Posted on: August 7, 2008 8:01 pm
There is often debate on what makes a team good. "Defense wins championships", "Create turnovers", "Run the Ball well", "Mistake Free passing game" are all mantras that fans, media, coaches, and players will often recite. So statistically, what are the best indicators of success? Does defense really overshadow offense?
I think I will break this down further as this piece of research was just to get an idea of what could be true. I selected various statistics that I felt were representative of a teams overall abilities. After selecting them, I looked at what teams were in the top ten in those particular stats for each of the last six seasons and counted how many of them made the playoffs.
Here are the stats I chose.
Defense - Total yards per game: This stat can be misleading but it does give you a decent idea of a defense's play over the course of the season.
Defense Yards per Carry allowed: More than rushing yards total, I think yards per carry shows how a team performed against the run.
Takeaways - Obviously a defense's ability to get the offense back onto the field is important.
Offensive Total Yards per game: Another stat that can mislead (Some teams get a lot of garbage time yards) but it is an indicator of overall ability to move the ball.
Quarterback Passer Rating: It's hard to come up with a way to determine the efficiency of a passing game. Do you do Completion percentage? Yards per completion? In the end, this bizarre stat is an indicator of a QB's talent and the talent of his receivers.
Offensive Yards per Carry - Again, I like Yards per carry as a stat more than total rushing yards. Higher YPC leads to more 2nd and 5, 3rd and 2 situations as opposed to 2nd and 7, 3rd and 5.
So which of these stats did postseasons teams tend to lead the league in? Think about it awhile.
On average, there have been only 4.5 playoff teams in the top ten for Defensive Yards per carry allowed.
Same goes for Offensive Yards per carry. 4.5 playoff teams in the top ten per year.
The next lowest? Believe it or not it is takeaways. 5.33 of the top ten teams in takeaways make the post season.
Defensive yards? 5.8 of the top ten teams in defensive yards allowed have been playoff teams every year.
Surprisingly, 6.1 of the top ten teams in offensive yards gained have been playoff teams. Offense is a slightly higher indicator of a playoff team than defensive yards. I find that shocking.
On average, teams in the playoffs had 7 of the top ten QB's as far as rating on their roster.
To me, this is pretty interesting. Many consider the passing game to be the glamour aspect of the game while defense, turnovers, and rushing are the things that make a team successful. Yet, it seems that having a solid QB is more likely to lead you to success.