Each NFL franchise’s greatest staff of the Tremendous Bowl period: 2020 Buccaneers crack all-time record

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Each 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 remaining. Even the Browns, a staff that has by no means appeared in a Tremendous Bowl, can level to a staff from its semi-recent previous that may function the instance for future groups to comply with. 

With the beginning of the 2021 season simply across the nook, we determined to call every franchise’s greatest staff because the begin of the Tremendous Bowl period. To create this record, we seemed on the following standards when making our picks. 

  • Common margin of victory throughout the common season 
  • Offensive and defensive rankings, particularly because it pertains to scoring
  • Power of the opposition 
  • Expertise on the roster 
  • How far the staff superior within the postseason 

Utilizing this standards, we had been in a position to establish every franchise’s best staff because the begin of the 1966 season. Whereas many readers will agree with our picks, we all know that some will object to no less than one in all our picks, which is definitely advantageous. Who would not like an excellent sports activities debate, in spite of everything?

With out additional adieu, let’s get began. 

A Tremendous Bowl-winning staff shall be denoted with (*) 

  • 12-8 total document
  • Received franchise’s solely NFC championship 
  • Featured the third-ranked scoring offense throughout the common season 

Regardless of a late-season swoon that noticed them lose 4 video games in a five-game span, the Cardinals gained the AFC West earlier than happening a roll throughout the NFC playoffs. In three consecutive weeks, Arizona defeated Atlanta, Carolina and Philadelphia to assert 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, who’s getting into his seventeenth season with the Cardinals in 2020, loved one of many best postseason performances in NFL historical past throughout the ’08 postseason, catching 30 passes for 546 yards and 7 touchdowns. His 127-yard, two-touchdown efficiency almost led the Cardinals to a Tremendous Bowl upset over the Steelers, who gained the sport following Ben Roethlisberger’s last-minute, game-winning drive. 

  • 16-3 total document
  • Received franchise’s first NFC championship 
  • Boasted the league’s fourth-ranked offense and protection throughout the common season 

The 2016 Falcons had been far more aggressive of their Tremendous Bowl look (holding a 28-3 lead earlier than squandering it in opposition to the Patriots), however the ’98 Falcons had been, statically talking, a superior staff. That season, Atlanta went 14-2 throughout the common season earlier than defeating Steve Younger 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 Tremendous Bowl XXXIII, nonetheless, because the Falcons had been run over by the defending champion Broncos, 34-19. 

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

  • 16-4 total document
  • Received franchise’s first Tremendous Bowl title
  • Allowed 10.3 factors per recreation, the fewest in NFL historical past throughout a 16-game season 

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

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

  • 15-4 total document 
  • Received franchise’s first AFC title
  • Completed 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 Corridor of Fame gamers, the Payments gained 13 video games throughout the common season earlier than scoring a mixed 95 factors of their first two playoff video games. The Payments had been unable to duplicate that degree of success in Tremendous Bowl XXV, nonetheless, because the Giants’ ball management offense — together with a missed 47-yard subject aim — allowed New York to flee with a 20-19 victory. 

The Payments’ greatest gamers that season included quarterback Jim Kelly, working again Thurman Thomas (whose 135 dashing yards in Tremendous Bowl XXV stays probably the most dashing yards by a dropping participant in Tremendous 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 Payments stay the one staff to seem in 4 consecutive Tremendous Bowls. 

  • 17-2 total document
  • Featured league MVP Cam Newton
  • Completed 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 throughout 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 recreation. The Panthers’ dream season got here to a crashing halt in Tremendous 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 proficient roster that season included league MVP Cam Newton, who that 12 months grew to become the primary participant in league historical past to throw 35 touchdowns and run for 10 touchdowns in the identical season. Together with Newton, the Panthers’ roster additionally included fellow Professional Bowlers in working again Jonathan Stewart, tight finish Greg Olsen, heart Ryan Kalil, proper guard Trai Turner, defensive deal with Kawann Quick, linebackers Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis, and cornerback Josh Norman

  • 18-1 total document
  • Received franchise’s first Tremendous Bowl title
  • Completed 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 Corridor of Famers in linebacker Mike Singletary and defensive ends Richard Dent and Dan Hampton. The unit additionally included fellow Professional Bowlers in defensive deal with Steve McMichael, linebacker Otis Wilson and security Dave Duerson. Collectively, the 46 protection recorded 4 shutouts earlier than manhandling the Patriots in Tremendous Bowl XX, 46-10

Whereas their protection was traditionally dominant, the Bears’ offense that season was a particular unit, too. Spearheaded by Corridor of Fame working again Walter Payton, Chicago’s offense — a unit that additionally included quarterback Jim McMahon, Corridor of Fame left deal with Jimbo Covert and perennial Professional Bowl heart 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 Tremendous Bowl XX, Payton was something however that throughout 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. 

