Ravens’ 2000 Defense Just Third-Best of the Past 30 Years?!?
The Ravens’ Super Bowl-winning 2000 defense was one of the best of all-time, right?
Not according to ESPN’s Football Outsiders, which compiled a list of the 30 best NFL defenses of the past 30 years. This uses some high-level statistics to make the case.
“Football Outsiders’ DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) metric accounts for every aspect of defense: how well teams prevent yardage, how often they get turnovers, and how well they keep points off the board. DVOA measures success on each play, defined using down and distance, then compares it to an NFL average baseline adjusted for situation and opponent,” wrote Aaron Schatz.
The Ravens dominated the list overall. Baltimore had six defenses in the top 30 – the most in the NFL. The rival Pittsburgh Steelers came in second with four in the top 30.
But were there really two defenses better than the 2000 group!?! The formula says the 1991 Philadelphia Eagles and 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers both had better groups.
Note that a negative defensive DVOA is good and 0 percent represents the league average. So a defense with a minus-30 percent DVOA rated 30 percent better than an average unit.
Here’s Baltimore’s top defenses, starting with that famed 2000 group:
No. 3. 2000 Baltimore Ravens (-33.1 percent)
“We can look at the 2000 Ravens in two ways. We can acknowledge that many of the regular-season records they set came courtesy of one of the easiest defensive schedules in history. Or, we can focus on the fact that the Ravens are almost as superlative in Football Outsiders’ advanced stats,…
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