Super Bowl XLVIII: Are defensive blowouts boring?


The late Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi once said, “We didn’t lose the game; we just ran out of time.” But, if you asked any of the Denver Broncos players after Sunday’s 43-8 Super Bowl XLVIII blowout, they’d likely tell you that 60 minutes was too much football.

Enough time, however, for the Seattle Seahawks defense to completely overwhelm one of the NFL’s best offenses of all-time, that is.

In fact, the Seahawks defense, commonly known as the “Legion of Boom,” was so good that Bruno Mars’ 12-minute halftime performance was longer than the Broncos’ time of possession in Seattle territory all night.

The now Super Bowl champs thwarted quarterback Peyton Manning and company’s plans all evening, adding credibility to the old adage “defense wins championships.”

But, as the final whistle blew at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., football fans everywhere had to ask themselves, “Are defensive blowouts what we really want to watch?”

Over 50 percent of TV Guide readers called Sunday’s game, “so boring” in an online poll. Deadspin labeled the game a “bloodbath,” with the top comment asking, “Soo…is this the worst Super Bowl ever?” And if that’s not enough, you could check out the thousands of posts on social media from people who complained about the competitiveness all evening, or let everyone know they tuned out early altogether.

Of course, it was a very one-sided game from the get-go. Seattle’s offense could have literally gone scoreless and still have pulled out a victory, so you do have a real argument about whether or not dominating defensive performance are fun to watch.

The truth of the matter is even if defenses do win championships, most people don’t want to watch it, especially in a Super Bowl-esque game.

High-scoring shootouts are much more entertaining and marketable for the average fan. Take Denver’s Oct. 20 game against the Indianapolis Colts, for example, it was a primetime-slotted matchup that featured eight touchdowns in an exciting 39-33 finish in favor of the Colts.

You can even look to the NCAA to back up this notion as well. One of the most talked-about games of the 2013-14 bowl season was Texas A&M;’s thrilling 52-48 come-from-behind victory over the Duke Blue Devils in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. In that game, the two starting quarterbacks combined for 809 yards passing and seven touchdowns.

Even sports unrelated to football feature similar arguments. Most Major League Baseball fans will tell you they enjoy pitcher’s duels, but yet you often find people calling three-to-four hour games with few hits or runs “boring.”

But, back to football. While the most adamant of football fans will agree that defenses win championships, it might be hard for them to admit that one-sided, defensive games like Super Bowl XLVIII are quite possibly less exciting to watch.