A countdown of the biggest teams in agree football history needs little introduction. Girlfriend are about to accomplish an impressive collection of Super key champions, undefeated teams, teams that led the league in offense and/or defense, teams that recorded imaginations and also defined generations. 

There is one ground dominion to keep in mind. To stop this from ending up being just a countdown that 1960s Packers, 1970s Steelers and also recent Patriots, each team chosen casts a five-year "shadow." for this reason the 2004 Patriots additionally represent the 2003 Patriots, the 1998 Broncos represent the 1997 team, and also so on.

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There space still multiple an excellent Tom Brady Patriots teams and also Steel Curtain Steelers on the list, despite the "shadow" effect. And multi-season empires get a an increase in the rankings over groups that rose and fell quickly. But no matter just how much time you spend encyclopedia crawling and stat crunching (including football Outsiders" historic DVOA estimates), comparing great teams across decades and also eras is one inexact science.

You have the right to quibble with several of the selections and also the order, yet you can"t argue through this countdown"s sheer volume of football excellence.


25. 2006 Indianapolis Colts: 12-4, Super bowl Champions
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Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

The 2006 Colts most likely weren"t the finest Peyton Manning Colts team that the mid-2000s. They simply happened to be the one that won a super Bowl.

The 2005 and 2007 groups won much more games and posted much much better defensive stats. The 2005 Colts finished 2nd in the NFL in point out allowed, the 2007 Colts first, when the 2006 Colts finished 23rd.

Frankly, the 2006 Colts would certainly not have actually made this countdown at every if teams did not get a bonus for their irreversible excellence. They"re boosted onto the list by a te of Manning teams that winner 12-14 games however lost in the playoffs. It"s a group of groups that maintained finishing a success or two brief of getting to our optimal 10.

The names and also personalities are acquainted to you: Manning, Tony Dungy, Marvin Harrison and also Reggie Wayne, Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis. The layout of beat is likewise familiar: Manning and Harrison to run the course tree prior to dawn on Sunday morning, Manning barking audibles at the line, Dungy"s Tampa-2 defense holding opponents at bay once they do the efforts to catch up.

You understand the storyline together well: outstanding in the regular season, foiled by the Patriots or otherwise snakebit in the playoffs.

But this was the year the Colts finally broke through, win the Patriots in a memorable AFC Championship Game, win the bears in a rainy Super Bowl and redeemed every one of the Colts groups of vault years that looked so much much better in the constant season 보다 this one yet shed in the playoffs like it was their cosmic destiny.


24. 1949 Philadelphia Eagles: 11-1, NFL Champions
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Having helped win civilization War II, the 1949 Eagles had tiny trouble winning the nationwide Football League.

The NFL was full of human being War II veterans in the late 1940s, the course. Yet the Eagles, simply a couple of years removed from merging v the Steelers for a season as result of wartime manpower shortages, had a roster invited with males just back from the European and also Asian theaters.

Quarterback Tommy Thompson earn a violet Heart on the beach at Normandy. End Pete Pihos won both the copper Star and Silver Star as an infantry lieutenant. Center-linebacker chuck Bednarik flew 30 battle missions over Germany as a waist-gunner in a B-24. Fullback-linebacker-punter Joe Muha to be an artillery lieutenant in ~ Iwo Jima.

Coach Greasy Neale provided his combat veterans a wide berth as soon as it pertained to discipline; that figured general Patton covered that component of their training. V the aid of speedy young running back Steve van Buren, Neale"s Eagles stormed the NFL in 1948 and also 1949. The 1949 team topped the organization in points and points allowed, winning a collection of 38-7 and 42-0 blowouts prior to blanking the flashy Los Angeles Rams, 14-0, in the NFL Championship Game, the Eagles" second straight shutout in a title game.

The only pressure that can stop these battle-hardened Eagles was an additional team with its own army ties. When the Eagles to be flying bombing missions and storming beaches, a excellent young coach was keeping morale high by assembling football groups at stateside army bases. His name was Paul Brown. You"ll satisfy him and his namesake team a small later in the countdown.


23. 1968 Baltimore Colts: 13-1, NFL Champions*
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ROBERT H. HOUSTON/Associated Press

Keeping the 1968 Colts turn off this countdown because they shed Super bowl III come Joe Namath"s Jets would certainly be like keeping the 2007 Patriots off for what taken place in the fourth quarter that the super Bowl versus the Giants.

Actually, it would be worse. The Colts to be the NFL champions in 1968. The Super key was quiet an interleague game in between opponents that never faced each other and played different styles the football. Don Shula"s 1968 Colts did every little thing NFL champion had ever been request to execute for the vault 40-plus years. They simply ran right into destiny in the extra video game Pete Rozelle dreamy up in ~ the end.

