Super Bowl Champions- Efficiency Rankings, 30-26
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…
30. 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers (23rd Scoring, 27th Defense)- The 2005 Steelers became just the third ever Wildcard team to win a Super Bowl and the first ever team to do it having to win 3 games on the road. The success this team had typified the new salary cap era of football where dominant teams were few and far between and the best teams were often those who got hot late in the season, not those securing home field off great regular seasons. Built on the classic tradition of smashmouth in your face football, the '05 Steelers were an opportunistic group who, despite not being the greatest statistical group on either side of the ball, seemed to play well when it counted leading to touchdowns on offense and holding teams to field goals on defense. The stunning game of the season was the upset win in the playoffs against the Indianapolis Colts where they built a 21-3 lead and held on for a 21-18 win. After years of playoff failure, that game re-launched the Steelers into prominence as they would appear in 2 more Super Bowls in the next 5 years following this victory.
29. 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (45th Scoring, 2nd Defense)-Without a doubt the most lopsided team to ever win a Super Bowl, the Buccaneers dominated teams defensively holding their regular season opponents to nearly 46% below their average. When you consider that the offenses they played averaged nearly 23 points a game against the other teams they played that season, you can make a strong case that this was the best defense of all time. The '85 Bears played a schedule that scored around 22 points a game, while the 73 Dolphins schedule averaged under 20 and the 00 Ravens averaged under 18. Somehow the Bucs get lost in history because the offense was so poor and the defense not exactly filled with all time greats, but the defense held 7 regular season opponents to single digit points, which is unheard of, and they were never challenged in the playoffs. A very underrated team.
28. 1976 Oakland Raiders (14th Scoring, 32nd Defense)- After years of frustration, the Oakland Raiders were finally able to capture the elusive Super Bowl championship they had chased for nearly a decade. Losers of six of the last eight AFC/AFL Conference Championship games, including three in a row, the Raiders cruised to their first title finishing the regular season with a 13-1 record and crushing the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship game. The 76 Raiders were one of the better offensive teams to win a Super Bowl, posting a 31.73% scoring efficiency, and were led by a dominating offensive line featuring Gene Upshaw and Art Shell opening up holes for a great running game and protecting QB Kenny Stabler who had plenty of targets to spread the ball around to. The offense dominated the Minnesota Vikings, building a 19-0 lead, to win their first championship.
27. 2009 New Orleans Saints (4th Scoring, 44th Defense) - What the '02 Buccaneers were to defense, the '09 Saints were to offense. Had they not taken their foot off the gas pedal once they lost their first game of the season after a 13-0 start, New Orleans may have been the most prolific offense of all time. The high powered Saints scored 40 or more four times in the first 13 games of the year and 9 times scored more than 30. The defense was nowhere near championship caliber and got worse as the season went on, but made key plays throughout the playoffs. The Minnesota Vikings had really stifled the Saints passing attack in the NFC Championship game, but the Saints turned the Vikings over 5 tiimes on the day en route to a thrilling 31-28 win. The team they defeated the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl with a combination of terrific offensive play and a swarming defense that provided the game clinching interception return for a TD.
26. 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers (37th Scoring, 10th Defense)- One of the unheralded defenses of all time, the Steelers held half of their opponents to 10 points or less during the course of the season and their 13.9 PPG average represented a full 7 point reduction in average score per game for their opponents. The defense carried this team all throughout the playoffs culminating with the 4 turnover, 1 TD performance against rival Baltimore Ravens in the AFC Championship game. The defense scored again in the Super Bowl, but it was a last minute drive and pass from QB Ben Roethlisberger that won the championship on that day.
Super Bowl Champion Efficiency Rankings
|27||2009||New Orleans Saints||50.80%||6.76%||44.04%|
|29||2002||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-2.94%||-45.79%||42.85%|
|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%|