Chicago among the NFL's stingiest defenses

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Nov 27, 2005



(Ed. Note: This article originally appeared as a part of the Monday morning hangover update. We thought that it, like our ample buttocks, was so magnificent that it warranted its own space.)
 
***
In last week's Monday hangover update, the Cold, Hard Football Facts listed chapter and verse on how the 2005 Bears defense stacks up against the great Bears defenses of the mid-1980s. (Here's a clue: They stack up pretty damn well.)
 
That means, of course, that it became a big storyline in yesterday's pregame shows, proving once again that you'll get more in-depth data here first than you will anywhere else, even at the big networks.
 
Following Chicago's 13-10 win over Tampa Bay yesterday, the Bears now surrender just 10.9 PPG. Only 11 teams in the Super Bowl era have surrendered fewer than 11.0 PPG and just one, the 2000 Ravens (10.3 PPG), has done so since the NFL liberalized offenses to bring an end to the "dead ball era" of the 1970s.
 
The chart below shows how the 2005 Bears stack up against the stingiest defenses of the Super Bowl era, all the way up to the great Super Bowl champion Bears defense of 1985. It may come as a shock, at least to those who worship at the temple of hype, but there have been 21 defenses in modern NFL history that have given up fewer points per game than the mighty 1985 Bears. Of course, the 1985 Bears shut out both opponents in the conference playoffs and surrendered just 10 points to New England in Super Bowl XX.
 
Team               
Games
Pts. Allowed
PPG
Record
Results
1977 Falcons
14
129
9.21
7-7
Missed playoffs
1969 Vikings
14
133
9.50
12-2
Lost SB IV
1975 Rams
14
135
9.64
12-2
Lost NFC title game
1976 Steelers
14
138
9.86
10-4
Lost AFC title game
1971 Vikings
14
139
9.93
11-3
Lost div. playoff
1971 Colts
14
140
10.00
10-4
Lost AFC title game
1970 Vikings
14
143
10.21
12-2
Lost div. playoff
1968 Colts
14
144
10.29
13-1
Lost SB III
2000 Ravens
16
165
10.31
12-4
Won SB XXXV
1977 Rams
14
146
10.43
10-4
Lost div. playoff
1977 Broncos
14
148
10.57
12-2
Lost SB XII
1973 Dolphins
14
150
10.71
12-2
Won SB VIII
2005 Bears
11
120
10.91
8-3
TBD
1975 Steelers
14
162
11.57
12-2
Won SB X
1966 Packers
14
163
11.64
12-2
Won SB I
1986 Bears
16
187
11.69
14-2
Lost div. playoff
2000 Titans
16
191
11.94
13-3
Lost div. playoff
1973 Vikings
14
168
12.00
12-2
Lost SB VIII
1968 Chiefs (AFL) 
14
170
12.14
12-2
Lost div. playoff
1978 Steelers
16
195
12.19
14-2
Won SB XIII
1972 Dolphins
14
171
12.21
14-0
Won SB VII
2002 Bucs
16
196
12.25
12-4
Won SB XXXVII
1985 Bears
16
198
12.37
15-1
Won SB XX
1978 Broncos
16
198
12.37
10-6
Lost div. playoff
 
Note that three of the 11 best scoring defenses of the Super Bowl era played in 1977. It's no surprise, then, why the NFL opened up the passing game in 1978. The NFL at the time needed more scoring.
 
It's also interesting to note that just seven of the previous 23 teams on our list (not including the 2005 Bears) have gone on to win the Super Bowl. The lesson is clear: A great defense alone will not win the Super Bowl for you.

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