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Pitching Shutouts At Halftime Usually Leads To A Win

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The Steelers are tied with the Patriots with 22 first-half shutouts since 2004. Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images.
The Steelers are tied with the Patriots with 22 first-half shutouts since 2004. Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images.

If you're a defensive coordinator in the NFL, you've got to feel pretty good if your team heads into the locker room at halftime of a game and your opponents do not have any points on the scoreboard. But does pitching a shutout in the first half equate to ultimate success (read: victory) in that game?

Let's put some numbers to that question. First, there have been nine games so far in 2013 where a team has held their opponents to zero points in the first half. In those games, those teams that pitched the first-half shutout won seven and lost two. Two teams, Green Bay and Seattle, have held their opponents to zero points at half in two games in 2013.

If we take a look back to 2004, teams that held the opposition scoreless in the first half have won 357 and lost 64, an .848 winning percentage. The Patriots and Steelers have each held their opponents scoreless in 22 games from 2004-2013, most in the NFL.

Here's a look at the number of games each NFL team held opponents scoreless in the first half from 2004-2013. The win-loss record in those games is noted in parenthesis.

Games where opponents were scoreless at halftime (record in those games)
22: New England (21-1); Pittsburgh (20-2)
19: Cincinnati (17-2); New York Giants (18-1); Baltimore (18-1)
18: Green Bay (15-3); Tampa Bay (14-4)
17: New York Jets (15-2); Seattle (16-1)
15: Atlanta (14-1); San Diego (13-2)
14: Carolina (12-2); Chicago (11-3); Denver (14-0); Houston (12-2); San Francisco (13-1)
13: Jacksonville (11-2)
12: Cleveland (5-7); Miami (5-7); Washington (10-2)
11: Buffalo: (9-2); Kansas City (9-2); Tennessee (8-3)
10: Detroit (9-1); Minnesota (7-3)
9: Indianapolis (8-1); Arizona (7-2); Philadelphia (9-0)
7: Dallas (5-2)
5: Oakland (4-1); St. Louis (4-1)
4: New Orleans (4-0)

You probably noticed that three teams, Denver, Philadelphia and New Orleans, are undefeated in games since 2004 when they held opponents scoreless in the first half. The last time these teams lost a game when they held their foes scoreless at half were: Eagles (12/28/2002); Broncos (12/2/2001), Saints (10/17/1999).