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2007 New York Giants Had Less than 1% Chance to Win Super Bowl XLII: New Mathematical Report

January 27th, 2014 at 9:00 AM
By Dan Benton

It's no secret that the 2007 New York Giants were fierce underdogs heading into a Super Bowl matchup with the then undefeated New England Patriots. Even prior to that, they had battled back from an 0-2 start to the season and embraced the underdog role on a near weekly basis. It's why their rallying cry was "resiliency."

But just how unlikely was it that Big Blue would go into Arizona and knock off the 18-0 Patriots? Well, based on a new mathematical formula put together by Football Perspective, they were the most unlikely Super Bowl champions in the history of the NFL with a less than 1% chance at winning the Big Game. So imagine how big someone would have hit it if they had placed a wager using

"As you might expect, no team was as unlikely to win the Super Bowl at the start of the playoffs as the 2007 New York Giants. … New York was a 3-point underdog in Tampa Bay in the Wildcard round (41.4%), a 7-point dog in Dallas (30.7%), and a 7.5-point underdog in Green Bay in the NFC Championship Game (29.4%). Then, in the Super Bowl against the 18-0 Patriots, the Giants were 12.5-point underdogs, implying an 18.4% chance of victory. The odds of New York winning all four of those games was less than one percent."

To be more specific, the Giants had a 0.7% chance of winning Super Bowl XLII. By comparison, the next closest team to them in terms of unlikely probability was the 2012 Baltimore Ravens, who were given a 2% chance to win it all.

Additionally, the 2007 Giants were the only team in NFL history to have less than a 42% chance to win any single one of their playoff games (wild card through Super Bowl), with the 1980 Oakland Raiders being the only other team to have less than a 48% probability in their respective playoff games. No other team has ever faced less than 50% odds in each game throughout the playoffs.

By comparison, the 2011 New York Giants had a 3% chance to win it all (also one of the most unlikely Super Bowl runs in history), while the 1986 and 1990 teams had a 30.1% chance and a 6.2% chance respectively.

Only the 1994 San Francisco 49ers and the 1995 Dallas Cowboys had better than 50% odds to win it all, making them the two most likely Super Bowl champions in history.

Photo credit: arclark / / CC BY-NC-SA


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Tags: Football, New England, New England Patriots, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Super Bowl XLII

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28 Responses to “2007 New York Giants Had Less than 1% Chance to Win Super Bowl XLII: New Mathematical Report”

  1.  fanfor55years says:

    One of the things everyone should understand is that given enough time even the most unlikely events will almost certainly occur. So it isn’t THAT extraordinary that a team with a .7% chance of winning through the playoffs to a championship did it. It was going to happen eventually. What we should be ecstatic about is that it was the team we all live-and-die for that did it, in the most dramatic of fashions.

    I will remember that run, and that season, as long as I live. All you youngsters should too. You get MAYBE one of those in your lifetime, if you live long enough. The joy that comes from such an unexpected result is so much sweeter than what follows the expected. Ask any Yankees fan if the way they feel about their championships during that most recent amazing run of five years, or the one before that in the late 1940′s and early 50′s, was more joy, or relief that the expected was achieved.

    It doesn’t get any better than 2007, and those of you who forget that are missing the entire point of being a fan. And then we got at least a reasonable facsimile in 2011, another unexpected run starting with that Jets game and the Cruz play that should live in every fan’s memory forever. I hear all the grumbling about the present day, and I even engage in some of it. We always want more. But we should always remember that this team has given us two runs for the ages. I’ve been a sports fan for a long, long, time. I was NEVER as excited as I was through the 2007 playoffs. There have been plenty of other great moments, games, series. But nothing ever topped that. We at least, again, approached the summit in 2011, but as unlikely as was that championship, it was easy compared to 2007. Both, though, were gifts to us.

  2.  fanfor55years says:

    I’m glad to see that Mike Patterson wants to stay a member of the Giants. Most of you vastly underrate his ability. I would not have a problem going into 2014 with Jenkins, Patterson, Hankins, some snaps for Tuck at DT, and Kuhn or Rogers, plus a drafted rookie competing for playing time.

    Of course I would strongly prefer that Joseph be back, but if I have to choose whether dollars get allocated to him or to Beason and both Browns I’m not hesitating in making Jon Beason my choice (with the Browns coming along for the ride).

    •  jfunk says:

      I thought that Patterson quote “I waited a long time to get into this locker room” was interesting. Implies it was a place he always wanted to come.

      10 minutes after the 2007 Week 17 Patriots game, the Giants were 42-1 to win the Superbowl (17-1 to win the NFC) in Vegas. Those were sweet tickets to mail in. :-)

    •  GOAT56 says:

      While I hesitate choosing Beason over Joseph I can see that as reasonable. But in no way do I choose the Browns over Joseph. Stevie Brown I have a feeling 2012 was a fluke and Andre is way to fragile to invest a lot in. With Joseph much like with cruz and Beatty a long ter deal isn’t the hit to this year’s cap that some thing. and to me he’s worth the hit in future years. With him and Hankins we would be set at DT for the next 3 years.

