Acupuncture blog Lhasa OMS recently conducted a study to determine which teams' sports fans were among the most stressed out, measured by the number of close games a team has played over the past five full seasons.
In determining the criteria for what constitutes a "close" game, the study used NFL games where the score was within 7 points (a one-score contest), all NBA games within 5 points (the league’s definition of a close game per their two-minute reports), hockey games within 2 goals (known as “the most dangerous lead”), and baseball games within 3 runs (the scenario for a save situation).
The results of the study showed that among all American cities that are home to at least three major sports teams, Pittsburgh had the second-most games that were close by that criteria, with a combined 59 percent of close games between the Penguins, Pirates, and Steelers:
[caption id="attachment_954478" align="aligncenter" width="701"] The most stressed fans in America. -- LHASA OMS[/caption]
Something to consider is that hockey games tend to be the closest of any of the four major sports. Over the past five years, each NHL team had at least 60 percent of their games decided by two or fewer goals. So if a city has an NHL team, it's going to bump up that combined average.
That figure is also heavily influenced by close Steelers games. When you separate close wins from close losses, the Steelers led the NFL in teams with the highest percentage of total games that were close wins, with 33 percent of their total games over the last five seasons being close wins:
[caption id="attachment_954479" align="aligncenter" width="701"] LHASA OMS[/caption]
Meanwhile, Penguins fans have had the least to stress about in the NHL over the last five seasons by this criteria. The Penguins have had 60 percent of their games over the past five seasons decided by two or fewer goals, the least in the NHL.
[caption id="attachment_954480" align="aligncenter" width="701"] LHASA OMS[/caption]
Looking at each individual team, 53.75 of the Steelers' total games over the last five seasons were decided by seven points or less, the fourth-most in the league. Surprisingly, though, they've gone to overtime less often than most teams, with just 3.75 percent of games being decided in overtime, the 27th most in the league. Breaking that down further, 32.50 percent of their total games have been close wins, the most in the league. Just 20 percent of their games have have been close losses, the 25th-most in the league. The remaining 1.25 percent accounts for ties.
For the Penguins, 60.24 of their total games over the last five seasons were decided by two or fewer goals, least of any NHL team in that span. Close wins accounted for 33.41 percent of total games, the 16th-most in the league, and close losses accounted for 26.83 percent of total games, the 27th-most in the league (not surprising, given that they have a lot more wins than losses in general in that span). The Penguins have had 15.61 percent of their total games over the last five seasons go into overtime, the sixth-most in the league. They've had 8.78 percent of total games go into a shootout, the 19th-most in the league.
The Pirates have had 62.84 percent of their total games over the past five seasons decided by three or fewer runs, the ninth-most in Major League Baseball. They've also gone to extra innings in 9.63 percent of games, sixth-most in the majors. The Pirates have the fourth-most close wins at 33.58 percent. They rank 22nd in close losses at 29.26 percent. Given their overall losing record the past five seasons, that means that when they lose, they tend to lose big.
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