Saturday, September 18, 2010

Defense Wins Super Bowls: Not So Fast

Conventional wisdom says that defense wins Super Bowls, but history says that a good offense is just as important. An examination of the NFL Super Bowl champions shows that, with a couple of exceptions, Super Bowl winners had a better than average defense and offense, as measured by points allowed and scored(We could measure the productivity of a defense and offense on more than that, but it really all comes down to points in the end). Not a surprising result, but how do the two categories compare as indicators for success? The graphs below shows points per game scored and allowed for the Super Bowl winners versus the league averages over the years. Large gaps on both sides of the average indicate those teams that were dominant on both sides of the ball during the regular season, the two most dominant being the 1991 Redskins and the 1999 St. Louis Rams. Teams with small gaps on both sides of the average overachieved in the post season after a so-so regular season, the 2007 New York Giants being by far the best example. The ragged nature of the graph indicates a mixture of teams with dominant offenses, teams with dominant defenses and those that were balanced. Clearly, based on the regular season results, one cannot conclude that a stout defense was any more of a predictor for Super Bowl success than a productive offense.

No comments:

Post a Comment