There has long been the debate of what actually “wins championships”, but what side of the ball has historically had the larger influence in the big game? Is there anything we can take away here in the Super Bowl matchup between the Chiefs and Buccaneers?

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While there are no concrete answers on which matters more for a single-game outcome, using Football Outsiders Defense-adjusted Value over Average (DVOA) metrics as a quick and dirty way to hash out a surface view, here’s a look at all the Super Bowl matchups since the NFL expanded to 32 teams in the 2002 season.

SEASONAFCPOINTSOFF DVOADEF DVOANFCPOINTSOFF DVOADEF DVOA
2020ChiefsTBD222BuccaneersTBD35
2019Chiefs3131449ers2072
2018Patriots13516Rams3218
2017Patriots33131Eagles4185
2016Patriots34216Falcons28126
2015Broncos24251Panthers1082
2014Patriots28612Seahawks2451
2013Broncos8115Seahawks4371
2012Ravens34131949ers3153
2011Patriots17330Giants21719
2010Steelers2551Packers3172
2009Colts17616Saints31217
2008Steelers27211Cardinals231521
2007Patriots14111Giants171813
2006Colts29125Bears17202
2005Steelers2183Seahawks10116
2004Patriots2437Eagles21916
2003Patriots32142Panthers291810
2002Raiders2127Buccaneers48201
  • 19 of the 36 Super Bowl teams since expansion have fielded a top-5 offense in DVOA.
  • Just nine of the 36 teams have fielded an offense outside of the top-10 in offensive DVOA.
  • 15-of-36 have fielded a top-5 ranked defense with 20 having a defense outside of the top-10.
  • This Tampa Bay team is just the fourth team since expansion to field a top-5 ranked team in both offensive and defensive DVOA. Those previous three teams went 0-3 in the Super Bowl.
  • The Chiefs are just the fifth team to have a top-5 offense paired with a defense ranked 20th or lower. The previous four teams went 1-3 in the Super Bowl.
  • This is just the third matchup between two top-5 ranked offenses, joining 2016 and 2018. The team with the higher defensive DVOA won both of those matchups.
  • Super Bowl teams ranked higher in offensive DVOA over this span have a 5-13 record.
  • Teams with the higher-ranked offense had lost nine straight Super Bowls before the Chiefs win a year ago.
  • Teams ranked higher in defensive DVOA have an 11-7 record.
  • Top-5 ranked offenses have a 2-5 record when facing a top-5 defense.
  • Teams with a defense outside of the top-10 have a 4-5 record in the Super Bowl when not facing another defense outside of the top-10. 
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