In a recent post I asked readers if they could provide more details on exactly who the Bengals beat to amass Mike Brown's staggering 101 total wins in 18 seasons. Lo and behold, reader Jerome sent in a fantastic spreadsheet.
Now, this breakdown does not tell us how many wins came at a time when both the Bengals and their opponent were already eliminated from the playoffs (which was what I was hoping for), but it does give us a nice breakdown of each season and who we beat. From that, I can sort of triangulate how many meaningless wins make up Mike's total.
It turns out the 57 of the Bengals 64 2nd half victories (I actually came up with 67 in my own tally but I'll use a lower number to be fair and cause I don't have time to research it again - thanks to commenter WhoDeyFans for noticing the original incorrect figure) came against teams with records of .500 or less. Given the Bengals propensity to start poorly, I'd guess they were eliminated from the playoffs in about 85% of those 57 wins. And let's say their opponent in those 48 or so wins (.85 x 57 wins) was already eliminated in half those games. That means roughly 24-25 of Mike's 101 total wins came in meaningless games, or about a quarter of his wins. Unscientific, I know, but I'd be surprised if I overestimated the actual total.
You can check out the file here: Download Bengals Wins Since 1991
It also has another worksheet that summarizes some of the findings, such as the fact that the cumulative win percentage of the teams the Bengals beat comes out at .390 (now, I assume most teams garner lots of wins against bad teams, so I'd like to see this stat league wide, but that looks pretty bad at first glance). And also some great stuff about the Bengals wins coming suspiciously against expansion teams. In my opinion, though, I like this stat the best:
With only 37 wins in 18 years coming in the first half of the season, the Bengals average start to a season is about 2-6.