James Leroy Wilson's blog

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Super Bowl, Part 1: Irrefutable Logic

As I lie in bed at this time of year, my mind drifts to the Super Bowl. I retain a fair amount of trivia about the game, without having to look things up. This post is an example.

The following two groups include all the coaches who have won the Super Bowl.

Group 1:

Vince Lombardi (2)
Tom Landry (2)
Don Shula (2)
Chuck Noll (4)
Tom Flores (2)
Bill Walsh (3)
Joe Gibbs (3)
Bill Parcells (2)
George Siefert (2)
Jimmy Johnson (2)
Mike Shanahan (2)
Bill Belichek (3)

And now, Group 2:
Weeb Ewbank
Hank Stram
Don McCafferty
John Madden
Mike Ditka
Barry Switzer
Mike Holmgren
Dick Vermiel
Brian Billick
Jon Gruden

Group 1 outnumbers Group 2 12-10.
Group 1 is NFL coaches who have won two or more Super Bowls. Group 2 is NFL coaches who have won just one Super Bowl.

As the smaller number in group 2 can attest, it is obviously easier for a coach to win two or more Super Bowls than it is to just win one. On the other hand, it is harder for a coach to win the Super Bowl than to not. If a coach wins one, chances are he'll win two.

Seattle's Mike Holmgren has won one Super Bowl. Bill Cowher has won none.

Advantage, Seattle; there's greater likelihood for a coach to win another Super Bowl after winning one, than there is for a coach that hasn't won any to win one.

This logic is irrefutable. Yup, no holes here.


  1. Well, here's someone hoping that you're right. Unfortunately, most of the common wisdom out there is going the other way. At the same time, it seems that Seattle hasn't gotten any credit all year. Each time they did something amazing, excuses were made as to why they really weren't as great as their record made them seem. Oh well, at this point, it doesn't matter what has gone before, what really matters is how each team plays on Feb 5th. The exciting thing is that this will be the first Superbowl that I actually care about.
    So, again, I hope you're right.

  2. i love snapshot statistics and the 12-10 advantage of multi-winners is eye-opening. But - the count of 22 is still short of statistical significance, so a run of a few years of different teams making the Super Bowl could throw the results back the other way. Or, the head coach really does matter and your theory is right on. I suggest we check back in 2020.
    I have a can't lose here as the pacific northwest is seahawk turf, but Troy Polamalu is from the local smalltown where i work with kids.
    i reckon that 1) it will be a great game, 2) shawn alexander plays like a true stud, 3) pittsburgh wins in the end 4) the Bus rambles in in the final seconds for the winning score.
    what a whirlwind year for a kid named willie parker!

  3. And yet!

    No coach has ever won the super bowl with 2 separate teams.

    Shula won with the Fish, but not the Colts.

    Parcells won with the G-men, but not the Patsies.

    Vermeil won with the Rams, but not the Eagles.

    Reeves didn't win with either the Falcons nor the Broncos.

    So...will Holmgren be the first?

    We'll see.