Allen Park – The Detroit Lions have cemented their reputation as the new “Cardiac Cats,” with seven comeback wins in their first 11 games.
Obviously, not all comebacks are created the same. By definition, a team is credited with a comeback as long as they are trailing and take the lead at any point in the fourth quarter or overtime. Down one point and scoring a touchdown with 14 minutes remaining counts the same as a touchdown capping an 80-yard drive in the final two minutes.
But for the Lions, most of their comebacks have come in the later stages of the game, when the odds of pulling off the feats become longer. And when you start looking at the odds of successfully pulling off all seven comebacks, the numbers are mind-boggling.
Gambling website Prediction Machine attempted to quantify the rarity of the Lions’ season by taking the odds the team had of winning each game at the moment opponents scored to take their final leads, from the 9.1 percent shot in Minnesota to the 41.6 probability of reclaiming the lead from Jacksonville.
Totaled, the odds of the Lions coming back in all seven, based on Prediction Machine’s figures, is 1 in nearly 40,000, but even that might be too low.
Using Pro Football Reference’s model, which evaluates a team’s chance to win based on score, time remaining and down and distance, we pulled the Lions’ odds at the lowest point of each victory.
In three games, at Indianapolis, vs. Washington and at Minnesota, Detroit’s odds actually dipped below one percent.
Using this methodology, the Lions’ had a 1 in 8.65 billion chance of winning their seven games. You read that correctly, 8.65 billion.
To put that in the perspective it’s 29 times more likely to hit the Powerball lottery.