Found August 29, 2013 on
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Do NFL teams need a great arm under center to succeed?
A great quarterback such as Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, or Dan Marino would be a nice luxury to have, however, not a necessity. I am about to throw everything that you and I thought about football as kids on its proverbial head. While the top echelon QB is not necessary there is a correlation between the defense, running game you put on the field, and your chances of winning.
Let us take a bit deeper look at this by comparing three NFL teams the 1985 Bears, 2000 Ravens, and the 2009-2010 Jets. There are things these teams had in common and those were a great defense and an amazing running game. The quarterbacks all shared something in common as well and that is they are all decent at best, not a statistical monster amongst the group.
First, let’s look at the Bears, 15 wins against 1 loss, a year for the ages. The team led at QB by Jim McMahon, he of 11 starts, 15 TD – 11 INT and 2392 yards as well as completing passes at a 56.9% rate. These are hardly statistics for the ages or the Hall of Fame for that matter, but good enough to win it all. What DA BEARS lacked in quarterback stats they received in spades from their defense, which was ranked Number one overall in the league. In addition to the Monsters of the Midway defense which crushed all that stood in its way they had one Mr. Walter Payton and company who run roughshod over the NFL to the tune 2761 YD and 27 TD. This was a team for the ages led by rushing and defense.
Secondly, the 2000 Ravens who won it all compiling a regular season 12-4 record. This team was led by Trent Dilfer, he of 8 starts, 12 TD-11 INT and 1502 YDS and completing passes at a rate of 59.3% of the time. This team again shows us that a high ranked running attack(#5) and a high ranked defense (#1) will win you more than marching up and down the field on the arm of a quarterback. Dilfer was handed the ball and basically told “don’t crew this up” and he didn’t.
Lastly, and unfortunately the only one of the group not to win the Super Bowl, but to prove the point that has been a running theme through this piece. The Jets of 2009 and 2010 serves as a fine example to show that great defense and running will always win out. In these two years the Jets were ranked #1 and #6 respectively on defense as well as #1 and #4 in rushing both of those seasons. In those same seasons led by Mark Sanchez the passing game was not ranked anywhere near the top as he passed 12 and 17 TD along with 20 and 13 INT. He also completed passes at a 53.8% and 54.8% to go along with 2,444 and 3291 yards. These performances were nowhere near where they needed to be statistically. They were, however, enough to get the job done to put numbers in the W column.
Researching this article put whatever I grew up thinking about how a team can succeed right on its head. I always thought a great quarterback was needed and was I wrong. What a team needs is a defense ranked in the top 10 as well as a running game in the upper ranks as well. The defense will be able to stop the opposition while the running game keeps your defense off the field and fresh along with keeping the opposing offense off the field. So while Manning, Marino, Montana, or Luck would be nice they are not necessary. You only need a running game and stifling defense to pair with a clock manager who doesn’t screw things up.
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