Coming down the home stretch of any NFL regular season, analysts, writers and fans often use the expression "Peaking at the Right Time" in regards to a team's late season performance. I'm as guilty as anyone for using the expression (perhaps even over-using it). So when I really got to thinking about it, what exactly constitutes a team peaking at the right time? Even more specifically, what are the characteristics of a team peaking at the right time that ultimately goes on to win the Super Bowl?
As widely as the expression is used, there remains no generally accepted definition for what it actually means. More times than not, the team an NFL analyst says is peaking at the right time does not go on to win the Super Bowl. This makes me question the criteria they use in supporting their assertion. Perhaps the most common criteria used to support the expression is the team with the best winning streak going into the playoffs. However, there are numerous championship teams that have debunked that line of thinking. Last season, the Saints rode a three game losing streak heading into the playoffs en route to winning the Super Bowl. Another example that hits closer to home is the 2008 Steelers. That season, the Steelers endured a Week 16 loss to the Titans before they went on to raise the Lombardi. When you look at the other recent Super Bowl champions, most if not all of them also defied that common criteria.
So this brings us back to the burning question, what defines a team peaking at the right time? I'm sure most would contend that it is a combination of factors. But what exactly does the combination consist of? Is there a magic formula out there that can calculate a team peaking at the right time? Or does the definition change on a season-to-season basis given differing circumstances? If a uniform definition cannot be established for the expression, should we continue to use it in intellectual NFL conversation?
What are your thoughts?...