In 1983, first quickly became worst.
I thought the Buffalo v. Philadelphia Super Bowl from the previous season was bad enough, then came the results that spat out in the 1983 season simulation.
The Bills finished 1-15, the Eagles topped that by somehow going 0-16.
That would be a combined 1-31 and some of WhatIfSports metrics have me scratching my head. The Bills were nothing special with an actual 8-8 record, although the team had a -68 point differential and Pro-Football-Reference game them an ‘expected’ won-loss record of 6-10.
The Eagles 0-16 trophy should look just fine next to their 1981 and 1982 Super Bowl titles and their faux 0-14 season from 1971. The team went an actual 5-11 that season, they did suck – but still should have won at least a few games.
More surprises await in the final standings in a season that saw Eric Dickerson, John Elway and Dan Marino arrive on the scene along with Lawrence Taylor entering his third year. Parity reigned as 12-4 marked the leagues best record.
Yes, the actual Super Bowl XVII goes down a year later in simulation and Marino debuts in the big game in his rookie season. Without having to worry about Jack Squirek reading a late first-half screen pass ran in the regular season like a book, Joe Theismann completes 16 of 17 passes with four touchdowns while both Joe Washington and John Riggins eclipse 100 yards rushing to earn Joe Gibbs his first championship. The 124 points accumulated in three postseason games was no fluke as Washington racked up 541 points in the actual regular season.
Other bullet points from the 1983 campaign include…
- In his first year as Seattle coach, Chuck Knox leads the Seahawks to their first playoff berth in the franchises eight-year history. The head-to-head tiebreaker allowed Seattle to edge past the Los Angeles Raiders and San Diego Chargers.
- In real life, Washington and Dallas not only battled for the NFC East Championship but also the top playoff seed. Despite a real-life 3-12-1 mark, the New York Giants crashed the party and wound up hosting a Wild Card game.
- The Green Bay Packers sported a 5-7 record and trailed the Chicago Bears by three games with four games remaining. But Green Bay would run the table, including two wins over the Bears to win the NFC Central title for a second straight season.
- The San Francisco 49ers make the playoffs easily for the first time in simulation during the Bill Walsh era.
A number of simulations repeated events from the actual season. Washington hosted the Rams in a divisional playoff and 49ers in the NFC Championship in both real-life and the simulation. The Seahawks advanced to the AFC Championship with a win in Miami in real life but lose to the Dolphins in the conference title game at home in the sim.
Wherever Chuck Knox goes, he wins.