RECORDS & AWARDS
November 14, 2012Richmond High School
This season, games are coming down to the wire.
Entering Week 11 of the 2012 NFL season, 77 games have been decided by eight points or fewer, the third-most through the first 10 weeks of a season in NFL history.
Additionally, 21.9 percent of NFL games this year (32 of 146) have seen the winning points scored in the final two minutes or overtime. That is the highest percentage at this point in a season since 2003.
With the standings tight and every win – and loss – impacting a team’s playoff position, the importance of being able to secure a victory in a close game is magnified.
“Winning in the NFL is a week-to-week proposition,” says Atlanta Falcons head coach MIKE SMITH, who is 27-11 in his career in games decided by one score. “It’s a 60-minute game. We want to have guys as fresh as we possibly can in the fourth quarter because the majority of the time, games are going to come down to the fourth quarter.”
Smith’s Falcons are 5-1 (.833) in games decided by eight points or fewer this season, tied with the Indianapolis Colts for the third-best mark in the league.
“You have to be able to win in all kinds of ways in this league,” says Houston Texans head coach GARY KUBIAK, whose team is a perfect 3-0 this season in games decided by one score. “You just need to keep battling.”
Of the top five teams this season with the best record in one-score games, four have a division lead. The five clubs combine for a 35-9-1 (.789) overall record.
“Resiliency is a very good sign for your team,” says Smith. “It just shows that we’re never out of it. Our guys always keep a positive attitude. They keep fighting and as long as there is time on the clock, you have to have the mindset that we do. We have the mentality that we can do whatever it takes.”
Smith’s 27-11 (.711) record in games decided by one score is the second-best in the NFL among active head coaches, trailing only San Francisco’s JIM HARBAUGH. Harbaugh, in his second season with the 49ers, is 10-2-1 (.808) in games decided by eight points or fewer.
“It’s because of the heart of the players,” says Harbaugh about winning close games. “Just down after down, to never tire mentally and to keep fighting. You’ve got to trust and believe that you can. That’s the way you want them to play.”
The active head coaches with the best records in one-score games (minimum 10 such games):