Greatest Super Bowl Teams of All Time Ranked
Let's get this out of the way first and foremost: it is nearly impossible to compare football teams from different eras. The rules, the size of the players, the size of the league, the training methods, the amount of pressure from media; nothing is the same today as it was in the 1990s. Just like nothing in the 1990s was the same as it was in the 1970s.
So when you're trying to come up with a list of the greatest Super Bowl teams of all-time, the spectrum of subjectivity is going to be pretty broad. After all, we're talking about over a half-century of football. So when I was compiling my list of greatest Super Bowl teams here were my rules:
1. I was only going with one team from each franchise, so I didn't break out the 1978 Steelers and the 1979 Steelers, or the 1993 Cowboys and the 1971 Cowboys. I thought that would just muddle the issue a bit.
2. I did not consider dynasties and there was no three- or four-year reward for having a strong team. It was simple: one year, one team, who is the best?
3. You had to actually win the Super Bowl. There were some dynamite teams that didn't win The Big Game, *cough* 2007-08 Patriots *cough*. So to make the list you had to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
So here it is, one man's opinion about which clubs are the Greatest Super Bowl Teams of All Time:
10. 1999-2000 St. Louis Rams
The Greatest Show On Turf may not have revolutionary. The early 1990s Houston Oilers run-and-shoot and the Buffalo Bills K-Gun offenses broke the mold and were precursors to the current state of pass-happy NFL play. But the Rams were the first team to overwhelm the league with their offense and win the Super Bowl. The Rams had one of the greatest offenses in NFL history. But they also had a rock-solid defense that was No. 6 overall and No. 4 in scoring. They allowed just 19 points in the NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl, and the team's defining moment came when Mike Jones tackled Kevin Dyson one yard short to secure the championship.
9. 1986-87 New York Giants (17-2)
If you were building a successful NFL team, you would want the following things: a tenacious and relentless defense, a solid and dependable running game, an efficient and unflappable quarterback, and an outstanding coach that could soak every ounce out of his talent. This Giants team had it all. They closed the season winning 12 straight games and devastated their playoff opponents by a combined 105-22. The Giants have been one of the best franchises in football over the last 40 years, and this was their best team.
8. 2004-05 New England Patriots (17-2)
The New England Patriots dynasty is the greatest in NFL history and one of the most impressive in the history of sports. That being said, it is tough to pick New England's best team over the last 20 years, but I will go with this one. These Patriots are the last team to win back-to-back championships and really had no weakness. Corey Dillon ran for 1,600 yards, Tom Brady threw for nearly 4,000 yards, they were No. 4 in scoring offense and No. 2 in total defense. This team had absolutely no weakness, and it was almost inevitable that they would win the title.
7. 1996-97 Green Bay Packers (16-3)
The league's No. 1 offense? Check. The league's No. 1 defense? Check. The league's highest margin of victory? Check. Brett Favre was at his best here, and Green Bay scored 100 points in three playoff games while winning by an average of 17-plus points per postseason game. The Packers won six games over teams with 10 or more wins and were destined to win a championship the minute this season started.
6. 1972-73 Miami Dolphins (17-0)
To date, this is the only undefeated team in NFL history. They forged a perfect 17-0 mark during the season behind one of the greatest running games of all-time. These Dolphins knew what football was all about, using a crushing ground game and the No-Name Defense to pound their opponents into submission.
It may seem blasphemous for me to not even have them in my Top 5. However, they played an absurdly easy schedule that year, with their opponents' winning percentage below .400. They beat just two teams over .500 during the regular season and tallied just three wins over teams with 10 or more victories. While they did have a 15.3-point scoring differential, nine of their 17 games were decided by 10 points or less. They won the AFC Championship by just four points, and the Super Bowl by just seven points. They were underdogs in the Super Bowl for crying out loud! That doesn't scream domination to me. But undefeated is undefeated.
5. 1992-93 Dallas Cowboys (16-3)
From a pure talent standpoint, they are one of the best two or three teams ever. This team had it all, and this roster had Pro Bowlers and Hall of Famers up and down the roster. Dallas won their three playoff games by an average of three touchdowns, and their 52-17 beat down of Buffalo in the Super Bowl is still the biggest blowout in the history of The Big Game.
4. 1991-92 Washington Redskins (17-2)
This Washington club may be one of the most underrated of the All-Time Greats. Their offense (No. 1 at 30.3 ppg) was classically good and was bolstered by the league's No. 2 defense. Washington's average margin of victory this season, including the postseason, was over 17 points per game. That was just one point lower than the 2007 Pats and Washington did it in an era that wasn't as conducive to high scoring. Oh, and the Redskins put up those numbers while playing much, much better competition than the Patriots.
Washington was one of just two champions to face 11 teams with 10 or more wins and they won nine of those games. The Redskins played in one of the All-Time Great divisions, with the NFC East boasting the defending champions (Giants), the eventual champions (Washington), next year's champions (Dallas), and one of the top defensive teams ever (Philadelphia). Those four teams went 31-9 against the rest of the league, and Washington's two losses were by a combined five points, at Philly and at Dallas. Also, that Buffalo team the Skins dismantled in the Super Bowl wasn't too shabby.
3. 1978-79 Pittsburgh Steelers (17-2)
Honestly, it is a coin flip when you get to this point of the list. The top 3 teams are all interchangeable and your geography is most likely to dictate who you have No. 1. And if you went with this Steelers team, it would be impossible to argue.
We're taking the 1978 version over the others from the 70s dynasty mainly because they had the best regular-season record (14-2), and they beat an amazing Dallas team in the Super Bowl. This Steelers squad had a stunning nine Hall of Fame players on it and a HOF coach. The only reason I bumped them to No. 3 is because A) they only went 2-2 against 10-win teams during the season, B) they didn't lead the league in offense or scoring differential, and C) they won their Super Bowl game by only four points. I know all of that is nit-picky, but when you're talking Immortality you have to be choosy.
2. 1989-90 San Francisco 49ers (17-2)
I vividly remember watching this game as a 10-year boy and thinking that there was no way this 49ers team would lose a game. Ever. They did lose, twice, by a combined five points. But they also tallied six wins over teams with 10 or more regular-season victories and outscored their playoff opponents an amazing 126-26. That's an average - average - score of 42-9 in the playoffs. That is domination. Joe Montana completed 70 percent of his passes for an amazing 9.5 yards per attempt, and that was before the NFL changed the rules so you couldn't touch a QB. They had the No. 1 offense and No. 3 defense in the league, and I still don't know how they lost those two games.
1. 1985-86 Chicago Bears (18-1)
Defense wins championships, and this was the best ever. Throw in one of the top running backs of all time and a team of solid offensive role players, and you have a club that knew what football was all about.
Chicago posted a 15-1 regular-season mark, and had it not been for a fluky game in Miami they would've been perfect. And what people fail to mention about that game is that Chicago started backup quarterback Steve Fuller!
During the regular season, the Bears outscored their opponents 456-198 (average score: 29-12), and during the playoffs they won three games by a combined total of 91-10. Most people can't believe the Patriots even scored 10 points in one of the most lopsided Super Bowls of all-time. The 1985 Bears defense was the greatest of all time, but Chicago also possessed the NFL's No. 2 scoring offense that year. They had a +23 turnover differential, won a stunning nine games against teams with 10 or more wins, and in November they won their four games by an average score of 40-4. They were, in every sense of the word, dominant.
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Read more articles by Robert Ferringo
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