THE WATER COOLER: Defense Still Wins Championships

Lombardi's Way THE WATER COOLER: Defense Still Wins Championships

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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?

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Tony Lombardi

About Tony Lombardi

Tony is 24×7 Networks, LLC’s founder (the parent of and His work has been featured on various sports websites and he is a regular guest on 105.7 The Fan and he hosts “The Fanimal” also heard on 105.7 The Fan, Saturdays from 8-9AM. Among his favorite things in life are his wife, kids, family, friends, The Beatles, Breaking Bad, Gladiator, The Godfather, Guinness, orange crushes, meatballs and Key West, not necessarily in that order. Follow Tony on Twitter @RSRLombardi.

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