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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)

Tm Year G Cmp Att Cmp% NYds TD Int Sk SkYds Rate ANY/A RESULT
MIA 1982 7 82 160 51.3 748 7 15 18 170 44.2 1.20 SB Loser
GNB 1996 7 122 247 49.4 1227 5 20 14 80 38.3 1.64 SB Winner
TAM 2002 7 131 261 50.2 1148 3 13 21 136 47.5 2.21 SB Winner
WAS 1991 7 121 232 52.2 1116 4 14 23 150 48.9 2.22 SB Winner
NYG 1990 7 126 212 59.4 1113 4 14 12 78 53.8 2.51 SB Winner
DAL 1994 7 108 225 48 1074 5 12 23 145 49.8 2.56 Final 4
CLE 1987 7 99 217 45.6 1070 6 13 14 110 47 2.62 Final 4
NYJ 1982 7 108 212 50.9 1108 6 13 17 152 53.2 2.81 Final 4
BUF 1993 7 128 242 52.9 1426 6 17 16 91 51.3 3.03 SB Loser
JAX 1999 7 119 222 53.6 1073 7 10 26 167 61.8 3.08 Final 4
DEN 2015 7 152 243 62.6 1203 5 9 29 195 69.6 3.30 SB Winner
DEN 1987 7 103 194 53.1 1146 6 13 12 91 55.3 3.31 SB Loser
CHI 2006 7 129 222 58.1 1133 4 9 21 161 63.9 3.33 SB Loser
NOR 2009 7 137 267 51.3 1567 6 16 17 98 53.3 3.40 SB Winner
MIA 1984 7 135 249 54.2 1369 5 12 17 131 59 3.49 SB Loser
CLE 1989 7 96 196 49 1132 8 12 19 165 58.6 3.50 Final 4
STL 1999 7 132 253 52.2 1352 5 11 16 105 58 3.56 SB Winner
SFO 1997 7 106 215 49.3 1136 10 11 21 154 62.4 3.56 Final 4
SEA 2013 7 141 241 58.5 1334 6 11 23 166 66.1 3.63 SB Winner
IND 2009 7 153 253 60.5 1261 3 7 20 142 68 3.68 SB Loser
WAS 1986 7 137 240 57.1 1317 8 11 24 189 67.8 3.72 Final 4
CAR 2015 7 173 302 57.3 1602 7 12 20 99 64.5 3.73 SB Loser
CHI 1988 7 111 237 46.8 1263 6 9 23 201 59.5 3.76 Final 4
PIT 2008 7 146 237 61.6 1151 6 6 25 197 75 3.82 SB Winner
BAL 2000 7 139 235 59.1 1415 4 12 14 60 61.9 3.84 SB Winner
SFO 1983 7 129 218 59.2 1320 8 12 27 208 69.9 3.84 Final 4
CHI 1985 7 131 253 51.8 1600 10 16 28 195 61.6 3.84 SB Winner
DEN 1989 7 133 231 57.6 1433 6 13 18 116 63.2 3.89 SB Loser
DAL 1982 7 120 232 51.7 1367 7 11 27 218 64 3.91 Final 4
PIT 2001 7 118 205 57.6 1086 7 7 27 167 72.7 3.93 Final 4
NYG 1986 7 116 224 51.8 1239 5 8 23 161 63.8 3.96 SB Winner
BAL 2011 7 119 228 52.2 1219 5 7 25 170 65.5 3.97 Final 4
SFO 1988 7 129 228 56.6 1299 12 12 22 171 71.7 4.00 SB Winner
CHI 1984 7 74 172 43 1103 6 10 21 189 56.6 4.01 Final 4
MIN 1998 7 146 263 55.5 1542 9 13 19 98 65.1 4.03 Final 4
PIT 1984 7 119 213 55.9 1387 9 14 17 120 64.8 4.07 Final 4
NWE 2003 7 150 281 53.4 1657 3 11 17 99 59.9 4.10 SB Winner
NWE 2007 7 136 226 60.2 1275 9 10 19 163 73.6 4.10 SB Loser
NYJ 2009 7 128 237 54 1270 4 7 8 51 63.6 4.22 Final 4
PHI 2002 7 133 224 59.4 1259 5 7 23 121 71.7 4.23 Final 4
PHI 2001 7 128 228 56.1 1160 6 5 21 138 72.2 4.24 Final 4
PIT 1994 7 110 201 54.7 1214 7 9 21 132 68.5 4.27 Final 4
SFO 1984 7 131 245 53.5 1475 7 11 17 108 64.4 4.27 SB Winner
WAS 1987 7 132 252 52.4 1471 7 9 30 238 68.4 4.28 SB Winner
