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INSIDE THE NUMBERS: The Dolphins And 2-0 Starts

Posted Sep 21, 2013

What does the 2-0 start mean moving forward?



With their 24-20 victory against the Colts on Sunday, the Dolphins fashioned the 19th 2-0 start in franchise history.

This is the Dolphins’ 48th season in the NFL, which means they’ve started 2-0 a shade under 40 percent of the time. That’s an impressive figure in itself, but it’s made even more impressive by the fact they’ve started 0-2 only 10 times — and only seven times since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger.

That’s all good, but what does the 2-0 start mean moving forward? Since the NFL went to its current playoff format — with six teams qualifying in each conference — in 1990, teams that get off to 2-0 starts make the playoffs 63.3 percent of the time.

For the Dolphins, though, history says a 2-0 start is even more conducive to a forthcoming postseason appearance.

Of the previous 18 times they’ve started 2-0, the Dolphins have made the playoffs 14 times (77.8 percent). And one of those exceptions came in 1977 when the Dolphins finished with a 10-4 record and tied for first in the AFC East, only to lose the division tiebreaker to the Baltimore Colts and to have the Oakland Raiders qualify as the one AFC wild-card team with an 11-3 mark.

Three of the Dolphins’ five trips to the Super Bowl came after the team started 2-0. That obviously includes the 1972 season when the Dolphins were 14-0, but also the 1982 strike-shortened season and 1984 when the Dolphins won their first 11 games on their way to a 14-2 regular season finish.

For the record, the Dolphins started 1-0-1 in 1971 when they reached the Super Bowl for the first time, and were 1-1 after two games in 1973 when they repeated as Super Bowl champs.

Eight of the 32 NFL teams found themselves at 2-0 after Week 2 this season, which actually was an increase over 2012 when only six teams won both of their first two games.

Of those six teams, three (Houston, Atlanta and San Francisco) went on to make the playoffs and three failed — San Diego, Philadelphia and Arizona.

In 2011, four of the seven teams that started 2-0 made the playoffs; in 2010, it was five of eight.

The Dolphins were one of those eight 2-0 teams in 2010, but they unfortunately couldn’t build on their momentum. Miami actually finished 7-9 that season, the only time the Dolphins have started 2-0 and endured a losing season.

Miami’s previous 2-0 start had come in 2002 and capped a stretch of eight times in nine seasons where the Dolphins won their first two games.

Here’s the rundown of the Dolphins’ 2-0 starts, along with their final record and whether they made the playoffs:

1972, 14-0, playoffs, won Super Bowl
1977, 10-4, no playoffs
1979, 10-6, playoffs
1981, 11-4-1, playoffs
1982, 7-2, playoffs, reached Super Bowl
1983, 12-4, playoffs
1984, 14-2, reached Super Bowl
1990, 12-4, playoffs
1992, 11-5, reached AFC Championship Game
1994, 11-5, playoffs
1995, 9-7, playoffs
1996, 8-8, no playoffs
1997, 9-7, playoffs
1998, 10-6, playoffs
1999, 9-7, playoffs
2001, 11-5, playoffs
2002, 9-7, no playoffs
2010, 7-9, no playoffs