Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Patriots top NFL Earn of Corn team in 21st century

The 21st century has belonged to the New England Patriots in so many ways, so why not one more? The Patriots are the runaway winner in the Ear of Corn since it was first tracked with the 2000 season.


Ledger for these standings: W – Wins. L – Losses. Pct. – Winning Percentage. T – Titles won. 
D – Title Defenses. O – Defense Opportunities.

The New England Patriots have dominated the 21st century NFL by every known measure.

Comes now another measure of the 21st century, that is less known. And – what do you know? – the Patriots dominate by that measure, too.

Since we began tracking the traveling championship in the NFL with the start of the 2000 season, the Patriots have owned it like no other team. As our standings of the top 10 NFL teams historically shows, the Patriots have won 45 Ear of Corn games, well ahead of the Indianapolis Colts, the Minnesota Vikings, the Green Bay Packers and San Diego Chargers, who are all tied for next with 16 wins.

The Patriots didn't play for the ear in 2016, and it didn't hurt them one bit in these standings. The Patriots probably could lose every game they play for the ear for the next 15 years and still remain on top.

The Patriots last won it on Feb. 1, 2015, the day of Super Bowl XLIX, defeating the Seattle Seahawks, 28-24. Then, taking the prize to the 2015 regular season, the Patriots defended it 10 straight times before losing it, 30-24, in overtime to the Denver Broncos in Denver on Nov. 29, 2015.

Winning 11 straight Ear of Corn games was nothing new for the Patriots. They also won 11 straight from Dec. 2, 2001 to Sept. 29, 2002. That streak began with a 17-16 win against the New York Jets at New York and ended with a 21-14 loss to the San Diego Chargers.

The Patriots also had a 10-game winning streak for the prize during the 2007 season, when they took a perfect record to Super Bowl XLII against the New York Giants. The Giants won that game, 17-14.

Thus began a 12-game Ear of Corn winning streak for the Giants, before they finally lost it on Dec. 7, 2008, in a 20-14 home field loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

But none of those is the all-time longest winning streak for the Ear of Corn. That distinction belongs to the Green Bay Packers. Starting with a 31-25 win against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV on Feb. 6, 2010, the Packers won 14 straight before succumbing to the Kansas City Chiefs, 19-14, in Kansas City on Dec. 18, 2011.

Nor do the Patriots hold the all-time record for Ear of Corn championships. The Patriots have won seven of them, leaving them behind the New Orleans Saints and the Oakland Raiders, who are tied at the top spot with eight championships each.

In the top 10 standings given here, you will notice that the Raiders are not included. It seems peculiar that a team that has won the most titles ever wouldn't be one of the best ten teams of all time.

A peculiarity, perhaps, of the Ear of Corn. Though the Raiders have won as many such championships as any other NFL team, they are, arguably, the worst team ever playing for this prize.

Well, maybe not the worst. The Cleveland Browns (0-3 in Ear of Corn games), Baltimore Ravens (0-4) and Chicago Bears (0-3) have never won it.

But the Raiders have stumbled much more often than not. Their overall record in Ear of Corn games is 12-18, giving them the most all time losses, barely more than the Jets (6-17). The Raiders have only successfully defended the prize four times after eight championships.

Thus, the Raiders are 4-8 as an Ear of Corn champion and 4-10 as an Ear of Corn challenger.

Following are the Ear of Corn results for the NFL in all three that are tracked – the NFL, the AFC and the NFC. The results for other seasons can be found here.



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