NFL: Not One Right Way to Build a Winner

With the Cleveland Browns once again in start over mode and having the #2 overall pick, fans of the team find themselves often in heated arguments about what the team "should" do. Looking back, is there a "right" way to build a winner?

The arguments on social media and in our forums are both great and familiar. "You have to take a QB." "You have to take the Best Player." "You go nowhere without a QB, just look at the Texans." "The Broncos won and 

"You have to take a QB." "You have to take the Best Player." "You go nowhere without a QB, just look at the Texans." "The Broncos won and 

"You go nowhere without a QB, just look at the Texans." "The Broncos won and Peyton Manning was terrible." "It is a QB league." "You have to get after the QB which 

"It is a QB league." "You have to get after the QB which Joey Bosa does." "The Browns get their pick of QBs so they will get their guy." "None of these QBs are 

"The Browns get their pick of QBs so they will get their guy." "None of these QBs are Andrew Luck."

Everyone, including me, has their belief. The real question is whether or not there is one real right way to build a team?

Obviously many believe strongly that there is but does history prove it? To address the question I took a look back at the last 5 Super Bowls for a quick idea of what winners, any team making the Super Bowl should be considered that, look like. I will go through it without any preconceived notions and see what we find on the other side.

2016

Panthers Vs. Broncos

Panthers Narrative: The Panthers were built around a great MVP caliber #1 overall pick QB in Cam Newton and a very good defense with Luke Kuechly and Josh Norman.

Panthers Stats: Offense: 24th passing, 2nd rushing. Defense: 11th passing, 4th rushing.

Broncos Narrative: The Broncos had a broken down Manning, a great defense and enough weapons on offense to make things work.

Broncos Stats: Offense: 14th passing, 17th rushing. Defense: 1st passing, 3rd rushing.

2015

Patriots Vs. Seahawks

Seahawks Narrative: Seattle was built around their great defense and run game with Russell Wilson giving an added dimension to their offense.

Seahawks Stats: Offense: 27th passing, 1st rushing. Defense: 1st passing, 3rd rushing.

Patriots Narrative: Tom Brady leads a (is the?) dynamic offense and coach Bill Belichick's mastermind gives them a good enough defense.

Patriots Stats: 9th passing, 18th rushing. Defense: 17th passing, 9th rushing.

2014

Seahawks Vs. Broncos

Broncos Narrative: Manning's offense is dynamic with some great receivers and a solid defense.

Broncos Stats: Offense: 1st passing, 15th rushing. Defense: 27th passing, 7th rushing.

Seahawks Narrative: A young, limited Russell Wilson leads a great defense against a great offense.

Seahawks Stats: Offense: 26th passing, 4th rushing. Defense: 1st passing, 7th rushing.

2013

Niners Vs. Ravens

Ravens Narrative: A very good defense and the big arm of Joe Flacco lead a very good total team.

Ravens Stats: Offense: 15th passing, 11th rushing. Defense: 17th passing, 20th rushing.

Niners Narrative: Jim Harbaugh's smash-mouth style and leadership and Colin Kaepernick's dual-threat worked wonders.

Niners Stats: Offense: 23rd passing, 4th rushing. Defense: 4th passing, 4th rushing

2012

Patriots Vs. Giants

Giants Narrative: Eli Manning partners with little run game and a great pass rush to get the Giants to the big game.

Giants Stats: Offense: 5th passing, 32nd rushing. Defense: 29th passing, 19th rushing.

Patriots Narrative: Tom Brady. Bill Belichick.

Patriots Stats:  Offense: 2nd passing, 20th rushing. Defense: 31st passing, 17th rushing.

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So what does all of that mean?

Draft a QB? Every team but this year's Broncos was thought to have their Franchise QB. While that hasn't played out for Joe Kaepernick at this point, most thought he was on his way. Cam Newton, Peyton Manning and Eli Manning were all drafted #1 overall. Joe Flacco was a 1st Round pick and Kaepernick was drafted at the top of the 2nd. Russell Wilson, in the 3rd, and Tom Brady, in the 6th, are outliers.

Best Defense? Von Miller was obviously a huge difference in this year's Super Bowl, the Seahawks defense were a big part in their one win and almost in another and the Giants and Ravens also had talented defenses leading to their victories.

What Do The Stats Say?

Time to look at the averages of the last 5 Super Bowls. Is there anything that can be gleaned from them?

Pass O 14.6
Run O 12.4
Pass D 13.9
Run D 9.3

So, while there are no simple answers, on average participants in the Super Bowl were better than average in all 4 categories and were particularly good at stopping the run.

Conclusion

Does having a top level QB help? Yes. Does having a good defense help? Yes. Does having talented players help? Yes.

Besides having a good run defense, the worst in the last 5 years Super Bowls was 20th in the league, is there a simple answer on how to build a good team? Doesn't seem that way!

What are your thoughts after reviewing the last 5 years of Super Bowl participants?

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