All of us who grew up watching football listened to commentators and analysts pound home the theory that you need to run the ball and stop the run to win championships. I just assumed that was true since the “experts” all said it was. But watching the NFL the last few seasons it didn’t seem to be the case.
In my never ending quest to find an angle to help me handicap I looked at some statistics for Super Bowl winning teams. Yards per Rush Attempt and Yards Per Pass Attempt. I looked at these both offensively and defensively. Below are the Super Bowl winners since the merger and their ranking in each category.
|Year||Team||OYPR Rank||OYPP Rank||DYPR Rank||DYPP Rank||Passing Combined||Rushing Combined|
Just 10 of the 43 Super Bowl winners since the merger had a combined ranking in Offensive and Defensive YPR greater than the combined ranking for YPP. Included in that number are the 1979 Steelers who were pretty much dominant in every category, the 1988 49ers who were top 10 in each, and the 1998 Broncos who were very good in all categories just missing a top 10 sweep.
- The average combined YPP ranking for Super Bowl winners is 14 while the average YPR rank is 23.
- Only two teams have combined for more than a 25 in YPP rankings and won the Super Bowl (2007 NY Giants 47, 2012 Baltimore Ravens 31)
The 2007 Giants were probably the most difficult team to predict going into a playoff. They performed nothing like they did in the regular season. During the playoffs Eli became a different QB and the Giants pass rush was unstoppable. They were an enigma and definitely not the norm.
We do see the numbers for all rankings a bit higher in the last 19 years since the salary cap was instituted. Teams do not have the ability to be as dominant across the board like they were in previous seasons. We may never see a 1979 Pittsburgh line again.
What I found most interesting was teams that I had assumed won with good running games and the ability to stop the run like the ’85 Bears ’86 Giants and ’90 Giants were not necessarily true. Yes the Bears were pretty dominant across the board but it was equal. The Giants in 1990 were actually not very efficient in the running game but they stopped the pass better than anyone that season.
Here is a look at this years playoff teams
|Year||Team||OYPR Rank||OYPP Rank||DYPR Rank||DYPP Rank||Combined Pass Rank||Combined Rush Rank|
Seattle is much the best in the passing categories combined. Ranked 2 on offensively and 1 on defense. Those are menacing numbers for teams coming in to Seattle.
Cincinnati ranks best in the passing categories in the AFC.
Philadelphia ranks first in both offensive categories. Will their 19 rank in defensive YPP slow them down?
Kansas City and Indianapolis play each other this weekend but neither team looks to have a line that is favorable to a team winning it all.
8 Teams finished in the top 10 in Off YPP that are in the playoffs. Just 4 finished in the top 10 of Off YPR.
Based on these numbers who do you like to win it all?
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