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Super Bowl Champions- Efficiency Rankings, 45-41

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…

45. 1970 Baltimore Colts (39th Scoring, 41st Defense)- The old Colts are best known for losing the Super Bowl to the 1968 Jets, and the fact that they won a Super Bowl two years later I think is forgotten by most people. Ranking as the worst Super Bowl champion probably makes them easier to forget. The Colts were by no means a powerhouse on either side of the ball, more of a collection of old veterans hoping for the shot at one more championship. Five of the teams 11 wins that year were by less than a touchdown and they also tied the Buffalo Bills. I guess the best thing that could be said about them is that they understood how to win close games. The season culminated for the Colts with a Super Bowl win against the Dallas Cowboys in the worst Super Bowl of all time and the only game in which the MVP went to a player on the losing team.



44. 2007 New York Giants (36th Scoring, 43rd Defense)- Ever since they won the Super Bowl in what was clearly the greatest upset of all time against the powerhouse New England Patriots, most have said that the Giants were the worst team to ever win a Super Bowl and the stats seem to back that statement up. New York's run to the Super Bowl was nothing short of amazing and became the prime example of what the NFL has become in the salary cap era of football where it is better to be hot at the end of the year than a top to bottom great football team, a big departure from almost all the teams that won before them. But the way the Giants made it to and then won the Super Bowl will always make them one of the more memorable Super Bowl teams of all time, much more memorable than many of the teams that rank slightly ahead of them.



43. 2001 New England Patriots (44th Scoring, 31st Defense)- The beginning of the Bill Belichick and Tom Brady legend is probably remembered far more fondly than what it really was. There are many who question Belichick, believing he could not achieve his success without Brady, but this season was really one of the great coaching jobs of all time. Forced into the lineup by injury to starter Drew Bledsoe, Brady was little more than a serviceable player on the team who carved out a niche for himself with his last second field goal winning drive against the heavily favored St. Louis Rams in one of the great upsets in Super Bowl history. It was a masterful gameplan by Belichick and a masterful job of navigating the 2001 season with a mediocre football team that became the start of perhaps the last dynasty in the NFL. The 01 Patriots are one of only two teams to have a negative scoring efficiency and go on to win the Super Bowl.



42. 1987 Washington Redskins (40th Scoring, 34th Defense)- Washington became the master of winning championships in strike shortened seasons and 1987 was one of those years. A 3-0 record in replacement player games helped them run away with the NFC East and very consistent play was key for the Redskins. 11 of their 16 regular season games were decided by 1 score or less and the trend continued in the playoffs. They probably caught a big break when the Minnesota Vikings upset the San Francisco 49'ers in the NFC Playoffs, allowing them to host the 8-7 Vikings rather than taking on the 13-2 49ers in Candlestick Park, but to their credit they took advantage of everything handed to them that season. The year culminated with the historic blowout win against the favored Denver Broncos as African American QB Doug Williams led the Redskins to victory.



41. 1980 Oakland Raiders (35th Scoring, 38th Defense)- The first ever Wildcard team to win an NFL Championship, the 1980 Oakland Raiders were a team that came together late and played extremely well as the season wore on. After 5 weeks the Raiders were only 2-3, but an injury forced backup and former first round bust Jim Plunkett into the starting role and he ran with it, leading Oakland to a 9-2 record down the stretch and an improbable 2nd place finish in the AFC West. Underdogs at almost every turn, the team was a decent balance of offense and defense and likely caught a break by avoiding the Dallas Cowboys in the Super Bowl, but will always be remembered as the first team ever to prove that in the playoffs anything can happen.



Super Bowl Champion Efficiency Rankings

Rank Year Team Off Def Total
41 1980 Oakland Raiders 12.23% -6.33% 18.56%
42 1987 Washington Redskins 7.13% -10.26% 17.39%
43 2001 New England Patriots -1.54% -12.58% 11.04%
44 2007 New York Giants 9.94% 0.61% 9.33%
45 1970 Baltimore Colts 8.02% 0.07% 7.95%

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