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Defense Wins Championships... Sometimes

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; With three of the past five Super Bowl winners ranked below average in total defense, it seems safe to wonder whether having a great defense is still a requisite to win it all in the NFL. As rule changes spurred ...

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Old 08-23-2013, 10:05 AM   #1
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With three of the past five Super Bowl winners ranked below average in total defense, it seems safe to wonder whether having a great defense is still a requisite to win it all in the NFL. As rule changes spurred by player safety concerns further handcuff defensive units in football, the old adage "defense wins championships" may be on its last legs.

"In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."

Benjamin Franklin died in 1790, while the first football game is reported to have been played in 1869. Had he been alive in the football era, he might have added a few words to his famous quote: "...death, taxes and defense wins championships."

Defense wins championships. We have all heard it said and we believe it to be true for the most part. The wittier ones have even added to the adage by saying: "offense wins games, but defense wins championships." This has led my over-inquisitive mind to ponder the difference between games and championships much longer than was necessary.

A cliché is very much like a stereotype: a general statement about an observed trend, which perhaps stood true at the moment it was witnessed and stays engraved in our collective memory. Yet, as the trend evolves or changes, our minds are neither quick nor keen to do the same. Thus the truism endures, even when its veracity has waned.

With that in mind, I decided to test the consistency of one of the NFL's favorite sayings by taking a closer look at the regular season defensive ranks of the Super Bowl winners of the past 10 years. Does defense really always win championships? Let's take a look.

Among the many defensive statistics available nowadays, I chose to focus on four significant categories:

1) Yards allowed per game (YAG), commonly referred to as "Total Defense."

2) Number of points allowed per game (PAG), commonly referred to as "Scoring Defense."

3) Number of interceptions (Int.)

4) Number of fumbles recoveries (FR)

Read more: Defense Wins Championships... Sometimes - Canal Street Chronicles

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Old 08-23-2013, 11:03 AM   #2
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Re: Defense Wins Championships... Sometimes

If our D is above average we will be collecting all the marbles!!
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Old 08-23-2013, 01:12 PM   #3
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Re: Defense Wins Championships... Sometimes

Here are my observations on this. This is the era of elite QB's, and fast-paced, high yardage, pass-heavy offenses, Brees, Brady, Mannings, Rodgers, Matt Stafford and Megatron, blah blah blah. A good or a great offense will get you into the playoffs, and get you into the dance.... blah blah blah.

But a stout, PHYSICAL defense, like the Ravens, 49ers, Steelers, Texans, Seahawks, or the "old" Bears (before they declined the last couple of years), can "break" an offense and win INDIVIDUAL GAMES in the playoffs, against "better" teams, usually just by beating up on people. So a very meh QB or average offense (Alex Smith, 49ers) CAN beat a spectacular offense (Saints) in the playoffs, by just baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarely getting the job done, but with the help of a crushing, bone-breaking defense to clobber the other team's offense and maybe take out a player or two.

The 49ers basically win a lot of their games, by injuring people on the other team's offense. That's how they won games in 2011, by injuring so many running backs; that's a big part of how they beat us (knocking Pierre out, and hitting Graham in his back etc). In the 2012 rematch, they knew we were weak at rookie tackle; they went after him and broke that right away in the 1st quarter, then they knocked out Colston, broke him, and then they went after trying to break Brees. But jamming and rolling the leg on that rookie left tackle, in the 1st quarter, was a textbook example of how to pick on the weakest link first, and then take out the another link (Colston), then another (Lance Moore), and how a few small damaged pieces can "break" a finesse or elite team like the Saints.

So to me, "defense wins championships" TODAY, by virtue of, basically, either knocking people physically out of the game, or by "breaking" a team's elite parts -- not by hunkering down in the dust at the goal line and preventing them from scoring. Because these elite QB's WILL score, against any defense, if you give them the tools to. Which Drew proved in San Francisco, putting up more points against that defense than any other team had scored against them all year.

But championships are really about the PATH to the Super Bowl, through the playoffs, not whether it's the offense or the defense, or how they're ranked.

Every Super Bowl winning team has a PATH to the Super Bowl, that got them there. When the teams were set for the playoffs in 2009, I knew right away INSTANTLY, that we were going to go TO the Super Bowl, because the perfect path was there for us. By us not having to play Dallas or Green Bay. Not that Dallas was better, but that they gave us problems (ie Demarcus Ware). And I felt like Green Bay that year could score like crazy, which was a pretty even match for us. So the way it shook down, was really perfect for us.
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Old 08-23-2013, 03:12 PM   #4
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Re: Defense Wins Championships... Sometimes

I think to make that statement correct you would have to say offense sells tickets, defence wins games and special teams win Championships.
Can anybody say 'ambush'?
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Old 08-23-2013, 03:26 PM   #5
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Re: Defense Wins Championships... Sometimes

No single aspect of a team wins any games. Its a combination of numerous things.
Offense
Defense
Special Teams
Coaching
Timing
Match-up
Turnovers
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Old 08-23-2013, 04:14 PM   #6
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Re: Defense Wins Championships... Sometimes

I know a collective group or two that do not pay taxes and thus far Keith Richards is busting the myth about death.
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Old 08-23-2013, 04:28 PM   #7
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Re: Defense Wins Championships... Sometimes

If the Saints can have a 20 to 15 ranked defense, a new dynasty is born
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Old 08-23-2013, 04:31 PM   #8
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Re: Defense Wins Championships... Sometimes

All homerism aside, I don't think we're going to suck.
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Old 08-23-2013, 04:57 PM   #9
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Re: Defense Wins Championships... Sometimes

Originally Posted by RaginCajun83 View Post
If the Saints can have a 20 to 15 ranked defense, a new dynasty is born
Well we had that in 2011 and failed, but we came close.
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Old 08-23-2013, 07:54 PM   #10
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Re: Defense Wins Championships... Sometimes

You know what wins championships?

A team winning the most games. A team. Not a part of a team. The whole team
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