Home > Defensive Efficiency Scores, Misc, Stats > Defense Wins Championships? Part II

Defense Wins Championships? Part II

Last week I wrote briefly on whether or not the idea that “Defense Wins Championships” was a bit outdated. Looking solely at overall rankings in points per game scored/allowed, it seems as if good defenses are still a key element of a Super Bowl winning team. Of the 3 “bad” defenses which have won Super Bowls lately (2006 Colts, 2007 Giants, 2009 Saints), both the Colts and Giants got hot down the stretch to carry their team to a Lombardi trophy.

However, points per game allowed is a pretty simple measure of a defense and doesn’t tell us all that much about the unit in question. Here are some more numbers on the Super Bowl winning defenses:

Yards Per Drive Allowed

Average YPD: 26.2

Average YPD+: 108.8

Best YPD+: 1974 Pittsburgh Steelers (131)

Worst YPD+: 2006 Indianapolis Colts (79)

# of teams <100 YPD+: 8

 

Points Per Drive Allowed:

Average PPD: 1.36

Average PPD+: 121.6

Best PPD+: 2000 Baltimore Ravens (150)

Worst PPD+: 2006 Indianapolis Colts (75)

# of teams <100 PPD+: 1

 

Turnover %

Average TO%: 21.8%

Average TO%+: 114.8

Best TO+: 2000 Baltimore Ravens (165)

Worst TO+: 1976 Oakland Raiders (76)

# of teams <100 TO+: 9

 

Touchdown %

Average TD%: 14.9%

Average TD%+: 123.2

Best TD%+: 2000 Baltimore Ravens, 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (152)

Worst TD%+: 2006 Indianapolis Colts (74)

# of teams <100 YPD+: 3

As you can see, other than the 2006 Indianapolis Colts, Super Bowl defenses have remained pretty consistently above average in most of these variables. Here are the 41 Super Bowl champion defenses from 1970-2010 ranked by my Defensive Efficiency Scores:

The average DSCORE of a Super Bowl winner is 20.83. Only 2 teams in 2011 had a DSCORE that high: San Francisco and Baltimore. The 2011 Patriots checked in at 5.93 and the Giants at -4.42. However, like the 2006 Colts and 2007 Giants, both current Super Bowl teams are playing better than their regular season numbers indicate. Whichever team wins next Sunday will join the recent trend of teams whose defenses got hot at just the right time.

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