      Patterson is a nice player but we need to get younger. Bringing Patterson back only makes sense IMO if we don’t re-sign Joseph or cut Jenkins. Rodgers at his age after breaking down the last 2 years just doesn’t make any sense to me.

      •  Nosh.0 says:

        Don’t know what Joseph will command in FA but I imagine it will be around 6 mill per. For that money I’d rather have Alex Mack.

        I’d personally choose Beason over Jospeh (although I don’t think it’s totally fair to compare the 2 because Beason will come cheaper) only because the Defense played at a noticeably higher level from the first game he was with us. I realize that’s not very good analysis or reasoning but that’s all I got. Defense was a D+ before Jon Beason and a B- with him.

  3.  Nosh.0 says:

    2007 will always be my favorite championship because it was the first title I saw out of either team I root for (Mets, Giants). So that whole run I had the attitude that the other shoe was eventually going to drop. Which actually made the experience that much sweeter when we finally did win it.

    •  skinnydoogan says:

      Interesting avatar….

      •  Nosh.0 says:

        It was this or 2pac. If Angel Lugo ever comes back I’ll change it to pac. But for now I’m sticking with the spike lee joint.

        •  skinnydoogan says:

          Had to look it up, I get it now some anti gun stuff from the movie “clockers”

          •  Nosh.0 says:

            Yeah man great, underrated movie. Martin Scorcesse produced it. Adapted from the Novel which was one the the inspirations for “The Wire”. Unfortunately the DVD is terrible quality, so best to catch it on cable.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      Well, my first Giants’ championship was 1956, and it was sweet. A lot of legendary players and two pretty decent coordinators: Lombardi and Landry.

      But while it was awfully sweet, and I was a real youngster so generally more impressionable than as a mature adult, it still wasn’t as crazy as 2007. Back in the 50′s and 1960′sthe Giants were a powerful team and you expected them to win championships. That they didn’t win more (they got to a number of championship games but couldn’t win the big one) was a disappointment.

      2007 stands alone, a stunner that gave me joy that I still feel when I think about it. I’ve created a lot of very successful buildings and communities, won a lot of architectural awards, received some big checks, and generally had a wonderful career. But when I think back on those moments when success was assured, or I knew I had the creative process right, each of which caused real joy, I have to admit that none gave me the electrical charge that did the combination of the Helmet Catch, the throw to Plax, and the sack of Brady that made us all realize “My God, we’re going to win this thing.” I still get chills thinking about it. I’ll always appreciate Jay Alford because he was part of a moment so filled with joy that it is almost indescribable. Not quite the joy at having a child, or realizing that you truly, truly, adore your spouse or have found a best friend for life, but awfully close. Awfully close.

      •  Nosh.0 says:

        Yeah man to me the Plax catch was it. Because it was the first time I thought “oh wow we might actually win this”. Still gets me fired up.

        Up to that point you still weren’t sure. Especially whether or not Eli could do it.

        So with all due respect to the helmet catch, in the moment it was like “O.K. great catch, but this is still a game, we still need to get into the end zone”. Where as the Plax TD was pure joy the moment it happened. Tyree seemed like it became legendary after the game, if that makes sense.

  4.  GOAT56 says:


    kujo says:
    January 27, 2014 at 8:54 AM
    Beatty CAN play right tackle–no one said he CAN’T. What has been pointed out is that his strongsuits–agile feet and lateral movement– and his weaknesses–run blocking and lower body strength– are better used on the left side as opposed to the right side. This meme about both tackle spots being ostensibly the same is absurd, and flies in the fact of reality. Yes, Tyron Smith played as right tackle, and looked terrible, so they moved him to his natural position as a left tackle (while Doug Free has played decently at right, after bunking out at left after one good year). Yes, David Diehl played both positions throughout his tenure (albeit briefly at right, and only in an emergency). And yes, Will Beatty played at right tackle a bit as a rookie (again, out of need, not want).

    It’s feels funny that I have saying this a lot of late but I completely agree with Kujo.

    •  skinnydoogan says:

      David Diehl was able to do it by sheer will and grit, two things I fear Beatty does not have.

      •  rlhjr says:

        An awful lot of present professional NFL left tackles started life at ROT.
        Many are purposely put there for a year to develop. There is nothing strange or unusual about Smith. What is unusual is the player who can step in and be trusted with the QB’s (right hander) blind side from day one.

        The likes of Ogden or Joe Thomas, or Anthony Muñoz don’t fall off trees.
        You can count the good ones using just your fingers over the past twenty years. Toes not required.

        I think Smith’s only issue was to bulk up in his first year. And he did his homework. Maybe it’s his genetics, but Beatty whiffed on his homework big time.

        His frame is NOT filled out. Sure he can play ROT. But he’s being paid LOT money, and if the Giants do draft a tackle of note (Robinson) he will be moved to RT (IMO) for at least a year. If Beatty cannot answer the bell due to injury, that might change. But it is money ball to an extent. All IMHO.

