For the Dallas Cowboys, Offense Must Win Championships

Nov 8, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley (11) spikes the ball after scoring a touchdown in the first quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 8, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Cole Beasley (11) spikes the ball after scoring a touchdown in the first quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

The Dallas Cowboys must challenge the old adage, “Defense Wins Championships” and ride their offense to a Super Bowl in 2016.

We’ve all heard the famous NFL proverb, “Defense wins championships.” Don’t believe it? Just go ask those Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks fans and they’ll be sure to tell you about it until your ears bleed.

Look back to the last Super Bowl and that adage just gets reinforced. The defensively stout (and offensively inept) Broncos rolled through the playoffs and destroyed the Carolina Panthers’ top rated offense in Super Bowl 50. Two years before that, it was the Seattle Seahawks winning the trophy behind their great defense. Heck, they would have repeated that success in 2014 too if not for a boneheaded call on offense.


Defense wins championships.

If the Dallas Cowboys want to win a championship before the window closes, they best recognize this. And then blatantly disobey it because it’s exaggerated BS.

This is an article about how offense wins championships. And if the Dallas Cowboys have any dreams of winning one before the figurative window closes, they will have to do so behind their strength – the offense.

First, the Facts: Much like sitting too close to the TV causes blindness, defense being the end-all be-all to winning championships is largely a wives’ tale. If you look at the numbers, you’ll see that offenses win championships pretty often as well.

The authors of This is Your Brain on Sports looked at the facts and found a much more balanced success rate between offense and defense.  In the past 50 Super Bowl match-ups, the dominant defense has indeed led the way with wins 31 times. But the team with the most dominant offense won 25 times (Note: sometimes the better offense also had the better defense).

As you can see, 31 to 25 is hardly a lopsided result. It favors the defense but not as much as one would have thought.

More Facts: When slimming down the criteria and just looking at Super Bowl match-ups between top-five offenses against top-five defenses, the top-five offense won 13 times, while the top-five defense won 14 times. Those are staggeringly even results, right?

Even More Facts: The authors also opened up their research to the NFL Playoffs as a whole. In the 184 playoff games they studied, the team with a top-five defense won 180 games, while the team with a top-five offense won 184 games.

You see?

Offense wins championships too!

The Dallas Cowboys would be wise to keep this mind as they enter the NFL Draft tomorrow. The window for the Cowboys is closing. How quickly it’s closing remains to be seen, but the openness of the window is directly related to the health and career of quarterback Tony Romo. Since Romo could have anywhere from four games left to four years left, we must operate under the assumption that time is of the upmost importance.

In other words – this is “win now” time.

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Winning now doesn’t necessarily making short-term fixes at the expense of the long-term health, but it does place a premium on finding an upgrade that would make an instant impact. Building a defense like Seattle or Denver would be nice, and the statistics for success point slightly in their favor, but the Cowboys are so far from being good defensively, they’d need two or three drafts, some free agent finds, and nothing short of a miracle to build it before Tony Romo retires.

The offense remains the best way to win a championship for Tony Romo’s Dallas Cowboys. Rekindling the once dominant running game is the key to everything. If the Cowboys can control the clock with a dominant ground attack, deliver a steady dose of Dez Bryant on the outside, and sprinkle in a touch of Jason Witten, Cole Beasley, Terrance Williams, and Lance Dunbar, they could once again be contenders.

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Frankly, that’s the only way.

This doesn’t mean ignoring the defense completely and drafting Ezekiel Elliott #4 overall. There is more than one RB who could dominate behind this line and finding a pass-rusher remains the top priority on this team. Talking out of both sides of my mouth? Kinda.

Offense might win championships nearly as often as defense, but even the best offense needs pass-rushers. 45 out of 47 Super Bowl Champions totaled 30 sacks or more for the season. The average number of sacks by a Super Bowl winning team is 43. The fewest sacks by a Super Bowl winner was the 2006 Indianapolis Colts (25).

The 2015 Dallas Cowboys collected 31, which placed them 25th in the NFL. With the suspensions of Demarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory, and the loss of Greg Hardy, it’s hard to envision the sack numbers moving in a positive direction in 2016.

At least not without some serious attention paid at the top of the draft.

You see, defense might not be the only way to win a championship but that doesn’t mean it can be completely ignored. The Cowboys need to find a dominant runner. Not a bargain guy or a rookie free agent but a legit player who can carry the load. They also need to find two players to play in the defensive line rotation immediately.

Everything else can wait. The Dallas Cowboys need to ride their offense and apply pressure with their defense. Not all defenders are equal. If the player can’t apply pressure, they can’t help. Coverage sacks are an anomaly. Even Deion Sanders says he couldn’t consistently cover someone for more than four seconds.

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Offense wins championships and the Dallas Cowboys had better remember that when they start drafting players tomorrow, because time is of the essence.