Best Super Bowl Defense is still… Da Bears!
As Super Bowl XLVIII between the Seattle Seahawks and Denver Broncos was wrapping up, I got into an intense Twitter debate with a good old friend about what was the best defense to ever play in a Super Bowl. His unwavering response was this year’s Seahawks defense; my response was, “What you talking about Willis?” Thank you to the late Gary Coleman for that line, but how could this guy be serious? As dominating as the Seahawks defense has been, can you really tell me this defense is better than the 1985 Bears defense, the 2000 Ravens defense and hell why not the 2007 Giants defense?
Granted, Seattle was the first team to lead the NFL in fewest yards allowed, fewest points allowed and most turnovers forced since the famed 1985 Chicago Bears. It is also hard to argue against the claim that the “Legion of Boom” may be one of the best defensive backfields ever assembled, and there is the claim that they just shut down the greatest offense and quarterback ever.
But I’m not buying it! Denver’s offense led by future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning is not the best offensive team to ever hit the field. It simply is the best at taking advantage of today’s offensively-geared passing rules. Manning’s 5,000 yards passing and 55 touchdowns in a single season may look impressive to you, but Tom Brady has thrown for 50 touchdowns and Drew Brees has eclipsed 5,000 yards passing four times. Heck, Nick Foles, yeah Nick Foles, a true starter in ten games for Philadelphia this season, almost reached 3,000 yards passing while throwing 27 touchdowns. While the Broncos have a vaunted passing attack, you cannot claim that any of their wide-receivers are truly elite? Furthermore, Denver’s offensive line was a make-shift, fill-the-gaps piece of work missing its one true All-Pro, left tackle Ryan Clady. 2014 Pro Bowl nominee Louis Vasquez is the only one of the five linemen worth a damn! The offense also left a lot to be desired when it came to its ground game.
While you have to admire what Pete Carroll has done in assembling a bunch of no-name players who are now household names thanks to this year’s post-season and Super Bowl XLVIII, his defense does fall a couple of notches below some of the greats. Here’s my list:
1. Super Bowl XX: the Chicago Bears defense allowed 123 total yards, recorded four fumble recoveries and two interceptions, totaling six turnovers, along with a safety and seven sacks in their dismantling of the Patriots. Dent, McMichael, Singletary, Marshall…must I go on? All Hall of Famers.
2. Super Bowl XXXV: the Baltimore Ravens defense allowed 152 total yards, recorded four interceptions, bringing one back for a score, recorded four sacks and did not allow a single offensive touchdown, effectively decimating the New York Giants.
3. Super Bowl XLVIII: the Seattle Seahawks defense scored a defensive touchdown and a safety, forced four turnovers consisting of two interceptions and two fumbles and recorded one sack, handing Peyton Manning his worst play-off loss.
4. Super Bowl XLII: the New York Giants shut down what was then hailed as the greatest offensive show ever. The undefeated New England Patriots set an NFL record, scoring 589 points in a season. Led by Justin Tuck the defense sacked Tom Brady five times and forced a fumble while holding New England to only 14 points, 22 points under the Patriots season average.
5. Super Bowl XVII: the Los Angeles Raiders defense held the Washington Redskins aerial attack to just 283 total yards, recording six sacks along with two interceptions and one fumble recovery.
Debate all you want but that’s the way these eyes see it!