 17 6 23 New Orleans Saints 16 7 23 Chicago Bears 15 7 22 St. Louis Rams 11 11 22 Houston Texans 14 6 20 San Diego Chargers 13 7 20 Tennessee Titans 11 9 20 Carolina Panthers 10 10 20 Philadelphia Eagles 12 7 19 Detroit Lions 12 7 19 Cleveland Browns 10 9 19 Miami Dolphins 11 7 18 Dallas Cowboys 9 9 18 Buffalo Bills 12 5 17 New York Jets 10 7 17 Indianapolis Colts 5 12 17 New York Giants 12 2 14 Arizona Cardinals 11 3 14 Kansas City Chiefs 9 4 13 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4 9 13 Oakland Raiders 7 3 10 Jacksonville Jaguars 5 5 10 KEY: 40+G: players with 40-plus games on team; 24G-39G: players who have logged 24 thru 39 games with team, which puts them with 16-game range of reaching 40 games this season; 40+G RANGE: total number of players with chance at 40-plus, games-with-team status. If we just look at the last 10 Super Bowls, every champion had—on average—24.5 players with 40-plus games on one team. On top of that, every champion head coach in the last 10 years—with the exception of Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin—had also led his title-winning team for 40-plus games (Tomlin had logged 36 games as the Steelers head coach when Pittsburgh won Super Bowl XLIII). You would be hard-pressed to find another statistical corollary tied to winning football than The Super Bowl Champion 40-Game Rule. Even in sports like football where top 10 defenses or top 10 offenses often lead to championship status, you still have outliers the past decade who missed the boat on defense—like the 2012 Ravens, 2011 Giants, 2009 Saints, 2006 Colts—missed the boat on offense, like the 2008 Steelers, or missed the boat on both, like the 2007 Giants. Yet, every one of these champions had more continuity, chemistry or consistency—whatever you want to call it—than the average NFL team. It wasn’t always this way. Before modern-day, unrestricted free agency hit the NFL in Heading into the season, the Cincinnati Bengals have the most continuity in the NFL. GEORGE GOJKOVICH/GETTY IMAGES SPORT The 2014 Jacksonville Jaguars only have five players from last year’s squad. STACY REVERE/GETTY IMAGES SPORT


Cincinnati Bengals Gameday HQ
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