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Defense Wins Championships, or Does It?

Over the past two decades, we've seen some absolutely dominant offenses. Who can forget Rodger's 15-1 2011 Packers (560 total points), the Brady-Moss 2007 Patriots (589 total Points), or Manning's swan song with the 2013 Broncos (606 total points). As a result, these teams ended up having some of the best records in football, however none of them won the Super Bowl. The Packers didn't even win a playoff game.

Bear Bryant's old adage "defense wins championships," is based in fact. Super Bowl XLVIII is a perfect case study: The Seahawks dismantled the record-setting Broncos 43-8 in one of the most lopsided Super Bowls in history. The 2002 Buccaneers - featuring defensive stars like Warren Sapp, Derrick Thomas, Simeon Rice, John Lynch and Ronde Barber - allowed only 196 points the entire season and handily beat the Oakland Raiders in the Super Bowl. An offense led by Brad Johnson and Mike Alstott didn't light up the scoreboard, but that didn't matter for the Bucs. 

This graphic allows you to compare the success of a team (wins or losses) to scoring data (points for, points against, or point differential). You can also select a specific team or look at all teams. The colors indicate the divisional rank at the end of each season.

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Martin Chandler
Martin is a data analyst that has been applauded for his ability to make the complex simple. He grew up on a farm in northern Vermont and spent his summers helping his mom lead llama treks at Smugglers' Notch Resort. Martin graduated from University of Vermont with a degree in Mathematics. After graduation he left Vermont to work for an educational nonprofit called City Year for two years, and followed that up by attending the data science immersive program at Galvanize in Denver. He is an avid Green Bay Packer fan, and spends his free time playing football and soccer.

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