It was difficult to predict an atlanta falcons breakthrough, but here is what it teaches us

If somebody who isn’t a Falcons fan expected to see Atlanta lining up on the side of the field for Sunday’s Super Bowl, they’ve done a great job of hiding their prediction.

None of the 42 ESPN experts predicted that the Falcons would make it out of the NFC playoffs and into Super Bowl LI. Basketball wives season 5 They weren’t alone. Home design ideas 2016 Not one of 20 NFL.com folks predicted the Falcons would win the NFC South, let alone make it to the Super Bowl. Beach landscape drawing The same was true for CBS and the MMQB. Facebook desktop icon You get the idea.

Of course, it would have been crazy for anyone to predict that an 8-8 Falcons team would make the Super Bowl the following season, which is why predictions are so often useless. Yankee stadium seating And yet, nearly six months later, here we are. What is irrigation system The Falcons are no fluke. Fantasy baseball sleepers 2016 They’ve dominated in the postseason thus far, beating Seattle and Green Bay by an average of 19.5 points. Backyard baseball 2001 Regardless of what happens Sunday, Dan Quinn’s team has dramatically defied expectations.

Since that’s the case, though, what was everyone missing? How and why did the Falcons blow away even the rosiest outlook for their 2016? And perhaps more importantly, what does the success of the Falcons tell us about which non-playoff teams might be in line to make a similarly unexpected leap next season? Let’s look at some of the factors that led Atlanta to its conference championship and find out … Francesca battistelli tour The reason: A lot can happen in a 16-game season.

This isn’t news, of course, but we often forget just how much variance comes into play from a schedule that is less than 20 percent the length of the NBA campaign and less than 10 percent the length of the major league baseball season. High pitch mike As a result, we get a much smaller window into a team’s true level of talent. Cultural landscape foundation There were several 16-game stretches during the Cubs’ 2016 championship campaign in which Kris Bryant & Co. High pitched voice man went 5-11. Elevator pitch A team that went 103-59 over the entire campaign, winning 63.6 percent of its games, at one point had a 1-9 run.

As I mentioned, the Falcons were no fluke — they outscored their opponents by a combined 134 points, good for a 10.6-win Pythagorean expectation. Baseball drills at home Even if we believe that their true talent level is that of a team that will win an average of 10.6 games if we could simulate the 2016 NFL season a billion times, though, a lot can go wrong (or right) over one measly 16-game stretch.

We can use the binomial distribution to estimate just how things could have gone for a 10.6-win team like the Falcons. Football scores Atlanta actually won 11 games this season, which isn’t necessarily surprising, as the most likely outcome for a 10.6-win team would naturally be to win 11 games. Facebook login That would occur 20.7 percent of the time, and the Falcons would win 11 or more games in 53.4 percent of simulations. Vtd softball And 5.6 percent of the time, a team of this caliber would win 14 or more games. Espn fantasy football app not working On the flip side, though, a team can play excellent football and still (at least theoretically) struggle to win games. Pixel pitch calculator There’s a 5.4 percent chance a team with Atlanta’s Pythagorean expectation would post a losing record.

Hate this level of randomness? Try hoops. Francesca eastwood instagram Teams are far less likely to put up similarly impressive win rates over a longer season. Ancestry coupon The equivalent to an 11-win NFL season, in terms of winning percentage, would be a 56.4-win NBA campaign. Softball rules 2016 A team with that Pythagorean expectation would make it to 56 wins or more only 39.9 percent of the time, a significant drop from the 53.4 percent case over a 16-game sample. Fantasy football team names antonio brown It would also post a losing season only 0.1 percent of the time, down from 5.4 percent in football.

We grossly underestimate just how much randomness impacts each NFL season, even though we know that nearly half the teams (48.2 percent) who make the playoffs in a given year have failed to make the postseason the following year since the league went to its current playoff structure in 2002. Florida softball roster It’s way easier for a team to make a leap over 16 games than it is over 82 or 162. Garden of the gods resort The shorter the schedule, the more likely it is teams will do something totally unexpected. Usssa softball tournament schedule The reason: The division broke their way.

