Top 2 Defense
The Chiefs are about to face the 49ers’ number two rated defense. Consider, neither of the last two teams the Chiefs defeated to get into Super Bowl 54 cracked the top 15 in DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average), a metric which compares a team’s defensive efficiency against the league average. The Chiefs are in for a rude awakening.
Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant said it years ago, and it’s a mantra that has been subject to heavy scrutiny and debate in the time since. Nevertheless, the saying prevails:
"“The offense sells tickets, but the defense wins championships.”"
You’ve heard it. It’s the latter portion of Bryant’s quote that lives on within the sporting community. It’s far from a guarantee, but there is enough data to substantiate it.
In the NFL, at least, this saying has proven to be accurate more often than not. Rarely does the most potent quarterback with the most dominant offense win the Super Bowl. Check out the most recent examples:
- Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos scored 50+ TDs in the 2013 regular season, only to get humiliated by the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl 48 to the tune of 43-8.
- Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers scored 35 TDs in the 2015 regular season, only to get overwhelmed by the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50 to the tune of 24-10.
- Colin Kaepernick, then quarterback of the 49ers, accounted for 15 TDs despite starting in only eight games. He lost to the Baltimore Ravens in Super Bowl 47, 34-31.
- Just last year, Jared Goff of the L.A. Rams seemed unstoppable with 34 TDs, only to get pounded by an ingenious New England Patriots defense in Super Bowl 49 and lost 13-3.
That’s only four of six examples, all within the last decade.
The outlying exception to this within the last ten years? It happened in Super Bowl 49, where the Patriots miraculously dethroned the superior Seahawks defense 28-24 with that unforgettable goal-line interception by Patriots cornerback, Malcolm Butler.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback, Dak Prescott, knows the value of a stellar defense. In a recent interview with NFL Network’s Kurt Warner, Prescott said he favors the 49ers to win Super Bowl 54 precisely because of their defense.
"“When you can get [to the quarterback] with those front four you’ve got a chance. So, defense wins championships, right? As a quarterback I wanna throw the ball and score all the points, but we know what wins it.”"
Bottom line: if the San Francisco 49ers defense continues playing at an elite, championship-level against the Chiefs, the 49ers will win Super Bowl 54.