Powered by Baltica 6 ... this is what I'm thinking as I can't sleep and can't enjoy the damn dome game.
This year, all NFL kickers were 185 for 257 in their attempts of field goals of 40-49 yards. That's a 72% success rate. We know Heinz Field is a tough place to kick. It's not a dome. The stadium is pretty open and exposed to winds. It's cold. Not many 40+ field goals are even attempted in Heinz Field. I'd guess the odds of any pro kicker making a 40+-yarder in the cold and in Heinz Field are closer to 50%. But throw all that out. Let's be generous. Let's assume that Brien had a 72% chance of making either one of those field goals. Odds of missing two in a row: 28% * 28% = 7.8%. Same odds as Jason Bay, a .280 hitter, getting two consecutive hits in a 2004 game.
There were eleven punts returned for a touchdown in the NFL in 2004. In 256 games. Odds of getting a punt return for a TD in a game: 11/256 or 4.3%.
There were 53 interceptions returned for touchdowns in the NFL in 2004. In 256 games. Odds of getting an INT run back for a TD in a game: 53/256 or 20.7%.
Odds of getting both a punt return TD and an interception return TD: 4.3% * 20.7% or 0.9%. Same odds as a pitcher or me or you or any other .094 hitter getting back-to-back hits in consecutive at-bats.
7.8% versus 0.9%. In any one game, a team is eight times more likely to miss two 40-49 yard field goals than they are to score on both a punt return and an interception return.
The Steelers weren't any more lucky to win the game than the Jets were lucky to be in it. But it was still a choke-a-thon. Both the Colts and the Patriots are sleeping a little easier tonight.