The Colts finished 11-1-2 v Johnny Unitas at quarterback the vault year but missed the playoffs since of the weird rule of the time. (The Rams perfect 11-1-2 in the same division and winner the tiebreaker; there to be no wild cards). Unitas suffered an eight injury in the last game of the 1968 preseason, so Shula turned to veteran backup Earl Morrall and additionally to one of the stingiest defenses of the or any kind of era.

Morrall threw 26 touchdown overcome to room of call tight end John Mackey and blazing receivers Jimmy Orr and Willie Richardson. Meanwhile, the pass defense led by Bobby Boyd intercepted 29 overcome and enabled just nine passing touchdowns. The Colts close up door out 4 opponents, including the Browns in the NFL Championship Game, and held 3 other opponents to a touchdown or less.

If the weren"t because that those pesky Jets, they"d be in the height 10. Heck, a healthy and balanced Unitas would have actually landed them in the top five.

But these Colts retained running right into fate.

Still, what a team castle were.


22. 2013 Seattle Seahawks: 13-3, Super bowl Champions
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Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

Thirty years from now, young fans will certainly talk around the Legion of boom Seahawks the means we graybeards talk around the 1985 Bears.

They weren"t the finest team the this generation, yet the 2013 Seahawks defined this generation. There"s something patent millennial around the method the Seahawks go out of their way to defy categorization. Castle were, and also still are, the team that division all the rules.

They were constructed by a coach who rah-rah college demeanor to be twice claimed unsuitable for the NFL, through the help of a fresh-faced basic manager who still looks prefer a Silicon valley intern. Your quarterback was a pint-sized try-hard overlooked in a draft class full that preordained superstars. Your brightest stars were a late-round wide receiver turn mouthy cornerback and an iconoclastic running ago whose silence was worth 1,000 thinkpieces.

Pete Carroll. Man Schneider. Russell Wilson. Richard Sherman. Marshawn Lynch. Don"t forget scouting magician Scot McCloughan, since this Hoosiers tale needs a Norman Dale. They overcame every obstacle in the book, constructed the best an additional in NFL background and an alternative offense the wasn"t claimed to occupational at the championship level, and also crushed Peyton Manning"s Broncos, 43-8, in a game that felt choose a symbolic transforming of the generational guard.

The main point of the Legion of eight Seahawks still provides the playoffs every year, of course. Yet like the bears of the late 1980s, they lack a tiny of the magic. Or perhaps they simply lack offensive linemen. Groups with as much personality as the 2013 Seahawks and 1985 bear burn a tiny too hot to last very long. But in their moment, they deserve to not just win at sight Bowls but capture the spirit of one era.


21. 1986 brand-new York Giants: 14-2, Super key Champions
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Ray Stubblebine/Associated Press

The 1986 Giants might be the ugliest team on this list.

Other protective juggernauts make the countdown, of course, but they blended their brutality v a sense of style. Watching the 1985 Bears, because that example, was choose watching Mad Max: rage Road. They to be vicious in a gleeful, feverish way. The 1986 Giants were much more like city hall a handheld documentary around guerilla warfare. Lawrence Taylor and also Leonard Marshall were coming to hurt you, and there was nothing fun about it.

Taylor and also Marshall combined for 32.5 the the Giants" 59 sacks. Bother Carson, Carl Banks. Pepper Johnson and also others divvied increase the remains. Offense? There to be a bare-knuckles brawler and battering lamb of a tight finish named mark Bavaro, a small running earlier named Joe Morris who somehow deserve his living in between the tackles and also some large receivers who never acquired the ball. Phil Simms withstood 45 sacks himself and threw 22 interceptions, yet on rare occasions when the video game was close, he discovered a means to win.

Defensive handle Jim Burt knocked Joe Montana the end of a playoff game, resulting in a 49-3 win. Washington to be next, yet Taylor had long ago taken treatment of Joe Theismann for good. The Giants defense pitched a shutout in the conference championship game. George martin sacked john Elway in the end zone because that a safety, and a 39-20 Super bowl rout ensued.

Simms to be beautiful in Super key XXI, throw as countless touchdown passes as incompletions (three). Yet everything else about the 1986 G-Men was street-brawl nasty. And also man, did it work.


20. 2016 new England Patriots: 14-2, Super bowl Champions
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Focus ~ above Sport/Getty Images

This is the scariest team on this countdown. Due to the fact that these are last year"s Patriots, and also the Patriots got better in the offseason.

To recap current history: last year"s Patriots won two gamings with their back-up quarterback and beat a playoff-bound Texans team through their rookie third-stringer. They shed one game when that third-stringer was playing hurt and a second in a fourth-quarter comeback by the always-formidable Seahawks.

And that was that. Tom Brady shook off two years that Deflategate silliness and a four-game suspension, cruised come the Super key in his normal fashion and...well, the Super key was bonkers. Yet the Patriots have actually a way of making a comeback from a 28-3 deficit watch both graceful and also inevitable.

