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Championship Teams Are Generally Defined By Their Ability To Dominate Inferior Opponents, Not Their Ability To Win Close Games.


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http://www.footballoutsiders.com/info/FO-basics

Championship teams are generally defined by their ability to dominate inferior opponents, not their ability to win close games.

Football games are often decided by just one or two plays -- a missed field goal, a bouncing fumble, the subjective spot of an official on fourth-and-1. One missed assignment by a cornerback, or one slightly askew pass that bounces off a receiver's hands and into those of a defensive back five yards away and the game could be over. In a blowout, however, one lucky bounce isn't going to change things.

Championship teams beat their good opponents convincingly and destroy the cupcakes on the schedule. Certainly there are exceptions to this rule, including last year's Super Bowl champion. However, in the DVOA era (1989-2014), 23 of 26 Super Bowl champions have had more blowouts against sub-.500 teams than close wins against above-.500 teams.

So I was reading this article that goes over a Bundle of statistical correlations between certain aspects of team building/play and winning. The bottom of the article describes how teams who are successful in winning the majority of close games they play in doesn't exactly correlate to winning championships at all. While teams who know how to put their foot on the neck of their opponents are more likely at a shot to win a championship. I couldn't help but read this and other concepts in the article and draw parallels with the Falcons. The Mike Smith era was so full of heart pounding close games that it really did come to fruition in our case, making this statement resonate as very true. What I'll be looking for going forward is whether or not this team can simply put away teams they should beat. (Among other things of course) Smith's Falcons really did tease us in multiple ways into feeling like we where contenders, but the question has to be asked, how much of a true contender where we really? I think the 2012 team was the exception, but even that year, I believe we had numerous close games, and of course that year ended with yet another heart palpitating close game. Heck even the one single playoff game we won with Smitty at the helm was far closer than it should've been. This aspect of our team was a very fatal one.

It's slow and I'm bored so sorry if this seems like random irrelevant info, but the whole "team Smith" or "team Dimitrov" debate should consider this into the equation. All of us complained about how we played down to our opponents. We all know that we can't blame Dimitrov for this either. Well perhaps the new coaching staff can fix this, and perhaps this and even this alone can cause a huge swing leading our team into being contenders and not just pretenders.

Sidenote: that article had many points that you can keep in context with the Falcons over the last 8 years or so. Totally worth the read when you're bored and need a football fix. Anther good point they made which seemed obvious to me was that teams who designate a higher percentage of their salary to "stars" or starters where far less likely to succeed than the teams who built a team with solid starters across the board and with better depth. Yet another regime failure imo. (Both TD and Smitty).

Enjoy your weekend guys and gals.

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I think if you really break it down. Championship teams like Baltimore, New England, Green Bay, Pittsburg, etc... probably have longevity with their coaching staffs and run the same system year in and year out. Which makes it easier for coaches and GMs to be on same page. Whereas other teams are constantly flipping coaching staff and going in circles. Someone once made a very good point that it is really funny how the same teams every year always draft in the top spots and the same teams like Green Bay, Denver, Baltimore always draft in the back spots. Yet they still win.

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Early leads became a double-edged sword for Smith's Falcons.

Early leads are great, but momentum is more important than points when there is a lot of football left to to play.

Letting teams back in games with conservative playcalling and by not anticipating other teams' adjustments is dangerous.

I would say championship teams simply dominate because they look to win every quarter.

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We couldnt maintain a lead or put people away becasue we couldnt run the football. If we keep passing like an Arena League team then we will play defense like an Arena League Team. Green Bay, Baltimore, New England, San Fran, Pittsburg ALL can run the football. Contrary to what goof ball nerds like John Clayton say, the successful NFL teams still play smash mouth run right at you football. Brady may throw the ball alot but look at their play calling it is still a good balance between run and pass. We had absolutely no balance last year. When we tried to run we had nothing so our o-coordinator had to pass. And teams just pined their ears back and brought the heat. Until we get a o-line the results will be the same. I dont think getting a new coach changes the fact we have a very poor talent level when it comes to o-linemen. I dont know who was in charge of picking these people the last 6 years but they have really dropped the ball. Should never have let Claybo go.