  • 14-5 total document 
  • Featured league MVP Boomer Esiason 
  • Led the NFL in scoring throughout the common season 

The ’88 Bengals and ’81 Bengals had almost similar resumes. Each groups featured league MVPs at quarterback in Ken Anderson and Boomer Esiason. Each groups additionally gained 12 common season video games earlier than falling simply brief in opposition to the 49ers within the Tremendous Bowl. However the nod for the Bengals’ greatest staff goes to the ’88 squad, which got here up simply brief in its Tremendous Bowl showdown with San Francisco. In reality, the Bengals held a 16-13 earlier than Joe Montana fired the game-winning landing move to John Taylor with 34 seconds left. 

Cincinnati’s high-powered offense included six Professional Bowl gamers in Esiason, Corridor of Fame left deal with Anthony Munoz, working backs James Brooks (1,218 all-purpose yards and 14 touchdowns), receiver Eddie Brown (1,273 receiving yards, 9 touchdowns), tight finish Rodney Holman and proper guard Max Montoya. The Bengals’ protection was paced by All-Professional nostril deal with Tim Krumrie and Professional Bowl defensive backs Eric Thomas (seven interceptions) and David Fulcher (5 interceptions). The Bengals additionally featured working again Ickey Woods (1,066 dashing yards, 15 touchdowns), whose “Ickey Shuffle” landing celebration continues to dwell in Cincinnati sports activities lore. 

Cleveland Browns: 1987 

  • 11-6 total document
  • Completed third within the NFL in scoring and second in factors allowed 

Whereas 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 brief in opposition to John Elway and the Broncos within the AFC title recreation, the Browns almost left Denver with a win within the ’87 AFC title recreation earlier than working again Ernest Byner fumbled simply in need of the tip zone. That is as shut because the Browns have come to representing the AFC within the Tremendous Bowl. 

Cleveland’s ’87 staff was loaded with expertise. The offense included Corridor of Fame tight finish Ozzie Newsome together with Professional Bowlers in quarterback Bernie Kosar, fullback Kevin Mack, Byner (who loved a 14-year profession that included a Tremendous Bowl win with Washington in 1991), receiver Webster Slaughter and Professional Bowl proper deal with Cody Risien. Cleveland’s protection featured 4 Professional 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 Corridor of Fame working again Eric Dickerson, 122-50. 

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

A powerful case may be made for the ’71 Cowboys, a staff that featured eight Corridor of Fame gamers. The ’71 Cowboys, a staff that went 10-0 with Corridor of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach below heart, gained the franchise’s first Tremendous Bowl after routing Don Shula’s Dolphins (a staff that will win the subsequent two Tremendous Bowls) in Tremendous Bowl VI, 24-3. However nearly as good as that Cowboys staff was, it is unattainable to go in opposition to the ’92 Cowboys, a staff that additionally featured of a slew of Corridor of Fame expertise. 

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

Denver Broncos: 1998*

  • 17-2 total document
  • Featured Corridor 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 Tremendous Bowl, the ’98 Broncos gained their first 13 video games and completed the common season with a 14-2 document. Denver’s common season was highlighted by Corridor 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 Corridor of Fame tight finish Shannon Sharpe’s 10 landing catches tied Smith for the league lead. Denver’s underrated protection, led by Corridor of Fame security Steve Atwater, allowed simply 13 whole factors within the Broncos’ playoff wins over the Dolphins and Jets

In Tremendous Bowl XXXIII, with the Falcons’ protection geared as much as cease Davis, the Broncos as an alternative showcased the skills of quarterback John Elway, who threw for 336 yards whereas scoring two touchdowns in his last NFL recreation. The Broncos, by advantage of their 34-19 win over the Falcons, grew to become the sixth franchise to win back-to-back Tremendous Bowls. 

  • 13-4 total document
  • Received the franchise’s first playoff recreation since 1957
  • Featured Corridor of Fame working again Barry Sanders 

Just one Lions staff — the ’91 squad — has gained a postseason recreation because the franchise gained their final championship in 1957. The engine behind the ’91 staff was Corridor of Fame working again Barry Sanders (1,548 yards, 16 touchdowns throughout the common season), whose 47-yard landing run capped off the Lions’ 38-6 win over the Cowboys (the staff that will win the subsequent two Tremendous Bowls) within the divisional spherical of the NFC playoffs. The Lions’ protection — a unit that included three Professional 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 whole yards. 

