By KDKA Staff
(KDKA)- Thanks to their 19-14 win over the Baltimore Ravens on Wednesday afternoon, the Steelers are just the 18th team in NFL history to start 11-0. What does that mean for their Super Bowl chances? The answer is a mix of good and bad news.
We’ll start with the good news, according to Pro Football Reference, all 17 of the teams that previously started 11-0 made the playoffs. Six of those teams went on to become league champions. That’s pretty good right? Six out of 17, that essentially works out to one in three odds of winning the Super Bowl win an 11-0 start.
That’s where the bad news comes in. Recent history isn’t as kind. Five of those six champions were crowned prior to 1999. Since 2000, there have been six teams that started 11-0. Of those teams, only one, the 2009 New Orleans Saints, went on to win the Super Bowl.
The 2015 Carolina Panthers, 2009 Indianapolis Colts and 2007 New England Patriots all lost in the Super Bowl. Granted, the Colts loss was to the aforementioned Saints.
The other two teams, the 2011 Green Bay Packers and 2005 Indianapolis Colts, lost in the divisional round of the playoffs.
Now, this isn’t to say that the Steelers start means nothing. Of the 17 previous teams, all but three have made the Super Bowl, or in the case of the teams prior to 1967, the championship game.
For teams prior to 1990, making the title game was a bit simpler as not as many teams made the playoffs. But, since going to a 12-team playoff format, there have been three teams to start 11-0 and win the Super Bowl. The ’09 Saints, ’98 Broncos, and ’91 Redskins.
The playoff format has changed again this year with the addition of a third Wild Card team, meaning only one of the top two seeds gets a bye week in the playoffs compared with previous years when both the No. 1 and No. 2 teams got them. The Steelers are still fighting for that bye with the Kansas City Chiefs on their heels at 10-1. The bye week has proved important in recent years, with 51.7 percent of one seeds and 27.6 percent of two seeds making it to the Super Bowl.
Once there, it all boils down to the one game which, as noted above, hasn’t necessarily been kind to teams with 11-0 starts in recent years. That said, the Steelers appear on track to at least make an appearance though the reigning champions may have something to say about that in the postseason.