Super Bowl Champions- Efficiency Rankings, 35-31
For the next two weeks, time permitting, I'm going to try to post my efficiency rankings, brief thoughts, and video clips for all 45 of the NFL champions as we head towards the Super Bowl. My plan is 5 teams a day, but if I get pressed for time may just go to the rankings. For those unfamiliar my efficiency grading is based strictly on scoring for a team. The way that the numbers are calculated are by determining just how many points a team scored or allowed in a season and comparing with that of the schedule they played that season. Their schedule is adjusted by taking their stats out of the equation. The numbers represent by what percentage a team scored above or below the schedules average and how much more points were allowed or not allowed on the season.
I find them to be decent indicators of performance in a game, though neither is a measure solely of offense or defense. Special teams scores and defensive scores would be credited to the "Scoring" category, which is primarily offense while the "Defense" category would also include points allowed by specials and pick six and fumble scores. I think they provide a decent picture of the overall team success/failures. The Total score is simply a combination of both sides of the ball. The higher the overall score the better a team is expected to perform. For example an efficiency of 0% means that, on average, a team simply played to the level of their competition that year and its reflected in the margins between points scored and allowed. A score of 60% means their margins on the year would be 60% better than their schedules average margin.
Many of these teams are before my time as my real recollection of football starts in 1982 and is much better from 85 onward, so feel free to share thoughts about the teams if you have a good memory of watching them. Onto the rankings…
35. 2003 New England Patriots (33rd Scoring, 24th Defense)- The Patriots were built around playing in your face defensive football that never let teams in the end zone. Their outstanding defense pitched 3 shutouts and scored 5 touchdowns on the year. Great secondary play was a staple of the team, which made the high powered Colt offense look inept in the AFC Championship game. The way they played the game was a catalyst for the NFL to change rules about the physical style of play allowed on the outside, a real tip of the cap to just how good this defense was. The offense did just enough to win games, but once again when needed Tom Brady was needed he came out firing in the Super Bowl leading his team to 18 4th quarter points and another game winning drive. It was that Super Bowl performance by Brady that changed the entire approach of the New England coach to how he would approach the game in the future as they morphed into one of the great offensive teams in the NFL after this game.
34. 1968 New York Jets (11th Scoring, 39th Defense)- The all time underdog story of the team that shocked the world when the rebels of the AFL defeated the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III. The 68 Jets were a complete departure from the norm for the NFL, which had always been built on conservative play and tremendous defenses, the Jets and the AFL represented a new type of football with high powered offenses leading the way, a model for what the current NFL developed into. Led by QB Joe Namath, the Jets offense scored over 30 points in half their games that season and averaged a full touchdown more a game than what their schedule typically would have allowed that year. Namath's famous guarantee is one of the most well known sports stories in the world and remains so to this very day. The teams 27-23 AFL Championship game was one of the most thrilling games ever played by the Jets with the Jets taking the lead after a long 50 yard pass to WR Don Maynard set up the go ahead score. The defense, nothing spectacular all season, shone in the Super Bowl, limiting the Colts to 7 points and putting the Jets forever in the history books.
33. 1990 New York Giants (43rd Scoring, 8th Defense)- Though not as famous as their 1986 unit, the 1990 Big Blue Wrecking Crew was statistically superior and would be the "defense first" model until the 2000 Ravens won the championship. The defense held 8 out of their 16 opponents to less than 10 points on the season and never let down in the playoffs. The offense the Giants ran was barely passable, and when QB Phil Simms went down with an injury and the team turned to backup Jeff Hostetler the team looked to be left for dead. But a defensive masterpiece put together by head coach Bill Parcells and his staff saw the Giants snuff the life out of the Chicago Bears, allowing only 3 points on the day, and then upsetting the favored San Francisco 49'ers in the NFC Championship game. The Giants defense held the 49'ers to 13 points and picked up a critical late game fumble to set up the go ahead score. The Super Bowl saw both units emerge as heroes with the offense dominating the time of possession to help the defense hold the ultra high powered 27 PPG Buffalo Bills to 17 points on the day. It still took a missed FG to win the game for NY, but when it sailed wide right the defense took their place among the all time greats as did their head coach.
32. 1982 Washington Redskins (31st Scoring, 21st Defense)- This was a team that is remembered for two things- being the champions of a strike shortened season and moreso for being the group of guys that would do the giant group high 5 after a touchdown. "The Fun Bunch" was the reason the NFL decided to eventually put rules in place that eliminated the choreographed touchdown celebrations so this squad has historical significance. The Redskins dominated the playoffs that season behind tremendous defensive efforts and the running of Hall of Famer John Riggins, who was used to run the clock out against some of the more high powered offenses that they faced that year. A very young team with a very young Joe Gibbs in just his second year as a head coach, they helped set the stage for a tremendously successful period of football for the Redskins that would end with 4 NFC Championships and 3 NFL Super Bowl Titles.
31. 1986 New York Giants (30th Scoring, 16th Defense)- One of the more historical teams of all time due to the incredible collection of talent on defense, featuring greats like Lawrence Taylor, Harry Carson, Carl Banks, and Leonard Marshall, this was a team that gave the impression that they could defeat anybody on any given Sunday. Coached by a young Bill Parcells, he set the mission as Super Bowl or bust when they lost the previous year in the playoffs to the Chicago Bears. This was a conservative offensive team led by RB Joe Morris that forced the defense to not just play well, but to hold teams in critical stages of the game to ensure victory. 9 of the Giants 14 wins that season were decided by 7 points or less and that is a slim margin of error for any defense. The playoff run ranks among the greatest of all time. The offense went crazy in the playoffs with the running game just bludgeoning the 49'ers and Redskins to death and QB Phil Simms unexpectedly going out and having perhaps the greatest Super Bowl performance of all time against the Denver Broncos. The combined score of the 3 games was 105-23 forever cementing those 86 Giants as one of the greatest champions of the NFL.
Super Bowl Champion Efficiency Rankings
|31||1986||New York Giants||13.39%||-27.10%||40.49%|
|33||1990||New York Giants||1.17%||-36.89%||38.06%|
|34||1968||New York Jets||33.21%||-4.01%||37.22%|
|35||2003||New England Patriots||12.74%||-23.67%||36.41%|
|37||1981||San Francisco 49'ers||6.42%||-24.07%||30.49%|
|39||1988||San Francisco 49'ers||19.16%||-8.88%||28.04%|
|43||2001||New England Patriots||-1.54%||-12.58%||11.04%|
|44||2007||New York Giants||9.94%||0.61%||9.33%|