History Says Steelers Defensive ANY/A Is Too High To Win Super Bowl

Being as the Pittsburgh Steelers enter their Week 8 bye in sole possession of first place in the AFC North division, it’s easy to reason that they still have a good shot at not only making the playoffs, but winning their seventh Lombardi trophy as well. After all, the team should exit their bye week the healthiest they’ve been all season. With that said, history tells us that the 2016 Steelers team has no shot at winning the Super Bowl this year based solely on how their defense has played against the pass in their first 7 regular season games.

As many of you know, I am a huge fan of the ANY/A (adjusted net yards per passing attempt) stat as not only have I studied the workings of it for several years now, I have also researched the history of it for some time now. In my latest research of the history related to defensive ANY/A stat after seven games played by all NFL teams in any one season dating back to 1982, I found a statistical trend that’s very hard to ignore.

First, let me inform you that the Steelers defensive ANY/A number after their first 7 games of 2016 season is a very lofty 7.12, so keep that number in the front of your mind as we move forward.

Now for the history related to team’s defensive ANY/A stats after 7 games played in a single season dating back to 1982.

Below you will see a table of defensive passing stats of the 136 teams that made the final four dating back to 1982 and they are sorted by the lowest ANY/A to the highest.

As you can see, only four times since 1982 has a team with a defensive ANY/A of 7.00 or more after their first 7 games played in any regular season made the final four and only two of those teams went on to play in the Super Bowl. Both of those teams, the 2014 Seattle Seahawks and the 2008 Arizona Cardinals, wound up on the wrong side of confetti.

In short, should the Steelers go on to win the Super Bowl this season, they would become the first team to do so with a defensive ANY/A stat of 6.09 greater after the first 7 weeks of the season dating back to 1982. That would be one hell of an accomplishment being as we’re dealing with 34 years of statistical data.

The four times that the Steelers have made it to the Super Bowl since 1982, their defensive ANY/A stat after their first 7 games of each of those seasons was 5.33 or lower. Additionally, the average defensive ANY/A stat of the last 34 Super Bowl champions after the first 7 weeks of the regular season is 4.27 and only 9 times has a team won a Super Bowl with a defensive ANY/a greater than 5.00 after their first 7 games dating back to 1982.

Can the Steelers break this long trend this season? We’ll have to wait and see. That defense of theirs better start playing a LOT better following the team’s bye week.

Defensive ANY/A Passing Stats For Final Four Teams (1982-2015)

