We all know the story: the preseason games means nothing, but fans nevertheless believe in them like they were the real deal (they’re paying for it like its the real deal, for sure). A 4-0 record in the preseason has got to mean something, right?
Wrong. If the Colts have proven anything, it’s that 4-20 (16%) preseason record somehow correlates to a 75-21 (78%) regular season record since 2005. Obviously Peyton Manning has something to do with this (or a lot to do with this); but the fact remains, predicting regular season success based off of preseason results is like drafting JaMarcus Russell: one party is going to be laughing all the way to the bank while the other is going to be wondering how they got robbed.
Perhaps the most famous example from last year was the Dallas Cowboys. With Super Bowl XLV being held at “Jerry World”, owner Jerry Jones confidently predicted that his Cowboys were going to be the first team to ever play (and win) a Super Bowl in their own stadium. Going into the preseason, head coach Wade Phillips assumed they already had the Super Bowl in the bag and so did the players, as they were SO talented, after all. Preseason practices were held like a travelling circus. And it showed. The preseason games were lackluster with many mistakes and mental errors, but perhaps more importantly, you could tell the team was coasting through the preseason.
Unfortunately, they forgot to stop coasting when the regular season started; the Cowboys started slow (and lost quarterback Tony Romo in the process) and limped into Lambeau Field with a 1-6 record. After the drubbing that the Packers laid down on Sunday Night Primetime, Wade Phillips was fired and Super Bowl aspirations were finally put to rest by Jerry and Cowboys fans alike.
While perhaps not as drastic as the 2010 Cowboys, the Packers have experienced the same thing. The Packers, for whatever reason, always seem to play well in the preseason, making touchdowns; interceptions and big plays look mundane. For instance, in 2009 preseason Rodgers lit it up; with just a couple of series with the first team offense, Rodgers threw for 465 yards and an average quarterback rating of 124.1. During the regular season however, by week 4 the Packers were sitting at 2-2 before finally rallying to finish 11-5.