Throughout the past couple years, all the talk has been about the NFL offenses. And rightfully so. Quarterbacks are putting up yards and touchdowns at an alarming rate. Passing and scoring records are being obliterated. Many of the rule changes have favored the offense. However, defense can still be the catalyst for winning championships. However if you plan on winning with defense, it better be dominant.
Around the turn of the millennium in 2000, that is when we started to see more offense and rule changes that enabled scoring. For the most part, we have seen offenses carry the torch and lead a team to the title but there have been a few special defenses the past 13 years.
The 2001 Baltimore Ravens who took care of the New York Giants for their first Super Bowl by a score of 34-7. This defense gave up 970 yards on the ground all year, just 60.6 yards on the ground per game. They only allowed 5 rushing touchdowns all year and 165 points on the year.
The 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers who dispatched the Oakland Raiders 48-21 for their first Super Bowl. They gave up a total of 196 points on the year, good for 5th best ever. This defense was known for its pass defense. They faced over 500 passing attempts on the year and allowed less than 2500 passing yards. The defense recorded a sack and a takeaway in all 16 regular season games and many opponents didn’t reach 150 passing yards in a game.
Most recently, the 2013 Seattle Seahawks. The Seattle Seahawks were built around their secondary; the Legion of Boom. They locked down receivers all year and delivered brutal hits anytime a receiver put his hands on the ball. This allowed the front 7 to pressure the quarterback. This defense ranked 1st in pts given up, 1st in pass yards allowed, and 1st in takeaways. The defense gave up 14.4 point per game on the season. It also has to be noted that the Seahawks faced statistically one of the best offenses and best quarterbacks ever and held them to 8 points. In fact the Seattle defense outscored the record setting Broncos offense 9-8.
All 3 of these great defenses led their team to the Super Bowl, all 3 of these teams won handily (combined score of 125-36). Combining all 3 Super Bowls, these defenses outscored the offenses 37-30.
Seattle 9-8 Baltimore 7-7 Tampa Bay 21-15
In an era defined by quarterbacks and scoring, defense can still win a championship, but it better be dominant.