According to the an accurate DVOA calculations at Football Outsiders, the 2016 Patriots were no as great as the 2004 or 2007 Patriots but much better than the 2001, 2005, 2011 or 2013 Patriots. (Some non-Super bowl Patriots teams are sprinkled into the list as well.) progressed metrics perform not account because that what the Patriots would have actually done if Brady was not suspended. And the differences among so many an excellent teams acquire a tiny nitpicky anyway.

Barring an unexpected eruption of Concussiongate, Brady will not be suspended this year. Rob Gronkowski is currently healthy. The roster has actually been reloaded v newcomers prefer Brandin Cooks, Mike Gillislee, Stephon Gilmore and Kony Ealy.

Putting the 2017 Patriots ~ above this list would certainly be jumping the gun simply a small bit. Because that now, last year"s Patriots will organize their place.


19. 1976 Oakland Raiders: 13-1, Super key Champions
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Focus top top Sport/Getty Images

The 1970s Raiders to be the outlaw biker gang of pro football history. Favor an outlaw biker gang, they to be dangerous to themselves and also others. V a defense complete of headhunters and an violation that learned the playbook by the light of the proverbial jukebox, they were constructed to cause mayhem because that months however ultimately lose to a an ext law-and-order-minded team like the Steelers.

But in 1976, the Raiders found just the right balance the devastation and also discipline. Ken Stabler threw 27 touchdown overcome to the star-studded receiving corps the Cliff Branch, Fred Biletnikoff and also Dave Casper. Gene Upshaw and also Art covering made sure Stabler stayed vertical to execute Al Davis and also John Madden"s desired brand of vertical offense. The defense was full of males with nicknames prefer The Assassin (Jack Tatum), Doctor death (Skip Thomas), Butch (George Atkinson) and The foolish Stork (Ted Hendricks). Even punter Ray man was a star.

The 1976 Raiders lastly overcame the Steelers in a common slobberknocker the a 1970s AFC Championship Game: The teams combined for simply 457 yards of violation in a 24-7 final. Climate they took their turn crushing the Vikings in the super Bowl.

Some of this Raiders would still be approximately when the team won a pair of at sight Bowls in the 1980s. But the old bikers had resolved down a lot by then. Castle could complement the outcomes of this team, however they might not come close to the mystique.


18. 1998 Denver Broncos: 14-2, Super key Champions
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ERIC DRAPER/Associated Press

The 1998 Broncos were currently defending champions. They began the season 13-0, winning 4 games once Bubby Brister subbed because that injured man Elway. Terrell Davis rushed for 2,008 yards and 21 touchdowns. Mike Shanahan, coordinator Gary Kubiak and offensive line coach Alex Gibbs make "zone blocking" the hot new NFL strategy and also catchphrase. Steve Atwater, john Mobley and Bill Romanowski led a defense that did what it had actually to do, which wasn"t lot when Elway and also Davis were regulating the clock and also the game.

The 1997 and 1998 Broncos to be not simply outstanding teams however perhaps history"s many thorough stare changers. Elway to be an main "Big Talent who Couldn"t victory the big Game" best through 1996, when the Broncos went 13-3 yet lost to the Jaguars in the playoffs, ostensibly because they to be too specialized to relaxing their starters after lock clinched. Thanks to Davis and the newly balanced offense, Elway became the unquestioned, unquestionable champion us know and also love (even as soon as he gets a little too meddlesome v the Broncos quarterback situation) today.


17. 1942 Chicago Bears: 11-0, lost NFL Championship Game
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Associated Press

The 1942 Chicago Bears to be the 2007 Patriots the the greatest Generation. No team was more dominant during the constant season. But they can not victory the large game.

The 1942 bears shut out four opponents throughout an 11-game continuous season, outscoring their enemies 376-84. Sid Luckman quarterbacked the innovative T-formation offense displayed in the photo, the forerunner of modern-day offenses (most teams of the era still ran an A-formation offense which looked much more like the contemporary Wildcat). Coach/GM/Owner George Halas left the team for a naval tourism of duty in October, but aides Hunk Anderson and also Luke Johnsos kept the bears cruising.

Oh yes, people War II was going on, so several of those bear shutouts come through an asterisk. The Detroit Lions refuse to sign any kind of players eligible because that combat and also shipped their totality coaching staff to military bases prior to the season. The bears beat the Lions by a an unified score of 58-0 in two meetings. Halas had more money to invest than various other owners, more influence than many (some bears players got deferments to finish the 1942 season prior to joining the military), a vast national scouting network and also a quarterback offer stateside in the vendor Marine: all distinct benefits as groups scrounged for able bodies during the war years.

The Bears to be three-touchdown favorites come beat the Redskins in the championship game. However Washington quarterback/safety Sammy Baugh intercepted a Luckman happen in the finish zone in the fourth quarter. The Bears later on drove to the 1-yard line, however a activity penalty negated a would-be touchdown, and the Redskins defense hosted its ground at the goal heat to keep a 14-6 upset.

