Every NFL franchise's best team of the Super Bowl era: Defending AFC champion Bengals crack all-time list

Every NFL franchise has one staff that set the usual for excellence. And whereas some franchises have been extra lucky than others, every franchise can level to no less than one staff from its previous that stood out from the remainder. Even the Browns, a staff that has by no means appeared in a Super Bowl, can level to a staff from its semi-recent previous that may function the instance for future groups to observe. 

With the beginning of the 2022 season simply across the nook, we determined to call every franchise’s greatest staff because the begin of the Super Bowl period. To create this listing, we appeared on the following standards when making our choices. 

  • Average margin of victory in the course of the common season 
  • Offensive and defensive rankings, particularly because it pertains to scoring
  • Strength of the opposition 
  • Talent on the roster 
  • How far the staff superior within the postseason 

Using this standards, we had been in a position to determine every franchise’s best staff because the begin of the 1966 season. While many readers will agree with our choices, we all know that some will object to no less than considered one of our picks, which is actually superb. Who would not like a great sports activities debate, in any case?

Without additional ado, let’s get began. 

A Super Bowl-winning staff might be denoted with (*) 

  • 12-8 total report
  • Won franchise’s solely NFC championship 
  • Featured the third-ranked scoring offense in the course of the common season 

Despite a late-season swoon that noticed them lose 4 video games in a five-game span, the Cardinals gained the AFC West earlier than occurring a roll in the course of the NFC playoffs. In three consecutive weeks, Arizona defeated Atlanta, Carolina and Philadelphia to say the NFC championship. The Cardinals’ high-scoring offense, led by quarterback Kurt Warner and receivers Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald, scored over 30 factors in every of their first three playoff video games. 

Fitzgerald loved one of many best postseason performances in NFL historical past in the course of the ’08 postseason, catching 30 passes for 546 yards and 7 touchdowns. His 127-yard, two-touchdown efficiency almost led the Cardinals to a Super Bowl upset over the Steelers, who gained the sport following Ben Roethlisberger’s last-minute, game-winning drive. 

  • 16-3 total report
  • Won franchise’s first NFC championship 
  • Boasted the league’s fourth-ranked offense and protection in the course of the common season 

The 2016 Falcons had been far more aggressive of their Super Bowl look (holding a 28-3 lead earlier than squandering it towards the Patriots), however the ’98 Falcons had been, statically talking, a superior staff. That season, Atlanta went 14-2 in the course of the common season earlier than defeating Steve Young and the 49ers within the divisional spherical of the playoffs. The Falcons then defeated the 15-1 Vikings in one of many best upsets in NFL postseason historical past. Atlanta was unable to duplicate that success in Super Bowl XXXIII, nevertheless, because the Falcons had been run over by the defending champion Broncos, 34-19. 

The ’98 Falcons, nicknamed the “Dirty Birds” in the course of the common season, had been led by Pro Bowlers Chris Chandler, Jamal Anderson, Bob Whitfield, Jessie Tuggle, Ray Buchanan, and Eugene Robinson. Anderson, the staff’s lone All-Pro that season, rushed for 1,846 yards and 14 touchdowns in the course of the common season. The Falcons’ offense additionally included two 1,000-yard receivers in Tony Martin and Terance Mathis. 

  • 16-4 total report
  • Won franchise’s first Super Bowl title
  • Allowed 10.3 factors per sport, the fewest in NFL historical past throughout a 16-game season 

The Ravens’ 2012 championship staff might have been a extra balanced unit, however the utter dominance of Baltimore’s 2000 protection offers them the nod because the franchise’s best staff. That season, Baltimore’s protection, led by Ray Lewis and Hall of Fame security Rod Woodson, recorded 4 shutouts in the course of the common season earlier than permitting a complete of 23 factors in 4 postseason video games. In Super Bowl XXXV, the Ravens’ protection shut out the Giants’ offense whereas holding New York to simply 152 complete yards. 

Baltimore’s 2000 squad additionally featured the league’s greatest returner in Jermaine Lewis, whose 84-yard kickoff return for a rating in Super Bowl XXXV ended any hope of a Giants comeback. The Ravens’ offense featured a punishing working sport, led by Jamal Lewis and Priest Holmes. Baltimore’s offense additionally included Hall of Fame tight finish Shannon Sharpe, whose 96-yard rating spearheaded the Ravens’ 16-3 win over Oakland within the AFC Championship Game. 

  • 15-4 total report 
  • Won franchise’s first AFC title
  • Finished first within the NFL in scoring and sixth in scoring protection 

Buffalo’s first of 4 AFC championship groups was its greatest. A staff that boasted 5 future Hall of Fame gamers, the Bills gained 13 video games in the course of the common season earlier than scoring a mixed 95 factors of their first two playoff video games. The Bills had been unable to duplicate that stage of success in Super Bowl XXV, nevertheless, because the Giants’ ball management offense — together with a missed 47-yard subject objective — allowed New York to flee with a 20-19 victory. 