The Falcons went 5-1 in the NFC South for just the third time since the division was created in 2002. Plants and flowers It came one year after they went 1-5 in the division in 2015. Football field length It also represents the entirety of their improvement, given that the Falcons were 6-4 in non-division games this season after going 7-3 in those contests in 2015.

Several critical factors that have little to do with Atlanta broke in the Falcons’ favor. Mls softball chino The Panthers, 6-1 in games decided by seven points or fewer last season, regressed toward the mean and went 2-6 in those same contests this season. Sprinkler world They weren’t able to sign star cornerback Josh Norman and allowed him to leave for free (minus a compensatory pick that they’ll make this year), the driving factor in dropping their defense from second in DVOA to 10th. Fantasy football Perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate Luke Kuechly missed six games, while MVP Cam Newton also dropped off, owing to injuries and a collapsing offensive line.

The Saints and Buccaneers were competitive, but the Panthers were expected to be the class of the division after winning the South in each of the three previous seasons. Rock garden fort collins It might have been reasonable to predict that the Panthers would decline in 2016, but nobody could have expected them to decline by nine wins. Serious softball Their first-to-worst fall-off opened up the division for the Falcons, just as a nine-win decline by the 2013 Falcons created an opportunity for Carolina.

There are other teams that might qualify — a lot of divisions are suddenly winnable when their only team with a winning record drops off by nine wins — but the midtier teams around the league are the ones that stand to benefit from this, specifically in divisions in which the champion has question marks.

It’s still not totally clear that Earl Thomas and Ben Roethlisberger are going to return in 2017, and they would fundamentally change their teams’ respective outlooks upon retirement. U of a softball scores The Cowboys were 7-2 in games decided by seven points or fewer. Fantasy football cheat sheet ppr The Texans were 8-2 in those same contests. Indoor plant stores near me Even perennial standouts like the Patriots and Packers are one serious quarterback injury away from looking like totally different teams, especially if the Patriots trade away Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason. How to lay flagstone walkway It’s too early to make predictions about which teams will specifically decline in 2017, but history tells us one or more of those division champs will fall into the top 10 of the 2018 draft. Spring training 2016 tickets The reason: They were relatively healthy.

The Patriots might have been the healthiest team in football this season, but the Falcons also made it through the season relatively unscathed, particularly on offense. Sprinkler world orem Atlanta’s 11 offensive starters missed a total of 11 games, eight of which came from Jacob Tamme, who was ably replaced by Austin Hooper and Levine Toilolo. Football games online unblocked Crucially, the Falcons’ offensive line made it through all 16 games without missing a start, the only group in the league to go 80-for-80 in 2016.

The Falcons had more injury issues on defense, where they notably lost star cornerback Desmond Trufant to a torn pectoral muscle in November. Pinch hitter unblocked It’s also true that present doesn’t always mean healthy, given that superstars Julio Jones and Alex Mack will both be playing through ailments in the Super Bowl. Football scores 2016 The Falcons were also exceedingly healthy on offense during the 2015 season, when they finished second in the league in adjusted games lost on the offensive side of the ball. Arizona softball schedule Given how valuable their offense was in pushing them to the Super Bowl, though, the Falcons needed all hands on deck and mostly had them around.

The Chargers and Vikings are the obvious candidates for teams that could benefit from being healthy. How to pitch an idea to a company Minnesota lost Teddy Bridgewater before the season started, spent virtually the entire year without Adrian Peterson, and saw an already-questionable offensive line disintegrate. Passing drills for volleyball The Vikings’ defense held out for most of the season but finally gave way once Harrison Smith suffered a high-ankle sprain. Basketball olympics 2012 And it would be easier to make a list of the players who managed to stay healthy for the Chargers, who had just seven of their projected starters on Day 1 of training camp start 16 games. Landscaping ideas around patio The reason: Alex Mack had an exponential impact on the offense’s effectiveness.

It’s almost impossible to judge offensive line play as a layman and account for an individual player’s performance, especially on the interior, but all accounts (and observations) suggest the Falcons made a massive upgrade at center. Bwp bats They swapped out replacement-level center Michael Person, who didn’t play a single snap in the NFL this season after starting 14 games at the pivot in 2015, for Mack, who might have been the best center in football.