So the Bears had actually a little bit that 2014 Seahawks in them come go v the 2007 Patriots. No matter. They winner the NFL in 1943, just as they had in 1940 and also 1941. The monsters of the Midway became part of our national lexicon. It just so happens the the best of those good teams came up a little short.


16: 1999 St. Louis Rams: 13-3, Super bowl Champions
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TOM GANNAM/Associated Press

The Greatest present on Turf come suddenly and hit through a wallop, favor a summer squall or a very first crush or...well, a travel circus the transforms a fallow country-town ar into a wonderland overnight.

One moment, the Rams were perennial sad sacks who had actually just lost their only experienced quarterback to a preseason injury. The following moment, cut Warner to be a superstar, Isaac Bruce and also Torry Holt join Marshall Faulk as family names, and also the Rams upended both the NFL balance that power and expectations of what an NFL offense can do.

The Rams average 32.9 points per game. Faulk gained over 1,000 rushing yards and also receiving yards. Warner, a couple of years gotten rid of from stacking can be ~ in one Iowa grocery store store, threw 41 touchdowns and became the final good inspirational sporting activities story that the critical millennium.

The playoff gauntlet confirmed the Rams defense could win games as well. After a grueling 11-6 trench fight with the Buccaneers in the NFC Championship Game, the Rams necessary a full team effort to hold off the Titans in the most amazing Super key of the era.

The 1999 Rams to be a spectacle to behold, and also they would rank higher if they had actually sustained their height a small longer. Yet after a commanding power in 2001, they vanished. The storm melted right into the horizon. The blush that young love faded. The big top collapsed and moved ~ above to another dusty town, leaving only giddy memories.


15. 1950 Cleveland Browns: 10-2, NFL Champions
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Anonymous/Associated Press

The 1940s Browns to be too great for their own good. Paul Brown"s team dominated the AAFC so thoroughly that it added to the league"s collapse: It had to be hard to acquire fans excited around the Chicago Rockets when the Browns were shedding a full of 4 games in 4 years and also winning championships through scores like 49-7.

Brown"s team arrived in the NFL in 1950, and also while some coaches scoffed in ~ his "finesse" style of football, the soon came to be clear the Brown was play chess while everyone else to be hitting each various other over the head through clubs. Brown had invented modern scouting, practice scheduling, conditioning, coaching staff configurations and the basis of modern-day pass offense. Every week, they to be a roman inn legion properly dispatching hordes that barbarians.

Brown called the plays. Rose oil Graham check out defenses and readjusted his passing decision accordingly, a breakthrough tactic. Mac Speedie and also Dante Lavelli ran an exact pass courses designed to occupational in tandem. Marion Motley ran innovative brand-new wrinkles choose the attract play. Blockers developed a bag (another Brown innovation) roughly Graham instead of simply walloping their defenders. The upstarts from a rival league beat developed NFL teams by 35-10, 31-0 and also 45-7 scores.

Only the Giants can beat those Browns. Coach Steve Owen matched innovation with innovation, inventing the Umbrella defense (the forerunner the the modern-day 4-3) come combat the Browns passing game. The Giants handed the Browns their just losses the the season. But the Browns got their revenge throughout an icy playoff video game in Cleveland, beating the Giants through the assist of one extra burst of Brown genius: black color Chuck Taylor sneakers because that the basketball-like playing surface. That"s right: The Browns innovated the shoes endorsement as well.

The Browns won the 1950 NFL championship, climate went 2-3 in the next 5 title games. No team in history had a greater influence on strategy evolution. Brown and his team adjusted football forever, and when the remainder of the league finally caught up, the game looked a lot choose the one we now watch on Sundays.


14. 1977 Dallas Cowboys: 12-2, Super key Champions
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The 1977 Cowboys truly were America"s Team, a team accurate led by army officers (World battle II pilot Tom Landry, Vietnam naval veteran i get it Staubach) and cheered on by disco-dancing Farrah-haired cheerleaders v our nation"s bicentennial.

But it took a computer system to put them end the top.

The Cowboys had used computer systems to aid their scouting because that decades; chef exec Tex Schramm witnessed the newfangled gizmos in activity at the Winter Olympics, contracted a young engineer named Salam Qureishi come devise a scouting computer and also the Cowboys were quickly outsmarting the NFL in every draft.

In 1977, the scouting consensus backed USC running earlier Ricky Bell as the finest player in the draft. The Cowboys computer system preferred Tony Dorsett. Schramm and also Landry listened to the contraption.

Dorsett rushed because that 1,007 yards in the many defense-dominated season in modern-day pro football history. The Cowboys offense climbed from 4th in the NFL in yards come first. The ferocious Flex Defense, led through Harvey Martin and Randy White on the protective line, additionally led the league in yards allowed.

