As fall turns to winter and the contending teams of the NFL separate themselves from the pack for their respective Super Bowl runs, we typically hear one of three things form the narrative around every ball club that has a shot at the Lombardi: You either need a legendary defense, a great quarterback, or one hell of a head coach to win the whole thing. Some teams have all three, like the Seattle Seahawks of a few years ago, while others only have just one, like the 2000 Baltimore Ravens or the 2006 Indianapolis Colts. This year’s Super Bowl teams each have two elements apiece, in my opinion, with the Panthers having the quarterback and the coach, and the Broncos having the quarterback and the defense (with an emphasis on the defense, of course).
The Texans arguably have two elements in place already with a great defense and a terrific head coach in Bill O’Brien, but their lack of even acceptable quarterback play was so glaring that not even those two things could save their season against the Chiefs in the wild card round. However, let’s just pretend that Houston did get slightly above average quarterback play out of Brian Hoyer, like Kansas City does out of Alex Smith – would they have had a legitimate shot at a Super Bowl? Does the defense win them a championship, or would Bill O’Brien’s playoff experience from New England bring home the trophy? Assuming all "weaknesses" in any given team’s roster are at least playing at a league average level, which of those three commonly parroted elements is the most important when it comes to winning?
To focus that question to the Texans themselves and assume that something is done to address the quarterback crisis this offseason, what or who do you consider to be more critical to Houston’s pursuit of their first Super Bowl ring – Romeo Crennel’s defense, or Bill O’Brien’s creativity and leadership? For what it’s worth, after seeing what O’Brien could do with almost nothing to work with under center for the last two seasons, I’m excited to see how much success he can have with an actual, legitimate quarterback to develop for once. His ability to coach has been the difference between this team remaining in the cellar and going to the playoffs, and for that reason alone I see him as the single most important part of this franchise for the next several years, if not longer.
What say you, BRB? If the Texans do eventually get to their first Super Bowl sooner rather than later, will it be due to their defense, their quarterback, or their head coach? Sound off in the comments below.