Gold Standard in Defence

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After 50 years of Super Bowls the NFL has evolved in a major way going from a game that was mainly a running league to the air attack that is currently dominating the league.

When the league was merged with the AFL the majority of successful teams were teams that could pass every now and then to keep teams honest as they ran the ball.

The last decade in the sport has seen the reverse as teams run to keep their opponents honest as they pass the ball.

It is the evolution of the sport and as the seasons move on there seems to be a new dominant offensive team lead by a great passing game.

It is the new way of the league as every NFL team is always looking for a new quarterback or receiver that can help them get to the top of the offensive rankings.

For many teams it is the way to get to the championship and take home a Super Bowl but in reality an old saying rings as true today as it has since it was first said.

“Offence sells tickets but defence wins championships” is something that people continue to use to express the importance of a strong defence.

Obviously the saying and the theory are not without their detractors who believe that a great offence can overcome a good defence and win a championship.

They still believe that offence can take home championships but time and time again it seems to fall short.

As Super Bowl 50 approached the saying was going to be tested more than ever before when two polar opposites faced off for the title of the best team in the NFL.

There was the offensive side, represented by the Carolina Panthers who were the best offence in the league led by the league MVP, Cam Newton.

They had a great ground attack that included their quarterback and a passing game that included receivers that were all made better by Newton and his great arm.

That offence carried the Panthers to some lopsided wins in the playoffs and made them the team to watch for Super Bowl 50.

They were the fun team to watch that had more fun playing the game than anyone else in the league.

They were the team everyone was picking to win because there didn’t seem to be a way to stop Newton and the offence.

What many didn’t mention as much was that their defence was a good one and had a lot to do with their rise to the Super Bowl.

Although the Panthers defence was good they were not the defence representing the “defence wins championships” side of the theory.football-sidebar

The Denver Broncos were that team with one of the best defences in the league thanks to their great pass rush.

Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware had been making life miserable the entire season but came into the game largely overlooked.

They weren’t the team that people loved to watch, largely due to an anemic offence, so they weren’t talked about much in the lead up to the big game.

The only time they were mentioned was when it came to preparing for Newton and to stop Newton from doing what he does best.

It was a classic pitfall of everyone looking into the Super Bowl as they continued to look to Carolina as a team that was unstoppable and ignored the best defence in the league.

The game was another one that made the theory of defence winning championships much more legitimate.

Instead of Newton ripping through the Denver defence like he had done to so many other teams it was Miller and ware getting through the line.

They put relentless pressure on Newton forcing him to make mistakes, two fumbles and an interception on the night, and making it a long night for the offence.

Not to be outdone though the Panthers’ defence was able to shut down the Denver offence, which wasn’t necessarily a challenge after a rough year led by Peyton Manning.

In an era where the passing game is the focus of every team and most analysts it was the passing game that fell flat on the night.

Neither quarterback did well, even on a night that seems like it could be Manning’s last, and neither took over the game as it was the defence that was the biggest factor in the game.

It was a call back to the old way of doing things as the defences were the focus of the night rather than the offences.

When it came down to it the better defence won the game and that defence was the Broncos who got into Newton’s face and ended the hype train of the Panthers and their young quarterback.

“Defence wins championships” rings true now as it did whenever it was first said and for another year it is that saying that will define the season.

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