The Cowboys ultimately escaped year of playoff losses and also Super key near-misses. They won two playoff games by a an unified 60-13 score prior to embarrassing the Broncos in a at sight Bowl that was not practically as close together the 27-10 score.

The Landry Cowboys would certainly stay near the peak of the league for years to come, but they would never be quite as great as lock were once Staubach and also Dorsett an initial met. Think the it as one more innovation for America"s Team: the an initial successful virtual matchmaking.


13. 2004 brand-new England Patriots: 14-2, Super bowl Champions
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WINSLOW TOWNSON/Associated Press

All the the an excellent Patriots groups were coached by bill Belichick and also helmed through Tom Brady. Other than that, every is completely unique.

The dazzling-yet-doomed 2007 team played an entirely various brand that football native the plucky underdogs of 2001, who looked nothing prefer the understand technicians the 2014 and 2016. The sustaining casts, attack systems and narrative themes grew and adjusted with the years.

The 2004 Patriots to be the precision-balanced version with a Corey Dillon-led power running game, a pop-gun receiving corps and also a (mostly) no-name defense. Brady spread out 28 touchdowns amongst David Patten, Deion Branch, David Givens, Daniel Graham and also others. Richard Seymour to be the only All-Pro ~ above defense, however Tedy Bruschi, Asante Samuel, Vince Wilfork, Rodney Harrison, Ty Law and also others were at the start or end of your careers.

This was the Patriots team that had Troy Brown moonlighting together a slot cornerback and also Mike Vrabel together a goal-line tight end.

The Patriots to be in change in 2004. Brady to be ascending toward demigod status. Belichick and his all-star employee (Charlie Weis, Romeo Crennel, Eric Mangini, josh McDaniels and also more) had actually just mastered the art of repurposing spare components as superstars. The defense hosted seven adversaries to 10 points or less. The offense scored 30 or an ext points six times. Because that a grand finale, the 2004 Patriots knocked the 2004 Eagles off this list through a small Super bowl victory.

The Patriots ended up being the franchise we recognize today in 2004, the team that the new millennium. They have fielded flashier teams since then. Yet this team to be the many quintessentially "Patriots."


12. 1975 Steelers: 12-2, Super bowl Champions
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Richard Stagg/Getty Images

The Steelers to be the NFL"s lovable losers from the franchise"s birth in 1933 till a January day in 1974 when they drafted Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, john Stallworth and also Mike Webster.

Two years later, they ended up being the team that characterized football greatness for an entire generation.

Swann, Lambert, Stallworth and also Webster ended up being Hall of Famers, of course. They joined budding superstars acquired over a half-decade of abundant drafts—Terry Bradshaw, Mel Blount, Joe Greene, Jack Ham, Franco Harris—to offer Steelers coach chuck Noll a vital mass that overwhelming talent. The 4 rookies assisted the Steelers steamroll to a super Bowl win in 1974.

Then everyone got better. Swann i graduated from punt returner to offensive playmaker. Lambert came to be a agree Bowler. The Steelers won games by 37-0 and also 42-6 en path to their second Super bowl win. Remember that this to be 1970s football. Scoring 42 points earlier then was nearly like dropping 60 on an opponent today.

Along the way, the Steelers codified the iconography of football greatness: the steel Curtain defense, the pounding Franco/Rocky Bleier running game, the blue-collar ethos. As soon as fans of mine generation close your eyes and photo the ideal football team, us cannot aid but snapshot the mid-"70s Steelers, clad in all black, galloping in NFL films slo-mo, beating enemies with brutal determination.

The Steelers are now thought of as a historic, timeless powerhouse. That background and tradition begins right here.


11. 1996 environment-friendly Bay Packers: 13-3, Super key Champions
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SUSAN RAGAN/Associated Press

Let"s not wax poetic around Brett Favre, OK?

Favre was splendid in 1996, but he spawned a entirety genre of sports literature—the fawning, near-pornographic Favre-as-avatar-of-American-masculinity puff piece. They gained a little creepy by the end of his career. So friend don"t need me come tell girlfriend Favre was the nation"s merry gunslinger in the mid-1990s.

Let"s talk about the 1996 Packers defense. It allowed just 19 touchdowns. The was the NFL record for a 16-game season till the 2000 Ravens defense enabled 16 touchdowns. The 1985 bears defense enabled 22 touchdowns, while the 2013 Seahawks defense enabled 20 (albeit in one era of increased scoring). Reggie White, Sean Jones, LeRoy butler and company did historical work in the shadow of you-know-who.

Let"s talk around special teams. Desmond Howard collection a document for punting return yardage (875, with 3 touchdowns) which still stands today. Howard then returned a punting for a touchdown versus the 49ers in the playoffs and also won the Super bowl MVP award with a 99-yard kickoff return.

