Mean Reversion: Will Oakland Raiders' Fans Have Something to Cheer About?

By Carlton Chin
Oakland Raiders Cheerleaders
Kirby Lee – USA TODAY Sports

In part one of this article, we listed several reasons why the Oakland Raiders and their fans may have hope for the 2014 season. The list included everything from the NFL scheduling system and the 2014 NFL Draft to the Raiders’ salary cap situation and even luck. In this article, we review recent NFL history to see how teams bounce up and down from year to year.

More specifically, we study how poor teams performed in each of the past two seasons. For example, Oakland fans painfully realize that they have suffered through back-to-back 4-12 seasons. Is this common or do teams generally bounce up and down from year to year? We know that the Houston Texans limped to a 2-14 record during 2013 NFL regular season after going 12-4 in the previous season. Is it more common to stay mediocre? Or do teams bounce up and down and “revert to the mean?”

We took every team that had a 4-12 record or worse during the 2012 and 2013 NFL regular seasons and looked at how they performed in the other season.

Here is the list of teams that won four or fewer games in 2012 and their performance in 2013:

These teams won four or fewer games in 2013:

Of these ten teams, only three teams suffered through two poor years in a row, defined as five wins or fewer. Seven teams had at least of one year of competitive play and many even made the playoffs!

Based on the path of other teams in the NFL there is a decent chance that the Raiders will see better times ahead. “Reversion to the mean” could indicate a competitive 2014 season for the Oakland Raiders and their fans.

Carlton J. Chin is a portfolio strategist, quant 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.

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