Rating the best unit nicknames in NFL historical past: Metal Curtain, Doomsday, Orange Crush amongst all-time finest

Via the NFL’s first 102 seasons, a number of items have been so memorable {that a} nickname was bestowed upon them. Some nicknames captured their effectiveness as a unit, whereas others completely depicted their utter dominance. A couple of of them have been simply enjoyable and artistic whereas being extra of a mirrored image of the fan base than of the particular unit. 

It is the offseason, and when you’re most likely itching to learn one more Aaron Rodgers story, we invite you to take a look at our rating our the highest unit nicknames in NFL historical past. Earlier than you do, this is the factors we used when placing our checklist collectively. 

  • Coolness of the nickname
  • How memorable was the unit 
  • How nicely the nickname/unit match collectively 

With out additional ado, let’s get began. 

10. New York Sack Change 

Not many nicknames seize the essence of an period and a metropolis very similar to this one. The ’80s was a wild time in New York Metropolis, and the Jets of that period have been an extension of that craziness. The New York Inventory Change had loads of type, in addition they had substance. The star of the unit, Mark Gastineau, was a hard-charging, gregarious participant who recorded a then-NFL-record 22 sacks in 1984. The brains of the operation was Joe Klecko, who earned Professional Bowl choices at 4 totally different positions. 

Led by Klecko’s 21.5 sacks, the Jets led the NFL with 66 sacks in 1981. The success of Gastineau, Klecko, Marty Lyons and Abdul Salaam led New York to an AFC Championship Sport look in 1982. The unit, regardless of dropping Salaam after the ’83 season, led the Jets to back-to-back playoff appearances in 1985-86. The Jets’ lack of postseason success is what in the end led to them not being increased on this checklist. 

9. The Hogs 

  • Washington offensive line, Nineteen Eighties/early ’90s

Washington’s highly effective offensive line paved the way in which to 3 titles and 4 Tremendous Bowl appearances. Essentially the most iconic model of the Hogs was the unit that was first given the nickname. The ’82 unit, a bunch that included Russ Grimm, Joe Jacoby and Mark Might, powered an offense that featured ageless fullback John Riggins. Behind the Hogs, “The Diesel” ran for a playoff report 610 yards in 4 playoff video games. Riggins and the Hogs dominated Tremendous Bowl XVII. Riggins ran for 168 yards on a Tremendous Bowl report 38 carries within the victory over the Dolphins. His legendary 42-yard landing run put Washington in entrance to remain. 

8. Orange Crush 

This nickname is extra than simply superior. It symbolizes the primary nice period of Broncos soccer, an period that included the franchise’s first journey to the Tremendous Bowl. The Broncos’ 1977 AFC Championship run was fueled by an aggressive protection that boasted 5 Professional Bowlers: defensive finish Lyle Alzado, linebackers Randy Gradishar and Tom Jackson, cornerback Louis Wright and security Invoice Thompson. 

Denver’s protection put up spectacular performances over the Steelers and Raiders — offenses that featured a mixed 12 future Corridor of Famers — within the playoffs earlier than holding their very own towards the Cowboys‘ prolific offense in Tremendous Bowl XII. Sadly for them, the Cowboys’ protection was traditionally good that day, as Dallas pressured eight turnovers in a 17-point win. 

7. No Title 

Dolphins protection, early Seventies 

Miami’s bland, but iconic nickname was born from the Dolphins’ notion that they have been underrated and under-appreciated. That was most likely true, as just one member of that protection — linebacker Nick Buoniconti — is within the Corridor of Fame. They might be under-represented in Canton, Ohio, however the Dolphins’ “No Title” protection has a singular place in NFL historical past as the one unit that didn’t lose a sport for a complete season. 

The ’72 Dolphins protection  — which boasted the league’s top-ranked unit through the common season — didn’t enable a single level in Tremendous Bowl VII. Miami allowed only one landing in Tremendous Bowl VIII, as Miami’s protection performed a large function within the Dolphins going a mixed 32-2 through the ’72-73 seasons. Fittingly, the MVP of Miami’s first Tremendous Bowl win was a defensive participant: security Jack Scott, whose two interceptions helped the Dolphins safe the franchise’s first Tremendous Bowl win. 

6. Monsters of the Halfway 

This is perhaps the good nickname in NFL historical past. Sadly, the considerably complicated origins of the nickname dropped it a number of pegs on this checklist. The nickname, which was initially given to the College of Chicago’s soccer staff, was unofficially transferred to George Halas’ Bears after the varsity dropped their soccer program. The early ’40s Bears have been dominant, and the nickname definitely added to their fame. However the “Monsters of the Halfway” moniker did not allude to a specific unit throughout that cut-off date. 

The nickname made a resurgence with the Bears’ Tremendous Bowl run in 1985. It completely summed up the dominance of Buddy Ryan’s bunch, however just like the Nineteen Forties, no particular unit formally claimed the nickname, despite the fact that it’s largely attributed to the ’85 Bears protection. Led by Mike Singletary, Richard Dent, Dan Hampton, Otis Wilson, Steve McMichael, Dave Duerson, Gary Fencik and William “Fridge” Perry, the unit allowed 10 whole factors throughout its three playoff wins, with seven of these factors coming in rubbish time late in Tremendous Bowl XX, a sport Chicago gained 46-10. 