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We couldnt maintain a lead or put people away becasue we couldnt run the football. If we keep passing like an Arena League team then we will play defense like an Arena League Team. Green Bay, Baltimore, New England, San Fran, Pittsburg ALL can run the football. Contrary to what goof ball nerds like John Clayton say, the successful NFL teams still play smash mouth run right at you football. Brady may throw the ball alot but look at their play calling it is still a good balance between run and pass. We had absolutely no balance last year. When we tried to run we had nothing so our o-coordinator had to pass. And teams just pined their ears back and brought the heat. Until we get a o-line the results will be the same. I dont think getting a new coach changes the fact we have a very poor talent level when it comes to o-linemen. I dont know who was in charge of picking these people the last 6 years but they have really dropped the ball. Should never have let Claybo go.

I agree regarding last year and the year before (although the Lions, Browns, and Giants game there was no excuse).

I was referring to 2012 when we did have a balanced offense and the games were much closer than they should have been. The Falcons usually play close games win or lose.

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Thanks.

That was an interesting article.

I originally clicked on it to see if that period of 1989-2014 was itemized by year because I believe that there is probably more parity (and less domination) now than in the past.

But there was a lot of stuff that made you think.

.

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Thanks.

That was an interesting article.

I originally clicked on it to see if that period of 1989-2014 was itemized by year because I believe that there is probably more parity (and less domination) now than in the past.

But there was a lot of stuff that made you think.

.

Yea there is, these are all generalized, broad spectrum stats, but they are nevertheless interesting and informative.

Regarding some of the other responses, even when we had a run game, we still couldn't consistently put teams away. The problem I had understanding, was that we always had the "talent" to blow teams out of the water and take a commanding lead in the first half, then suddenly where a horrible talentless team in the second half? That's kind of a microcosm for how the entire Smith tenure went.

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Yea there is, these are all generalized, broad spectrum stats, but they are nevertheless interesting and informative.

Regarding some of the other responses, even when we had a run game, we still couldn't consistently put teams away. The problem I had understanding, was that we always had the "talent" to blow teams out of the water and take a commanding lead in the first half, then suddenly where a horrible talentless team in the second half? That's kind of a microcosm for how the entire Smith tenure went.

I hear what you are saying, but we were what, 56-24 during smith's first 5 seasons here? We put plenty of teams away......

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I hear what you are saying, but we were what, 56-24 during smith's first 5 seasons here? We put plenty of teams away......

I 200 percent agree with you. At the same time how often during that span did the Atlanta Falcons look like true super bowl contenders? I was shitting my pants by the time the playoffs rolled around because I always knew there was something missing. Doesn't mean I wasn't hopeful, but even the biggest of homers knew something was missing for us to have a real chance to be super bowl champs.

Ultimately, I'm talking end game here. The regular season record speaks for itself. (Even though eventually that also went to crap)

Also in the span of those 50 plus wins throughout Smith's first five years, you have to acknowledge that there where plenty of those wins that where far closer than they needed to be. People where talking about warning signs (even after the wins) and quite frankly, they where unfortunately correct.

Edited by Atlfanstckndenver
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I hear what you are saying, but we were what, 56-24 during smith's first 5 seasons here? We put plenty of teams away......

Matt Ryan's ridiculous number of comeback wins says otherwise. Getting a lead then holding ok for dear life seemed to be an every week thing.

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We couldnt maintain a lead or put people away becasue we couldnt run the football. If we keep passing like an Arena League team then we will play defense like an Arena League Team. Green Bay, Baltimore, New England, San Fran, Pittsburg ALL can run the football. Contrary to what goof ball nerds like John Clayton say, the successful NFL teams still play smash mouth run right at you football. Brady may throw the ball alot but look at their play calling it is still a good balance between run and pass. We had absolutely no balance last year. When we tried to run we had nothing so our o-coordinator had to pass. And teams just pined their ears back and brought the heat. Until we get a o-line the results will be the same. I dont think getting a new coach changes the fact we have a very poor talent level when it comes to o-linemen. I dont know who was in charge of picking these people the last 6 years but they have really dropped the ball. Should never have let Claybo go.

. Yeah because he did so good for the next team.
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I 200 percent agree with you. At the same time how often during that span did the Atlanta Falcons look like true super bowl contenders? I was shitting my pants by the time the playoffs rolled around because I always knew there was something missing. Doesn't mean I wasn't hopeful, but even the biggest of homers knew something was missing for us to have a real chance to be super bowl champs.

