So does Defense really win championships? As Lions fans debate OT vs QB vs LB at the top of the draft, and with multitudes of Detroit Lions fans clamoring for a defense only draft, the question comes in to top focus.
What better way to do that, then to look at the past 7 Superbowls, and see where each team (the winner an loser) ranked in regards to Offense and Defense. The defensive rating is based on points allowed (fewer points allowed, fewer points needed to win), and points per game for the offensive side (more points scored, more points defense can allow and still win).
[thanks to RedZone on Mlive Lions Forum for the research]
If we look at both teams the average range for offense is 8.0 and defense is 7.6. If we look at winners and losers then the average offensive range for winners is 11.3 and defensive rank is 6.6. The average ranking for the SB losers is 4.9 on offense and 8.6 on defense.
The stats are all from the regular season, and the winning team is listed first with Offense Rank [O] and Defense Rank [D] in parenthesis following.
2008(regular season year): Pittsburgh O(20th), D(1st); Arizona O(3rd), D(28th)
2007: Giants O(14th) D(17th); New England O (1st) D (4th)
2006: Indy O(2nd) D(23rd); Chicago O(2nd) D(3rd)
2005: Pittsburgh O(9th) D(3rd); Seattle O(1st) D(7th)
2004: New England O(4th) D(2nd); Philly O(8th) D(2nd)
2003: New England O(12th) D(1st); Carolina O(15th) D(10th)
2002: Tampa O(18th) D(1st); Oakland O(2nd) D(6th)
If you look at this chart, a couple of things stick out. the most glaring is that other than Indy and Giants the team that won the Super Bowl either had the 1st, 2nd or 3rd ranked defense.
2003 and 2004 are the only two years where one of the top 3 ranked offenses didn't make it to the Superbowl -- and in 2004 NE was 4th.
So when you are looking at the numbers, having a top 3 defense or offense will give you roughly a 30% (slightly less than one in 3 chance) or going to the Superbowl. However, to win the Superbowl, having the top 3 defense led to a win 5 of 7 times.
Take from this what you will -- I'm sure Lions fans would be happy to make the playoffs, much less the Superbowl. However, since I'm sure that at least getting there is the goal of the new Lions front office, these types of stats will be in the forefront as they are building their team.
One more thing to note: The teams with top offenses seemed to vary in who made it each year, where the teams with top defenses were most likely to make it to the game multiple times if accompanied by just a top 20 offense or better...
My read on this? Offense will get you a championship just as likely as Defense, but defense is more likely to win it. Defense is also more consistent than offense.
So if it were me, I would build a spectacular defense and pair it with an average to above average offense. Because as this history shows, not only is that the way to get to the Superbowl, it's the most probable way to win it. Isn't Schwartz a real numbers guy? Makes you wonder...
What are your thoughts on this? And don't forget to do your mock drafts as well -- PLEASE put them on the mock draft article as I don't want mock drafts cluttering every article for the next three weeks. I will be linking to it on the sidebar soon, if not already.
Also, I will begin posting the mailbag answers tomorrow (Friday) morning. They were all pretty in-depth questions, so I will do a short piece on one or two at a time, and spread them out over the Easter weekend.
Keep Emailing them in -- I will be interspersing them into the blogging as we go along. Also, best to email them to me versus posting them in comments -- then I can put my thoughts out there, and garner all the reader thoughts at the same time versus being somewhat spread out over several stories. (I'm referring to mailbag style questions. Please keep up the usual back and forth relating to each story, events in the comments as we have been. The intelligent comments and dialogue is what I want to encourage and maintain on this site.)