If you are a fan of the Redskins or the Saints, you have to be feeling good right now. Even the Detroit Lions are undefeated after two weeks of preseason football.
But for fans of the Browns, Patriots, Bears, Falcons, Cowboys, and Packers, all with a 0-2 record, when does it officially become time to push the panic button and stop writing this off as "just preseason?"
Is it true that "preseason really doesn't mean anything?" For the answer, let's take a look at the past five football seasons and see how the four teams that ended up playing in the conference championship games and beyond in each of those seasons fared in preseason play.
Teams that went 4-0
Of the 20 teams that have played for the AFC and NFC championship since 2002, only three have gone undefeated in preseason.
The last to do it was Denver in 2005, but they did NOT make it to the Super Bowl. Denver lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers, who had a 3-1 preseason record. Still not bad.
Both the Patriots and the Panthers were 4-0 in preseason in 2003 and both made it to the Super Bowl.
Teams that went 3-1
Only four of the 20 teams have finished preseason with a 3-1 record. Pittsburgh (as mentioned) had a 3-1 record in 2005 and won the Super Bowl, as did Tampa Bay in 2002.
The San Diego Chargers last year, and the Indianapolis colts in 2003, had only one blemish on their preseason records and lost their conference title game.
Teams with a preseason 2-2 record
The greatest number of teams advancing to either the Super Bowl or their conference championship game had an even 2-2 preseason record. Nine teams in the last five years.
They include the Patriots last year, who, remarkably, had an undefeated regular and postseason but lost the Super Bowl.
The team that beat them, the New York Giants, had a 1-3 record in preseason.
Likewise, the Chicago bears, in 2006, finished preseason 2-2 and made it to the Super Bowl, where they lost to the Colts, who had, you guessed it, a dismal 1-3 record in preseason play.
Other teams with a 2-2 record to make it to their conference title game or beyond include New England in 2006, Seattle in 2005, Carolina in 2005, Atlanta in 2004, Pittsburg in 2004, Oakland in 2002 and Tennessee in 2002.
So what about the teams with losing preseason records?
Eight teams have gone 1-3 in the preseason over the past five years, including the reigning Super Bowl champs in 2007, Super Bowl champs Indianapolis in 2006, and Super Bowl champs New England in 2004
Most of the teams that won it all in the past five years started regulation play with a disappointing 1-3 preseason record.
Both of the teams in the 2004 Super Bowl, New England and the Philadelphia Eagles, had horrible 1-3 preseason records.
Green Bay in 2007, New Orleans in 2006, and Philadelphia in 2003 and 2002 made it to the conference championship game in spite of a 1-3 record in the preseason
Oh and Four
The big question then, is how often does a team that's oh-fer in the preseason make up for it in regulation play. And the answer is: not often.
There were no 0-4 teams in preseason to make it to the conference championships or the Super Bowl in the past five years. BUT, if your team finds itself in that corner, you need not lose heart.
In 2000, the New York Giants went 0-4 (CHI 20 @ NYG 8, NYG 13 @ JAC 16, NYG 24 @ NYJ 27, BAL 24 @ NYG 17) in preseason, losing their fourth preseason game on Friday, Aug. 25 to the Baltimore Ravens.
They would meet the Ravens again on Jan. 28 in the Super Bowl as the NFC Champions, but they would lose again to them, 34-7.
What does all of this mean? It simply means that you can take your hands off the panic button and don't worry, it's just preseason.
Statistics source: NFL.com