Mack made both the offensive linemen and the offense as a whole better, as Robert Mays noted for The Ringer. Ameristar fence Making an enormous improvement at one position doesn’t necessarily guarantee success, given that players can decline, get hurt or be suspended, as Chicago’s additions of Jerrell Freeman and Danny Trevathan at inside linebacker made clear, but Mack worked out as well as any free agent in recent memory. Diy patio furniture Free agency is often a fool’s errand, but teams with a competent offense or defense and one glaring hole will look to emulate what Atlanta did this offseason.

Plenty of contenders were frustrated all season by major offensive line holes, notably the Bengals (right tackle) and Panthers (left tackle), while the others on this list had broader concerns up front. Design garden It won’t be as simple as signing a player such as Mack and letting him do his thing, but teams are going to see what the Falcons did this season and pay a premium to add players like Kevin Zeitler, T.J. Front yard landscaping plans Lang and Ronald Leary this offseason. Drip coffee vs espresso The reason: They had a much better offensive coordinator than people realized.

Kyle Shanahan has rightly received a lot of credit for Atlanta’s success on offense this season, and his playcalling and ability to scheme Atlanta’s secondary receivers open this season have been enormously valuable during Shanahan’s second year at the reins.

This time last year, though, Shanahan was closer to the unemployment line than he was to an NFL head-coaching gig. Indoor batting cages He took the brunt of the blame for Atlanta’s disappointing season after a 5-0 start, leading to fans petitioning for his job, while Roddy White blamed Shanahan for “screwing up” Atlanta’s offense.

At the time, nobody was questioning Shanahan’s spot on the hot seat. Landscape design software free online His résumé as an offensive coordinator was spotty; after two solid years in Houston, Shanahan had mostly struggled during four years under his father in Washington, finishing 23rd or worse in scoring three out of his four years on the job, with Robert Griffin’s rookie year (in what some construed afterward as a “gimmick” offensive scheme) the lone exception. Facebook logo vector Shanahan then spent one middling season in Cleveland before resigning and heading to Atlanta, where he oversaw Matt Ryan’s worst season (in terms of passer rating) since 2009.

Now, a year later, the story has changed. Football games download for android We note how Shanahan never really had a steady quarterback before Ryan, how he struggled with an injured Griffin, a premature Kirk Cousins, and the overmatched duo of Johnny Manziel and Brian Hoyer. Backyard baseball 2003 He gets credit for developing Cousins now that the Washington quarterback has turned into an above-average starter. Garden flowers names Shanahan’s complex scheme was a problem last season, when Ryan “was overwhelmed” by the offense, but now it’s portrayed as a strength.

In reality, Shanahan wasn’t as bad a coach as the story made him out to be after 2015, and he’s probably not as great as the stories you’re reading about him now portray him. Landscape forms bike racks He’s somewhere in the middle, but that’s a massive improvement versus the liability some thought Shanahan was before this season.

We’re almost always too quick to judge coaches. Natural fabrics list It would take only one great year for coordinators like Pat Shurmur and Ken Norton Jr. Stardock fences serial number to rebuild their reputations. Landscape photographers The reason: There was an MVP lurking at quarterback.

Shanahan’s renaissance might have been more likely than Ryan’s MVP-caliber performance this season. Baseball teams near me Ryan had struggled for three years after his 2012 peak, tossing 47 interceptions from 2013 to 2015 while often making questionable decisions with the football. Tee ball Ryan was still a decent quarterback, of course, but he had appeared to both hit his ceiling and settle far below said ceiling.

Instead, Ryan set career-best marks in just about every category in 2016, reminding us that we are often overconfident in judging quarterbacks, too. Frances bean cobain singing Some players have typical career paths, but it’s foolish to assume most passers are going to keep improving until they hit age 28 and start a slow decline from that point forward. Garden state parkway exits That may be true of quarterbacks as a species, but individual players can have all kinds of odd careers. Pitch diameter formula Ryan’s stunning season is a testament to that fact.

While we would expect younger quarterbacks such as Carson Wentz and Jameis Winston to continue improving, it’s reasonable to assume that we’ve already seen the best years of passers such as Drew Brees and Joe Flacco. Fantasy basketball sleepers 2015 In most cases, we’ll be right. How to build a deck frame Ryan and the Falcons proved this season, though, that exceptions to the rules of aging curves can result in shockingly great seasons.