NYJ 1998 7 132 243 54.3 1379 7 9 16 115 67.1 4.30 Final 4
RAI 1983 7 119 223 53.4 1217 7 6 29 240 73 4.31 SB Winner
CHI 2010 7 162 264 61.4 1512 4 9 11 82 69.2 4.32 Final 4
BAL 2008 7 112 213 52.6 1247 8 9 16 120 67.6 4.38 Final 4
DEN 1986 7 148 264 56.1 1516 9 9 29 266 74.1 4.41 SB Loser
PIT 2005 7 150 244 61.5 1483 5 9 22 150 72.7 4.43 SB Winner
GNB 2010 7 147 250 58.8 1499 8 10 22 154 72.6 4.44 SB Winner
GNB 1995 7 140 258 54.3 1283 11 6 18 134 74.7 4.47 Final 4
CAR 1996 7 129 233 55.4 1293 7 6 26 177 73.8 4.49 Final 4
PIT 2004 7 127 232 54.7 1355 7 8 20 114 69.8 4.50 Final 4
GNB 1997 7 131 245 53.5 1368 8 8 14 80 68.5 4.51 SB Loser
TAM 1999 7 119 222 53.6 1211 6 5 23 151 71.9 4.51 Final 4
DEN 1997 7 119 205 58 1194 8 7 22 132 76.2 4.58 SB Winner
MIN 1987 7 123 211 58.3 1183 9 7 16 111 76.6 4.62 Final 4
PHI 2004 7 172 278 61.9 1575 7 7 25 115 76.9 4.62 SB Loser
ARI 2015 7 155 253 61.3 1566 10 12 12 73 73.5 4.63 Final 4
DEN 1991 7 111 215 51.6 1428 5 10 18 112 63.3 4.63 Final 4
DAL 1993 7 139 226 61.5 1246 7 6 14 102 77.5 4.65 SB Winner
CIN 1988 7 130 242 53.7 1460 8 9 19 157 70.2 4.66 SB Loser
BUF 1992 7 136 225 60.4 1509 10 13 16 128 73.5 4.66 SB Loser
NWE 1985 7 108 215 50.2 1369 7 9 21 144 66.7 4.68 SB Loser
DAL 1992 7 116 218 53.2 1183 6 4 21 167 73.8 4.70 SB Winner
SFO 1993 7 145 263 55.1 1404 9 6 16 103 73.8 4.71 Final 4
STL 2001 7 151 233 64.8 1410 10 9 22 127 81.8 4.73 SB Loser
MIA 1992 7 152 264 57.6 1559 9 9 17 131 73.9 4.75 Final 4
GNB 2014 7 144 243 59.3 1504 9 10 16 88 74 4.76 Final 4
PIT 2010 7 181 266 68 1702 6 10 20 115 79.1 4.80 SB Loser
DAL 1995 7 138 238 58 1485 10 10 18 127 75.1 4.82 SB Winner
BUF 1991 7 133 232 57.3 1341 5 6 10 78 71.7 4.84 SB Loser
PHI 2008 7 127 226 56.2 1385 9 8 23 145 75.6 4.84 Final 4
SFO 2012 7 124 218 56.9 1214 6 5 11 70 73.6 4.84 SB Loser
IND 2003 7 137 212 64.6 1296 8 8 14 94 80.1 4.85 Final 4
NYG 2007 7 137 240 57.1 1442 11 8 27 164 78.9 4.88 SB Winner
BUF 1990 7 113 207 54.6 1248 8 7 16 135 74.2 4.90 SB Loser
BUF 1988 7 137 223 61.4 1517 7 10 23 157 76.3 4.91 Final 4
ATL 2012 7 140 225 62.2 1518 7 10 19 115 76 4.95 Final 4
SFO 1994 7 149 246 60.6 1475 9 8 15 112 78.1 4.96 SB Winner
RAI 1990 7 114 194 58.8 1222 6 6 22 189 78.8 4.96 Final 4
NWE 2006 7 140 233 60.1 1531 4 8 18 125 73.2 4.98 Final 4
SFO 2013 7 137 245 55.9 1536 9 9 17 112 73.6 5.00 Final 4
DEN 1998 7 138 242 57 1482 9 7 27 204 79 5.01 SB Winner
NWE 2013 7 140 253 55.3 1579 7 8 18 123 72.3 5.01 Final 4
SDG 1994 7 175 263 66.5 1558 8 6 23 148 85.2 5.06 SB Loser
NYG 2000 7 153 262 58.4 1659 10 10 16 123 75.9 5.07 SB Loser
WAS 1982 7 119 217 54.8 1382 8 7 22 185 76.7 5.13 SB Winner
NYG 2011 7 143 237 60.3 1576 7 8 26 205 79.5 5.16 SB Winner
NWE 2004 7 132 235 56.2 1502 6 7 18 125 73.8 5.17 SB Winner
