Offense Wins Championships Too


Some of the more memorable title teams of the last fifty years have been characterized by their tough defenses.

The ’86 Bears and the 70’s Steelers. The Bulls of the 90’s and the Spurs of the 2000’s.

Perhaps this has fueled the notion that a team needs at least a very good defense to win on the biggest stage. In fact, offensive performances in championship games have been just as important. We need only to analyze recent history for proof that a good defense is not always necessary to bring home the hardware.

During their 2011 NBA title run, the Mavericks’ offensive rating (points per 100 possessions) improved from 8th in the regular season to 1st in the playoffs. The Mavs beat a Heat team that was known for their good team defense.

The year before, The Lakers (#1 OFF rating in the playoffs) took care of the Celtics (#1 DEF rating in the playoffs). The Lakers also won the title in 2009, when they beat a Magic team that entered the playoffs with the #1 DEF rating in the league.

The last three Super Bowl winners haven’t exactly shut down their opponents.

The Packers put up 31 points last February, but allowed 25 to the Steelers and 393 yards of total offense. The Saints did score a defensive touchdown, but gave up 432 yards to the Colts. Finally, the Cardinals tuned-up the vaunted Steeler defense for 410 yards in 2009. All three winning teams scored plenty of points, but also gave up their fair share.

The 2011 BCS Championship game featured an Auburn win in which their defense gave up an astounding 449 yards to Oregon. In the 2008 and 2009 BCS title games, Florida and LSU each surrendered over 350 yards.

In baseball, in lieu of defense, we often hear that “pitching wins championships”.

However, the Yankees won in 2009 (with a 4.58 series ERA) by averaging over five runs a game. Just recently, the Cardinals beat Texas by also averaging over five runs a game, while their World Series ERA was 3.86; the league average ERA was 3.94.

Maybe the tried-and-true notion that “defense wins championships” should come with an asterisk:

* Offense wins championships too

Numbers courtesy of:


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3 Responses to “Offense Wins Championships Too”

  1. T-Pfaff Says:

    Well…the good guys offense may need to put up a 40 spot on the little men. T-Cro…you are picking the Giants I hope.

  2. Says: ugg mens ascot

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