It's just preseason, right? Meaningless competition... we can't really know how the Panthers will do based on these meaningless games, can we?
Maybe we can.
Since 2002 it's been John Fox's penchant to play his starters for three full quarters during the third preseason game, resting almost all of them in the final competition. Though injury can greatly effect any season there does seem to be a distinct pattern that emerges with the Panthers when they win or lose their third preseason game. Let's look at this pattern and discuss it...
After the jump
First, let's look at what has happened each 3rd preseason game since 2002, and our respective season that followed:
2002: Lost- Finished season 7-9
2003: Won- Finished season 11-5
2004: Won- Finished season 7-9
2005 :Won- Finished season 11-5
2006: Won- Finished season 8-8
2007: Lost- Finished season 7-9
2008: Won- Finished season 12-4
2009: Lost- Finished season 8-8
By looking at this breakdown we can see that:
- 66% of the time the Panthers won under John Fox in the third preseason game they finished the season over .500.
- 80% of the time the Panthers lost under John Fox in the third preseason game they finished the season .500 or worse.
"But James", you might say, "that isn't wholly convincing. After all, we won and finished 7-9 and won and finished 8-8. In only a seven game sample that is a big margin of error."
At first I thought that too, until I looked at how one of those variations occured.
2004: The Panthers were down 17-10 going into the 4th quarter. Rodney Peete and the Panthers scored 10 points in the 4th quarter against the Patriots' backups to win 20-17. Our starters in the game would have made this game a loss.
So now we only really have one abnormality in 7 season, the 2006 win against Miami. So now looking strictly at how the Panthers' starters have done we can see that:
- 75% of the time the Panthers win game three under John Fox they go on to have an over .500 season.
- 100% of the the Panthers lose game three under John Fox they go on to have a .500 or less than .500 season.
Maybe the third game of preseason holds more significance than we thought? What does everyone think, can the performance by the starters in the third preseason game effectively foreshadow the Panthers' fortunes for the upcoming season?