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Do We Need A Successful Ground Game To Win The Super Bowl?

Teams have made it to the Super Bowl without a very successful running game. Can we win it without one?


I don't believe we've talked about this before, but if we have, my apologies. Days go by in a whirlwind these days.

I brought this up in a comment in another thread, I believe it was the Percy Harvin thread, about how I thought we should try to get Harvin because I think we could end up like the 2008 Cardinals.

The '08 Cardinals, if you remember, was the team that defeated the Falcons in the playoffs, ended up in the Super Bowl and, for what it's worth, should've won the game if not for a couple freak plays.

Taking a look back at that team offensively, I see many similarities to the Falcons of 2012.

Matt Ryan - 68.6% - 4,700 Yd - 32 TD - 14 INT

Kurt Warner - 67.1% - 4,500 Yd - 30 TD - 14 INT

The running games of both teams were equally as sad, the difference being that Arizona largely used two running backs, compared to Atlanta's three, and Atlanta gained a fair amount more on the ground than did Arizona.

Michael Turner - 222 CAR - 800 Yd - 10 TD

Jacquizz Rodgers - 94 CAR - 362 Yd - 1 TD (Rushing only)

Jason Snelling - 18 CAR - 63 Yd (Okay, so maybe we didn't use Snelling at all)


Tim Hightower - 143 CAR - 399 Yd - 10 TD

Edgerrin James - 133 CAR - 514 Yd - 3 TD

J.J. Arrington - 31 CAR - 187 Yd - 1 TD (He was also their primary kickoff returner that year)

Now, to the receiving options. Arizona was one of only a few teams to have three 1,000 yard receivers in a single season. The Falcons nearly had that same statistic this season, with one major difference: one of the three Falcons was a tight end.

Roddy White - 92 REC - 1,351 Yd - 7 TD

Julio Jones - 79 REC - 1,198 Yd - 10 TD

Tony Gonzalez - 93 REC - 930 Yd - 8 TD

Jacquizz Rodgers 53 REC - 402 Yd - 1 TD

(Harry Douglas, our slot receiver, had 38 catches. Snelling, by comparison, had 31.)


Larry Fitzgerald - 96 REC - 1,431 Yd - 12 TD

Anquan Boldin - 89 REC - 1,038 Yd - 11 TD

Steve Breaston - 77 REC - 1,006 Yd - 3 TD

Jerheme Urban - 34 REC - 448 Yd - 4 TD

(It should be noted that Tim Hightower had the same number of catches as did Urban, but had fewer yards and no TD)

If you believe in Football Outsiders, both teams' offensive lines were ranked poorly, with '08 Cardinals being 30th, and '12 Falcons being 24th.

The game of football has changed drastically since '08, with the introduction of the gimmicky (that's right, I said gimmicky) super running QBs.

However, the Cardinals, with a lesser defense (21st in DVOA compared to 12th for Falcons) made it farther, including with having a lesser running game.

So my question is this: Do the Falcons really need a superior running game? Or would they be better served with a repeat offensive performance of 2012, but find ways to succeed better in other areas?