Among other things, the Ravens winning the Super Bowl after a sloppy finish to the regular season might kill the idea of the importance of being hot going into the playoffs.
If anything, the converse is true.
As pointed out by Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times, the Ravens lost four of their last five regular season games before getting on a hot streak in the playoffs, making seven of the last eight champions who have slouched to the finish of the regular season.
The 2011 Giants lost four games in a row in November and December. The 2010 Packers lost three of their last four. The 2009 Saints lost their final three. The 2007 Giants were 4-4 in November and December. The 2006 Colts lost four of their final seven. And the 2005 Steelers had a three-game December losing streak.
Among recent champs, only the 2008 Steelers finished with any kind of what is generally referred to as momentum, winning their final four regular season games and nine of their last 10.
“I think the adversity does help, it does callus you up,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “But through all that, we were improving. Even though we were losing, I felt like we were improving.”
Since it’s a copycat league, we now fully expect teams to pull all their starters for the final month of the season, just to give themselves a shot in the playoffs.