We’re three days removed from Super Bowl 50 which means we are three days removed from the Denver Broncos defense thrashing the Carolina Panthers 24-10 in one of the worst offensive football games ever witnessed on a big stage.
Now, one headline has completely and expectedly dominated the media in the aftermath — Cam Newton.
Depending on which side of the narrative you’ve gravitated towards, you’re either listening to anti-Cam think pieces or, more rationally, the utter domination Denver’s defense imposed upon Cam and his Panthers.
I obviously want to speak on the latter here, because frankly I’m fucking exhausted of listening to debates on whether or not Newton is a leader, or immature, or good, or whatever adjective they pull from Merriam-Webster today.
The point is, the Broncos’ defense – and Von Miller specifically -wholeheartedly unloaded on the Panthers. It was one of the single-best beatdowns I’ve seen with my own two eyes.
However, it was a performance so masterful that it has become too big for its own good. Unfortunately, it’s spurned its own set of think pieces laden with pull quotes from a bunch of jacked up linebackers mere moments after winning a big game.
“You’re going to ask me? No. 1. No. 1 in my opinion, over ’85 Bears,” Trevathan said, via NFL.com. “If not No. 1, No. 2. I feel like we did a good job playing our games. It wasn’t ever pretty, but when you put it in our defense’s hand we always come up with that win.”
Snap reaction much?
Now before you accuse me of being a homer and using this as an excuse to tout the 1985 Chicago Bears even more, it’s not that. I don’t even think the ’85 Bears are the best defense of all time.
I’m here to present stats. Stats that are so insanely blatant I don’t know how anyone in their right mind can justify saying that the 2015 Broncos are even in the same breath as the great defenses in NFL history.
If you aren’t saying that, thank you for being sane. But a little perspective is good for everybody.
Broncos defense was really good, better than many thought. But let's slow down on the talk about greatest D of all time. #85Bears
— Dan Pompei (@danpompei) February 9, 2016
2015 Denver Broncos (15-4):
296 — regular season points allowed (44 points allowed in three playoff games)
4,530 — regular season total yards allowed (1,047 yards allowed in three playoff games)
244 — 1st downs allowed
1 — No. of times defense held opponent under 10 points
0 — Shutouts including playoffs
2000 Baltimore Ravens (16-4):
165 — regular season points allowed (23 points allowed in four playoff games)
3,967 — regular season total yards allowed (837 yards allowed in four playoff games)
216 — 1st downs allowed
12 — No. of times defense held opponent under 10 points
4 — Shutouts including playoffs
1985 Chicago Bears (18-1):
198 — regular season points allowed (10 points allowed in three playoff games)
4,135 — regular season total yards allowed (434 yards allowed in three playoff games)
236 — 1st downs allowed
8 — No. of times defense held opponent under 10 points
4 — Shutouts including playoffs
I mean, I could continue with other recent defenses such as the ’02 Buccaneers and ’13 Seahawks, or the ’73 Dolphins, ’76 Steelers, or ’91 Eagles of old. The point is, the Broncos aren’t in this class based on raw defensive stats.
Like I said at the beginning, I’m not here to crown a winner.
But I had to sit through Jason Whitlock talk about this topic while guest hosting Colin Cowherd’s The Herd and his only rationalization made me sick.
Because it came against the NFL MVP in Cam Newton? I don’t buy it. Rich Gannon won MVP and got destroyed five times worse vs. the ’02 Bucs than Newton did.
Forget the '85 Bears, anyone who believes the 2015 Broncos D is better than the 00 Ravens is a man who cannot be trusted in a crisis.
— Keyboard Jesus (@brian_lendino) February 10, 2016
It’s ridiculous, and careless, to pass this unit off as the best in NFL history without giving any sort of hard statistical evidence to back it up.
Their performance in the Super bowl was dominant. Cool.
One great game does not an all time unit make. And until the general media stops taking quotes out of context and running with it until its death, we’re going to continue having these empty discussions about who’s who in the history of each sport.
All of it unnecessary.
(h/t) You can refer to For The Win’s adjusted defensive stats on this topic for more insight.