Statistically Chargers: Correlation Between Preseason and Regular Season Success?


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

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:

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!