Home > nfl > How Important Are Injuries In The NFL?

How Important Are Injuries In The NFL?

I’ve been using my daily blogs to share what goes into my division forecasts for the NFL. Today I would like to analyze starters lost in the NFL and just how important it really is.

The chart below is how many starts were lost by each NFL team over the past 3 seasons. I would like to thank Rich Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News for these numbers as we use his totals to be consistent from one season to another. The green blocks represent a top 5 number meaning the fewest injuries lost in a season or the 3 year total while the red number indicates being in the NFL’s bottom 5. Each lost start represents a game missed by a starter. For example when NE’s QB Tom Brady was injured in the opening game he would represent 15 of NE’s 64 starts lost. The chart to the left are starts lost for the last 3 seasons and a 3 year total. The chart on the right represents a teams number of wins.

2008

starts

lost to injury

2007

starts

lost to injury

2006

starts

lost to injury

06-’08

lost starts

2008 Wins
2007 wins
2006 wins
NY JETS
12
63
28
103
Denver
8
7
9
24
ATLANTA
15
68
64
147
St. Louis
2
3
8
13
CAROLINA
16
52
80
148
Miami
11
1
6
18
ARIZONA
18
54
69
141
Baltimore
11
5
13
29
TENNESSEE
21
34
58
113
NY Jets
9
4
10
23
SAN FRANCISCO
22
65
70
157
Buffalo
7
7
7
21
PHILADELPHIA
24
43
35
102
Chicago
9
7
13
29
MIAMI
25
101
56
182
Indianapolis
12
13
12
37
MINNESOTA
26
49
48
123
Dallas
9
13
9
31
SAN DIEGO
29
42
31
102
Oakland
5
4
2
11
TAMPA BAY
30
51
84
165
Green Bay
6
13
8
27
CHICAGO
31
72
41
144
Washington
8
9
5
22
NY GIANTS
33
39
65
137
New Orleans
8
7
10
25
DALLAS
36
48
28
112
San Diego
8
11
14
33
KANSAS CITY
36
43
38
117
Philadelphia
9
8
10
27
OAKLAND
37
75
58
170
Jacksonville
5
11
8
24
HOUSTON
41
62
69
172
Kansas City
2
4
9
15
CLEVELAND
43
49
75
167
Atlanta
11
4
7
22
GREEN BAY
44
52
39
135
Minnesota
10
8
6
24
BUFFALO
50
75
44
169
Pittsburgh
12
10
8
30
INDIANAPOLIS
50
67
42
159
San Fran
7
5
7
19
DETROIT
51
64
100
215
Houston
8
8
6
22
WASHINGTON
52
68
56
176
Cincinnati
4
7
8
19
PITTSBURGH
53
35
34
122
Arizona
9
8
5
22
JACKSONVILLE
56
65
59
180
Seattle
4
10
9
23
NEW ORLEANS
56
58
47
161
Tennessee
13
10
8
31
ST LOUIS
58
103
52
213
Cleveland
4
10
4
18
BALTIMORE
64
78
35
177
NY Giants
12
10
8
30
NEW ENGLAND
64
39
68
171
Carolina
12
7
8
27
DENVER
65
96
45
206
New Eng
11
16
12
39
SEATTLE
72
39
57
168
Tampa Bay
9
9
4
22
CINCINNATI
84
55
64
203
Detroit
0
7
3
10

The first thing that jumps out at me that each team in green (fewest starts lost to inj) LY won at least 9 games (avg’d 10.8 wins) and 4 of the 5 made the playoff’s. By looking at the 3 year performance ALL 15 teams won at least 8 games with 11 of 14 winning 10 + and the 15 teams averaged 10.7 wins per season. The only 2 teams that did not make the playoffs during the last 3 years were the Jets LY and Pittsburgh in 2006.