The Bills’ greatest gamers that season included quarterback Jim Kelly, working again Thurman Thomas (whose 135 dashing yards in Super Bowl XXV stays probably the most dashing yards by a shedding participant in Super Bowl historical past), receivers Andre Reed and James Lofton, defensive finish Bruce Smith, linebackers Darryl Talley, Cornelius Bennett and Shane Conlan, and particular groups ace Steve Tasker. The ’90s Bills stay the one staff to seem in 4 consecutive Super Bowls. 

  • 17-2 total report
  • Featured league MVP Cam Newton
  • Finished first within the NFL in scoring and sixth in scoring protection 

The seventh staff in NFL historical past to win no less than 15 common season video games, the 2015 Panthers‘ common margin of victory was a dozen factors in the course of the 2015 season. Carolina carried its common season momentum into the NFL playoffs, dethroning the two-time defending NFC champion Seahawks within the divisional spherical earlier than routing the Cardinals within the convention championship sport. The Panthers’ dream season got here to a crashing halt in Super Bowl 50, as Von Miller’s 2.5 sacks and two compelled fumbles helped the Broncos come away with a 24-10 victory. 

Carolina’s gifted roster that season included league MVP Cam Newton, who that 12 months turned the primary participant in league historical past to throw 35 touchdowns and run for 10 touchdowns in the identical season. Along with Newton, the Panthers’ roster additionally included fellow Pro Bowlers in working again Jonathan Stewart, fullback Mike Tolbert, tight finish Greg Olsen, middle Ryan Kalil, proper guard Trai Turner, defensive deal with Kawann Short, linebackers Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis, and cornerback Josh Norman. 

  • 18-1 total report
  • Won franchise’s first Super Bowl title
  • Finished second within the NFL in factors scored and first in fewest factors allowed 

The Bears’ dominant “46” protection is the very first thing that often involves thoughts when reflecting again on the ’85 Bears, and for good motive. That unit, led by defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan, boasted three Hall of Famers in linebacker Mike Singletary and defensive ends Richard Dent and Dan Hampton. The unit additionally included fellow Pro Bowlers in defensive deal with Steve McMichael, linebacker Otis Wilson and security Dave Duerson. Together, the 46 protection recorded 4 shutouts earlier than manhandling the Patriots in Super Bowl XX, 46-10

While their protection was traditionally dominant, the Bears’ offense that season was a particular unit, too. Spearheaded by Hall of Fame working again Walter Payton, Chicago’s offense — a unit that additionally included quarterback Jim McMahon, Hall of Fame left deal with Jimbo Covert and perennial Pro Bowl middle Jay Hilgenberg — scored no less than 20 factors in all however two of their video games. And whereas he largely served as a decoy throughout Super Bowl XX, Payton was something however that in the course of the common season, as he rushed for 1,551 yards and 9 touchdowns whereas averaging 4.8 yards per carry. He additionally caught 49 passes for 483 yards and two scores whereas serving to the Bears develop into the second staff in league historical past to win 15 common season video games. 

  • Won franchise’s third AFC title
  • Defeated top-seeded Titans and defending two-time AFC champion Chiefs in playoffs 

Led by Joe Burrow, the Bengals went from a 4-11-1 outfit in 2020 to AFC champions in 2021. The NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year, Burrow led the NFL in completion share in the course of the common season. He took full benefit of arguably the league’s greatest receiving trio, led by Offensive Rookie of the Year Ja’Marr Chase. Late within the common season, the Bengals’ offense put 41 and 34 factors towards the Ravens and Chiefs in consecutive video games en path to clinching the AFC North division crown. 

Cincinnati’s protection additionally performed a vital position within the staff’s AFC championship run. Led by go rusher Trey Hendrickson, linebacker Sam Hubbard and security Jessie Bates III, the unit got here up with game-clinching performs in every of the Bengals’ playoff victories. Hubbard’s interception towards the Titans arrange Evan McPherson’s game-winning subject objective to propel Cincinnati to the AFC Championship Game. In time beyond regulation every week later, security Vonn Bell’s interception of Patrick Mahomes arrange McPherson’s second game-winning kick in as many weeks whereas punching the Bengals’ ticket to Super Bowl LVI. 

Cleveland Browns: 1987 

  • 11-6 total report
  • Finished third within the NFL in scoring and second in factors allowed 

While many Browns followers would argue that the ’86 staff was higher, the ’87 Browns had a a lot better margin of victory (10.1 to five factors) in addition to top-five items on each side of the ball. A 12 months after falling quick towards John Elway and the Broncos within the AFC title sport, the Browns almost left Denver with a win within the ’87 AFC title sport earlier than working again Ernest Byner fumbled simply wanting the tip zone. That’s as shut because the Browns have come to representing the AFC within the Super Bowl. 

Cleveland’s ’87 staff was loaded with expertise. The offense included Hall of Fame tight finish Ozzie Newsome together with Pro Bowlers in quarterback Bernie Kosar, fullback Kevin Mack, Byner (who loved a 14-year profession that included a Super Bowl win with Washington in 1991), receiver Webster Slaughter and Pro Bowl proper deal with Cody Risien. Cleveland’s protection featured 4 Pro Bowlers in nostril deal with Bob Golic, linebacker Clay Matthews and defensive backs Frank Minnifield and Hanford Dixon. Cleveland’s expertise that season lifted it to a 38-21 playoff victory over the Colts. Kosar accomplished 20-of-31 passes with three touchdowns, whereas Byner out-rushed Colts Hall of Fame working again Eric Dickerson, 122-50. 

