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How Effective Is The First Round Bye?

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In a nutshell - first round byes can propell teams to a Super Bowl victory, but if they're not ready, they'll get knocked out of the playoffs early.  As we know, the New Orleans Saints are coming off the bye week, and haven't won a game in a month. There are arguments on whether or not it's good for a team, but in the end, it's landed several teams in a championship game. Here are some stats since 2002:

  • Teams that have had the first round bye have a combined record of 17-11. That's 60% of the teams with first round byes that have advanced to the next round.
  • More specifically, teams in the NFC with first round byes have a combined record of 9-5, but in the last two years NFC teams with first round byes are 1-3.
  • In 2006, the Chicago Bears and New Orleans Saints were the last NFC teams to win with a first round bye, advancing to the NFC Championship game where the Bears won 39-14.
  • Of the 17 teams that made it to the Championship game, 9 moved on to the Super Bowl. Of the 9, 4 won it all. The only NFC team to win the Super Bowl was the 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Most will tell you that a first round bye is benefitial to any team. You get an added week of rest, and you get the advantage of automatically moving on to the divisional round of the playoffs. Then you could make the case that teams who get the added week of rest lose chemistry and aren't in sync upon returning to the field.

The case can be made for both sides.

So I ask you - how effective is the first round bye?