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Titles for the Tampa-2?

though the Tampa 2 is a productive defense…it doesn’t win SuperBowls with the frequency that is should……  -Peterbones

This comment struck me as "odd" so I started looking into how much Tampa-2 teams won Superbowls, and how often they "should".

The Tampa-2 has it's roots in the Steel Curtain, but we'll start in Tampa. Tony Dungy and Monte Kiffin installed the defense when they took over the Bucs in 1996. The Tampa 2 spread to Indy when Dungy arrived in 2002, came to Chicago in 2004, and arrived in Minnesota, KC, Detriot and Buffalo in 2006.

13 years in Tampa, 7 in Indy, 5 in Chicago, 3 each in Minny, KC, Detroit and Buffalo. 37 seasons of Tampa 2 defense in the NFL. What did those seasons bring.

2 Superbowl Titles, 3 SB appearances, 18 playoff appearances, 18 top 8 scoring Ds, 28 scoring Ds in the top half of the league and only 4 bottom 8 scoring Ds (3 of them belonging to the Lions),

So what number in each of those categories would be expected.

The odds of a title each year would be the number of teams running a Tampa 2 that year out of the total teams, add that up for each year and it should give the "expected titles" if the Tampa-2 was an exactly average defensive scheme.


For a total of 1.16, So if the Tampa 2 was a totally normal defense that gave no benefit and didn't hurt a team, over the last 13 years it would be expected to have about one title. Two Tampa2 teams have titles, so actually the T2 has won superbowls with a bit more frequency than would be expected ("than it should").

But that's small sample size. A superbowl takes a whole lot of luck and for things to click at just the right time. Let's look at the rest. Checking on SB appearences is easy enough, there are twice as many appearences available as victories, so the expected SB appearences is just double the expected titles, 2.32 compared to the actual of 3. Again the Tampa 2 outperforms what would be expected from random chance.

There are 12 playoff spots available to one title so the expected number of playoff appearances, is 12 times the expected titles. 1.16*12=13.9, so the Tampa 2 teams "should have" made the playoffs about 14 times. They made 18 playoff trips.

There are 8 spots available to be a top 8 defense, so the odds of a top 8 defense is 8 times that of a title. 1.16*8=9.3. So 9ish top 8 finishes would be expected for the Tampa 2 defenses. The Bucs alone had 10. The group totaled 18. Just under half of the seasons, the Tampa 2 defenses were in the top quarter of the league.

A Tampa-2 defense would be expected to be in the top half of the league, half of the time. The defenses were in the top half 28 of 37 seasons. Just over 75% of the time.

Teams running Tampa 2 defenses have been more successful than would be expected by chance, and defenses running the scheme have far exceeded what would be expected for a defense that was just as good as everything else out there.