  • 16-3 total report
  • Featured the Hall of Fame offensive trio of Michael Irvin, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin
  • Finished second within the NFL in scoring and fifth in scoring protection 

A robust case could be made for the ’71 Cowboys, a staff that featured eight Hall of Fame gamers. The ’71 Cowboys, a staff that went 10-0 with Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach underneath middle, gained the franchise’s first Super Bowl after routing Don Shula’s Dolphins (a staff that may win the following two Super Bowls) in Super Bowl VI, 24-3. But nearly as good as that Cowboys staff was, it is inconceivable to go towards the ’92 Cowboys, a staff that additionally featured of a slew of Hall of Fame expertise. 

Led by their Hall of Fame offensive trio of quarterback Troy Aikman, working again Emmitt Smith and receiver Michael Irvin, Dallas averaged almost 39 factors per sport in the course of the ’92 playoffs. In Super Bowl XXVII, the Cowboys scored 52 factors behind a spectacular displaying from Aikman, who threw 4 touchdowns whereas finishing 70% of his passes. The Bills’ explosive offense was held in examine by a dominant Cowboys’ protection that featured Hall of Fame go rusher Charles Haley, linebacker Ken Norton Jr. and security Darren Woodson. The ’92 Cowboys’ best second might have taken place within the NFC title sport, after they defeated Steve Young, Jerry Rice and the remainder of the 49ers at Candlestick Park. 

Denver Broncos: 1998*

  • 17-2 total report
  • Featured Hall of Fame offensive trio of John Elway, Terrell Davis and Shannon Sharpe
  • Outscored their three playoff opponents 95-34 

A 12 months after profitable the franchise’s first Super Bowl, the ’98 Broncos gained their first 13 video games and completed the common season with a 14-2 report. Denver’s common season was highlighted by Hall of Fame working again Terrell Davis, who gained league MVP honors after dashing for two,008 yards and scoring 23 touchdowns. Receivers Ed McCaffrey and Rod Smith every recorded 1,000-yard seasons, whereas Hall of Fame tight finish Shannon Sharpe’s 10 landing catches tied Smith for the league lead. Denver’s underrated protection, led by Hall of Fame security Steve Atwater, allowed simply 13 complete factors within the Broncos’ playoff wins over the Dolphins and Jets. 

In Super Bowl XXXIII, with the Falcons’ protection geared as much as cease Davis, the Broncos as a substitute showcased the abilities of quarterback John Elway, who threw for 336 yards whereas scoring two touchdowns in his ultimate NFL sport. The Broncos, by advantage of their 34-19 win over the Falcons, turned the sixth franchise to win back-to-back Super Bowls. 

  • 13-4 total report
  • Won the franchise’s first playoff sport since 1957
  • Featured Hall of Fame working again Barry Sanders 

Only one Lions staff — the ’91 squad — has gained a postseason sport because the franchise gained their final championship in 1957. The engine behind the ’91 staff was Hall of Fame working again Barry Sanders (1,548 yards, 16 touchdowns in the course of the common season), whose 47-yard landing run capped off the Lions’ 38-6 win over the Cowboys (the staff that may win the following two Super Bowls) within the divisional spherical of the NFC playoffs. The Lions’ protection — a unit that included three Pro Bowlers in nostril deal with Jerry Ball, linebacker Chris Spielman (126 tackles, three compelled fumbles and three fumble recoveries) and security Benny Blades — compelled 4 Cowboys turnovers whereas holding Dallas to 16 first downs and 276 complete yards. 

Along with Sanders, the Lions’ offense featured perennial Pro Bowl left deal with Lomas Brown together with the receiving trio of Brett Perriman, Willie Green and Robert Clark. The Lions additionally had Pro Bowl returner Mel Gray, who averaged 15.4 yards per punt return. 

  • 16-3 total report
  • Featured league MVP Brett Favre
  • Boasted the NFL’s top-ranked scoring offense and protection in the course of the common season 

The ’66 Packers, the primary Super Bowl champions, had been an superior staff with a slew of Hall of Fame gamers. But they weren’t as dominant as the ’96 Packers, a staff that gained 14 video games by no less than 10 factors. In truth, of their ultimate eight video games of the ’96 season (all wins), the Packers’ margin of victory was a whopping 21.1 factors. In the playoffs, Green Bay outscored the opposition 100-48. The Packers capped off their dominant season by defeating the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI, 35-21. The star of the sport was return specialist Desmond Howard, whose 99-yard kickoff return for a landing helped clinch Green Bay’s first championship in 29 years. 

