The Super Bowl was the game we deserved
Despite a playoff season full of mediocre games, Super Bowl LVII turned out to be a barnburner
As far as postseasons go the 2022 rendition was a bit underwhelming. But when it was all said and done we got the two best teams facing each other in the biggest game of the year, and they delivered a tilt that felt nothing short of a heavyweight prize fight.
In a back-and-forth affair the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35 on a Harrison Butker chip shot field goal in the final seconds of Super Bowl LVII. It was the Chiefs’ second title in the past five years.
In the process the Eagles became only the second team to ever relinquish a double digit halftime lead in Super Bowl history.
The eye test told us it was one of the best games of the year, and the numbers back it up. The team most likely to win the game, according to nflfastR’s win probability model, changed hands six different times — a crucial ingredient in determining game excitement in this writer’s opinion21.
The Eagles raced out to a 7-0 lead on their first possession before the Chiefs struck back to tie it at seven. Philadelphia took control the rest of the half, and despite a Jalen Hurts fumble that was returned for a touchdown by Kansas City, the Eagles led at the half 24-14.
From there it was almost all Chiefs. They scored three touchdowns in the second half and turned down a fourth when Jerick McKinnon purposefully slid down on the 1-yard line to keep the clock running in the final minute. That set up Butker’s game-winning kick from 27 yards out.
It finished as the second most exciting playoff game this season behind the Miami-Buffalo Wild Card round slugfest.
According to my calculation of Game Excitement Index3, this year’s Super Bowl ranked as the 80th best game of the year. That's not as high as I would have expected, but as I've written before, I do think GEI gives too much credit to overtime games, so there are likely a few games ahead of this one that shouldn't be.
Either way it doesn’t take away from a fantastic game and an eye-popping comeback led by Patrick Mahomes, who is seeping into the GOAT conversation with each passing game.
See you next year.
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The Patriots’ 32-29 win over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII ranks as the most exciting Super Bowl of all time, according to FiveThirtyEight.
Game Excitement Index (GEI) is a way to measure how exciting an individual game is, as the name implies. I calculate it similar to what Luke Benz has done in college basketball. The approach is to sum the absolute value of the win probability change from each play and multiply by a normalized time parameter. This gives us an index by which we can rank each game’s excitement factor. The way to interpret, for example, a Game Excitement Index of 4.0 is that the win probability changed by a total of 400% over the course of that game. The higher the number, the more exciting the game.