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‘Defense Wins Championships?’ The Answer from the Gridiron


  • John Robst

    () (University of South Florida)

  • Jennifer VanGilder

    () (Ursinus College)

  • David J. Berri

    () (Southern Utah University)

  • Coby Vance

    () (California State University-Bakersfield)


Economists have offered a plethora of studies examining various aspects of professional team sports. Such studies, though, often neglect the playoffs. Given the impact the post-season has on league revenue, as well as the utility generated for both participants and observers of professional sports, such neglect misses much of the story people wish to tell about sports. In an era of free agency and salary caps, teams must determine the optimal strategy for maximizing their probability of success. Is the best offense a good defense, or does defense win championships? The purpose of this paper is to fill in this gap in the literature by examining the relative effects of offense and defense on making and advancing in the playoffs.

Suggested Citation

  • John Robst & Jennifer VanGilder & David J. Berri & Coby Vance, 2011. "‘Defense Wins Championships?’ The Answer from the Gridiron," International Journal of Sport Finance, Fitness Information Technology, vol. 6(1), pages 72-84, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:jsf:intjsf:v:6:y:2011:i:1:p:72-84

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    More about this item


    football; probability of success; salary cap;

    JEL classification:

    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism


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