2008 fewest starts lost
2007 fewest starts lost
2006 fewest starts lost
NY Jets 12 – wins 9
Tennessee 34 – wins 10
NY Jets 28 – wins 10
Atlanta 15 – wins 11
Pittsburgh 35 – wins 10
Dallas 28 – wins 9
Carolina 16 – wins 12
NY Giants 39 – wins 10
San Diego 31 – wins 14
Arizona 18 – wins 9
New England 39 – wins 16
Pittsburgh 34 – wins 8
Tennessee 21 – wins 13
Seattle 39 – wins 10
Philadelphia 35 – wins 10

While you can’t predict injuries prior to a season the below chart re-emphasizes how important staying healthy is in the NFL. Only ONE team of the 15 teams listed below made the playoffs and that was Baltimore last year. The teams that had the 5 highest starts lost over the past 3 years have had 5 wins or less 8 of the 15 times and the teams with the TOP 2 amount of starts lost averaged 3.2 wind the last 3 seasons.

2008 MOST starts lost
2007 MOST starts lost
2006 MOST starts lost
Cincinnati 84 – wins 4
St Louis 103 – wins 3
Detroit 100 – wins 3
Seattle 72 – wins 4
Miami 101 – wins 1
Tampa Bay 84 – wins 4
Denver 65 – wins 8
Denver 96 – wins 7
Carolina 80 – wins 8
New England 64 – wins 11
Baltimore 78 – wins 5
Cleveland 75 – wins 4
Baltimore 64 – wins 11
Buffalo 75 – wins 7
San Francisco 70 – wins 7

Let’s take a look at what teams have had the fewest and most starts lost to injuries the last 3 seasons.

DETROIT
215
10
OAKLAND
170
11
ST LOUIS
213
13
KANSAS CITY
117
15
CLEVELAND
167
18
MIAMI
182
18
CINCINNATI
203
19
SAN FRANCISCO
157
19
BUFFALO
169
21
ARIZONA
141
22
ATLANTA
147
22
HOUSTON
172
22
TAMPA BAY
165
22
WASHINGTON
176
22
NY JETS
103
23
SEATTLE
168
23
DENVER
206
24
JACKSONVILLE
180
24
MINNESOTA
123
24
NEW ORLEANS
161
25
CAROLINA
148
27
GREEN BAY
135
27
PHILADELPHIA
102
27
BALTIMORE
177
29
CHICAGO
144
29
NY GIANTS
137
30
PITTSBURGH
122
30
DALLAS
112
31
TENNESSEE
113
31
SAN DIEGO
102
33
INDIANAPOLIS
159
37
NEW ENGLAND
171
39

Detroit tops the list with 215 starts lost and it no surprise they also have an NFL low 10 wins in those 3 seasons. Infact the 4 teams with the most starts lost all have 19 or fewer wins over the past 3 seasons finishing 1st, 3rd, 6th and 7th in fewest wins. On the opposite end of the spectrum the 5 teams that have the lowest 3 year total have had 14 of 15 winning season 3 of the teams having the 3rd, 4th and 5th highest total of wins over the same 3 year period.

Lastly lets look at how this helps us to project a teams success for the upcoming season. I compared how many starters were lost and not surprisingly when a team had many fewer starts lost they improved and when they  had more starts lost their record was poorer.

When a team had 29 or more lost starts their record decreased 6 times and stayed the same once.

’06-’07 dif in starts lost

Denver –51  /wins –2

St Louis –51 /wins –5

Miami –45 /wins –5

Baltimore –43 /wins –8

NY Jets –35 /wins –6

Buffalo –31 /wins 0

Chicago –31 /wins -6

On the positive side teams that stayed healthier with 29 or fewer starts lost then the year prior had a better record on all 3 occasions.

’06-’07

Detroit +36 /+4 wins

Tampa Bay +33 /+5 wins

New England +29 /+4 wins

So check out this years Top 5 of the NY Jets, Atlanta, Carolina, Arizona & Tennessee and you must figure they will not be able to sustain those type of numbers again. Also look at the bottom 5 of Baltimore, New England, Denver, Seattle and Cincinnati and you must figure they will be healthier then last season. Although the odds say that the teams at the top and bottom of the above chart will do the opposite please not that Tennessee has been in the Top 5 in terms of health each of the last 2 years while both Baltimore and Denver have been in the bottom 5 the last 2 season.

Be Sociable, Share!
Categories: nfl Tags: ,