Winning Teams Overcome Injuries

Preventing injuries has been a major focus for the Packers, who have been among the most-injured teams in the league since Mike McCarthy took over as coach. Surprisingly, however, staying healthy has had little correlation to winning the ultimate prize.

Surprisingly, there's little correlation between injuries and on-the-field success.

The Green Bay Packers, of course, are the poster childs for winning with injuries. When they won the Super Bowl in 2010, they did so after losing a league-high 91 games from their preferred starters due to injuries, based on research from Dallas Morning News columnist Rick Gosselin. For the Packers, most of the injuries happened early, so there was time to adjust, most of the elite players remained healthy and there was depth to replace those who went down.

Of the 16 teams that advanced to the Super Bowl over the past eight seasons, they ranked 17.8 in games lost from their starters.

Here's the data since 2005, the year Ted Thompson became general manager.

2012: Of the 10 healthiest teams, six made the playoffs, including San Francisco (eight games lost from preferred starters) and Seattle (11 games) topping the list. Indianapolis (27th), Washington (31st) and Green Bay (32nd) made the playoffs despite enduring more injuries than most teams. Baltimore (12th-fewest injuries) beat San Francisco (first) in the Super Bowl.

2011: Of the 10 healthiest teams, six made the playoffs, including New Orleans (first), Baltimore (tied for third) and Detroit (tied for third) being among the four healthiest teams. The Giants (27th) beat the Patriots (30th) in a black-and-blue Super Bowl.

2010: Of the 10 healthiest teams, four made the playoffs, with Atlanta, Kansas City and Chicago reaching the playoffs as the league's healthiest teams. On the other hand, six of the 10 most injury-stricken teams made the playoffs. The Packers (32nd) beat the Steelers (tied for 24th) in a Super Bowl sponsored by Band-Aid.

2009: Of the 10 healthiest teams, four made the playoffs, with Dallas, Minnesota and Arizona qualifying for the playoffs as the league's healthiest teams. The Saints (27th) beat the Colts (26th) in a Super Bowl sponsored by Tylenol.

2008: Eight of the 10 healthiest teams made the playoffs, with Atlanta (second), Carolina (third), Arizona (fourth) and Tennessee (fifth) ranking among the most durable. The Steelers (24th) beat the Cardinals in the Super Bowl.

2007: Five of the 10 healthiest teams made the playoffs, including the Titans (first). In one of the few examples of health equating to postseason success, the Giants (fourth) beat the Patriots (tied for eighth with the Packers) in the Super Bowl.

2006: Seven of the 10 healthiest teams made the playoffs. The Colts (23rd) beat the Bears (tied for eighth) in the Super Bowl.

2005: Seven of the 10 healthiest teams made the playoffs, including Denver (first), Pittsburgh (second), Indianapolis (third), Tampa Bay (fifth), Washington (sixth), Cincinnati (seventh) and Carolina (eighth). The Steelers (second) beat the Seahawks (32nd) in the Super Bowl.


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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at packwriter2002@yahoo.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.

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