## Super Bowl champions and how they passed, ran and played defense

I broke down each of the NFL and AFL champions since 1950 into three categories:

• Pass Efficiency, measured by a modified version of ANY/A. The formula was (Passing Yards + 10*TD – 22.5*INT – Sack Yards)/(Pass Attempts + Sacks). This strikes a middle ground between traditional ANY/A and NY/A.
• Rushing Success, according to the following formula: (Rushing Yards + 10*RTD + 5*Rushing1stDowns)/(Carries).
• Defensive Rating, based on the number of offensive touchdowns scored by their opponents.

There are ways to quibble with those categories, and I won’t begrudge anyone who does. After giving each team a rating in each category, I calculated how they compared to the league average in each season. In all cases, the average is 100%, and a number higher than 100% means better.

Here’s what each of the columns mean, from left to right. In 2011, the New York Giants won the Super Bowl; they allowed 43 touchdowns to opposing offenses, averaged 7.6 in my modified version of ANY/A, and averaged 4.9 adjusted yards per carry. The next three columns show how New York ranked relative to league average. By allowing 43 scores, the Giants D was well below average, putting them at 83% of the average mark; they were 25% better than average at passing, but only 86% of league average efficiency in the running game. Since the Giants highest rating came in the passing category, they are listed in the Identity column as a Passing team.

YearTeamTEAM DPASS ORUSH OTEAM DPASS ORUSH OIDEN
2011NYG437.64.98312586PASS
2010GNB227.25.116312092DEF
2009NOR347.86.2105134110PASS
2008PIT195.751859689DEF
2007NYG365.16.29689114RUN
2006IND367.75.793136103PASS
2005PIT256.95.5134122104DEF
2004NWE2775.5133118100DEF
2003NWE215.94.516110782DEF
2002TAM185.7520010188DEF
2001NWE225.65.214710196DEF
2000BAL164.75.621186103DEF
1999STL237.96.3144143120DEF
1998DEN3676.596125122PASS
1997DEN306.46.2111118117PASS
1996GNB196.55.4174118104DEF
1995DAL3076.5116123121PASS
1994SFO317.85.6106138110PASS
1993DAL216.96140127115DEF
1992DAL276.65.8112123108PASS
1991WAS248.25.212914797PASS
1990NYG216.65.216211794DEF
1989SFO248.35.5144147103PASS
1988SFO3366.5106109118RUN
1987WAS296.75.8120122108PASS
1986NYG255.55.5141102103DEF
1985CHI226.16.4169114115DEF
1984SFO247.66.3153140115DEF
1983RAI335.85.8115105104DEF
1982WAS166.34.812311892DEF
1981SFO266.34.814211587DEF
1980OAK365.15.21039596DEF
1979PIT286.46.3131124117DEF
1978PIT216.14.915712992DEF
1977DAL235.95.6115136110PASS
1976OAK307.35.6101155103PASS
1975PIT1766.2191125114DEF
1974PIT214613685114DEF
1973MIA155.56.4182120118DEF
1972MIA187.16.6164140120DEF
1971DAL236.86.2121142115PASS
1970BAL225.64.312611685DEF
1969KAN165.65.9196110109DEF
1968NYJ267.14.812514291PASS
1967GNB205.15.6170104106DEF
1966GNB167.64.920015493DEF
1965GNB215.74.817110389DEF
1965BUF234.24.61408890DEF
1964BUF2865.8132119109DEF
1964CLE365.86.794113124RUN
1963CHI175.64.920710189DEF
1963SDG277.17.5139139134DEF
1962GNB146.36.8262110123DEF
1962DTX276.56.7135134118DEF
1961GNB256.87140126123DEF
1961HOU308.25.6131173103PASS
1960PHI287.64.310514978PASS
1960HOU3465.111812590PASS
1959BAL2975.310213194PASS
1958BAL226.66.5147122113DEF
1957DET284.469885114RUN
1956NYG225.15.9129104105DEF
1955CLE267.15.211115496PASS
1954CLE196.15.4159121102DEF
1953DET235.15.8130116106DEF
1952DET234.65.4132111105DEF
1951RAM307.77104176127PASS
1950CLE184.66.1183106109DEF

But I’m more of a visual guy, so I made a pretty sweet chart based on the percentages compared to league average above. For space reasons1, I limited this to just the Super Bowl era. On the X-axis is each team’s defensive rating, on the Y-axis is each team’s passing rating, and the size of each bubble represents the team’s rushing success. Above each bubble, I’ve placed the year they won the Super Bowl. You can click on it to enlarge the picture.

1. Also known as “The 1962 Packers were so over the top good on defense that they would ruin the dimensions of the entire chart” reason. []
• Andrew

that chart is incredibly awesome. Also, i find it interesting that a really impressive running game seems to be the least valuable component, no matter what era you’re looking at. It comes down to having a good defense, a good passing game, a decent running game, and metric tonnes of luck.

• Chase Stuart

I think that’s exactly right.

• Andrew

To clarify, the way i came to the conclusion above is that only 11 SB winners have scored below average in passing and/or defense, whilst 22 have scored below the average in rushing. As for the luck thing, just look at some of these teams. The 1980 Raiders, for instance, only barely had one above average score on defense. That was probably not the best team that year, but they were probably hot late and very lucky (a lot like last year’s Giants. Oh, and the ’07 Giants. Oh, and…well, you get the picture).

• Andrew

I hate to leave three comments so quickly, but why do the ’68 jets have no rushing offense number?

• Chase Stuart

That is odd. Not sure why it wasn’t showing before, but it should now. Thanks. They were at 4.8.

• Richie

I love that the ’99 Rams are considered a DEF team (just barely). If I remember correctly, their defensive numbers were helped by a lot of turnovers?

• Danish

I was also extremely surprised to see that. Chase states that his defensive rating is based on TDs allowed – that seems to suggest that a turnover is worth nothing more than a stop (and the fiedl position gained from any returning).

Also I’ll remember the 2010 Packers as an offensive team..

• Can you please have a pic of Super Bowls