The 1996 Packers overcame in all 3 phases. They additionally introduced the Lambeau Leap to our vocabulary and also transformed Lambeau field from a frozen old football mausoleum right into a bucket-list location for NFL fans.

Also, your quarterback to be pretty good.


10. 1992 Dallas Cowboys: 13-3, Super bowl Champions
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PAUL BUCK/Getty Images

The Wowboys the the early 1990s didn"t beat adversaries in any certain way. They beat opponents in every way.

Their offensive line overwhelmed defenses. Your defenses smothered them. Trojan Aikman, Emmitt Smith and also Michael Irvin made every little thing look easy. The sustaining cast—Jay Novacek, Daryl Johnston, Alvin Harper, even return male Kelvin Martin—would have actually been featured weapons on an plain team.

The 1992 Cowboys ranked fourth in the league in complete yards and very first in the organization in fewest yards allowed. They go out out quality adversaries by scores choose 27-0 and also 30-3. The playoffs to be a joke, together they crushed the Eagles, soundly beat Steve Young"s 49ers and embarrassed the receipt in the supervisor Bowl, 52-17.

They proceeded to do almost the exact same thing the adhering to year.

The only forces that could stop the Wowboys of this era were time and also the clash the egos that damaged up the Jimmy Johnson-Jerry Jones prior office. On-field enemies never stand a chance.


9. 1984 mountain Francisco 49ers: 15-1, Super key Champions
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Rob Brown/Getty Images

The brilliance of the West coastline offense does not lie in what the did because that Jerry Rice and also John Taylor in the so late 1980s. A playground quarterback could style an offense for Rice and Taylor.

The brilliance of the West coast offense lies in what it did because that Russ Francis, Earl Cooper, Freddie Solomon and also Wendell Tyler, Joe Montana"s supporting cast for a team the averaged nearly 30 points in the consistent season and also beat opponents by scores of 51-7, 41-7, 35-3, 33-0 and so on.

Dwight Clark and also Roger Craig were also component of that 1984 49ers offense. However Clark recorded just 52 passes, when Craig was a second-year fullback. It take it the brilliance and vision of invoice Walsh to do an all-purpose back out of Craig while coaxing a 1,200-yard job year out of Tyler (a speedster with significant fumbling issues) if distributing opportunities amongst Solomon, tight ends Francis and also Cooper and Olympic hero Renaldo Nehemiah.

It helped that defensive coordinator George Seifert fielded among the finest secondaries in history: Ronnie Lott, Dwight Hicks, Eric Wright and Carlton Williamson. The contrary quarterbacks threw 25 interceptions against just 14 touchdowns if trying to keep up with Montana.

The 49ers fielded far better teams than this one in the 1980s; we will fulfill one the them shortly enough. Yet the 1984 team verified what Walsh, Montana and the West shore offense was capable of, even prior to they assembled among the biggest receiving corps in history.


8. 1985 Bears: 15-1, Super bowl Champions
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John Swart/Associated Press

The invoice Walsh 49ers to be the NFL team the the 1980s. However the 1985 bear were the 1980s.

They were funky, punky, edgy and also rebellious. The to be Walter Payton"s Jheri curl and Jim McMahon"s headband, Mike Ditka"s scowl, Mike Singletary"s cobra-like gaze and Buddy Ryan"s cocky grin.

The 1985 Bears wanted their MTV, and also MTV wanted them. No boy-band Svengali might assemble a more compelling mix of personalities—Payton"s trademarked Sweetness, Singletary"s intensity, william Perry"s lovability, Ryan"s outlaw country vibe, McMahon"s proto-Bart Simpson insouciance. No one could get enough of the 1985 Bears.

No one could stop them, either. Their 46 Defense terrorized the contrary quarterbacks because that 64 sacks and 34 interceptions. Meanwhile, Payton clearly churned out over 2,000 yards from scrimmage. McMahon played quarterback and did every little thing else his own way, v ample relief from back-up Steve Fuller, due to the fact that McMahon performed all his very own stunts.

The 1985 bear beat opponents by a an unified score that 104-3 over one three-game stretch. It to be a preview the the playoffs, when they shut out the Giants and also Rams prior to inaugurating the era of unwatchable Super key routs v a 46-10 demolition of the Patriots.

The Bears might have been even better in 1986, but McMahon"s injuries left them play musical chairs at quarterback. Ryan left, Payton and others retired, and the bears slowly came to be just another great team v a great defense.

Eventually, MTV quit playing videos, too.

But in 1985, the bears were more than superb football team. They were a phenomenon.


7. 1966 environment-friendly Bay Packers: 12-2, Super bowl Champions
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James Flores/Getty Images

The 1966 Packers won the an initial Super Bowl and also inaugurated the modern era of pro football together an afterthought. What mattered come Vince Lombardi and his team was winning the NFL Championship, no some glorified exhibition/publicity stunt against the champion of the freshly an unified AFL junior circuit.

