You don't win Super Bowls without All-Pro defenders

(WXYZ) - It's a simple formula with a track record that's irrefutable. NFL teams don't win Super Bowls unless they develop All-Pro defenders.  

The only Lions defensive All-Pro since 2001 is Ndamukong Suh, who earned the honor in 2010 and 2013. Dre Bly and Shaun Rogers were both two-time Pro Bowlers while playing with the Lions during that time.

Take a look at the last ten Super Bowl champions and notice the common theme:

2013: Seattle Seahawks - Richard Sherman (CB), Earl Thomas (S), Kam Chancellor (CB)

Sherman and Thomas were both first team All-Pros, with Chancellor joining them on the second team.  All three players were chosen to the Pro Bowl, as well.

2012: Baltimore Ravens - Haloti Ngata (DT)

Ngata was a second team All-Pro and was joined in the Pro Bowl by free safety Ed Reed. The Ravens defense also included 13x Pro Bowler Ray Lewis.

2011: New York Giants - Jason Pierre-Paul (DE)

Pierre-Paul spearheaded a ferocious defensive line that shut down a Falcons offense, beat the Packers at Lambeau Field and upset the 49ers on the road en route to the Super Bowl.  The Patriots averaged 34 points scored in two playoff games and the Giants limited them to 17 in Super Bowl XLVI

2010: Green Bay Packers - Charles Woodson (CB)

Woodson was the star of a defense that also included Pro Bowlers BJ Raji, AJ Hawk, Tramon Williams and Clay Matthews.

2009: New Orleans Saints - Malcolm Jenkins (S)

Jenkins was a second team All-Pro safety and played alongside Pro Bowlers Jonathan Vilma, Darren Sharper and Roman Harper.

2008: Pittsburgh Steelers - James Harrison (LB), James Farrior (LB), Troy Polamalu (S)

Harrison and Polamalu were first team All-Pros while Farrior was on the second team. The Steelers defense also featured LaMarr Woodley, who played in the Pro Bowl following the 2009 season.

2007: New York Giants - None

An ironic exception to the rule when you consider it was the Giants defense that powered the team through the playoffs and led New York to an upset win over the undefeated Patriots, sacking Tom Brady numerous times in Super Bowl XLII.  Osi Umenyiora was a Pro Bowl defensive end following the 2007 season.

2006: Indianapolis Colts - None

Though the Colts did not have any official All-Pros in 2006, Dwight Freeney was a 3x All-Pro defensive end, Bob Sanders was a 2x All-Pro safety and Robert Mathis evolved into a 1x All-Pro and 5x Pro Bowler. 

2005: Pittsburgh Steelers - Troy Polamalu (S), Joey Porter (LB)

Polamalu and Porter were joined by Casey Hampton on the AFC Pro Bowl roster. The defense also included James Harrison, who would become a 2x All-Pro and 5x Pro Bowler. James Farrior, an All-Pro in 2004, also played on the Steelers defense in 2005.

2004: New England Patriots - Richard Seymour (DE), Tedy Bruschi (LB), Rodney Harrison (S)

Not only did the 2004 Patriots team feature three All-Pros, it also featured players who had championship and big-game experience - Mike Vrabel, Ty Law and Vince Wilfork highlighting the list.

 


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