National Football League holds the title of the preeminent television sport and is currently the most profitable sports enterprise. The league was first known as American Professional Football Association (APFA) and came into existence in 1920 in Ohio. Since then NFL has been a significant part of an American household.
NFL’s teams are one of the reasons for its success; therefore, we will not only focus on that in this article but will also answer the million-dollar question; who has the best defense in NFL.
History of NFL
In 1920, the league had eleven franchises that formed the professional football league, but now the team comprises thirty-two teams. The original teams are Cleveland Tigers, Jeffersons, Rock Island Independents, Dayton Triangles, Columbus Panhandlers, Hammond Pros, Canton Bulldogs, Akron Professionals, Rochester (N.Y.), Decatur Staleys, Muncie Flyers, and Chicago Cardinals. The first president of the league was Jim Thorpe, who was an exceptional American athlete.
In order to become the most prominent American Professional Football League, NFL had to survive decades of instability and competition from other solid leagues and organizations. In the 1960s, the American Football League (AFL) threatened NFL’s position the most. Both leagues then merged in 1970 and created a circuit of 26 teams under the name of the older NFL. Since this vast step, NFL has added six new franchises, helping it expand four times.
There are two conferences in NFL: National Football Conference (NFC) and American Football Conference (AFC). Both the conferences have a total of eight divisions (four of NFC and the other four of AFC), and each of these divisions has four teams. Division rankings are used to decide playoff teams. Every team plays seventeen matches over seventeen weeks.
The NFL has thirty-one franchises all across America. Many teams have their roots in Chicago and New York, whereas others are located in comparatively small markets like Kansas City. Aside from being a really popular sport, one thing about NFL’s team and its players is obvious; they make billions of dollars.
NFL as an Enterprise
The NFL’s present TV contracts include contracts from CBS, Fox, as well as ABC/ESPN. These contracts alone will help NFL generate over $17.6billion in the next eight years. Even now, NFL players and owners generate almost $9 billion yearly, divided between the two. $1 billion of the profits is used to cover expenses incurred.
It is quite evident that for television companies, NFL football is seen as a major programming sport. In fact, David Hill, director of Fox, said, “NFL represents the only firm ground in the increasingly scary swamp of the television industry.”
NFL has been successful in opening a program named NFL: Play 60 with its earnings. The program encourages children to remain physically active and should be in some sort of exercise for at least 60 minutes a day. The purpose is to minimize Child Obesity in America. In 2010, Michelle Obama, the first lady of America, announced to team up with NFL: Play 60 to help children maintain their health. This proves NFL’s success.
“NFL Sunday Ticket” is another source of revenue for NFL where customers pay for every view which goes into the pockets of the league.
Instead of the television sector, NFL’s main problems are largely related to its franchises. The league is concerned that franchise relocations will result in legislative as well as judicial challenges that will affect the highly lucrative operational patterns of the league.
About NFL Teams
Aside from being winners of two Super Bowls, the Green Bay Packers were able to NFL eleven times. On the other hand, The Pittsburgh Steelers are the winners of six Super Bowls. Kansas City Chiefs won a Super Bowl last year, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the winners of this year’s Super Bowl. NFL teams take part in several top 10 most valuable franchises. New England Patriots are the team to have the privilege to score the highest points in a season in 2007. Once NFL also had a team called New York Yankees!
The majority of NFL teams are in Eastern Time Zone, and the first time to have cheerleaders was The Indianapolis Colts.
Today, NFL has thirty-two teams spread over two conferences.
AFC East teams include Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New York Jets. AFC North has Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, and Pittsburgh Steelers. Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Tennessee Titans belong to AFC South. Finally, AFC West has Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Las Vegas Raiders, and Los Angeles Chargers.
Besides that, NFC East has Washington, New York Giants, Dallas Cowboys, and Philadelphia Eagles. At the same time, NFC North has Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings, as well as Green Bay Packers. Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and New Orleans Saints are a part of the NFC South. Last but not least, NFC West has San Francisco 49ers, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, and Los Angeles Rams.
Each NFL team is allowed to have fifty-three players at a maximum. Out of these, eight cannot play. Drafts or contracts from free agents have to be signed for players to be a part of the team. Players not currently having an arrangement with an NFL team are called free agents.
NFL Teams with Best Defense
There are two ways of winning a game; either score points or stop the other players from scoring points. The latter is called defense.
As many of us have already noticed that most of the champions of the NFL have a strong defense, it can be inferred that having a good defense in the NFL is just as important as having a good offense. We also have seen playoff games go lower scoring as things tighten up. Throughout the season, defensive shifts in rankings are going to occur at a high rate. A defense that has to face four good offenses in a row might struggle in the rankings before their schedule eases up a bit.