Along with league MVP Brett Favre, the Packers’ ’96 roster included Hall of Fame go rusher Reggie White, who recorded three sacks in the course of the second half of Super Bowl XXXI. Green Bay’s roster additionally included Pro Bowl security LeRoy Butler, defensive deal with Gilbert Brown, Pro Bowl middle Frank Winters, working backs Dorsey Levens and Edgar Bennett, and receivers Antonio Freeman, Robert Brooks and Andre Rison. In Super Bowl XXXI, Rison’s 54-yard landing catch gave the Packers an early lead, whereas Freeman’s 81-yard landing catch (on the time, the longest landing reception in Super Bowl historical past) gave Green Bay the lead for good. 

  • 13-5 total report
  • Finished top-10 within the NFL in scoring and scoring protection
  • Featured Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt

A 12 months after profitable the franchise’s first playoff sport, the 2012 Texans gained a franchise report 12 common season video games earlier than defeating the Bengals within the wild card spherical. Houston was led by J.J. Watt, who gained Defensive Player of the Year that season after recording a league excessive 20.5 sacks. The Texans’ roster featured seven different Pro Bowlers in receiver Andre Johnson (112 catches, 1,598 yards), working again Arian Foster (1,424 dashing yards, 15 touchdowns), quarterback Matt Schaub, tight finish Owen Daniels, cornerback Johnathan Joseph, middle Chris Myers, left guard Wade Smith, and left deal with Duane Brown. Johnson, a seven-time Pro Bowl, might be eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2022. 

Indianapolis Colts: 2006*

  • 16-4 total report
  • Won franchise’s first Super Bowl since shifting from Baltimore to Indianapolis
  • Featured Hall of Fame skills of QB Peyton Manning and WR Marvin Harrison 

After six disappointing playoff exits, Peyton Manning’s Colts lastly acquired over the hump in 2006, defeating the Bears 29-17 in Super Bowl XLI. It wasn’t straightforward, nevertheless, as Indianapolis needed to win 4 playoff video games that included its dramatic, come-from-behind win over the Patriots within the AFC Championship Game. The Colts additionally wanted 5 Adam Vinatieri subject objectives to beat the top-seeded Ravens within the divisional spherical. 

Along with Manning, the ’06 Colts featured Hall of Fame receiver Marvin Harrison (1,366 yards, 12 touchdowns), Pro Bowl receiver Reggie Wayne (1,310 yards, 9 touchdowns), working again Joseph Addai (1,406 all-purpose yards, eight touchdowns), tight finish Dallas Clark, defensive finish Dwight Freeney, linebackers Cato June and Gary Brackett, and security Bob Sanders, who the next 12 months could be tabbed because the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year. The ’06 Colts had been led by coach Tony Dungy, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016. 

  • 15-3 total report 
  • Featured the NFL’s top-ranked scoring protection and sixth-ranked scoring offense 
  • Lost to just one staff (3 times): the Tennessee Titans 

The ’99 Jaguars had some competitors because the franchise’s greatest staff. The ’96 squad, after a 4-7 begin, gained seven straight video games that included a shocking playoff victory over the Broncos. The ’17 Jaguars, a staff that featured the second-ranked scoring protection and fifth-ranked scoring offense, upset the favored Steelers within the playoffs earlier than falling simply quick towards the Patriots within the AFC title sport. 

But the ’99 Jaguars acquired the nod primarily based on their franchise-record 14-win common season. In truth, the one staff Jacksonville misplaced to in 1999 was the Titans, who defeated them twice in the course of the common season earlier than defeating Jacksonville once more within the AFC title sport. The Jaguars’ playoff loss got here after they throttled within the Dolphins — 62-7 — in what could be the ultimate sport of Dan Marino’s Hall of Fame profession. 

The ’99 Jaguars featured quarterback Mark Brunell, working again Fred Taylor and receiver Jimmy Smith (1,636 reaching yards), who’re the franchise’s all-time profession passing, dashing and receiving leaders. Along with Brunell and Smith’ the ’99 Jaguars included 5 different Pro Bowlers in offensive tackles Tony Boselli and Leon Searcy, defensive finish Tony Brackens (12 sacks, two interceptions, two compelled fumbles), linebacker Kevin Hardy (10.5 sacks) and free security Carnell Lake. 

  • 15-4 total report
  • Won franchise’s first Super Bowl since AFL-NFL merger 
  • First staff in NFL historical past to beat three double-digit deficits within the playoffs

After a 7-4 begin, the Chiefs gained their ultimate 9 video games that included a 31-20 win over the 49ers in Super Bowl LIV. Patrick Mahomes, the league’s MVP the earlier season, turned the primary participant in league historical past to win a league and Super Bowl MVP earlier than his twenty fifth birthday. And whereas Mahomes was a serious motive for his or her first championship in 50 years, the Chiefs had been hardly a one-man present. Along with Mahomes, the Chiefs’ 2019 roster featured 5 different Pro Bowlers in receiver Tyreek Hill, tight finish Travis Kelce (97 catches, 1,229 yards), defensive linemen Chris Jones and Frank Clark, and security Tyrann Mathieu. 

