THE WATER COOLER: Defense Still Wins Championships

sam adams sbxxxv

Super Bowl XLVIII proved one thing – the more things change the more they stay the same.

Roger Goodell and his merry band of rules tinkerers (otherwise known as the competition committee) have done all that they can to get the NFL to cater to the whims of fantasy football players and make the league look like Arena Football on PED’s.

Yet despite all of the rules to open up scoring the Seattle Seahawks proved once again that defense wins championships.

Comparisons were made between the 2013 Legion of Boom and the Baltimore Bullies of 2000. Clearly there are similarities.

Both teams preferred standard base defensive packages to designs featuring exotic looks. Both tackled extremely well. Both front sevens flew to the football. And both could put pressure on opposing quarterbacks without blitzing.

But the 2000 Ravens did it more consistently and no one, including the 1985 Bears, can match their sheer dominance during their championship playoff runs.

There is a lesson to be learned though. Physical teams with good players who are well coached can go a long way when they play with discipline, sound fundamentals, protect and run the football and they win the battle of field position.

If you have that, teams needn’t worry about hyperactive pinball wizards for offenses because as we witnessed yesterday, such wizards can get jammed up and TILT!


Super Bowl Notes

  • The Ravens are the only AFC team in the last 5 seasons to win the Super Bowl
  • The Ravens are the only multiple Super Bowl winner that is undefeated
  • The Ravens are the only Super Bowl winner not to allow a single offensive point in a game.
    • @Ryan_Mavity informs us that in SB IX the Vikings scored on a blocked punt and the PAT was no good, hence the Vikings point total of 6. Therefore the Ravens AND the Steelers are the only Super Bowl teams not to allow a single offensive point in the big game.



Not to beat a dead horse, but Kubiak-Gate doesn’t seem to want to go away. I retracted a column written last week in which I claimed that the hiring of Gary Kubiak as the Ravens offensive coordinator had next to nothing to do with John Harbaugh. After publishing the column it was brought to my attention by a team source why I was wrong and it inspired the retraction and the accompanying apology.

The 11th hour hiring process of Kubiak went like this:

According to the source Ozzie Newsome was never involved in the coaching discussions regarding Kubiak. Steve Bisciotti wanted to hire Kyle Shanahan. Seeking feedback on Shanahan, John Harbaugh called Rick Dennison with whom he had a previous relationship. During that conversation Dennison shared that Gary Kubiak wanted the Ravens OC job and only that job.

The Ravens were under the impression that Kubiak would not coach in 2014. Dennison quickly dispelled that notion and soon thereafter Harbaugh called Kubiak.

The decision to hire Kubiak was completely John Harbaugh’s.

Since publishing the retraction I have received several emails and blog comments stating that my original blog was more believable.

I get why some would think that way.

The real story has holes in it.

Despite the shaky explanation my resolve and faith in the trusted source is unwavering.

In the end I’m confident that the hiring process of Kubiak is as described above.

Yes it’s a bit of a mystery why Kubiak or his agent didn’t reach out to the Ravens. It’s an even bigger mystery why the Ravens didn’t at least inquire about Kubiak’s availability. It’s also somewhat puzzling why Rick Dennison was consulted as a Shanahan reference when the two haven’t worked together.

But that doesn’t make the Ravens liars or spin-doctors. It makes them look clumsy, particularly when the team’s owner built his fortune understanding personnel, the hiring process and mining for the right people for a specific job.

But just like the hiring process for Brian Billick’s replacement didn’t go as planned when Jason Garrett left the team at the proverbial altar and force the Ravens to settle on John Harbaugh, Kubiak-Gate was equally perplexing.

Yet in both hiring situations, the Ravens eventually managed to get it right.

And at the end of the day, isn’t that all that matters?

Which Ravens Super Bowl team would win in a mythical head-to-head game?
Super Bowl XXXV (2000) (85%)
Super Bowl XLVII (2012) (15%)
This poll has completed. Thank you for voting.

10 Raves on “THE WATER COOLER: Defense Still Wins Championships

  1. darren on said:

    tony i stopped replying to ur articles….my post would get deleted and i spoke to the subject and was in no way rude or obnoxious….i dont understand it

    • Tony LombardiTony Lombardi on said:

      Not sure what happened. I sent you an email.

      We’ll be moving to a new commenting system soon. Hopefully that will help.

  2. edfromparkheights on said:

    At this point, does it really matter. There are always going to be conspiracy theorists. Just read the responders on the daily fishwrap known as The Sun. Kubiak is our OC. He has a much longer history of good offenses than Shanny Jr., and didn’t need his dad’s recommendation

  3. Nick B. on said:

    The Ravens (and everyone in the NFL) knew Kubiak wanted a head coaching job only. It’s no coincidence he magically became interested in the Ravens coordinator position immediately after the last head coaching job was filled (Browns on Thursday that week).

    Harbaugh is one of the best coaches in the NFL right now. People that don’t like him because he’s not 100% perfect WANT to believe the other story. What they miss is that if the other story were true, that would mean Steve Bisciotti is a terrible leader. He is not. Great leaders hire and empower. They don’t micromanage. See Jerry Jones for an example of that.

  4. Jacob on said:

    I truly believe the best formula to win a SB is a dominant defense and an okay offense. Obviously, you want both to be dominant, but that really isn’t possible given the salary cap. Look at the SB winning teams (especially those that won more than one SB) since 2000: Ravens (2012 D was probably the worst D listed here), Steelers, Bucs, Seahawks, Patriots, Giants, etc. Those teams account for 11 SB victories.

    With that said, initially, I wanted the Ravens to draft a stud WR in the first round, but now I want them to grab the best defensive front seven player.

  5. John on said:

    OK 3 teams shut out an offense in the Super Bowl but
    - the 2000 Ravens only allowed 2 plays inside their 45 the entire game – a punt and an interception. The Giants never even attempted a FG.

    - In the 2nd half the Ravens Defense out gained the Giants Offense 51-36… with 22 yards of the Giants’ 36 yards coming during mop up time the last 90 seconds. They had made it to their own 49 when the game ended.

    - the 2000 Ravens had no offense to lean on. No margin for error. They won every game the offense scored got a single TD. And some they didn’t.

    Ravens 2000. Best. Defense. Ever.

  6. JerryB on said:

    Certainly true yesterday, but as stated elsewhere, the Seahawks had a lot of help from a Denver team that was inept from the first snap to the final gun! When you don’t block, tackle, run, pass or catch and continuously turn the ball over, it doesn’t matter much who the opponent is, you’re not going to win! Arguably, Seattle had something to do with some of those things, but the fact is that, for whatever reason, Denver was NOT ready to play and it was never more evident than from that very first errant snap…….

  7. Mike Z on said:

    KUBIAK-GATE: That is so last week. I agree with you that some of it just does not pass the common sense rile; I liked that you even voiced this on the radio last week. But so last week. As long as people are on the earth, people will find something to complain about. The bottom line is that we now have the best available NFL Coordinator available. Who cares how. I just want the W’s.

    Defense Still Wins Championships: So true. They may try to say they are reinventing the game, but in the end it is a simple game. You still: pass and catch; hit and tackle; kick and run. Seattle did what defenses are supposed to do. They were aggressive. They swarmed the ball. At times it was like they had 20 players on the field.

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