Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 1/31/13
Notable Top Bing Searches · Team: The San Francisco 49ers were the search darlings this Super Bowl, receiving twice as many searches as the Baltimore Ravens. · Quarterbacks: The 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, appeared to be the fan favorite quarterback among Bing searchers, surpassing Raven’s QB, Joe Flacco, by more than 50 percent. · Harbaugh Brother: The most searched for Harbaugh brother was Jim Harbaugh, coach of the 49ers. · Top Player: Soon to be retired Ravens player Ray Lewis was the top searched for player in the 2013 Super Bowl, according to Bing. · Top Player By Team: Alex Smith is the top searched for 49ers player, while Ray Lewis tops the list of Ravens players. Here are the top 5 most searched for players on each team: 49ers Ravens Alex Smith Ray Lewis Colin Kaepernick Ray Rice Randy Moss Torrey Smith Anthony Davis Ed Reed Aldon Smith Joe Flacco   And the man who predicted all 50 states and the District of Columbia in the Presidential election last November. Nate Silver, who appropriately did a “mic drop” that night, is back to tell us who’s going to win the Super Bowl? Does defense win championships? Stat-geek sports fans like me tend to distrust this old saying. Scoring a point helps just as much as allowing one hurts. And in football, the proposition risks ignoring the role played by the likes of Tom Brady. It is the case, however, that the better defensive team has usually won the Super Bowl — and done so far more consistently than offensive juggernauts. The Web site Pro Football Reference publishes a statistic called the Simple Rating System (S.R.S.), which evaluates each team’s offense and defense based on the number of points it scored and allowed relative to the league average and adjusted for strength of schedule. Of the 92 teams to have played in the Super Bowl before this year, I identified those with the 20 best defensive and offensive ratings, according to S.R.S. (see charts above). The defensive list contains teams that you would expect, like the 1985 Bears. These teams have compiled a 14-6 record (.700) in the Super Bowl. Their winning percentage is actually nearly 80 percent when you ignore the three cases, Super Bowls IV, VIII and XLV, when two of the all-time great defensive teams faced each other. The 20 best offensive teams, however, are just 10-10 in the Super Bowl. There have been successes in this group, like the Saints under Drew Brees, but there have been just as many failures, including two of Brady’s Patriots teams. (During his three championships, the Patriots had a much better balance between offense and defense.) The reasons that exceptional defenses fare so much better in the Super Bowl are still somewhat murky, but this factor bodes well for this year’s 49ers, whose defense belongs in the elite group, according to S.R.S. (it ranks 17th among Super Bowl teams). The Ravens, despite all the hype surrounding Ray Lewis, allowed a rather pedestrian 21.5 points per game this year. The 49ers also have the better offense, according to S.R.S., so there isn’t much to recommend the Ravens . . . unless you look at the more sophisticated rankings published by Football Outsiders. Their system, known as Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (D.V.O.A.), accounts for a team’s success or failure on every play it ran during the year and not just on final scores. Those rankings find that while the 49ers had the better offense and defense, the Ravens had the best special teams in the league this year. If they do pull off the upset, on the heels of Steve Weatherford’s game-changing performance for the Giants in last year’s Super Bowl, perhaps it will be time for a new cliché: punters win championships. But don’t count on that.   Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, a Google News site generating millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Chicago Tribune.com, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports A Fulbright scholar, published author and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio all over the world; he’s also a member of the Football Writers Association of America, U.S. Basketball Writers Association, and Society of Professional Journalists. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.
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