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

  • 16-3 total document
  • Featured league MVP Brett Favre
  • Boasted the NFL’s top-ranked scoring offense and protection throughout the common season 

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

Together with league MVP Brett Favre, the Packers’ ’96 roster included Corridor of Fame move rusher Reggie White, who recorded three sacks throughout the second half of Tremendous Bowl XXXI. Inexperienced Bay’s roster additionally included Professional Bowl security LeRoy Butler, defensive deal with Gilbert Brown, Professional Bowl heart Frank Winters, working backs Dorsey Levens and Edgar Bennett, and receivers Antonio Freeman, Robert Brooks and Andre Rison. In Tremendous 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 Tremendous Bowl historical past) gave Inexperienced Bay the lead for good. 

  • 13-5 total document
  • Completed top-10 within the NFL in scoring and scoring protection
  • Featured Defensive Participant of the 12 months J.J. Watt

A 12 months after profitable the franchise’s first playoff recreation, the 2012 Texans gained a franchise document 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 Participant of the 12 months that season after recording a league excessive 20.5 sacks. The Texans’ roster featured seven different Professional 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, heart Chris Myers, left guard Wade Smith, and left deal with Duane Brown. Johnson, a seven-time Professional Bowl, shall be eligible for the Corridor of Fame in 2022. 

Indianapolis Colts: 2006*

  • 16-4 total document
  • Received franchise’s first Tremendous Bowl since transferring from Baltimore to Indianapolis
  • Featured Corridor of Fame skills of QB Peyton Manning and WR Marvin Harrison 

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

Together with Manning, the ’06 Colts featured Corridor of Fame receiver Marvin Harrison (1,366 yards, 12 touchdowns), Professional 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 can be tabbed because the NFL’s Defensive Participant of the 12 months. The ’06 Colts had been led by coach Tony Dungy, who was inducted into the Corridor of Fame in 2016. 

  • 15-3 total document 
  • Featured the NFL’s top-ranked scoring protection and sixth-ranked scoring offense 
  • Misplaced to just one staff (thrice): 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 surprising 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 brief in opposition to the Patriots within the AFC title recreation. 

However the ’99 Jaguars bought the nod primarily based on their franchise-record 14-win common season. In reality, the one staff Jacksonville misplaced to in 1999 was the Titans, who defeated them twice throughout the common season earlier than defeating Jacksonville once more within the AFC title recreation. The Jaguars’ playoff loss got here after they throttled within the Dolphins — 62-7 — in what can be the ultimate recreation of Dan Marino’s Corridor 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. Together with Brunell and Smith’ the ’99 Jaguars included 5 different Professional 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 document
  • Received franchise’s first Tremendous 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 last 9 video games that included a 31-20 win over the 49ers in Tremendous Bowl LIV. Patrick Mahomes, the league’s MVP the earlier season, grew to become the primary participant in league historical past to win a league and Tremendous 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. Together with Mahomes, the Chiefs’ 2019 roster featured 5 different Professional 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

Whereas 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 last AFL staff to win the Tremendous Bowl. The ’69 Chiefs featured eight Corridor 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

  • Total document: 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 Tremendous Bowl — the ’07 staff was extra proficient and confronted stiffer competitors. The ’07 staff, led by Corridor of Fame working again LaDainian Tomlinson (1,949 all-purpose yards, 18 touchdowns) and two future Corridor 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. Within the divisional spherical, the Chargers upset Peyton Manning and the remainder of the defending champion Colts, 28-24. 

Regardless of enjoying many of the recreation with out Tomlinson, and with Rivers enjoying by a torn ACL damage, the Chargers gave the then-undefeated Patriots the whole lot they might deal with within the AFC title recreation. In reality, had the Chargers had a wholesome Tomlinson within the backfield, it’s totally probably that the Chargers, not the Giants, would have been the staff that ended the Patriots’ desires of an undefeated season. 

St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams: 1999*

  • Total document: 16-3 
  • Received franchise’s first Tremendous Bowl title 
  • Featured the league’s top-scoring offense and fourth-ranked scoring protection 

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

The ’99 Rams’ protection, a vastly underrated unit, included All-Professional defensive finish Kevin Carter (17 sacks), Professional 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 Tremendous Bowl win. 