Lombardi"s Packers beat the Cowboys because that the NFL Championship. Then they put the AFL-champion Chiefs in your place, despite the Chiefs put much more fight into their 35-10 lose than plenty of NFL competitors did against the Packers in 1966, prove in defeat the the NFL-AFL merger—and this kooky championship game—might simply work out for the long haul.

The 1966 Packers were around at the suggest that the current Patriots got to a couple of years ago. Bart Starr, Forrest Gregg, beam Nitschke and the rest had actually been together long enough to success 56-3 and also 31-7 blowouts without breaking a sweat. Adversaries had invested so many years gaining socked around by Lombardi"s precision maker that they almost arrived at Lambeau pre-beaten.

That golden age of Packers football would involved an end a few seasons later. However not before helping create a golden age of pro football that still hasn"t ended, just by winning a game that didn"t typical a entirety lot come them in ~ the time.


6. 1991 Washington Redskins: 14-2, Super key Champions
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Doug Mills/Associated Press

Most that the initial Hogs had long been replaced. The receiving corps had actually graduated from "The Smurfs" come "The Posse." Joe Theismann was in the transfer booth. John Riggins to be on the hall of reputation ballot. These were no longer the famed 1980s Redskins the song and also story.

They were better.

On paper, the 1991 Redskins don"t look prefer much. Darrell Green and also Art Monk were still around, together were some various other holdovers choose Joe Jacoby and also Charles Mann. However the rest of the actors of characters reads choose a B-list contrasted to Theisman, Riggo and the original Hogs: mark Rypien, Earnest Byner, Gary Clark, Brian Mitchell, Jim Lachey, mark Schlereth and also many others that would never be puzzled for all-time legends.

But top top the field, few teams were much more dominant. The 1991 Redskins shut out three opponents in their very first five games by a linked 102-0 score. They cruised with the playoffs and also Super Bowl, outscoring opponents 101-41 in three games.

Most remarkably, the 1991 Redskins shared the NFC eastern with the trojan Aikman-Emmitt Smith-Michael Irvin Cowboys, a Giants team the went 13-3 under bill Parcells the ahead year and an Eagles team fielding one of history"s most devastating defenses. Sure, the Wowboys weren"t fully gestated yet, Parcells was gone and also the Eagles went through around 30 quarterbacks that year. However winning 14 games versus such tough competition—one the the losses was a meaningless week 17 game—was extraordinary.

When fans controversy all-time good teams, the 1991 Redskins hardly ever come up. Yet when football Outsiders or other analysts dig deeply right into the stats, they always come up near the top. That"s the difference between star power and quality at work. These Redskins didn"t have actually the best names, yet they did obtain results.


5. 1978 Steelers: 14-2, Super bowl Champions
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Associated Press

The NFL changed a lot between 1975 (when we last visited the steel Curtain Steelers top top this countdown) and also 1978.

That"s due to the fact that the Steelers adjusted the NFL.

The steel Curtain Defense and also its imitators to be so efficient that the organization enacted correctly rule alters to give offenses a chance. One change, nicknamed the Mel Blount preeminence after the Steelers cornerback, outlawed contact with receivers 5 yards previous the line of scrimmage. That led the means for whatever from the West coast offense to 5"9" receivers who catch 110 passes every year. 

One would certainly think a series of dominance changes practically explicitly draft to protect against the Steelers would certainly at the very least slow castle down. Instead, castle somehow got better. The brand-new contact rule wound increase helping john Stallworth and also small, speedy Lynn Swann much more than lock hampered Blount. Swann and also Stallworth linked for 20 touchdown receptions. Blount still made the agree Bowl. Instead of weakening the Steelers, the rule changes just do them more balanced—first in the organization in points allowed, but also fifth in clues scored.

It"s challenging to determine which classic Steelers team was better than any type of other standard Steelers team. As soon as in doubt, choose the team that beat the NFL itself.


4. 1989 san Francisco 49ers: 14-2, Super key Champions
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Associated Press

The 1989 49ers room what girlfriend think of as soon as remembering the an excellent San Francisco teams of that era.

This is the team that brought Steve Young off the bench in relief that Joe Montana. This is the team that had Jerry Rice and also John Taylor getting over 1,000 receiving yards each. The team of i get it Craig, Tom Rathman and also Brent Jones. This is the defense tho anchored in the an additional by Ronnie Lott, with Charles Haley terrorizing quarterbacks.

This was George Seifert"s 49ers team, but Bill Walsh"s influence was still powerful. Mike Holmgren to be the attack coordinator, for this reason the 49ers weren"t hurting for offensive brilliance. This to be the team the made every franchise in the NFL want to copy the West coast offense.

The 1989 49ers averaged 27.6 clues per game and permitted just 15.8. They outscored your playoff competition by a margin of 126-26. Castle were one of the most well balanced teams in NFL history, as well as one the the deepest. Their backup quarterback, after ~ all, to be a future room of Famer simply entering his prime. Not also the Lombardi Packers or contemporary Patriots have the right to make the claim.


