The Buffalo Bills are working on one of the NFL’s most improbable streaks – and it has nothing to do with their playoff drought.
The Bills have somehow managed to win the coin toss in 10 consecutive games, spanning back to December of last season. The chance of winning a 50-50 event that many times in a row is a minuscule 0.0977 percent, less than 1,000 to 1.
The Elias Sports Bureau said there’s no NFL record for the most consecutive coin tosses won because the result wasn’t recorded or isn’t available for every game in history. The Bills don’t have an official team record for the same reason.
The Detroit Lions own the longest streak in recent memory. They won the coin toss 14 games in a row between the 2004 and 2005 seasons (and even won an overtime coin toss during that span, as well). The Carolina Panthers lost 13 consecutive coin tosses in 2012, which is just as impressive, though it’s the opposite of what you want.
The coin toss result is generally the first item listed in the official play-by-play in an NFL game book. Those are available online for Bills games back to 1998. Their current 10-game winning streak is their longest over that span, surpassing the eight straight games in which the Bills won the toss to open the 2005 season.
Rex Ryan’s Bills generally defer after winning the toss, though they chose to receive before the home opener against Arizona. One note that makes the streak more interesting for the Bills is that it hasn’t been the same player(s) calling the toss during road games: Ryan changes his captains every week depending on the opponent.
The Bills have an even shot at extending their strange streak to 11 games on Sunday, as each coin toss is independent of the ones before it. The result may not mean much, other than determining first possession, but as the Bills aim to snap the NFL’s longest playoff drought at 16 seasons, they need all the luck they can get.
(Update: The streak was snapped at 10 games the Sunday after this article was published when the Patriots won the coin toss at New Era Field.)