Turnover Differential Key to Victory in the NFL

What's one of the secrets to success in the NFL?

Winning the turnover battle certainly ranks high on the list! "Turnovers are the No. 1 statistic in the business," says Minnesota Vikings head coach BRAD CHILDRESS.

Last season, the top five teams with the best turnover differential -- Miami, Tennessee, Baltimore, New York Giants and Indianapolis -- all made the playoffs with at least 11 wins and combined for a 59-21 record (.738).

The Dolphins and Giants each had 13 turnovers last year, tied for the fewest ever in a 16-game season. Miami head coach TONY SPARANO is a firm believer that a positive turnover differential plays a vital role in success.

"The importance of winning the turnover battle for us is that it dramatically increases our chances to win," says Sparano, who led the Dolphins to a division title in his first season at the helm.

Buffalo Bills head coach DICK JAURON agrees with his AFC East counterpart. "If you can keep from turning the ball over and can win the turnover battle, you'll have a real good chance of winning the game."

Sparano and NFL Network analyst and 2009 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee ROD WOODSON, who finished his career with 71 interceptions, discuss the importance of winning the turnover battle and how a turnover can affect the momentum of a game:


Tony Sparano, Dolphins head coach:

"In the history of the league, turnover stats prove that if you are plus-one or plus-two in turnovers, your chances to win go up significantly. If you are even at the end of the game, you only have a 50 percent chance to win. In addition, turnovers not only can kill a drive if you lose the ball or start one if you recover it, but it can also reverse the momentum of a game like no other play, instantly changing field position and giving one team a huge advantage over the other."

Rod Woodson, NFL Network analyst and former NFL safety:

"The turnover battle is critical. If you look at the history of games in general, the more turnovers, the less likely that team will win. Turnovers can come in critical situations where a quarterback can either throw an interception or a defensive back can get an interception or a fumble can happen -- all of those things play a huge role in a momentum swing or outcome of a game."

NFL 2008 Turnover Differential Top 5

Team Takeaways Giveaways Differential Record
Source: National Football League
New York Giants2213+912-4


NFL 2009 Preview | Turnover Differential - Key to Victory in the NFL