While I am certainly excited to see what Orton can do with our offense in 2009, I think most of us would probably agree that we wouldn't be surprised if our offense was statistically less impressive this coming season. Of course, there's always a chance this may not be true with regards to points (we know we have a first class receiving corps and offensive line, and a better than decent prospect for starting QB) but I think our farewell to the rocket arm more or less guarantees us fewer passing yards.
That said, I figured why not take a look at the enviable Superbowl Champion teams of the past 10 years and see how they measure up with regards to total passing yards in the regular season. How important is it to have a passing offense that ranks in the top 5 - or even top 10 - in the league?
I know i'm not the first to bring this up (there's been another post or two that have referenced the lack of correlation between passing yards and wins), and this certainly isn't any sort of earth shattering find =), but for those of us who may not look at stats much (or at all) I thought I'd put together this brief summary to shine some light on the subject.. Where have the passing offenses of the past 10 Superbowl championhip teams stood in relation to other teams in their SB winning season?
. . . .
Year Team Ranking
2008 Steelers 17
2007 Giants 21
2006 Colts 2
2005 Steelers 24
2004 Patriots 11
2003 Patriots 9
2002 Buccaneers 15
2001 Patriots 22
2000 Ravens 22
1999 Rams 1
. . . .
The average ranking is 15th in the league (exact avg is 14.5, but rounding up). While we all understand that good defenses are often responsible for winning Superbowls, I (perhaps naively) was still surprised that the average ranking of Superbowl winning passing offenses was so low. With the exception of the Rams in '99 and the Colts in '06, the rest of the teams didn't even rank in the top 5.
Again, probably isn't too surprising, but perhaps may be educational for a few of us out there =) .. (it was for me).
If you go back another two years to include the Broncos' championship seasons, the average drops to 13.33. And if you go all the way back to the '85 Bears it drops to 12 (Redskins and 49ers brought it down a few points), but the average still doesn't fall beneath 10th place. AND, as you can see from above, there is clearly a great deal of variation, which just goes to show what we already know, which is that great TEAMS (comprised of an offense and a defense) win championships.
Here's to the pursuit of a well rounded TEAM (offense and defense!) in 2009. Now let's keep working on that defense...