I think most football fans would assert that this is a truism: “Defense Wins Championships.” I know I’d always believed that. Then I stumbled across this article on Cold Hard Football Facts.
“Defenses target new standards of stingy” (Cold, Hard Football Facts for October 13, 2006)
Here’s the link:
The article takes a look at the 25 stingiest defenses of the Super Bowl era. It divides the Super Bowl era into two parts:
The Dead Ball Era (1966-1977) in which scoring became increasingly difficult, hitting its lowest point in 1977 when Atlanta allowed a pedestrian 9.2 points per game, and Tampa Bay set the bar for offensive futility scoring just 7.4 points per game. Following the ’77 season, the league set new rules to increase scoring.
The Live Ball Era (1978-present) in which scoring steadily rose and passing records fell. At the time this article was written (2006), the high point in scoring was in 2004, when 43 points per game became the bar.
The article next goes on to list the 25 stingiest defenses in the Super Bowl era (1966-present), and notes that 13 of the top 14 played in the Dead Ball Era (the lone exception being the 2000 Baltimore Ravens).
The article lists the team, the total points allowed, the points per game allowed, the team’s record, and the results of the season. This is where I found some rather surprising information. Take a look at the results for the Top 25 Stingiest Defenses:
01. 1977 Falcons 9.21ppg – missed the playoffs
02. 1969 Vikings 9.5ppg – lost Super Bowl IV
03. 1975 Rams 9.64ppg – lost NFC title game
04. 1976 Steelers 9.86ppg – lost AFC title game
05. 1971 Vikings 9.93ppg – lost divisional playoff game
06. 1971 Colts 10.00ppg – lost AFC title game
07. 1970 Vikings 10.21ppg – lost divisional playoff game
08. 1968 Colts 10.29ppg – lost Super Bowl III
09. 2000 Ravens 10.31ppg – Won Super Bowl XXXV
10. 1977 Rams 10.43ppg – lost divisional playoff game
11. 1977 Broncos 10.57ppg – lost Super Bowl XII
12. 1973 Dolphins 10.71ppg – Won Super Bowl VIII
13. 1975 Steelers 11.57ppg – Won Super Bowl X
14. 1966 Packers 11.64ppg – Won Super Bowl I
15. 1986 Bears 11.69ppg – lost divisional playoff game
16. 2000 Titans 11.94ppg – lost divisional playoff game
17. 1973 Vikings 12.00ppg – lost Super Bowl VIII
18. 1968 Chiefs (AFL) 12.14ppg – lost divisional playoff game
19. 1978 Steelers 12.19ppg – Won Super Bowl XIII
20. 1972 Dolphins 12.21ppg – Won Super Bowl VII
21. 2002 Buccaneers 12.25ppg – Won Super Bowl XXXVII
22. 1985 Bears 12.37ppg – Won Super Bowl XX
23. 1978 Broncos 12.37ppg – lost divisional playoff game
24. 1971 Dolphins 12.43ppg – lost Super Bowl VI
25. 1972 Steelers 12.5ppg – lost AFC title game
It surprised me that 17 of the top 25 stingiest defenses of the Super Bowl era, failed to win the championship that year. What I found myself wondering was two things:
(1)What was the performance of these teams' offenses & special teams during those years?
(2)Can we truly say “Defenses win championships?”
I get the feeling that without a strong balance between offense, defense and special teams, there is very little chance of winning the NFL championship. A high-octane offense by itself is not enough. A dominating defense by itself is not enough. Superb special teams play by itself is not enough.
All of the MHR posts that I’ve seen since joining the group, suggest that the changes which are being made at Dove Valley will lead to a strong balance among the 3 aspects of our team, which in turn will lead to a strong run at a championship.
13-3 Baby, keep believing.