Miami Dolphins: 1972*

  • Total document: 17-0
  • The one NFL staff to go undefeated for a whole 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) throughout the common season. Whereas their “No Title” 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. Together with Csonka and quarterback Bob Griese, the Dolphins’ offense featured two different Corridor of Famers in receiver Paul Warfield and proper guard Larry Little. 

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

Minnesota Vikings: 1998

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

Regardless of 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 aim 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 in the end dismantled in Tremendous Bowl XXXIII, whereas the Vikings proceed to seek for their subsequent journey to the massive recreation. 

New England Patriots: 2016*

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

It got here all the way down to the Patriots’ ’04 and ’16 squads as their greatest staff. However the nod in the end went to the group that overcame the biggest deficit — 28-3 — in Tremendous Bowl historical past. However 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 below heart in the beginning of the season. And when Brady got here again, New England misplaced only one extra recreation 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 in opposition to Atlanta within the Tremendous Bowl. 

Together 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 Professional Bowlers Dont’a Hightower and Devin McCourty together with linebackers Jamie Collins and Rob Ninkovich and cornerback Malcolm Butler

  • 16-3 total document
  • Received franchise’s first Tremendous Bowl title
  • Outscored opponents 107-59 within the postseason 

Led by future Corridor of Fame quarterback Drew Brees, the Saints roared out to a 13-0 begin earlier than coasting to the NFC South division title. Within 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 recreation. In Tremendous 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 nil interceptions. Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush mixed to amass 148 yards and a landing on 24 whole touches in opposition to the Colts, whereas Marques Colston led the Saints in receiving. 

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

New York Giants: 1986*

  • 17-2 total document
  • Received franchise’s first Tremendous Bowl
  • Outscored opponents 105-23 within the postseason 

After dropping their season-opener in Dallas, the Giants would lose only one extra recreation throughout the remainder of the ’86 season. Within the playoffs, the Giants walloped Joe Montana and the 49ers, 49-3, earlier than shutting out Washington within the NFC Championship Sport. In Tremendous 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. Sport MVP Phil Simms loved an historic outing, finishing a document 88% of his move 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 Professional Bowlers in defensive ends Jim Burt, Leonard Marshall, Harry Carson and Lawrence Taylor (that 12 months’s Defensive Participant of the 12 months) intercepted John Elway thrice. New York’s protection additionally got here up with a pivotal goal-line stand throughout the first half that included Taylor’s essential deal with of Elway simply in need of the aim 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 document 
  • Defeated the defending AFL champion Raiders in league title recreation
  • Upset the NFL champion Colts in Tremendous Bowl III 

After a 7-3 begin, Weeb Ewbank’s Jets would win their last six video games that included spectacular postseason victories over the Raiders and Colts. A 17.5 level underdog getting into Tremendous 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 Professional Bowlers in defensive ends Gary Philbin and Verlon Biggs, deal with John Elliott and linebacker Al Atkinson, additionally recorded an interception off of Corridor of Fame quarterback Johnny Unitas, who relieved Morrall within the third quarter. Randy Beverly recorded two of the Jets’ 4 interceptions, whereas Johnny Pattern, who led the Jets with seven picks throughout the common season, additionally got here up with an interception. 

Joe Namath, who boldly assured victory throughout the week of the sport, accomplished 17 passes in opposition to 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 move within the fourth quarter, relied closely on his working recreation, 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 document 
  • Dethroned the defending two-time champion Steelers in AFC title recreation
  • Received franchise’s first Tremendous Bowl 

After dropping 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 Sport earlier than routing the Vikings in Tremendous Bowl XI, 32-14. Oakland’s offense was loaded with star energy. It featured 5 future Corridor of Fame gamers in quarterback Ken Stabler, receiver Fred Biletnikoff, tight finish Dave Caster and offensive linemen Artwork Shell and Gene Upshaw. Cliff Department, the staff’s main receiver that season, is arguably the perfect participant in NFL historical past who has but to obtain his gold jacket. 

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

  • 16-3 total document
  • Had 10.2-point common margin of victory 
  • Received the Tremendous Bowl with a backup quarterback 

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

Wentz’s alternative, Nick Foles, would get pleasure from a Cinderella story that included an MVP efficiency in Tremendous Bowl LII. Within the highest scoring Tremendous 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 heart Jason Kelce, proper guard Brandon Brooks and proper deal with Lane Johnson, who every obtained Professional Bowl recognition. Philadelphia’s protection, a unit that completed fourth in factors allowed throughout the common season, featured defensive deal with Fletcher Cox, defensive finish Brandon Graham, and free security Malcolm Jenkins

Pittsburgh Steelers: 1978*

  • 17-2 total document
  • Featured league MVP Terry Bradshaw in addition to the NFL’s top-ranked protection
  • Defeated the earlier two AFC Tremendous Bowl individuals throughout the playoffs 

There is a long-running debate in Pittsburgh between the ’75 and ’78 Steelers. Whereas 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 Tremendous Bowl MVP honors. Bradshaw was flanked on the offensive aspect of the ball by fellow Corridor of Famers in heart 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 Tremendous 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 Tremendous Bowl information. 