TmYearGCmpAttCmp%NYdsTDIntSkSkYdsRateANY/ARESULT
MIA198278216051.37487151817044.21.20SB Loser
GNB1996712224749.41227520148038.31.64SB Winner
TAM2002713126150.211483132113647.52.21SB Winner
WAS1991712123252.211164142315048.92.22SB Winner
NYG1990712621259.41113414127853.82.51SB Winner
DAL199471082254810745122314549.82.56Final 4
CLE198779921745.6107061314110472.62Final 4
NYJ1982710821250.911086131715253.22.81Final 4
BUF1993712824252.91426617169151.33.03SB Loser
JAX1999711922253.610737102616761.83.08Final 4
DEN2015715224362.61203592919569.63.30SB Winner
DEN1987710319453.11146613129155.33.31SB Loser
CHI2006712922258.11133492116163.93.33SB Loser
NOR2009713726751.31567616179853.33.40SB Winner
MIA1984713524954.2136951217131593.49SB Loser
CLE19897961964911328121916558.63.50Final 4
STL1999713225352.2135251116105583.56SB Winner
SFO1997710621549.3113610112115462.43.56Final 4
SEA2013714124158.513346112316666.13.63SB Winner
IND2009715325360.512613720142683.68SB Loser
WAS1986713724057.113178112418967.83.72Final 4
CAR2015717330257.31602712209964.53.73SB Loser
CHI1988711123746.81263692320159.53.76Final 4
PIT2008714623761.611516625197753.82SB Winner
BAL2000713923559.11415412146061.93.84SB Winner
SFO1983712921859.213208122720869.93.84Final 4
CHI1985713125351.8160010162819561.63.84SB Winner
DEN1989713323157.614336131811663.23.89SB Loser
DAL1982712023251.7136771127218643.91Final 4
PIT2001711820557.61086772716772.73.93Final 4
NYG1986711622451.81239582316163.83.96SB Winner
BAL2011711922852.21219572517065.53.97Final 4
SFO1988712922856.6129912122217171.74.00SB Winner
CHI19847741724311036102118956.64.01Final 4
MIN1998714626355.51542913199865.14.03Final 4
PIT1984711921355.913879141712064.84.07Final 4
NWE2003715028153.41657311179959.94.10SB Winner
NWE2007713622660.212759101916373.64.10SB Loser
NYJ200971282375412704785163.64.22Final 4
PHI2002713322459.41259572312171.74.23Final 4
PHI2001712822856.11160652113872.24.24Final 4
PIT1994711020154.71214792113268.54.27Final 4
SFO1984713124553.514757111710864.44.27SB Winner
WAS1987713225252.41471793023868.44.28SB Winner
NYJ1998713224354.31379791611567.14.30Final 4
RAI1983711922353.412177629240734.31SB Winner
CHI2010716226461.4151249118269.24.32Final 4
BAL2008711221352.61247891612067.64.38Final 4
DEN1986714826456.11516992926674.14.41SB Loser
PIT2005715024461.51483592215072.74.43SB Winner
GNB2010714725058.814998102215472.64.44SB Winner
GNB1995714025854.312831161813474.74.47Final 4
CAR1996712923355.41293762617773.84.49Final 4
PIT2004712723254.71355782011469.84.50Final 4
GNB1997713124553.5136888148068.54.51SB Loser
TAM1999711922253.61211652315171.94.51Final 4
DEN19977119205581194872213276.24.58SB Winner
MIN1987712321158.31183971611176.64.62Final 4
PHI2004717227861.91575772511576.94.62SB Loser
ARI2015715525361.315661012127373.54.63Final 4
DEN1991711121551.614285101811263.34.63Final 4
DAL1993713922661.51246761410277.54.65SB Winner
CIN1988713024253.71460891915770.24.66SB Loser
BUF1992713622560.4150910131612873.54.66SB Loser
NWE1985710821550.21369792114466.74.68SB Loser
DAL1992711621853.21183642116773.84.70SB Winner
SFO1993714526355.11404961610373.84.71Final 4
STL2001715123364.814101092212781.84.73SB Loser
MIA1992715226457.61559991713173.94.75Final 4
GNB2014714424359.315049101688744.76Final 4
PIT201071812666817026102011579.14.80SB Loser
DAL1995713823858148510101812775.14.82SB Winner
BUF1991713323257.3134156107871.74.84SB Loser
PHI2008712722656.21385982314575.64.84Final 4
SFO2012712421856.9121465117073.64.84SB Loser
IND2003713721264.6129688149480.14.85Final 4
NYG2007713724057.114421182716478.94.88SB Winner
BUF1990711320754.61248871613574.24.90SB Loser
BUF1988713722361.415177102315776.34.91Final 4
ATL2012714022562.2151871019115764.95Final 4
SFO1994714924660.61475981511278.14.96SB Winner
RAI1990711419458.81222662218978.84.96Final 4
NWE2006714023360.11531481812573.24.98Final 4
SFO2013713724555.91536991711273.65.00Final 4
DEN199871382425714829727204795.01SB Winner
NWE2013714025355.31579781812372.35.01Final 4
SDG1994717526366.51558862314885.25.06SB Loser
NYG2000715326258.4165910101612375.95.07SB Loser
WAS1982711921754.81382872218576.75.13SB Winner
NYG2011714323760.31576782620579.55.16SB Winner
NWE2004713223556.21502671812573.85.17SB Winner
SEA2005712522156.61318952314280.95.22SB Loser
SFO1992715325460.2171211112112678.85.23Final 4
SFO1989713224454.11527981310373.65.24SB Winner
JAX199671262255613851071510178.15.29Final 4
SFO2011716227758.517901092114078.35.32Final 4
SDG2007715724663.8169010111610180.55.32Final 4
TEN1999714726156.3158111718114795.33SB Loser
PIT1995713322459.414901091711679.65.33SB Loser
PIT1997714926656174512102011677.35.37Final 4
KAN1993714124058.81464751610779.45.39Final 4
SFO1990713425353161511818111765.44Final 4
NWE201571722736317691182618485.65.45Final 4
NOR2006713422858.8129312419116875.48Final 4
NWE2014714022961.1145611718120855.51SB Winner
OAK20007157266591648128115880.55.52Final 4
IND2014713023156.315018621122795.52Final 4
PHI2003716727061.91614951269835.56Final 4
CLE1986712720362.61287961292855.57Final 4
CAR2005714525457.11628107159779.65.62Final 4
OAK2002715324163.516451410189087.15.69SB Loser
MIN20007158268591587831510682.85.70Final 4
IND2006712519065.81173105117090.75.71SB Winner
NYJ2010712124848.815301051510075.25.72Final 4
DEN2005715927857.216849586279.25.73Final 4
SEA1983713923060.4174117142116386.25.78Final 4
GNB2007714024457.415861061810182.15.79Final 4
DET199171292086213398596484.75.87Final 4
NWE1996714925358.9179299139779.35.89SB Loser
ATL2004715823068.71606552015389.45.92Final 4
NWE2001713121560.9148276138782.55.93SB Winner
MIN2009714923463.716421062515190.66.07Final 4
BAL2012715725262.3180067128881.66.08SB Winner
CAR2003714423561.3160295178486.96.18SB Loser
MIA1985711621853.21585871210377.56.22Final 4
IND1995715425161.4167794125687.36.38Final 4
WAS1983713323855.9193815112519887.86.63SB Loser
STL1985711520356.71330175106295.56.78Final 4
ATL1998714524459.417531351711092.66.85SB Loser
DEN2013717328959.922391491913589.46.86SB Loser
RAM1989715724663.81874117138391.56.87Final 4
NWE2011719028566.72262129159392.96.99SB Loser
SEA20147154230671586123106799.87.05SB Loser
PIT2016718227466.419848382893.27.12???????
TEN2002714322364.116431751686103.97.36Final 4
NWE20127169260652030167157299.27.40Final 4
ARI2008714020867.3156014319114108.17.51SB Loser