There's an old football chestnut that defense wins championships.
The New York Jets better hope that's true.
But as KC Joyner points out in his latest ESPN Insider column, an elite defense can't do it alone.
Joyner tracked every defense that ranked among the top five since the NFL-AFL merger. A high percentage propelled their teams into the playoffs, but Super Bowls demanded elite quarterback play.
That could be a problem for the Jets, who are relying on sophomore Mark Sanchez.
If history is any indicator, unless he somehow finds a way to crack the top 10 in passer rating, New York almost certainly won't make it to and/or win the Super Bowl no matter how great its defense plays.
Joyner's research shows a top-five defense essentially guarantees a 10-win season and only eight out of 189 quarterbacks who qualified had losing records regardless of passer rating.
But quarterbacks who rank in the top 10 in passer rating have more than three times the chance of reaching the Super Bowl.