When diving into the history of the NFL teams, it is easy to point the fingers at Pittsburgh Steelers when it comes to the best defense. In fact, for the past five decades, Steelers have excelled in that.
With a dominant front four, and hard-hitting defense backs, their Curtain defense was a 4–3 scheme in 1970. During the mid-2000s, the Steelers’ defense proved to be even more dangerous due to their tenacious and strong safety in Super Bowl.
The Steelers defense ranked in the top 5 due to the points they made in a single season since 1972. That being said, Steeler has also won AFC championships eight separate times along with six Super Bowls. During the 1970s, Steelers further won three more Super Bowls and are widely considered the Team of the Decade.
Even when Steelers didn’t lead and won, they were still able to field strong defenses during the pre-Super Bowl era. In 1957, Steelers were not only positioned second for points allowed but were also ranked first for yards allowed in NFL.
The Steelers rank either first, second or third in the following categories: points allowed per game, sacks per pass attempt, takeaways, and total yards per game. They are also one of the best when it comes to passing yards per game. Moreover, they have a position in the top thirds of red-zone percentage and rushing hours per game.
The Next Gen Stats are even more impressive. With 184 points, Pittsburgh is on the top with a wide margin of 33. It is the only team in NFL to break the disruption rate of 34%. It now is at 40.7%.
These are some of the best players of Pittsburgh till now:
1. Joe Green
Today, one of the most victorious franchises in NFL history is Pittsburgh, and it all begins with their player Joe Greene. He played for Pittsburgh for thirteen seasons and, in 1972 and 1974, was awarded the title of “NFL Defensive Player of the Year.” Therefore, Joe Green is on the top of the list for having the best defense in NFL.
2. Troy Polamalu
In the 2000s, the Pittsburgh pass rush and run defense were highly ranked, thanks to Troy Polamalu, the heart and soul of the defense. Polamalu was someone the other team was afraid of because he would make bold decisions that the offenses had not anticipated. He helped Steelers win three AFC championships and two Super Bowls throughout 12 seasons.
3. James Harrison
During 177 games, he made five Pro Bowls and two All-Pro teams as a Steeler and, in 2008, was named NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
2. New Orlean Saints
The Saints have vaulted up the rankings with their recent hot stretch of defensive play, having allowed fewer than 20 points in each of the past five games. This was the longest streak during the season. New Orleans has suddenly become a defensive monster, ranking in the top five in yards allowed per game (288.8 is the best mark in the NFL), rushing yards per game, passing yards per game, interception rate, sacks per pass attempt, and points allowed per game.
The Saints are doing so by pressuring opposing quarterbacks relentlessly, ranking second in quarterback pressure rate (32.2 percent), total pressures (141), hurries (98), and disruption rate (33.8 percent), while also landing third in total disruptions (148). Oh, and they’re tied with Miami and Indy for the third-most interceptions (13). The Saints are hunters and ball hawks, and they’re ready to feast.
New Orleans is tied for 23rd in the league in red-zone percentage and is also outside of the top 10 in third-down percentage, ranking 13th. The problem for most offenses these days is they can’t manage to fight through New Orleans’ defense consistently enough to reach such opportunities, especially through the air. Even the Saints’ completion percentage allowed over expectation still ranks 10th at -0.4 percent.
3. Los Angeles Rams
Aaron Donald, a player of the Los Angeles Rams, is why the offenses have been experiencing raging headaches. Los Angeles ranked No. 1 in yards passing allowed, total yards allowed, first downs allowed, passing TDs allowed, and points allowed while becoming the Rams’ first top-ranked NFL defense in decades.
The Rams are tied for sixth in QB pressure percentage (27.8), rank seventh in disruptions (140), and are tied for the third-most sacks as a team with 36. Donald predictably plays a large role in this production, accounting for 53 disruptions, 11 sacks, and three turnovers caused by pressure. Believe it or not, these Rams are a complete unit.
How can an Offense hurt a Defense?
Sometimes defense is going to have things stacked against them, such as a poor offense on their own side. A high turnover offense is going to put your team in bad situations, which could be simply a field position. An offense that gives the opposing offense a ball at the 50 yards or even in their own territory is going to automatically put your defense in a bad spot.
Offenses that turn the ball over or are continuously going three and output their defense on the field more than they should be on. This is where fatigue sets in, and playing a massive amount of snaps in a game will cause late-game struggles and a strong defense against the run.
Even an offense that puts up plenty of points can make a defense look worse than what they are. Offenses that jump out to leads and put up big numbers force teams to throw the ball.
Because moving the ball through the air is highly correlated with scoring at higher levels, you can see more points because of this. The loaded Chiefs offense has a good defense, but they might allow more points because they are on the field more due to the efficiency and volume of points that their offense is putting up.