FanPost

Does DEFENSE really win championships?

There have been many posts recently about Rumblers wanting the Bills Front Office to draft a QB in this years draft. Most of those wanting a QB in the draft seem to be of the opinion that Fitzpatrick could never win a playoff game hence the basis for their call for drafting a QB in the first round.

I wanted to take a serious look at the past 20 Superbowls to get a feel for how teams get to the big game and then what do the Superbowl winners have in common. I was hoping to prove a theory that I had but was somewhat taken back by my own findings.

We all heard the expression that Defense wins Championships right? Well I wanted to see if there was any truth to that statement. I simply took the last 20 years of Superbowl matchups figuring 20years was a decent enough sampling for my study. For each winning and runner-up team, I went back into NFL stats to see how that team ranked both Offensively and Defensively during that regular season. I also included their QB, his ranking as well as his QB rating for the regular season.

Winning teams

Superbowls

Team

QB

QB Rating

QB Rank

Offensive Rankin

Defensive Ranking

2011

XLV

GB

A. Rodgers

101.2

7

9

5

2010

XLIV

NO

D. Brees

109.6

1

1

25

2009

XLIII

PIT

Big Ben

80.1

24

22

5

2008

XLII

NYG

Eli

73.9

25

16

7

2007

XLI

IND

Peyton

101

1

3

21

2006

XL

PIT

Big Ben

98.6

3

15

4

2005

XXXIX

NE

Brady

92.6

9

7

9

2004

XXXVIII

NE

Brady

85.9

10

17

7

2003

XXXVII

TB

B. Johnson

92.9

3

24

1

2002

XXXVI

NE

Brady

86.5

6

19

24

2001

XXXV

BAL

T. Dilfer

76.6

20

16

2

2000

XXXIV

STL

K. Warner

109.2

1

1

6

1999

XXXIII

DEN

Elway

93

5

3

11

1998

XXXII

DEN

Elway

87.5

7

1

5

1997

XXXI

GB

Favre

95.8

2

5

1

1996

XXX

DAL

Aikman

93.6

3

5

9

1995

XXIX

SF

Young

112.8

1

2

8

1994

XXVIII

DAL

Aikman

99

2

4

10

1993

XXVII

DAL

Aikman

89.5

3

4

1

1992

XXVI

WAS

M. Ryplen

97.9

2

4

3

Losing teams

Superbowls

Team

QB

QB Rating

QB Rank

Offensive Rankin

Defensive Ranking

2011

XLV

PIT

Big Ben

97

18

14

2

2010

XLIV

IND

Peyton

99.9

6

9

18

2009

XLIII

ARI

K.Warner

96.9

3

4

20

2008

XLII

NE

Brady

117.2

1

1

4

2007

XLI

CHI

R. Grossman

73.9

24

15

5

2006

XL

SEA

Hasselbeck

98.2

4

2

16

2005

XXXIX

PHI

McNabb

104.7

4

9

10

2004

XXXVIII

CAR

Delhomme

80.6

14

16

8

2003

XXXVII

OAK

Gannon

97.3

2

1

11

2002

XXXVI

STL

K.Warner

101.4

1

1

3

2001

XXXV

NYG

K.Collins

83.1

12

13

5

2000

XXXIV

TEN

McNair

78.6

16

13

17

1999

XXXIII

ATL

Chandler

100.9

4

7

8

1998

XXXII

GB

Favre

92.6

3

4

7

1997

XXXI

NE

Bledsoe

83.7

8

7

19

1996

XXX

PIT

O'Donnell

87.7

12

6

3

1995

XXIX

SAN

Humphries

81.7

11

11

14

1994

XXVIII

BUF

Kelly

79.9

13

6

27

1993

XXVII

BUF

Kelly

81.2

10

2

12

1992

XXVI

BUF

Kelly

97.6

3

1

27

40 Superbowl Teams

(20) Winners

(20) Runner-ups

total:

%

Top 5 ranked Offenses

11

8

19

48%

Top 10 ranked Offenses

13

14

27

68%

Top 20 ranked offenses

18

20

38

95%





Top 5 ranked Defenses

9

6

15

38%

Top 10 ranked Defenses

16

10

26

65%

Top 20 ranked Defenses

17

18

35

88%






Top 5 ranked QB

12

9

21

53%

Top 10 ranked QB

17

12

29

73%

Top 20 ranked QB

18

19

37

93%






Better Offensive Ranking

10

14

24

60%

Better Defensive Ranking

10

6

16

40%






Top 5 offense / Top 15 Defense

10

4

14

35%

Top 5 Defense / Top 15 Offense

6

6

12

30%






Top 10 Defense / Top 10 Offense

10

5

15

38%

Interpreting the results

What these numbers indicate is that 48% of the teams that made the Superbowl in the past 20years had a top 5 offensive unit and for those who are clamouring for a Franchise QB, 53% of the teams that made it to the Superbowl had a top 5 ranked QB at the helm. Clearly a franchise QB is required to win the Superbowl as only 15% of the winning QBs had a ranking higher than 10

It's interesting to note that Big Ben in 2009 (24th) and Eli (23rd) in 2008 ranked way worse than Trent Dilfer in 2000 (20th) - so in those three cases, clearly the Defense is what won them the Superbowl. But in general, 85% of the winning teams from the past 20 years had a top 10 QB.

So back to the original question, does Defense win championships? Although it seems offensive minded teams seem more inclined to make it to the big dance (60%) there is still a strong stat that proves without a doubt that Defense ultimately wins championships as 80% of the actual Superbowl winners over the past 20 years have had a top 10 defense during the regular season.

What this analysis really shows is that it is well balanced teams that really make it far into the playoffs and ultimately a strong defense is normally required to win the big game! Although The Saints did it in 2010 and the Colts in 2007, generally speaking bad defenses never make it to the dance and furthermore, those are both HOL QB's that basically carried their teams to those victories. Generally speaking, only teams with solid defenses make it to the big dance.

Summary

Superbowl winning teams require a top 10 QB and a top 10 defensive unit over 80% of the time.

Breaking down the Buffalo Bills in 2011

Our offensive unit was ranked: 14th

Our defensive unit was ranked: 26th

Our QB was ranked: 22nd

I would argue that our QB's stats & ranking were very affected in the second half of the season after losing so many of his key playmakers on offense. I think part of the blame should be on the offensive scheme that chooses to pass so much, instead of pounding the ball. Nonetheless, he went from top 3 to 22 within a 7 game stretch.

Our defense showed great promises early in the season when the led the league in turnovers but something didn't make sense because they were last in the league in sacks and QB pressure. Their success was not sustainable over the long run. Clearly our defense needs a serious injection of talent on the pass rushing front.

Just another great fan opinion shared on the pages of BuffaloRumblings.com.

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