One of the oldest clichés in football is that “defense wins championships,” but apparently that’s not so much the case anymore in the NFL. Due to several rule changes that have been put in place over the years, offenses are now thriving and if you need proof of just how much they’re dominating, just look at the four most recent Super Bowls.
Let’s take a quick look at all four games.
- Super Bowl LI: Patriots 34-28 over Falcons. This game featured the NFL’s highest-scoring offense in the Falcons (33.8 points per game) going up against the league’s third-highest scoring offense in New England (27.6). The two teams were averaging a combined 61.4 points going into the game and they nearly hit that number right on the head in New England’s overtime win that saw the Falcons blow a 28-3 third quarter lead (Sorry, Falcons fans, as a member of the media, I am contractually obligated to mention the blown lead any time I write about this game).
- Super Bowl LII: Eagles 41-33 over Patriots. Back in 2017, the Patriots finished as the NFL’s second-highest scoring team, but they only beat the Eagles by exactly one point (458-457). The point total was so close that their per game average of 28.6 was actually the same and it also made them tied for second in the NFL in scoring average. Although they virtually tied during the season, the Eagles definitely scored more points in the Super Bowl as they beat New England 41-33.
- Super Bowl LIII: Patriots 13-3 over Rams. This was the lowest-scoring Super Bowl of all-time, which was mildly surprising since Los Angeles went into the game with the NFL’s second-highest scoring offense (32.9 points per game) while New England had the fourth-highest scoring offense (27.3).
- Super Bowl LIV: Chiefs 31-20 over 49ers. Last year’s Super Bowl gave us the NFL’s second-highest scoring team in the 49ers (29.9) going up against the fifth-highest scoring team in Kansas City (28.2). Just like the previous three Super Bowls, the team that scored fewer points during the regular season actually ended up winning the game.
If you want to get to the big game, you have to have a high-scoring offense and this doesn’t look like a trend that will be going away anytime soon. This year’s postseason will feature the nine highest-scoring teams in the NFL. If the Super Bowl trend continues and two of the NFL’s five highest-scoring teams meet in Tampa Bay, that’s good news for the five teams below, who ranked as the top-five in the NFL this year in points scored:
Although the Chiefs aren’t on this list, you could certainly make the argument that they belong there and that’s because they were the NFL’s second-highest scoring team going into Week 17. However, they decided to bench their starters for the final week of the season and because of that, they finished the season sixth overall in scoring with an average of 29.6.
The lowest-scoring team in the playoffs this year is Washington, which ranked 25th overall with an average of 20.9 points per game, so we can probably go ahead and write them off. Sorry, Washington. Of course, if you’re still a believer in the whole “defense wins championships” mantra, then maybe Washington has a chance. Of the five defenses that surrendered the fewest points this year, all five of them made the postseason (Rams, Ravens, Steelers, Washington, Saints).
The Saints were actually the only team in the NFL that ranked in the top-five in both scoring offense and defense — The Saints surrendered the fifth-fewest points in the league this year — so this might be Drew Brees‘ best shot to take win his second Super Bowl, which is kind of fitting since most people expect this year to be his final season.