Ultimately, I'm talking end game here. The regular season record speaks for itself. (Even though eventually that also went to crap)

Also in the span of those 50 plus wins throughout Smith's first five years, you have to acknowledge that there where plenty of those wins that where far closer than they needed to be. People where talking about warning signs (even after the wins) and quite frankly, they where unfortunately correct.

I was convinced we were in 2012, ATLDenver. And it still bothers the crap out of me that we didn't get that done..

Edited by Vandy
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I 200 percent agree with you. At the same time how often during that span did the Atlanta Falcons look like true super bowl contenders? I was shitting my pants by the time the playoffs rolled around because I always knew there was something missing. Doesn't mean I wasn't hopeful, but even the biggest of homers knew something was missing for us to have a real chance to be super bowl champs.

Ultimately, I'm talking end game here. The regular season record speaks for itself. (Even though eventually that also went to crap)

Also in the span of those 50 plus wins throughout Smith's first five years, you have to acknowledge that there where plenty of those wins that where far closer than they needed to be. People where talking about warning signs (even after the wins) and quite frankly, they where unfortunately correct.

Group 2 thanks you for remembering us. biggrin.png

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Vandy I was right there with you man. The thing is. We where right there. In hindsight we where sooooooooooooo close, and guess what ended up being the dagger to our season? Losing a game in our patented signature way, we started with a glorious magnificent way. I was SO excited at halftime that game. So freaking excited, but there was a terror that grew as the second half unfolded and we collapsed as a team. That's how I see it, nobody was ready or prepared enough to come out in that second half and just finish San Francisco. We came out reacting to everything the 9ers did, instead of being the aggressor as we where in the first half it seemed.

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Vandy I was right there with you man. The thing is. We where right there. In hindsight we where sooooooooooooo close, and guess what ended up being the dagger to our season? Losing a game in our patented signature way, we started with a glorious magnificent way. I was SO excited at halftime that game. So freaking excited, but there was a terror that grew as the second half unfolded and we collapsed as a team. That's how I see it, nobody was ready or prepared enough to come out in that second half and just finish San Francisco. We came out reacting to everything the 9ers did, instead of being the aggressor as we where in the first half it seemed.

That is coaching not to lose. Coaching the players to be uptight. Coaching the players to fear making a mistake so much that it muzzles their competitive aggression.

Smitty did a lot of things right. Coaching the players to not make mistakes, to play smart, to let the other team beat themselves: that's PERFECT for a roster deficient of talent. That is exactly what we needed when he arrived.

Smitty's ultimately fatal flaw was his failure to let the wild horses run when the talent level increased. He failed to grow along with the team. Worse than his clock mismanagement, worse than his other failings combined, was his failure to adapt to the talent level he was coaching.

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That is coaching not to lose. Coaching the players to be uptight. Coaching the players to fear making a mistake so much that it muzzles their competitive aggression.

Smitty did a lot of things right. Coaching the players to not make mistakes, to play smart, to let the other team beat themselves: that's PERFECT for a roster deficient of talent. That is exactly what we needed when he arrived.

Smitty's ultimately fatal flaw was his failure to let the wild horses run when the talent level increased. He failed to grow along with the team. Worse than his clock mismanagement, worse than his other failings combined, was his failure to adapt to the talent level he was coaching.

Great post, just would add that smitty failed to grow with the change of talent from a run team to a more passing team, as that's not who he is. I don't think out talent was any better in 2012 than it was in 2010, it was just different.

Edited by Vandy
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Championship teams win all kind of ways.. being able to win close games is VERY important to having a championship caliber team, it shows resolve, it shows the players dnt get nervous or scared during crunch time.. it shows focus, etc.

Our problem wssnt getting fast starts, every team/coach wants to start fast, its being able to FINISH.

That was our Achilles heel, not finishing.

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Not to dispute the topic, but the Patriots built a dynasty on winning close games. All 4 Superbowl wins in the Belichic/Brady era were won by 4 pts or less.

You don't think the patriots where as cut throat as they get when it came to putting away inferior opponents? Also obviously by the time your playing in the Super Bowl your going to be playing some stiff competition. The majority of these stats compiled are clearly from the regular season.

Look I think people are focusing on the wrong aspect of the point here. Clearly winning Close games is a big sign. But how often did we see our Falcons just straight blow out lesser teams?

Edited by Atlfanstckndenver
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