Pats Try to Break Super Bowl Curse

Can Patriots Break Super Bowl Loser’s Curse?

They say losing is contagious. They may be on to something; for 25 straight years, the team that lost the Super Bowl has failed to reach the NFL’s championship game the following season.

You have to go all the way back to the Buffalo Bills, who lost four consecutive title games during the early ‘90s, to find a team that broke this particular version of the Super Bowl Curse. That’s not going to make New England Patriots supporters very happy. The Patriots were favored to beat the Philadelphia Eagles by four points at Super Bowl 52, but they fell 41-33 at the hands of backup QB Nick Foles (who earned Super Bowl MVP honors for his surprisingly brilliant work) and head coach Doug Pederson. And while the Patriots are +600 favorites at press time to break the Curse, that’s down from +450 at the start of the preseason. Uh-oh.

Double, Double Toil and Trouble

Of course, you and I know there isn’t any black magic at work here. Reaching the Super Bowl in any given season is a remarkable achievement – and it’s only getting more difficult as the years wear on. Thanks to the NFL’s anti-competitive salary cap structure, league-wide advancements in coaching strategy, and the increasingly violent nature of the sport, the distance between the penthouse and the outhouse can be measured in millimeters. But there’s more to this Curse than just failing to make back-to-back Super Bowls. Look at all these teams over the past 25 years who posted a losing season after falling off the mountaintop:

1994 Buffalo Bills: 7-9 SU, 8-8 ATS

1999 Atlanta Falcons: 5-11 SU, 6-10 ATS

2001 New York Giants: 7-9 SU, 5-9-2 ATS

2002 St. Louis Rams: 7-9 SU, 4-12 ATS

2003 Oakland Raiders: 4-12 SU, 3-12-1 ATS

2004 Carolina Panthers: 7-9 SU, 9-6-1 ATS

2005 Philadelphia Eagles: 6-10 SU, 5-11 ATS

2007 Chicago Bears: 7-9 SU and ATS

2016 Carolina Panthers: 6-10 SU, 6-9-1 ATS

That is some major sucktitude right there. No wonder bettors have been backing off the Patriots since the first Super Bowl 53 odds hit the board. Would you want to bet against a 25-year trend, one that has more legs than Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch? But before placing some action check review.

Cassel’s Made of Sand

Hold the phone for just a moment. Look at that list up there, and you’ll see one team missing: the New England Patriots. True, the dreaded Curse got them in 1997, 2008 and 2012, but the Patriots didn’t post losing seasons the following year. In fact, they’ve been a winning team ever since the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady Era began way back in 2001. And that 2008 campaign was when QB Matt Cassel took over for the injured Brady in Week 1; the Patriots still went 11-5 SU and 9-7 ATS, even if they missed the playoffs.

In short, if you’re looking for a Super Bowl Curse-buster, the New England Patriots are the kind of team you’d want to throw your weight behind – even if no one team can be favored to win the Super Bowl right out of the gate. The question for bettors: Do the Pats have value at +600 on the NFL odds board? And if not, how long do their Super Bowl odds have to get before we jump back on the bandwagon?

The Peyton Principle

Glad you asked. Stat nerds across the interwebs have kindly given us their projections for the 2018 NFL season, and the general consensus seems to have New England’s Super Bowl chances at around 13-15%. Plug those implied probabilities into Sportsbook Review’s odds converter, and you get an equivalent range between +567 and +669. The Patriots fall neatly into the middle of that range now that they’ve shed some of their burdensome chalk.

It won’t take much more shedding for New England to become a value Super Bowl pick. At some point in the near future, Brady (who just turned 41) is likely to suffer the same career drop-off that Peyton Manning did in his awful 2015 season, but even then, look what happened: Manning came back to lead his Denver Broncos to victory at Super Bowl 50 before riding off into the sunset. And like Manning three years ago, Brady has just about all the pieces around him that a title contender could ask for. The Super Bowl may be a lottery, but as always, the New England Patriots have a shipload of lottery tickets.

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