Defense still key for NFL champions?
January, 20, 2014
By Mike Sando | ESPN.com
AP Photo/Charlie RiedelCan Peyton Manning lead the Broncos to a win over the Seattle Seahawks?SEATTLE -- When the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks faced each other in the 2013 preseason, I remember thinking the game had a regular-season feel to it. There was an edge to both teams that felt misplaced for August. Peyton Manning and Russell Wilson brought such serious, all-business approaches to their jobs, and it showed. The Seahawks' defense welcomed a chance to measure itself against Manning. That showed, too.
It’s no surprise the Broncos and Seahawks will be getting together again, with the Lombardi trophy on the line. When they do, the most prolific scoring offense in NFL history will face one of the strongest pass defenses of any era -- a dream matchup that begs for some historical perspective. Does defense win championships? How have the best offenses fared? What recent Super Bowl matchups most resemble this one?
I've found a few initial answers after checking out where every Super Bowl offense and defense ranked in regular-season scoring since the NFL realigned into eight divisions for the 2002 season. And it gives a clear advantage to one team.