3. 2007 Patriots: 16-0, AFC Champions
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David J. Phillip/Associated Press

Ancient cultures approximately the people sacrificed their most precious possessions to the gods: the unblemished lamb, the an initial fruits of the harvest, periodically their very own children. They go so because there is something in the primordial human being mind that rejects what it perceives as as well perfect. No feet may tread the spiritual ground alongside the waterfall. The foxiest girl in town can never get a date.

The 2007 Patriots had actually to shed the Super bowl to the Giants to reaffirm humanity"s location in the cosmos. Invoice Belichick had developed the Tower that Babel. Tom Brady flew ~ above Icarus" wings. Fate had actually no an option but to go all Final Destination on castle in the supervisor Bowl.

The Patriots to be on the decrease in 2005 and also 2006—still good but an extremely mortal, specifically because Tom Brady short playmakers. Therefore they reloaded their offense with Randy Moss, Wes Welker and Donte Stallworth and unleashed fury upon the NFL. Castle pummeled adversaries so completely that it looked vindictive— vengeance against the SpyGate allegations that the time, perhaps, or against those who doubted their place amongst the pantheon.

Brady"s 50-touchdown onslaught. Moss" aerial thrills. The defense moving 47 sacks when enemies tried in vain to continue to be in the game. It was beautiful to watch, but somewhat unpleasant as well. Us accused the Patriots of to run up the score when we weren"t accusing castle of videotaping opponents. Castle scoffed. They to be prideful. Powerful. Any type of first-year literature student can tell girlfriend what had actually to happen.

If every one of the groups on this countdown play a tournament, the 2007 Patriots would probably win. But perhaps not; possibly a more humble team would dropped them the method the Giants did.

Few would be rooting for them. Patriots fans would probably line up behind the 2016 or 2004 teams, since even a perennial champion finds it less complicated to relate with the underdogs.


2. 1972 Miami Dolphins: 14-0, Super bowl Champions
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Focus top top Sport/Getty Images

The much more you study football history, the an ext clear it becomes the the undefeated 1972 dolphin weren"t the greatest team ever.

Instead of law something controversial favor comparing them come the 2007 Patriots or ours No. 1-ranked team, let"s to compare them come the 1973 Dolphins.

The 1973 Dolphins winner the at sight Bowl. Bob Griese was their quarterback, not a mix that Griese and Earl Morrall. They challenged a lot tougher schedule 보다 the 1972 team: the undefeated dolphins feasted on teams that were AFL weaklings just two seasons earlier, while your 1973 successors combated the Raiders, Steelers and also Cowboys in the consistent season.

The 1973 dolphins cruised with the playoffs v three easy wins, if every playoff game for the 1972 team was nip-and-tuck. The undefeated team to win regular-season opponents by an mean score the 27.5 to 12.2; the next year, castle beat much better opponents 24.5 to 10.7. It"s close, but there are plenty of reasons to think that the dolphins were better in 1973 than in 1972.

But the 1973 team shed two games, and also we all recognize the 1972 team shed zero.

Ultimately, this perform isn"t about what teams can do, yet what castle did. The 1972 Dolphins developed two 1,000-yard rushers (Larry Csonka and also Mercury Morris) in a 14-game season. Your No name Defense helped them dominate the NFL despite Griese"s absence for most of the year. They beat some disastrous opponents, yet you deserve to only pat the groups on the schedule. 

If I had actually to carry one team come an all-time football tournament, this isn"t also the beforehand "70s dolphin Super bowl team I would certainly select. However this is the team that did miscellaneous no other team has ever before done.

Thus, the takes a team the legends-among-legends to rank above them.


1962 green Bay Packers: 13-1, NFL Champions
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Anonymous/Associated Press

The 1962 Packers started the season through winning four games through a linked score that 109-14.

Then they got hot.

These Packers compelled 50 turnovers in 14 regular-season games. Castle rushed because that 175.7 yards per game. They won by 49-0 final scores twice. In among those contests, lock outgained the Eagles, 628-54.

These room the biggest of the great Packers teams: Vince Lombardi, Bart Starr, Jim Taylor (pictured), Jim Ringo, Willie Davis, ray Nitschke, Herb Adderly and the rest at the height of your powers. They gone into the 1962 season together defending champions. Their just loss came at the hands of the Lions (whose defense was studded with future room of Famers) ~ above Thanksgiving. They safeguarded their title against the Giants v a 16-7 victory in Arctic outpost conditions at Yankee Stadium.

This team defined the means we think of good football teams. The Packers remained leading for years, yet they were never again quite as great as they to be in 1962.

The undefeated teams were simply as dominant as this iteration the the Packers. But no team has ever before represented greatness quite like green Bay in 1962.

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