        •  Nosh.0 says:

          This is why I like the idea of taking a Tackle at #12. You can put him at RT for a year or 2 to develop and then flip him with Beatty if need be. Or Beatty can just be cut after 2015 if he doesn’t improve, or you move him sooner if Beatty continues playing poorly next year.

          Bottom line is, drafting a Tackle at #12 not only helps the OL in 2014, but gives you options for the future. And a nice Will Beatty insurance policy.

    •  Nosh.0 says:

      I don’t get what the argument is. All I have been saying as well as most people on here, is that Beatty moving to RT should not be ruled out. In fact absolutely nothing in regards to the OL should be ruled out after the disaster they were this year.

      •  skinnydoogan says:

        Not arguing, just saying that DD was one of those “tough guys” who made up for what he lacked physically by being a mean SOB. Beatty is not that guy…..

      •  GOAT56 says:

        The argument is that moving Beatty to RT is not going to help him and most likely have him perform worse. And the starting a rookie at LT doesn’t normally work out well even for those those that eventually become good. The idea is to improve the OL. Given that Beatty is going to be starting to idea is to have hi in the position that he can most likely help us in which is LT. It’s not to play fantasy OL.

        •  Nosh.0 says:

          Yeah I’m cool with Beatty at LT, for now. I have no problem drafting a guy 12 and starting him at Right.

          But I also think that most of Beattys problems this year were mental. And I think that a move to the right side would take a lot of pressure off him.

          I’m not saying it should or shouldn’t be done. But I think it is foolish to just pencil Will in at LT without at least exploring other options.

          •  GOAT56 says:

            Sometimes contracts dictate things as well. If there was no money involved you would be correct but a gut that just signs a deal he at least gets another year to right himself. Having a another option is different than spending a first round pick on a LT. A guy like Lockear was in 2012 would be a great signing.

  5.  Nosh.0 says:

    Some more thoughts on the OL. We need at the minimum 2 new lineman (this is assuming Beatty is 100% and Bass comes back). At most we need 4 (If Beatty has a setback while recovering from his broken leg). I personally think we need 3 new starters along the line with Pugh and Beatty being the holdovers. Heres how I would rebuild it.

    - Sign Alex Mack. We’ll probably have to make him the highest paid center in the NFL, but that still should be much less than a premier tackle or Guard costs. The highest paid center currently makes 5.5 per.The top Guard is 6 and the top tackle is over 10. Mack adds a much needed veteran presence. The OL needs a leader it lost when O’Hara retired, Mack can be that guy, as well as the anchor of our line.

    - Draft a tackle at #12. Robinson and Mattews as it stands now will not be there. So you’re looking at Leawan, Cyrus, and possibly the kid Martin from ND. To me it doesn’t matter if they play right or left. We just need bodies to fill spots on the line, and the fact Pugh can move inside makes this pick all the more logical. Personally I would take Cyrus Alabama. Kid is 20 years old and from the sound of it he has the physical skills to be an all pro one day. Just needs more experience and coaching.

    The point is, I don’t think we should worry so much about what position or side a guy plays as much as we should ask the question “can this guy be a starter somewhere on the OL”. Because at this point we just need bodies. Tough guys that are NFL caliber regardless of position.

    •  rlhjr says:

      I like Taylor Leawan however the kid from ND is a street fighter. Leawan is an outstanding athlete. But is he a brawler or a dancer?

      I would watch him closely in the upcoming evaluation bowls.
      He will blow the combine away with numbers, but when he gets punched in the nose, will he fight back?

      I agree Nosh, the team needs players who you have no issues walking into a dark alley with.

      Yea though we walk through the valley in the shadow of death, we will fear no evil……………BECAUSE WE’RE THE BADEST MF’ers IN THE VALLEY.
      That’s been a missing component since the mid 80′s early 90′s.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      Given to salary cap room the Browns have and we have I don’t think signing Mack is realistic or smart. Top guards were making 8 mil last year and Mack it seems like will make something in that range. I think we will be better served getting a moderate level center and another starting quality guard that can compete with a draft pick Mosley and Brewer. Mack is much higher priced guy than O’hara was back then.

      Positions do matter. You just don’t throw anyone out there we have have to fix the OL smartly. Not just add bodies. I still don’t see the point of moving Pugh inside since he has already a good tackle as a rookie. Not all guys are interchangeable. Not everyone is Diehl. Beatty is a guy that clearly his best position is LT even if he greatly struggled there in 2013.

  6.  GOAT56 says:

    I think if we are going to address OL in the first round and the draft board strength is as it appears now trading down makes perfect sense. Our need is really at guard and there is value in the position in the 20s but not really at 12. We can add another 2nd or 3rd round pick while addressing our chief area of concern. I have been in favor of trading down and I think with a few OTs going back to school there is not really a talent that is the top of talent you take at #12 available even if that’s what we wanted. The best course of action for several reasons IMO is to trade down.

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