While the ’19 Chiefs gained the title because the franchise’s greatest staff, a tip of the cap goes out to the ’69 Chiefs, the second and ultimate AFL staff to win the Super Bowl. The ’69 Chiefs featured eight Hall of Famers in coach Hank Stram, quarterback Len Dawson, defensive tackles Curly Culp and Buck Buchanan, linebackers Bobby Bell and Willie Lanier and security Johnny Robinson. 

San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers: 2007

  • Overall report: 13-6
  • Featured the fifth-ranked scoring offense and fifth-ranked scoring protection 
  • Upset the defending champion Colts within the divisional spherical of the playoffs

With respect to the ’94 Chargers — the one Chargers staff to really make it to the Super Bowl — the ’07 staff was extra gifted and confronted stiffer competitors. The ’07 staff, led by Hall of Fame working again LaDainian Tomlinson (1,949 all-purpose yards, 18 touchdowns) and two future Hall of Famers in quarterback Philip Rivers and tight finish Antonio Gates, captured the AFC West division title earlier than defeating the Titans within the opening spherical of the playoffs. In the divisional spherical, the Chargers upset Peyton Manning and the remainder of the defending champion Colts, 28-24. 

Despite taking part in a lot of the sport with out Tomlinson, and with Rivers taking part in by a torn ACL damage, the Chargers gave the then-undefeated Patriots every part they may deal with within the AFC title sport. In truth, had the Chargers had a wholesome Tomlinson within the backfield, it is very doubtless that the Chargers, not the Giants, would have been the staff that ended the Patriots’ goals of an undefeated season. 

St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams: 1999*

  • Overall report: 16-3 
  • Won franchise’s first Super Bowl title 
  • Featured the league’s top-scoring offense and fourth-ranked scoring protection 

Spearheaded by their “Greatest Show on Turf” offense, the Rams scored 526 factors in the course of the ’99 common season. Kurt Warner gained league and Super Bowl MVP honors, whereas Marshall Faulk turned the second participant ever to eclipse 1,000 yards dashing and receiving. Isaac Bruce, a member of the 2020 Hall of Fame induction class, led the Rams in landing receptions. His 73-yard landing catch gave St. Louis the lead late in Super Bowl XXXIV. 

The ’99 Rams’ protection, a vastly underrated unit, included All-Pro defensive finish Kevin Carter (17 sacks), Pro Bowler cornerback Todd Lyght (six interceptions), proper deal with D’Marco Farr (8.5 sacks, 4 compelled fumbles) and linebackers London Fletcher and Mike Jones. Jones’ last-second deal with on Kevin Dyson secured the Rams’ first Super Bowl win. 

Miami Dolphins: 1972*

  • Overall report: 17-0
  • The solely NFL staff to go undefeated for a complete season 
  • Featured the league’s top-ranked scoring offense and protection 

How dominant had been the ’72 Dolphins? Miami scored greater than double the variety of factors (385) as its protection allowed (171) in the course of the common season. While their “No Name” protection has rightfully gone down as arguably the best unit in league historical past, the Dolphins’ offense was fairly nice, too. Miami’s offense featured working backs Larry Csonka and Mercury Morris, the primary pair of teammates to every run for over 1,000 yards in the identical season. Along with Csonka and quarterback Bob Griese, the Dolphins’ offense featured two different Hall of Famers in receiver Paul Warfield and proper guard Larry Little. 

Super Bowl VII served as showcase for Miami’s dominant protection, led by sport MVP Jack Scott, whose two interceptions helped the Dolphins defeat Washington, 14-7. Manny Fernandez recorded 17 tackles, whereas Hall of Fame linebacker Nick Buoniconti additionally got here up with a key interception. 

Minnesota Vikings: 1998

  • Overall report: 16-2
  • Featured the highest-scoring offense (on the time) in NFL historical past
  • Posted a 16.3 common margin of victory

With respect to Bud Grant’s 4 Super Bowl groups, the ’98 Vikings are probably the most dominant staff in franchise historical past. They are additionally arguably the best NFL staff that did not attain the Super Bowl. Led by Hall of Fame receivers Randy Moss (that 12 months’s Offensive Rookie of the Year) and Cris Carter, All-Pro quarterback Randall Cunningham, Hall of Fame defensive finish John Randle, and an offensive line that featured three Pro Bowlers, the Vikings misplaced one sport (27-24 to the Buccaneers in Week 9) in the course of the common season. Minnesota, which scored a then-NFL report 556 factors in the course of the common season, ran away from the Cardinals within the divisional spherical earlier than internet hosting the Falcons within the NFC title sport. 

Despite leaping out to a 20-7 lead, the Vikings by no means absolutely distanced themselves from the Falcons, who pulled to inside a landing of Minnesota late within the fourth quarter. And after a missed subject objective by Gary Anderson (who made every of his first 39 makes an attempt that season), the Falcons tied the rating with lower than a minute left. Atlanta, after forcing two Vikings punts, gained the sport in time beyond regulation. The Falcons had been finally dismantled in Super Bowl XXXIII, whereas the Vikings proceed to seek for their subsequent journey to the massive sport. 

