15). 2007 New England Patriots
I know they didn’t win the super bowl, but I felt a 16-0 season deserved to be on here. They were the only team to complete a 16 game regular season without a loss, and were dominant in that season.
14). 1964 Cleveland Browns
The 1964 Browns had maybe the greatest running back of all-time in Jim Brown. Quarterback Frank Ryan enjoyed a pro bowl season in 1964, thanks in part to the hands of Hall of Famer Paul Warfield.
Still, the reason why Cleveland won that year’s championship game was defense.
In the NFL Title Game, they forced four turnovers including two picks of the great Johnny Unitas, who had the worst postseason performance of his career that day in late December 1964. Any team equipped with that running game and a defense capable of shutting out the NFL’s premier passing game is one of the all-time greats.
13). 1984 San Francisco 49ers
They gave up only 10 points in two playoff games and completely throttled Dan Marino in the Super Bowl. Very dominant regular season at 15-1, the difference between this team and the niners team I rank higher is no Jerry Rice or John Taylor.
12). 1985 Chicago Bears
Maybe the greatest defense in a single season that the NFL has ever seen. Problem was the offense was mediocre, they make the list over the 2002 Bucs and 2000 Ravens because they had Walter Payton at least on offense.
11). 1999 St. Louis Rams
Together Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt put together one of the most explosive offenses anyone has ever seen. Of course, all that was made possible by an offensive line anchored by the era’s best offensive lineman, Orlando Pace.
The Rams defense made the plays necessary to complete perhaps the most improbable Super Bowl run in NFL history.
Just look at the NFC Championship Game, where they limited the Bucs to just six points, or the tackle Mike Jones made to preserve the Super Bowl win over Tennessee.
10). 1969 Kansas City Chiefs
Not only did this club pull off a major Super Bowl upset by trouncing the 12-point favorite Vikings, but it was loaded with Hall of Famers: Len Dawson, Bobby Bell, Buck Buchanan, Willie Lanier, Emmitt Thomas, and even kicker Jan Stenerud.
That alone would probably be enough for a reasonably high spot on this list, but the way in which they reached the Super Bowl pushes them past many of the teams already mentioned.
After going to Shea Stadium and upsetting the Super Bowl champion Jets (they picked off Joe Namath three times, allowed him only 14 completions on 40 attempts, and didn’t allow his team a touchdown) Hank Stram’s club went to Oakland and dominated a powerful Raiders club.
9). 1976 Oakland Raiders
They had perhaps the finest collective offensive line in history (led by Hall of Famers Gene Upshaw and Art Shell), the greatest punter (Ray Guy) in history, a suffocating defense that featured arguably the greatest cornerback in history (Willie Brown), and a very solid running game.
Still, it was the offensive skill players who set them apart.
Ken Stabler was exceptionally clutch and so skilled in the pocket. And why wouldn’t he be when he had a elite trio of pass catchers: Dave Casper, Fred Biletnikoff, and Cliff Branch.
8). 1977 Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys already had a great team going into 1977, the addition of rookie running back Tony Dorsett is what makes this the best Cowboys team ever. Dominated in the playoffs beating Chicago 37-7, then beat the Vikings 23-6 to advance to the Super Bowl. A crushing 27-10 win over the Denver Broncos finished up one of the most dominant performances of any team in playoff history.
7).1994 San Francisco 49ers
This team was jam packed with free agent veterans pieced together for one specific purpose: defeat Dallas. That’s why they signed Deion Sanders, Ken Norton, Gary Plummer, Bart Oates and Rickey Jackson.
They achieved that goal, and in one of the NFL’s most anticlimactic championship games they trounced the helpless Chargers.
But what exactly makes them “better” than the ’77 Cowboys or the ’84 49ers or the ’72 Dolphins? Well, in addition to having the NFL’s top scoring offense, sixth-ranked scoring defense, and averaging a margin of victory of 21 in three postseason games, they had Jerry Rice catching passes from Steve Young.
6). 1998 Denver Broncos
Terrell Davis, Rod Smith and Shannon Sharpe gave Elway the offensive pieces he desperately needed, and on the other side of the ball the additions of Neil Smith, Bill Romanowski and John Mobley helped Denver’s defense become as consistent as any in the NFL. They won in the playoffs and Super Bowl by an average of 3 TD’s per game.
5). 1972 Miami Dolphins
I know they were undefeated, they were a truly great team. They were a one dimensional run team, solid QB in Bob Griese and hall-of-fame WR Paul Warfield tell me if need be they could have been a very good passing team. They were far from dominant in the playoffs, winning 3 close games.
4). 1961 Green Bay Packers
Possibly the best Packers team, because they had a healthy Hornung and Taylor together they only season that would happen.
Add that fact to a pair of great lineman (Forrest Gregg, Jerry Kramer) and a defense stacked with Hall of Famers (Ray Nitschke, Willie Wood, Willie Davis, Henry Jordan, Herb Adderley) and you have the greatest pre-merger team of all time.
3). 1992 Dallas Cowboys
An excellent secondary, an awesome linebacker in Ken Norton and the game’s best defensive line—Russell Maryland, Tony Tolbert, Jim Jeffcoat, Tony Casillas and Charles Haley—dominated opposing offensive lines.
That’s what happened in Super Bowl XXVII, a game that would have been the most lopsided Super Bowl in history had it not been for Leon Lett’s gaffe.
For them to embarrass the two-time AFC Champion Bills proves just how dominant they were.
I brought the defense up first because I believe people forget how great a defensive team the Cowboys were.
2). 1978 Pittsburgh Steelers
Everywhere you looked there was a Hall of Famer. Under center: Terry Bradshaw. In the backfield: Franco Harris. Catching passes: Two of them, Lynn Swann and John Stallworth. On the offensive line: Mike Webster. Defensive line: Mean Joe Greene. Linebackers: Two of them, as well, Jack Lambert and Jack Ham. In the secondary: Mel Blount.
Dominated the Broncos and Oilers in the playoffs and then beat a great cowboys team in Super Bowl XIII.
1). 1989 San Francisco 49ers
Joe Montana’s greatest season, possibly the greatest season any QB ever had.
Aside from Montana, Rice, John Taylor and the rest of that passing attack, the running game (led by Roger Craig, Tom Rathman) was extremely efficient. And on the other side of the ball, where Ronnie Lott continued to dominate despite missing several games due to injury, they were nearly as overpowering.
Charles Haley, Pierce Holt and Kevin Fagan provided a fierce pass rush, while Matt Millen, Mike Walter and Keena Turner contributed a ton.
They separated themselves by totally demolishing all three teams they played with ease.