5. Doomsday

Earlier than the Cowboys have been branded as “America’s Workforce,” their protection was given one of many best nicknames ever. The Cowboys’ authentic “Doomsday” protection led the franchise to its first Tremendous Bowl win. Led by linemen Bob Lilly and Larry Cole, linebackers Chuck Howley and Lee Roy Jordan, and defensive backs Mel Renfro, Herb Adderley and Cliff Harris, the Cowboys held the Dolphins to a mere three factors of their Tremendous Bowl VI victory. 

Harris, Cole, Renfro and security Charlie Waters have been additionally a part of the staff’s second Tremendous Bowl win. By that point, Doomsday added a number of new stars that included Randy White and Harvey Martin, who shared MVP honors in Dallas’ Tremendous Bowl win over Denver. The ’77 Cowboys protection additionally included the 6-foot-9 Ed “Too Tall” Jones and Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson, who in 2019 declared Doomsday the best defensive unit of all time

4. Purple Folks Eaters

  • Late Sixties/Seventies Vikings line of defense 

Named after the hit Nineteen Fifties tune, the Vikings’ line of defense was completely personified by its extremely superior nickname. Minnesota’s defensive entrance was as terrifying because it was proficient. The group was led by Alan Web page, the primary defensive participant to win league MVP. Web page was flanked by fellow Corridor of Famer Carl Eller, Jim Marshall and Gary Larsen. Mixed, Web page, Eller and Marshall tallied an astounding 412.5 sacks throughout their careers. The group performed a significant function within the Vikings profitable the 1969 NFL title, Minnesota’s first and final championship. Web page, Eller and Marshall performed in 4 Tremendous Bowls collectively, however the trio got here up brief in every sport. 

3. Biggest Present on Turf 

  • Late ’90s/early 2000s Rams offense 

A nickname that actually hasn’t light over time. The Rams’ offense was the most effective present on any floor. Led by two-time MVP Kurt Warner, 2000 league MVP Marshall Faulk, receivers Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, Az-Zahir Hakim, and offensive lineman Orlando “Pancake” Tempo, the Rams led the NFL in scoring every season from 1999-01. Warner’s 414 passing yards spearheaded the Rams’ thrilling 23-16 win over the Titans in Tremendous Bowl XXXIV. Faulk, acquired through a commerce with the Colts through the ’99 offseason, turned the second participant in league historical past to report 1,000 dashing and receiving yards in the identical season. 

2. Fearsome Foursome 

  • Sixties Rams line of defense

The NFL was rising in recognition within the ’60s, which is perhaps why this nickname remains to be revered by generations of soccer followers. The Rams’ vaunted line of defense, which consisted of Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen, Rosey Grier and Lamar Lundy, was as soon as hailed by Corridor of Fame linebacker Dick Butkus as the best line of defense of all time. Olsen’s contributions to the Rams earned him a spot within the Corridor of Fame. Olsen is flanked in Canton by Jones, who tallied 173.5 sacks throughout his legendary profession. Fittingly, Jones is created with coining the time period “sack.” 

The unit helped flip the Rams from an irrelevant staff to a title contender by the top of the last decade. The Rams additionally confirmed a rising soccer viewers that hard-hitting, bodily soccer will be as gratifying to look at as high-scoring affairs. 

1. Metal Curtain 

  • Early/mid Seventies Steelers line of defense 

Whereas the complete unit has been hailed the Metal Curtain, the nickname — the best for a unit in league annals — was created initially for Pittsburgh’s dominant defensive entrance. Led by two-time Defensive Participant of the 12 months Joe Greene, perennial Professional Bowler L.C. Greenwood, and menacing linemen Dwight White and Ernie Holmes, the unit led the Steelers to their first two Tremendous Bowl wins of the last decade. 

The unit was at its apex through the 1974 playoffs. It held O.J. Simpson to a mere 49 dashing yards within the divisional spherical. Per week later, it restricted the Raiders’ highly effective offense to 29 yards dashing. In Tremendous Bowl IX, it shut out Minnesota’s offense whereas holding the Vikings to 102 whole yards. Greene had an interception and a fumble restoration, whereas White recorded the primary security in Tremendous Bowl historical past. 

For an encore, the Metal Curtain sacked Roger Staubach seven occasions in Tremendous Bowl X. It is stress additionally contributed to 3 interceptions, as Pittsburgh gained its second of 4 Tremendous Bowls through the decade. 

The unit additionally had historic cultural significance, because the quartet was featured on the quilt of Time journal. Lower than a decade following the nation’s civil rights motion, the group’s look on the quilt signified the social and cultural development that was happening in society. It additionally continued to popularize the NFL whereas showcasing the personalities of the gamers who dominated the game. 

The Time article revealed a quote that demonstrated how dominant the Metal Curtain was. The quote was from Vikings Professional Bowl operating again Chuck Foreman throughout Tremendous Bowl IX. 

“C’mon, you moms,” Foreman advised the group, “give us a yard.”

The Metal Curtain obliged, type of, yielding 17 dashing yards on 21 carries. Such was life when taking part in towards the best line of defense of all time. 


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