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It Isn't Always A Coin Flip In Minnesota

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Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the first of what will probably be many "Yep, it's the off-season" stories.

Yesterday, the folks from Pro Football Reference and I had this little exchange on the Twitter.

Just imagine Caruso from whichever CSI show he was on putting on the shades there. It works.

But anyway, this led me to ask whether or not they had those coin flip stats broken down by team. As it turns out, they do. Well, they do now, anyway. You're welcome.

But, as it turns out, the Minnesota Vikings haven't exactly been lucky on coin tosses, either. Since 1999 (when Pro Football Reference started keeping track), the Vikings have won fewer coin tosses than any team in the National Football League, having done so just 111 times in those 16 seasons (256 total regular season games). Even if you throw in post-season games, the Vikings have only won the coin toss 116 times since 1999, which is the second-fewest in the NFL. Only the Houston Texans have less with 115. . .and they've only been around since 2002, so their percentage is much higher.

The table shows the win-loss records of teams in games where they win the coin toss. (The raw coin toss data, which includes post-season games, can be found right here.)

Rank Team From To W L T W-L% Tosses Won
1 Green Bay Packers 1999 2014 91 55 1 0.622 147
2 Tennessee Titans 1999 2014 73 70 0 0.510 143
3 Atlanta Falcons 1999 2014 69 73 0 0.486 142
4 New York Jets 1999 2014 69 73 0 0.486 142
5 Oakland Raiders 1999 2014 51 88 0 0.367 139
6 Pittsburgh Steelers 1999 2014 89 47 1 0.653 137
7 Detroit Lions 1999 2014 50 87 0 0.365 137
8 Chicago Bears 1999 2014 68 66 0 0.507 134
9 Cincinnati Bengals 1999 2014 56 75 2 0.429 133
10 New York Giants 1999 2014 69 62 0 0.527 131
11 San Francisco 49ers 1999 2014 62 68 0 0.477 130
12 New England Patriots 1999 2014 94 35 0 0.729 129
13 Buffalo Bills 1999 2014 57 72 0 0.442 129
14 Seattle Seahawks 1999 2014 76 52 0 0.594 128
15 Miami Dolphins 1999 2014 59 68 0 0.465 127
16 Arizona Cardinals 1999 2014 50 77 0 0.394 127
17 Philadelphia Eagles 1999 2014 71 55 0 0.563 126
18 Denver Broncos 1999 2014 67 59 0 0.532 126
19 St. Louis Rams 1999 2014 61 64 1 0.488 126
20 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1999 2014 61 63 0 0.492 124
21 Jacksonville Jaguars 1999 2014 51 72 0 0.415 123
22 Cleveland Browns 1999 2014 42 80 0 0.344 122
23 Washington Redskins 1999 2014 48 73 0 0.397 121
24 Baltimore Ravens 1999 2014 72 48 0 0.600 120
25 San Diego Chargers 1999 2014 72 47 0 0.605 119
26 Dallas Cowboys 1999 2014 66 53 0 0.555 119
27 Indianapolis Colts 1999 2014 77 40 0 0.658 117
28 Carolina Panthers 1999 2014 58 59 0 0.496 117
29 New Orleans Saints 1999 2014 62 54 0 0.534 116
30 Kansas City Chiefs 1999 2014 60 56 0 0.517 116
31 Houston Texans 2002 2014 45 68 0 0.398 113
32 Minnesota Vikings 1999 2014 57 54 0 0.514 111

Overall in the regular season over the past 16 years, the Vikings have a winning percentage of .487, and it appears that winning the coin toss does give them a little bit of an advantage. As you can see from the table above, they have a winning percentage of .514 when they win the coin toss. When they lose the coin toss, they have a record of 68-76-1, a winning percentage of just .472. I'm not entirely sure where that "advantage" might come from. . .it's probably luck, just like the actual coin toss itself. . .but there is some difference.

So there you go. . .more data about coin tosses and the Minnesota Vikings than you probably had before. And probably more than you wanted or needed. But it's there anyway.