Saturday, January 18, 2014

NFC/AFC Conference Championship Rematches ... Does It Mean Anything?

Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have already
met once this season.  Does conference championship
history favor either one?
Both the NFC and AFC Championship games are rematches of regular season games.  In the AFC, the Denver Broncos will host the New England Patriots.  Earlier in the season, the Patriots won their regular season matchup in Foxborough.  In the NFC, division foes Seahawks and 49ers face off in Seattle after splitting their two regular season games.

Does the rematch angle mean anything?

Let's look at the last ten seasons.  That's 20 conference championship games.

In the NFC, we've had five rematches in the last ten years.  Oddly, in the NFC Championship, the team who ended up winning the NFC lost to the team they faced during the regular season.  That trend will continue this season since Seattle and San Francisco split during the season.

Here are the rematches (the year named is the regular season year):
2011:  Giants lost at San Francisco during the season, won in San Francisco in the championship
2010:  Packers split with Chicago during season, won in Chicago in the championship
2008:  Cardinals lost at Philadelphia during season, won at home in the championship
2007:  Giants lost to Packers during season, won in Green Bay in the championship
2003:  Panthers lost to Eagles during season, won in Philadelphia in the championship

Again, all of the eventual NFC champions lost to their title opponents in the regular season.  In fact, four of the five rematches saw the road team with the NFC title.  That bodes well for the 49ers on Sunday.

So, the team that lost during the season, went 5-1 in the NFC Championship game (remember that the Bears split with the Packers, meaning they had a loss entering the 2010-11 title game.

On the AFC side, there is no real trend.  There have been seven instances where there was a rematch in the title game.  In four of them, the team that won the regular season battle also won the championship game; three times the team that won the title lost their first meeting.

Here are the AFC rematches:
2012:  Ravens beat Patriots during the season, won at New England in the championship
2010:  Steelers lost to Jets during the season, won at home in the championship
2009:  Colts lost to Jets during the season, won at home in the championship
2008:  Steelers beat Ravens twice during the season and in the championship
2006:  Colts won in New England during the season, won at home in the championship
2004:  Patriots lost at Pittsburgh during the season, won in Pittsburgh in the championship
2003:  Patriots won in Indianapolis during the season, won at home in the championship

See.  No real trend aside from the fact that in the rematch, the home team is 5-2 in the championship game.

Using this information alone, we should expect a Denver-San Francisco Super Bowl.

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