Super Bowl 47: N.O. Stands For No Offense

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Jan 31, 2013



By Russell S. Baxter (@BaxFootballGuru)
Cold Hard Football Facts New Orleans Bureau Chief

Perhaps it’s only fitting that the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers clash in this latest Super Bowl in the Big Easy.

And if past Super Bowls are any indications, the city’s nicknames won’t live up to its billing.

We have seen some of the great defensive performances in Super Bowl history in New Orleans. And the only time we’ve seen defensive linemen named the game’s MVP, both occurred in the Superdome.

From stifling defense to opportunistic play, there’s no real explanation for why some of these outstanding performances have come in the Crescent City. And be it the pre rule changes era or more modern times, defense has stepped to the forefront in the nine previous games at New Orleans.

The talk for two weeks on the field has perhaps centered on quarterbacks Joe Flacco (Ravens) and Colin Kaepernick (49ers). But would it be a shock if Aldon Smith, Ray Lewis, NaVorro Bowman, Terrell Suggs, Justin Smith or Ed Reed came up big when it counted most in Super Bowl XLVII?

So here’s a look at the nine previous Super Bowls in the City of New Orleans. And defense has been a big part (no surprise) in all of these championships…

Kansas City 23, Minnesota 7 (Super Bowl IV): The first of three Super Bowls played at Tulane Stadium, that star-studded Chiefs’ defense made its presence felt figuratively and literally. Led by Pro Football Hall of Famers Buck Buchanan, Willie Lanier, Bobby Bell and Emmitt Thomas, the Vikings’ offense was frustrated and quarterback Joe Kapp was battered as he was sacked three times and certainly hit more than that before giving way to Gary Cuozzo. Minnesota totaled nearly as many turnovers (5) as points (7) in what proved to be the first of four Super Bowl losses by the talented Vikings…

Dallas 24, Miami 3 (Super Bowl VI): Back in the day, it was the Dallas Cowboys who couldn’t win “The Big One” but they put it altogether against an upstart Miami Dolphins’ team that was still a season away from perfection. Don Shula’s team was limited to 185 total yards on 44 offensive plays. And while Dolphins’ quarterback Bob Griese was sacked only once on the afternoon, it was for a Super Bowl record 29-yard loss courtesy of Hall of Fame defensive tackle Bob Lilly. The Dolphins were limited to a mere three points and it remains the only time that a team failed to score a touchdown in a Super Bowl…

Pittsburgh 16, Minnesota 6 (Super Bowl IX): In a matchup probably better suited for the WWF, this clash between the fabled “Steel Curtain” and the “Fearsome Foursome” defensive fronts saw a total of two offensive touchdowns in the game, both by Pittsburgh. The Minnesota Vikings’ offense ran 21 times for 17 yards and their 119 total yards is the still the fewest gained by a team in 46 Super Bowls. And while Fran Tarkenton was never sacked in the game, you could have never known that the way L.C. Greenwood, Joe Greene, Ernie Holmes and Dwight White chased him around the field…

Dallas 27, Denver 10 (Super Bowl XII): The first indoor Super Bowl and the first played at the Superdome featured plenty of mistakes, most of them by Broncos’ quarterback Craig Morton and his offense as Red Miller’s team committed six turnovers in the first half, including four interceptions by Morton, and a total of eight turnovers by game’s end. Meanwhile, Denver’s offensive line never solved the Cowboys’ pass rush as both Hall of Fame defensive tackle Randy White and defensive end Harvey were named co-MVPs of the game. And when you consider that the Dallas’ offense was handed the ball eight times and only scored 27 points, kudos to the “Orange Crush” as well…

Oakland 27, Philadelphia 10 (Super Bowl XV): Earlier in the season, the Eagles had sacked Raiders’ quarterback Jim Plunkett eight times in a 10-7 win at Philadelphia. This time around at the Superdome, Birds’ quarterback Ron Jaworski couldn’t avoid Oakland linebacker Rod Martin, who picked off the Eagles’ signal-caller on his first pass attempt of the game and twice more afterwards. For the second time that season, the Silver and Black held Philadelphia to a season-low 10 points. Only this time around, the Birds only sacked Plunkett once…

Chicago 46, New England 10 (Super Bowl XX): One of the legendary defensive units in league history, the Bears spotted the Patriots a 3-0 lead and then took them apart. New England managed a mere 123 total yards, including a mind-boggling Super Bowl record-low seven yards on the ground. While Mike Ditka’s offense was rolling up 408 total yards, Chicago’s defensive unit scored on an interception return (Reggie Phillips) as well as a safety (Henry Waechter) and game MVP and Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end Richard Dent totaled 1.5 of the team’s six sacks…

San Francisco 55, Denver 10 (Super Bowl XXIV): Yes, 49ers’ quarterback Joe Montana riddled the Denver defense for 297 yards and five touchdowns, completing 22-of-29 passes in the process. But almost forgotten is the number that underrated and physical San Francisco defense did on Broncos’ quarterback John Elway and company. Dan Reeves’ team was limited to 167 total yards and one touchdown as Elway completed less than 50 percent of his throws (10-of-26) while the Niners’ defense collected four takeaways and six sacks…

Green Bay 35, New England 21 (Super Bowl XXXI): It’s hard to say that the Packers’ defense was the catalyst of the teams’ first NFL championship since Super Bowl II but they did play a part in the team’s victory over the Patriots. In a game that was a little more competitive than some may realize, New England actually owned a 14-10 lead in the second quarter and was within 27-21 before the heroics of MVP kick returner Desmond Howard. Green Bay’s defense totaled five sacks, three by Pro Football Hall of Famer Reggie White, and picked off Patriots’ quarterback Drew Bledsoe four times…

New England 20, St. Louis 17 (Super Bowl XXXVI): The Rams, in their second Super Bowl in three seasons, had scored 500 or more points for the third straight season (the first team to do so) and they put 45 and 29 on the board in playoff wins over the Packers and Eagles. But the hard-hitting and opportunistic Patriots were ready and waiting, having already lost once to St. Louis during the regular season. Cornerback Ty Law set the tone with a 47-yard interception return for a touchdown and Mike Martz’s offense, despite a late fourth-quarter surge, was shackled for most of the game…


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