For the sixth time in Super Bowl history, the NFL's best offense (i.e., the team that scored the most points over the course of the season) will challenge the league's best defense (i.e., the team that allowed the fewest points). This kind of glorious matchup between the best D and the best O happened first in Super Bowl XIII, and it's only happened five times since, including the game coming up on Sunday night.
Is the old saying, "offense wins games, but defense wins championships," really true?
Yup, it is empirically proven that the best defense trumps the best offense 80% of the time when the two fight for the Lombardi Trophy. After hours of research, we know the history, and we're here to tell you who will win Super Bowl XLVIII.
Check out past Super Bowls in which the number one offense faced the number one defense.
Super Bowl XIII
Steelers vs. Cowboys
This was the only time in Super Bowl history when two quarterbacks with two Super Bowl rings [Terry Bradshaw and Roger Staubach] went head to head to win a third.
It was a true battle of the All Stars. Fourteen players, along with both coaches, the Steelers' Chuck Noll and the Cowboys' Tom Landry, were later voted into the Hall of Fame.
Like their QBs, both teams were fighting to be the first to win three Super Bowls. In the end, the Steelers "Steel Curtain" defense, which allowed opponents only 195 points all season, was victorious over the Cowboys best offense in the league, 35-31.
Offense: 0, Defense: 1
Super Bowl XIX
Dolphins vs. 49ers
It was only Dan Marino's second year in the league, and he broke almost every passing record in the books: most completions in a season, first quarterback to throw for over 5,000 yards, most games throwing for at least 300 yards, most games with 400 yards, most touchdown passes, most games with 4 or more touchdown passes, and most consecutive games with at least 4 touchdown passes.
Sounds a lot like Peyton Manning's crazy list of QB accomplishments.
Despite the best efforts of superstar quarterback Dan Marino, the Dolphins were defeated by the 49ers' incredible defensive line, 38-16.
Offense: 0, Defense: 2
Super Bowl XXIV
Broncos vs. 49ers
The 49ers entered the game having already won three Super Bowls, while the Broncos walked in with two previous Super Bowl losses. This top defense vs. top offense matchup went a little differently as a result.
The Broncos tough defense held their own, but Denver QB John Elway ran the offense into the ground. Elway went 10 for 26 with two interceptions, making it virtually impossible for his defensive unit to keep the team alive.
On the flip side, the 49ers had two-time Super Bowl MVP Joe Montana running the show. The Niners whipped the Broncs 55-10, and Montana was awarded his third Super Bowl ring.
Offense: 1, Defense: 2
Super Bowl XXV
Bills vs. Giants
The Giants number one defense was part of coach Bill Parcells' strategy for success. His team dominated on defense and his offense could sustain exceptionally long drives. The defense did its job, and the offense adopted the "you can't win if you don't have the ball" mentality.
On the other side of the field, the favored Bills top scoring offense had nine Pro Bowl players and top rated QB Jim Kelly. They had racked up 95 points in their two playoff games prior to the Super Bowl, their "no-huddle" offense having left other defenses confused and rushed.
When the two teams faced off in the regular season, the Bills won 17-13, but New York won the big one, 20-19.
Offense: 1, Defense: 3
Super Bowl XXXVII
Raiders vs. Buccaneers
The Oakland Raiders, like all of the best offenses in the past, were favored to win. They were the first franchise to appear in the Super Bowl in four different decades (60s, 70s, 80s and 2000s).
Because Coach Jon Gruden had been with the Raiders from 1998 to 2001 and had moved to Tampa Bay for the 2002 season, this notable game was dubbed the "Gruden Bowl."
The Bucs' number one defense came out strong, sacking Raiders QB Rich Gannon five times. They also made five interceptions, three of which were returned for touchdowns.
Dexter Jackson led the Buccaneers to a 48-21 victory over the Raiders, becoming only the second safety to be named Super Bowl MVP.
Offense: 1, Defense: 4
Super Bowl XLVIII Preview
Broncos vs. Seahawks
The Broncos are favored to win because of their incredible offense, led by Peyton Manning. They scored 606 points this season, the most in league history, and Manning crushed the record for most touchdown passes.
However, the underdog Seahawks dominant defense gave up an average of only 14.4 points per game, the lowest in the league.
Something has to give.
We expect history to repeat itself on Sunday when the Seahawks face off against the Broncos at MetLife Stadium in Super Bowl XLVIII. Seattle's top defense will beat Denver's top offense, making them the fifth top defense to take out a top offense in Super Bowl history.
MVP: Marshawn Lynch.
You read it here first.
Offense: 1, Defense: 5
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