A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 30, 2011
“Offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships”

"Offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships” is a popular saying in sports, especially in basketball and football. “Defense wins championships” has been cited in print since at least 1960, when it referred to the New York Giants football team. In 1965, a Sports Illustrated article stated that “there is a maxim that says defense wins championships.”

Minnesota Viking football coach Bud Grant said in 1967, “Offense sells tickets, but defense wins games and their defense has been great.” The saying was used frequently by the late 1960s.


14 March 1953, Mexico (MO) Evening Ledger, pg. 8, col. 1:
Offense Gets Points,
Defense Wins Games

NEW YORK (UP)—Offense sets records but defense wins.

That’s the lesson implied by nearly-final NCAA service bureau major college basketball statistics which showed today that Furman seta new high of 90.2 points a game scored, but that six of the top ten teams in deense, and five of the first six, found places in the NCAA championship tournament.

1 October 1955, Daily Telegram(Eau Claire, WI), pg.10, col. 6:
Defense Wins
Championships
in Pro Loops

(By United Press)
The passing stars will get the headlines, but the defense will win the division titles in 1955—if the National Football League follows its script of the last three seasons.

Google News Archive
25 December 1960, Toledo (OH) Blade, “The Thinking Man’s Quarterback” by Eddie Jones, pg. 17, cols. 2-3:
The Eagles’ swift flight from the dungeon to the title peak in three seasons was generated chiefly by the long throws of Van Brocklin, but he says of this year’s champions:

“Defense wins championships, as the New York Giants have proved so often.”

Sports Illustrated
November 29, 1965
Heroes Without Any Headlines
Led by a rough ol’ country boy named Dennis Gaubatz at middle linebacker, the little-known lightweights of the Colt defense are helping Johnny U. and Company to another divisional title

Tex Maule
(...)
The goal of all wise football men is a balanced team—one that combines a knockout punch with the strength and cunning to counter an opponent’s Sunday swings. This is the kind of team that wins championships, and it is the kind in which defense is just as important as the flashier offensive maneuvering. It is so crucial that there is a maxim that says defense wins championships. At least once in the last 20-odd years that proved literally true—the 1963 Chicago Bears, with an offense that treated the ball like a live grenade, beat Y. A. Tittle’s Giants.

14 October 1967, Aberdeen (SD) American-News, “Stumbling Vikings Face Giant Task,” pg. 3, col.1:
“The Packers look every bit as tough as we anticipated,” Grant said. “Offense sells tickets, but defense wins games and their defense has been great.”
(Minnesota Vikings coach Bud Grant—ed.)

27 November 1968, Seattle (WA) Daily Times, “A Turkey for Tony” by Georg N. Meyers, pg. 27, col. 1:
“We like to say that offense wins football games, but defense wins championships.”
(Tony Dickinson, coach of the Seahawks—ed.)

23 December 1968, St. Albans (VT) Daily Messenger, “Both Colts and Browns Win on Strong Defense” by Milton Richman, pg. 7, col. 2:
“Offense sells tickets but defense wins football games,” Grant said. 
(Minnesota Vikings coach Bud Grant—ed.)

Sports Illustrated
January 13, 1969
A Go Pattern Vs. A Stop Team
If the New York Jets have any hope of penetrating the rugged Baltimore Colt defense in the Super Bowl, Joe Namath must succeed with passes to receivers like Don Maynard

Tex Maule
(...)
“Offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships,” a coach said not long ago, and Baltimore has what may well be pro football’s best defense of the last decade.

Google News Archive
12 August 1978, Charleston (SC) News and Courier, “Chicago Defense Upset By ‘Offensive’ Rules Changes,” pg. 5A, col. 2:
Two rule changes for 1978 are causingtheNationalFootball League defensive football players to scan the help-wanted ads, and they are beginning to understand the old saying: “Defense wins championships, but offense sells tickets.”

Google News Archive
28 December 1979, Beaver County Times (PA), “No-name defense” by Rich Emert, pg. B1, col. 4:
Like the saying goes — offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships.

Google News Archive
20 September 1983, St. Petersburg (FL) Evening Independent, “They might start buying tickets to see this defense,” pg.1C, col. 2:
“Whenever you see the highlights to a game or anything written, it’s usuallly what we do offensively,” said Alzado. “They say offense sells tickets and defense wins championships, and that’s basically true.”

Google News Archive
29 August 1986, Evening News (Newburgh-Beacon, NY), “Jets feast on Eagles’ ‘46’”. pg. 1B, col. 3:
But as Ryan said when he took the Eagles’ job in January, offense sells tickets, defense wins games and special teams win championships.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CitySports/Games • (0) Comments • Sunday, October 30, 2011 • Permalink