Aug 15, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) signals to an official during the second half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. Chicago won 33-28. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Statistically Chargers: Correlation Between Preseason and Regular Season Success?

As the summer months wear on, many of us Chargers’ fans grow hungry for anything football. We scour over Google news; searching the “past 24 hour” updates of terms like “San Diego Chargers Rumors” only to find dust bunny and swinging saloon doors.

Then it is here, the San Diego Chargers’ 2013 training camp and preseason are upon us. After months of four hour baseball games and summer league basketball, the sport that helps us get through the work week is back in full swing.

It is in the nature of a deprived sports fan to over-analysis and over-react. In speaking with many Chargers’ fans, I have found despair to be a common sentiment after the first two preseason losses.

But fear not Chargers’ fans, Statistically Chargers is here to give you a view from the spreadsheet.

Here is a look at the past ten years of the Chargers’ record in both the Preseason and Regular Season:

Year Preseason Regular Season
Wins Losses Win % Wins Losses Win %
2003 3 1 0.75 4 12 0.25
2004 2 2 0.50 12 4 0.75
2005 1 3 0.25 9 7 0.56
2006 2 2 0.50 14 2 0.88
2007 3 1 0.75 11 5 0.69
2008 3 1 0.75 8 8 0.50
2009 3 1 0.75 13 3 0.81
2010 1 3 0.25 9 7 0.56
2011 2 2 0.50 8 8 0.50
2012 3 1 0.75 7 9 0.44
2013 ? ? ? ? ? ?

When testing the correlation between winning percentages in the Preseason and Regular season, one comes up with a coefficient with the absolute value of 0.16. For all you non-stat geeks out there, usually, if a coefficient is below .30,  there is considered to be little-to-no correlation between the two sets of data.

Basically, this mean that there is no correlation between preseason and regular season success for the Chargers over the past 10 years since the value of .16 is far below the .30 validity threshold.

Some additional stats:

  • When the Chargers lose two or more games in the preseason, they have a combined record of 52-28 (65% Win Percentage)
  • Of those five years with two or more loses in the preseason, the Chargers made the playoffs two times.
  • When the Chargers lose one game in the preseason, they have a combined record of 43-37 (54% Win Percentage
  • Of those five years with one loss in the preseason, the Chargers made the playoffs 3 times
While these number point to the Chargers making the playoff more often when they lose one game in the preseason, since the correlation was invalid between preseason and regular season records, there is still no statistical evidence that preseason effect postseason appearances (But you can throw these stats at your friends to impress them).


Keep an eye out for my next article, where I will explore teams that Mike McCoy has coached and their preseason – regular season – postseason correlations!


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Tags: 2013 AFC West Chargers News NFL Nfl Offseason Philip Rivers Preseason San Diego Chargers

  • tubbs45

    So your saying there is a chance… of maybe making the playoffs, but maybe not…

    • Cameron Ward

      I am saying that don’t invest your emotions in the preseason results

      • arnie


      • tubbs45

        Cameron, I got it…

  • Cgoodness13

    Ya McCoy has been quoted in saying he’s using these pre-season games as a practice and opportunity for players to prove themselves, I feel kinda bad for hating on the SP teams coach for that bears game seeing a who was on the field, but I have missed every 1st quarter in these games so I have no idea what our actual SP teams looks like

    • Peter Thompson

      They looked… meh. I don’t remember them looking good at any point, if that says anything.
      My biggest complaint is that Nick Novak needs to figure out how to kick the ball out of the back of the end zone, and not to guys like Devin “I’m going to make you pay for that” Hester… SMH. I can’t remember him putting one “clearly” out of the endzone in any of the two games. He may have gotten lucky with a bounce… but I could be wrong. Need to work on that leg strength!

      • arnie

        Gee which would be harder? Kicking it out of the end-zone, so the opponent is spotted on the 20 with 80yards to go? Or watching return it to the 40, with 60 yards to score? (sarcasm)
        until they move the spot of the ball back to where it was more exciting, I agree with you Pete.

  • Tazzster

    I agree Cameron. Most of the preseason games are played by players who are not going to be playing much in the regular season, so obviously the final result does not prove how good your team is… at the very best it is an indication of depth.
    From my analysis of the first stringers, I see a very good defense. I don’t have any worries on that side of the ball. On offense I see an improved O-line, but really how could it not improve. More depth in the backfield. Fozzy has looked great. I have no worries about Phillip – if he has time in the pocket, he will be fine. I am a little worried about WR. It looks like a bunch of mediocre players. I hope Keenan Allen grows into a Pro Bowler in a hurry.
    All in all the team looks better than last year.
    Another thing to throw into the mix is if the offensive play calling will be improved. I’m sure Whisenhut is keeping the play calling some what dumbed down until the regular games begin.
    I have high hopes… 9 or 10 wins and a playoff spot would be a good year.

  • joerockt

    As shown, pre season means nothing besides finding out who you want to keep on your team and getting your known starters injured.

    Honestly preseason should be cut to 2 games, the rest should be teams visiting other teams to practice 1 or 2 weeks during camp.

    • Stefanie Smith

      That would be a perfect idea.

      • joerockt

        I think it would work. At least for a week a team gets away from home (at least for the teams that do practice at home, like the Chargers), drops all those distractions, and just concentrates on nothing but football for a week. Heck, should really be for the entire time of training camp. I know some teams do this who do not have camp anywhere near their home town.

  • Stefanie Smith

    My real concern is Ken Whisenhunt. It is not like he took Arizona to the top in the last couple of years. Why do we think this guy is good? If McCoy picked him, I guess he is good. This is the weirdest profession. You get fired from your previous job and no one seems to care.

    • TheReturnOfMrBlanks

      I hear what your saying, but he never had a even remotely decent QB in those years.

  • Stefanie Smith

    Plus no matter what ‘Rivers says, there is something weird that he was sitting out before a game on Saturday.