Together with Dr. Jay Granat, a psychotherapist, I studied factors related to sports psychology to help predict the winner of the Super Bowl. The results are based on every Super Bowl ever played since the first Super Bowl in January 1967.
This year’s Super Bowl between the Denver Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks is a classic matchup between offense and defense. The numbers show that across all major sports, defense does indeed win championships. A majority of Super Bowls (62 percent) has been won by the team with the better defense, measured by points against.
Champions need to execute at a high-level, but with few errors and mistakes. The quarterback, as the team’s offensive leader, has a major impact in determining championships. In particular, quarterback interceptions during the regular season are great predictors of Super Bowl success. The team with fewer interceptions during the regular season has won 56 percent of all Super Bowls. Russell Wilson edges Peyton Manning in this department.
The team that has achieved more double-digit wins during the regular season has gone on to win 56 percent of Super Bowls. This category favors Denver with 10 double-digit wins, compared to eight for Seattle.
Ball control remains one of the more important offensive indicators studied in both professional and college football. The team with a better running game as measured by average yards per rush, has won 57 percent of the Super Bowls. The Seahawks averaged 4.3 yards per rush this season compared to 4.1 for the Broncos.
Similarly, stopping your opponent’s running game is related to winning the big game. The team with the better rushing defense has won 57 percent of all Super Bowls. Seattle is ranked seventh compared to Denver’s no. 10 ranking.
Overall, the quant facts favor the Seahawks 4-1. These factors are related to key concepts of sports psychology. Since inception, the quant facts have won at a rate of more than 60 percent even while picking underdogs from time to time. Enjoy the big game!
Carlton Chin is a portfolio strategist, quantitative researcher, and sports analysis contributor at Rant Sports. Please follow him on Twitter @QuantFacts, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your Google network.