SEA 2005 7 125 221 56.6 1318 9 5 23 142 80.9 5.22 SB Loser
SFO 1992 7 153 254 60.2 1712 11 11 21 126 78.8 5.23 Final 4
SFO 1989 7 132 244 54.1 1527 9 8 13 103 73.6 5.24 SB Winner
JAX 1996 7 126 225 56 1385 10 7 15 101 78.1 5.29 Final 4
SFO 2011 7 162 277 58.5 1790 10 9 21 140 78.3 5.32 Final 4
SDG 2007 7 157 246 63.8 1690 10 11 16 101 80.5 5.32 Final 4
TEN 1999 7 147 261 56.3 1581 11 7 18 114 79 5.33 SB Loser
PIT 1995 7 133 224 59.4 1490 10 9 17 116 79.6 5.33 SB Loser
PIT 1997 7 149 266 56 1745 12 10 20 116 77.3 5.37 Final 4
KAN 1993 7 141 240 58.8 1464 7 5 16 107 79.4 5.39 Final 4
SFO 1990 7 134 253 53 1615 11 8 18 111 76 5.44 Final 4
NWE 2015 7 172 273 63 1769 11 8 26 184 85.6 5.45 Final 4
NOR 2006 7 134 228 58.8 1293 12 4 19 116 87 5.48 Final 4
NWE 2014 7 140 229 61.1 1456 11 7 18 120 85 5.51 SB Winner
OAK 2000 7 157 266 59 1648 12 8 11 58 80.5 5.52 Final 4
IND 2014 7 130 231 56.3 1501 8 6 21 122 79 5.52 Final 4
PHI 2003 7 167 270 61.9 1614 9 5 12 69 83 5.56 Final 4
CLE 1986 7 127 203 62.6 1287 9 6 12 92 85 5.57 Final 4
CAR 2005 7 145 254 57.1 1628 10 7 15 97 79.6 5.62 Final 4
OAK 2002 7 153 241 63.5 1645 14 10 18 90 87.1 5.69 SB Loser
MIN 2000 7 158 268 59 1587 8 3 15 106 82.8 5.70 Final 4
IND 2006 7 125 190 65.8 1173 10 5 11 70 90.7 5.71 SB Winner
NYJ 2010 7 121 248 48.8 1530 10 5 15 100 75.2 5.72 Final 4
DEN 2005 7 159 278 57.2 1684 9 5 8 62 79.2 5.73 Final 4
SEA 1983 7 139 230 60.4 1741 17 14 21 163 86.2 5.78 Final 4
GNB 2007 7 140 244 57.4 1586 10 6 18 101 82.1 5.79 Final 4
DET 1991 7 129 208 62 1339 8 5 9 64 84.7 5.87 Final 4
NWE 1996 7 149 253 58.9 1792 9 9 13 97 79.3 5.89 SB Loser
ATL 2004 7 158 230 68.7 1606 5 5 20 153 89.4 5.92 Final 4
NWE 2001 7 131 215 60.9 1482 7 6 13 87 82.5 5.93 SB Winner
MIN 2009 7 149 234 63.7 1642 10 6 25 151 90.6 6.07 Final 4
BAL 2012 7 157 252 62.3 1800 6 7 12 88 81.6 6.08 SB Winner
CAR 2003 7 144 235 61.3 1602 9 5 17 84 86.9 6.18 SB Loser
MIA 1985 7 116 218 53.2 1585 8 7 12 103 77.5 6.22 Final 4
IND 1995 7 154 251 61.4 1677 9 4 12 56 87.3 6.38 Final 4
WAS 1983 7 133 238 55.9 1938 15 11 25 198 87.8 6.63 SB Loser
STL 1985 7 115 203 56.7 1330 17 5 10 62 95.5 6.78 Final 4
ATL 1998 7 145 244 59.4 1753 13 5 17 110 92.6 6.85 SB Loser
DEN 2013 7 173 289 59.9 2239 14 9 19 135 89.4 6.86 SB Loser
RAM 1989 7 157 246 63.8 1874 11 7 13 83 91.5 6.87 Final 4
NWE 2011 7 190 285 66.7 2262 12 9 15 93 92.9 6.99 SB Loser
SEA 2014 7 154 230 67 1586 12 3 10 67 99.8 7.05 SB Loser
PIT 2016 7 182 274 66.4 1984 8 3 8 28 93.2 7.12 ???????
TEN 2002 7 143 223 64.1 1643 17 5 16 86 103.9 7.36 Final 4
NWE 2012 7 169 260 65 2030 16 7 15 72 99.2 7.40 Final 4
ARI 2008 7 140 208 67.3 1560 14 3 19 114 108.1 7.51 SB Loser
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