Ever since the introduction of the Wild Card in 1995, the MLB playoffs have become as much about catching lightning in a bottle as determining the best team in the sport that season:
The point is that now, you don’t have to be a great team to win the World Series. You only have to be one of the best 25% or so to get into the playoffs. You only need a break or two, you only need to get hot for a little while, you only need to have things come together at the right time …
Now, with the New York Giants Super Bowl XLVI victory, the NFL has crowned a champion who didn't exactly tear up the sport during the regular season:
First team to finish 32nd in rushing and win SB. First 9-7 team to win SB. First with negative point differential in reg. season to win SB.
Over the course of 16 regular season games, the Giants scored fewer points than their opponents.
On one hand, their regular season performance seems to contradict the NFL's mantra that "every game matters", as New York ended up overcoming the fact they were a below-average team over the course of 16 games.
On the other, if Jason Pierre-Paul had not blocked a kick in the last moments of New York's 35-32 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 14, Eli Manning doesn't get his second championship and Tom Coughlin is probably fired at the end of the year.
If a team with a negative point differential on the season can win a Super Bowl, than even a sloppy game between two mediocre NFC East teams in December can have a long-lasting impact not only on this season but the course of NFL history.