New England Patriots: 2016*

  • Overall report: 17-2
  • Featured the top-ranked scoring protection and third-best scoring offense
  • Overcame a 28-3 deficit to win Super Bowl LI 

It got here right down to the Patriots’ ’04 and ’16 squads as their greatest staff. But the nod finally went to the group that overcame the biggest deficit — 28-3 — in Super Bowl historical past. But the ’16 Patriots must be remembered for extra than simply their epic comeback. This New England staff completed third within the league in scoring and first in scoring protection. They went 3-1 with out Tom Brady underneath middle firstly of the season. And when Brady got here again, New England misplaced only one extra sport whereas profitable 11 video games by double figures. They defeated the Texans and Steelers by a mixed rating of 70-33 earlier than scoring 31 unanswered factors towards Atlanta within the Super Bowl. 

Along with Brady, the Patriots’ offense featured a 1,000-yard working again (LeGarrette Blount), a 1,000-yard receiver (Julian Edelman) and a deadly tight finish mixture in Martellus Bennett and Rob Gronkowski, who mixed to catch 80 passes for 1,241 yards and 10 touchdowns. On protection, the Patriots had been led by Pro Bowlers Dont’a Hightower and Devin McCourty together with linebackers Jamie Collins and Rob Ninkovich and cornerback Malcolm Butler. 

  • 16-3 total report
  • Won franchise’s first Super Bowl title
  • Outscored opponents 107-59 within the postseason 

Led by future Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees, the Saints roared out to a 13-0 begin earlier than coasting to the NFC South division title. In the playoffs, the Saints routed the defending NFC champion Cardinals earlier than outlasting Brett Favre, Adrian Peterson and the remainder of the Vikings within the NFC title sport. In Super Bowl XLIV, the Saints overcame a 10-0 deficit to defeat Peyton Manning and the Colts, 31-17. Brees earned MVP honors after going 32-of-39 for 288 yards with two touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush mixed to amass 148 yards and a landing on 24 complete touches towards the Colts, whereas Marques Colston led the Saints in receiving. 

While the Saints’ offense featured 4 Pro Bowlers in Brees, middle Johnathan Goodwin, proper guard Jahri Evans and proper deal with Jon Stinchcomb, their offense boasted three extra Pro Bowlers in center linebacker Jonathan Vilma and safeties Roman Harper and Darren Sharper. 

New York Giants: 1986*

  • 17-2 total report
  • Won franchise’s first Super Bowl
  • Outscored opponents 105-23 within the postseason 

After dropping their season-opener in Dallas, the Giants would lose only one extra sport throughout the remainder of the ’86 season. In the playoffs, the Giants walloped Joe Montana and the 49ers, 49-3, earlier than shutting out Washington within the NFC Championship Game. In Super Bowl XXI, New York trailed 10-9 at intermission earlier than outscoring the Broncos 30-10 within the second half en path to a 39-20 victory. Game MVP Phil Simms loved an historic outing, finishing a report 88% of his go makes an attempt for 268 yards and three touchdowns. He accomplished all 10 of his makes an attempt within the second half whereas throwing landing passes to Mark Bavaro and Phil McConkey. 

The Giants’ dominant protection, a unit that included 4 Pro Bowlers in defensive ends Jim Burt, Leonard Marshall, Harry Carson and Lawrence Taylor (that 12 months’s Defensive Player of the Year) intercepted John Elway 3 times. New York’s protection additionally got here up with a pivotal goal-line stand in the course of the first half that included Taylor’s essential deal with of Elway simply wanting the objective line. The Broncos additionally had no solutions because it associated to stopping Giants linebacker Carl Banks, who recorded 10 tackles that included 4 behind the road of scrimmage. 

New York Jets: 1968*

  • 13-3 total report 
  • Defeated the defending AFL champion Raiders in league title sport
  • Upset the NFL champion Colts in Super Bowl III 

After a 7-3 begin, Weeb Ewbank’s Jets would win their ultimate six video games that included spectacular postseason victories over the Raiders and Colts. A 17.5 level underdog getting into Super Bowl III, the Jets’ protection compelled 5 turnovers that included three interceptions of Colts quarterback Earl Morrall, the NFL’s MVP that season. The Jets’ protection, a unit that included 4 Pro Bowlers in defensive ends Gary Philbin and Verlon Biggs, deal with John Elliott and linebacker Al Atkinson, additionally recorded an interception off of Hall of Fame quarterback Johnny Unitas, who relieved Morrall within the third quarter. Randy Beverly recorded two of the Jets’ 4 interceptions, whereas Johnny Sample, who led the Jets with seven picks in the course of the common season, additionally got here up with an interception. 

Joe Namath, who boldly assured victory in the course of the week of the sport, accomplished 17 passes towards the Colts’ formidable protection. Namath had a subject day throwing to George Sauer, who caught eight passes for 133 yards. Namath, who did not throw a single go within the fourth quarter, relied closely on his working sport, led by Matt Snell, who gashed the Colts to the tune of 121 yards and a rating on 30 carries. New York’s 16-7 win, the AFL’s first victory over the NFL, is taken into account the best upset in professional soccer historical past. 

Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders: 1976*

  • 16-1 total report 
  • Dethroned the defending two-time champion Steelers in AFC title sport
  • Won franchise’s first Super Bowl 

After shedding in three of the earlier 4 AFC title video games, John Madden’s Raiders lastly broke by in 1976, defeating the rival Steelers within the AFC Championship Game earlier than routing the Vikings in Super Bowl XI, 32-14. Oakland’s offense was loaded with star energy. It featured 5 future Hall of Fame gamers in quarterback Ken Stabler, receiver Fred Biletnikoff, tight finish Dave Caster and offensive linemen Art Shell and Gene Upshaw. Cliff Branch, the staff’s main receiver that season, is arguably the most effective participant in NFL historical past who has but to obtain his gold jacket. 

The Raiders’ intimidating protection featured a pair of future Hall of Famers in linebacker Ted Hendricks and cornerback Willie Brown, whose 75-yard pick-six put the exclamation level on the Raiders’ Super Bowl win. Oakland’s protection additionally featured Pro Bowl linebacker Phil Villapiano, cornerback Skip “Dr. Death” Thomas, and safeties George Atkinson and Jack “The Assassin” Tatum. 

  • 16-3 total report
  • Had 10.2-point common margin of victory 
  • Won the Super Bowl with a backup quarterback 

The Eagles already had arguably the NFL’s greatest roster earlier than they traded a 2018 mid-round choose to accumulate Pro Bowl working again Jay Ajayi halfway by the ’17 season. Ajayi was the right complement for fellow working backs LeGarrette Blount and Corey Clement, because the Eagles boasted the league’s third-best dashing assault in the course of the common season. Philadelphia’s robust working sport enabled it to beat the lack of MVP candidate Carson Wentz, who suffered a season-ending damage 13 weeks into the season. 

Wentz’s substitute, Nick Foles, would get pleasure from a Cinderella story that included an MVP efficiency in Super Bowl LII. In the very best scoring Super Bowl ever, Foles threw for 373 yards and three touchdowns whereas main the Eagles to a 41-33 win over the Patriots. Foles obtained stellar safety from middle Jason Kelce, proper guard Brandon Brooks and proper deal with Lane Johnson, who every obtained Pro Bowl recognition. Philadelphia’s protection, a unit that completed fourth in factors allowed in the course of the common season, featured defensive deal with Fletcher Cox, defensive finish Brandon Graham, and free security Malcolm Jenkins. 

Pittsburgh Steelers: 1978*

  • 17-2 total report
  • Featured league MVP Terry Bradshaw in addition to the NFL’s top-ranked protection
  • Defeated the earlier two AFC Super Bowl members in the course of the playoffs 

There’s a long-running debate in Pittsburgh between the ’75 and ’78 Steelers. While the ’75 Steelers loved a bigger common margin of victory (15 factors to 10.1 factors), the ’78 Steelers had a way more polished Bradshaw, who gained league and Super Bowl MVP honors. Bradshaw was flanked on the offensive facet of the ball by fellow Hall of Famers in middle Mike Webster, working again Franco Harris and receivers Lynn Swann and John Stallworth. Harris’ 22-yard landing run gave the Steelers a double-digit lead over the Cowboys late in Super Bowl XIII, whereas Swann’s 18-yard scoring catch moments later gave Pittsburgh an insurmountable lead. Stallworth’s two first-half touchdowns helped propel Pittsburgh to a 21-14 halftime lead. Bradshaw’s 318 yards and 4 landing passes had been each Super Bowl data. 

While Pittsburgh’s offense had blossomed right into a machine by ’78, its protection was simply as dominant because it had been earlier within the decade. Leading the NFL’s top-ranked protection in ’78 was two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Joe Greene together with fellow Hall of Famers Jack Ham, Jack Lambert, Mel Blount and Donnie Shell. L.C. Greenwood, among the best Steelers not at present in Canton, earned his fifth of six Pro Bowl choices that season. 

San Francisco 49ers: 1989*

  • Overall report: 17-2 
  • Outscored their playoff opponents 126-26
  • Owners of the biggest margin of victory in Super Bowl historical past 

This was the toughest resolution on the listing. San Francisco has two all-time nice groups within the ’89 and ’84 squads. The ’84 49ers, the second of Bill Walsh’s three Super Bowl championship groups, had been the primary staff in league historical past to win 15 common season video games. In the playoffs, they defeated the following two Super Bowl champions (the Giants and Bears) earlier than humbling Dan Marino and the Dolphins’ prolific offense in Super Bowl XIX. 

As nice because the ’84 49ers had been, they had been edged out by the ’89 staff, a staff that had Jerry Rice, who was drafted a number of months after San Francisco’s Super Bowl win over Miami. Rice was on the peak of his powers in 1989, catching three landing passes in the 49ers’ 55-10 win over the Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV. Rice was half of arguably the best quarterback receiving duo in NFL historical past. The different half, quarterback Joe Montana, gained his first of two league MVP honors that season. He additionally gained his third Super Bowl MVP award after torching the Broncos for a then Super Bowl report 5 landing passes. 

