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Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Pivotal plays: Super Bowl's top five

By Mike Sando

We have at various times ranked NFC West plays by how much they changed a team's chances for winning, based on swings in win probability.

The chart ranks the five most pivotal five plays from Super Bowl XLVII regardless of whether they helped or hurt the San Francisco 49ers.

Note that San Francisco had a positive win probability (52.4 percent) before LaMichael James' fumble.

The chances were lower than I would have expected when the 49ers lined up on fourth-and-goal from the 5-yard line in the final two minutes. The relatively low win probability before that play (32.3 percent) reflects not only the chances for scoring, but also the chances for holding a lead with so much time remaining in the game. Converting on that play would have been hugely pivotal, of course, but it wouldn't have won the game by itself.