Whereas 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. Main the NFL’s top-ranked protection in ’78 was two-time NFL Defensive Participant of the Joe Greene together with fellow Corridor of Famers Jack Ham, Jack Lambert, Mel Blount and Donnie Shell. L.C. Greenwood, top-of-the-line Steelers not at present in Canton, earned his fifth of six Professional Bowl picks that season. 

San Francisco 49ers: 1989*

  • Total document: 17-2 
  • Outscored their playoff opponents 126-26
  • Homeowners of the biggest margin of victory in Tremendous Bowl historical past 

This was the toughest choice on the record. San Francisco has two all-time nice groups within the ’89 and ’84 squads. The ’84 49ers, the second of Invoice Walsh’s three Tremendous Bowl championship groups, had been the primary staff in league historical past to win 15 common season video games. Within the playoffs, they defeated the subsequent two Tremendous Bowl champions (the Giants and Bears) earlier than humbling Dan Marino and the Dolphins’ prolific offense in Tremendous 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 Tremendous 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 Tremendous Bowl XXIV. Rice was half of arguably the best quarterback receiving duo in NFL historical past. The opposite half, quarterback Joe Montana, gained his first of two league MVP honors that season. He additionally gained his third Tremendous Bowl MVP award after torching the Broncos for a then Tremendous Bowl document 5 landing passes. 

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

Seattle Seahawks: 2013*

  • Total document: 16-3
  • Featured the NFL’s top-ranked scoring protection
  • Manhandled the league’s most prolific offense in Tremendous Bowl XLVII 

Matched up in opposition to one of the vital statistically dominant offenses in NFL historical past, the Seahawks’ “Legion of Increase” 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 Tremendous Bowl title. 

The Seahawks’ protection, a unit that allowed a mean of 14.4 factors per recreation throughout 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 Professional Bowlers in quarterback Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch (1,257 yards, 12 touchdowns) and heart Max Unger

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2020*

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

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

After a gradual begin, Tampa Bay gained its last eight video games. Within the playoffs, they despatched Drew Brees into retirement earlier than defeating league MVP Aaron Rodgers in his personal yard. In Tremendous Bowl LV, the Buccaneers’ typically neglected 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 recreation nonetheless issues within the NFL, basically put the sport on ice together with his 27-yard landing run halfway by the third quarter. 

Tennessee Titans: 1999

  • Total document: 16-4 
  • Received franchise’s first AFC title
  • Received all three video games in opposition to the Jaguars, who had been 15-0 in opposition to 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 move rusher Javon Kearse, whose 14.5 sacks helped him win Defensive Rookie of the 12 months. However regardless of the Titans’ 13-3 common season, they entered the playoffs as a wild card staff, and wanted a “Music Metropolis Miracle” to defeat the Payments 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 recreation. 

Trailing 16-0 in Tremendous 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. However after the Rams rapidly regained the lead, McNair’s last move of the sport, a slant to Kevin Dyson, noticed Dyson get tackled a yard shy of the tip zone. Whereas they did not develop into the franchise’s first world champion, the ’99 Titans stay its greatest staff to this point. 

Washington Soccer Crew: 1991*

Total document: 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 among the most underrated groups of the Tremendous Bowl period. Joe Gibbs’ third Tremendous Bowl title staff breezed by the common season, dropping simply two video games by a mixed 5 factors. Within the playoffs, Washington ran by the Falcons (24-7) and Lions (41-10) earlier than coasting to a 37-24 win over the Payments in Tremendous 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 Artwork Monk, who mixed to catch 14 passes for 227 yards and a landing in opposition to the Payments’ formidable protection. Rypien obtained sturdy safety from a proficient offensive line that included left deal with Jim Lachey, heart Jeff Bostic, proper guard Mark Schlareth and proper deal with Joe Jacoby. 

Talking of protection, Washington’s unit, led by defensive ends Charles Mann and Fred Stokes together with defensive again Darrell Inexperienced and Brad Edwards, compelled 5 Buffalo turnovers that included 4 picks of Payments 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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