Definition of Defense Wins Championships

What does the term "defense wins championships" mean? What is meant by "defense wins championships"?

Bear Bryant, the ultra-successful long-time coach of Alabama, once said that "offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships".

Bear Bryant quote - Offense sells tickets, defense wins championships.It was hard to argue with Bryant on this point, as Bryant's teams won a total of six national championships and thirteen conference championships.

The phrase "defense wins championships" was also true in the NFL, especially a number of decades ago.

Some of the greatest NFL teams of all time, including the '70s Dolphins, '70s Steelers, '85 Bears and '86 Giants, had ferocious defenses, and this translated into great success for the teams.

At the team, defense certainly won championships, though the game is changing, with defensive players being more restricted in what they can do.

This has led to offenses winning championships as of late, as we've seen with the likes of the Chiefs and the Buccaneers, to name a couple.

With that being said, a great defense will still usually translate into a great team.