While the 49ers’ offense — a unit that additionally included working again Roger Craig, receiver John Taylor and Pro Bowl left guard Guy McIntyre — was elite, San Francisco’s protection was additionally a dominant unit. Led by Hall of Famers Ronnie Lott and Charles Haley, the 49ers’ protection held 12 opponents to 16 factors or much less. 

Seattle Seahawks: 2013*

  • Overall report: 16-3
  • Featured the NFL’s top-ranked scoring protection
  • Manhandled the league’s most prolific offense in Super Bowl XLVII 

Matched up towards one of the crucial statistically dominant offenses in NFL historical past, the Seahawks’ “Legion of Boom” protection held Peyton Manning and the Broncos to simply eight factors. The Seahawks’ offense put collectively 5 scoring drives whereas serving to Seattle seize its first-ever Super Bowl title. 

The Seahawks’ protection, a unit that allowed a mean of 14.4 factors per sport in the course of the common season, was anchored by cornerback Richard Sherman, safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor, linebacker Bobby Wagner and defensive ends Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett. Seattle’s offense featured three Pro Bowlers in quarterback Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch (1,257 yards, 12 touchdowns) and middle Max Unger. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2020*

  • 15-5 total report
  • Featured the NFL’s third-ranked offense and eighth-ranked protection 
  • Defeated quarterbacks Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes  

The 2002 Buccaneers will all the time maintain a particular place within the hearts of Tampa Bay followers because the franchise’s first title staff. But the 2020 Buccaneers had been a extra balanced staff who put collectively one of the crucial dominant performances in Super Bowl historical past. The ’20 Buccaneers additionally had the “GOAT,” quarterback Tom Brady, who gained a report seventh Super Bowl and fifth Super Bowl MVP. 

After a gradual begin, Tampa Bay gained its ultimate eight video games. In the playoffs, they despatched Drew Brees into retirement earlier than defeating league MVP Aaron Rodgers in his personal yard. In Super Bowl LV, the Buccaneers’ typically missed protection — led by linebackers Devin White, Shaquil Barrett and Lavonte David, defensive linemen Ndamukong Suh and Jason Pierre-Paul, and defensive backs Antoine Winfield Jr., Jordan Whitehead and Carlton Davis — held Patrick Mahomes and the remainder of the Chiefs’ mighty offense to simply 9 factors. Brady did his half, tossing three landing passes — two to tight finish Rob Gronkowski — earlier than halftime. Leonard Fournette, proving {that a} profitable working sport nonetheless issues within the NFL, primarily put the sport on ice along with his 27-yard landing run halfway by the third quarter. 

Tennessee Titans: 1999

  • Overall report: 16-4 
  • Won franchise’s first AFC title
  • Won all three video games towards the Jaguars, who had been 15-0 towards the remainder of the NFL 

After three consecutive 8-8 seasons, Tennessee lastly broke by in 1999, its first season because the Titans. Tennessee obtained a serious shot within the arm from go rusher Javon Kearse, whose 14.5 sacks helped him win Defensive Rookie of the Year. But regardless of the Titans’ 13-3 common season, they entered the playoffs as a wild card staff, and wanted a “Music City Miracle” to defeat the Bills within the wild card spherical. The Titans took off from there, although, upsetting the second-seeded Colts within the divisional spherical earlier than defeating the top-seeded Jaguars for a 3rd time within the AFC title sport. 

Trailing 16-0 in Super Bowl XXXIV, the Titans, led by the mixed brilliance of Steve McNair and Eddie George, battled again to tie the rating with 2:12 left. But after the Rams shortly regained the lead, McNair’s ultimate go of the sport, a slant to Kevin Dyson, noticed Dyson get tackled a yard shy of the tip zone. While they did not develop into the franchise’s first world champion, the ’99 Titans stay its greatest staff up to now. 

Washington Commanders: 1991*

Overall report: 14-2 

  • Scored twice as many factors (485) than they allowed (224)
  • Featured the NFL’s top-ranked scoring offense and second-ranked scoring protection 
  • Outscored their playoff opponents 102-41

Washington’s ’91 squad is without doubt one of the most underrated groups of the Super Bowl period. Joe Gibbs’ third Super Bowl title staff breezed by the common season, shedding simply two video games by a mixed 5 factors. In the playoffs, Washington ran by the Falcons (24-7) and Lions (41-10) earlier than coasting to a 37-24 win over the Bills in Super Bowl XXVI. Quarterback Mark Rypien (291 yards, two touchdowns) took dwelling the sport’s MVP award. He had excessive success throwing the ball to receivers Gary Clark and Art Monk, who mixed to catch 14 passes for 227 yards and a landing towards the Bills’ formidable protection. Rypien obtained sturdy safety from a gifted offensive line that included left deal with Jim Lachey, middle Jeff Bostic, proper guard Mark Schlareth and proper deal with Joe Jacoby. 

Speaking of protection, Washington’s unit, led by defensive ends Charles Mann and Fred Stokes together with defensive again Darrell Green and Brad Edwards, compelled 5 Buffalo turnovers that included 4 picks of Bills quarterback Jim Kelly. Washington’s protection additionally held Thurman Thomas, the league’s MVP that season, to simply 13 yards on 10 carries. 



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