Determining the greatest NFL teams of all time is no easy task, which is why we polled all of Pro Football Network before assembling our list. With nearly 60 years of league history since the 1967 NFL-AFL merger and more than a century since the NFL’s debut 1922 campaign, plenty of clubs could lay claim to the title of the best-ever team.
Greatest NFL Teams of All Time
10) 1998 Denver Broncos
As John Elway’s swan song, the 1998 Broncos won their second consecutive Super Bowl trophy, capping the Hall of Fame quarterback’s career in style. Elway and running back Terrell Davis gave Denver one of the NFL’s best offenses, while the Broncos’ defense ranked eighth in points allowed.
Denver steamrolled through the regular season, posting a 14-2 record even though backup QB Bubby Brister was forced to start four games while Elway dealt with injuries.
The Broncos’ only two losses were back-to-back defeats to the New York Giants and Miami Dolphins in Weeks 15 and 16.
Meanwhile, the playoffs didn’t present much of a challenge for the Broncos, who had nine Pro Bowlers in 1998. Denver got revenge against Miami in a blowout before taking down the New York Jets and, finally, the Atlanta Falcons to win Super Bowl XXXIII.
9) 1992 Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys’ triplets were just beginning their reign in 1992, when they won the first of three Super Bowls over four years. Troy Aikman tossed a career-high 23 touchdowns, while Emmitt Smith led the NFL in rushing yards (1,713) and total TDs (19).
Dallas’ offense was outstanding, but Jimmy Johnson’s club also boasted a robust defensive roster. The Cowboys gave up the fewest first downs in the league and ranked No. 1 against opposing rushing attacks. Defensive ends Jim Jeffcoat and Tony Tolbert each finished with at least 8.5 sacks.
8) 1999 St. Louis Rams
“The Greatest Show on Turf” remains one of the NFL’s best team nicknames, an incredibly fitting moniker for the explosive 1999 Rams.
St. Louis scored 58% more points than the league average in 1999. Kurt Warner and Co. put up 526 points, 83 more than second-place Washington. That 83-point delta matched the gap between No. 2 Washington and No. 10 Green Bay.
Warner cemented his legacy in his first year as a starting QB, kicking off one of the NFL’s most improbable careers. Two years removed from bagging groceries and slinging footballs for the Iowa Barnstormers of the Arena Football League, Warner led an offense featuring Marshall Faulk, Isaac Bruce, and Torry Holt to a Super Bowl win.
7) 1975 Pittsburgh Steelers
The 1970s Steelers, led by their vaunted “Steel Curtain” defense, won four Super Bowl trophies in a six-season span from 1974 to 1979.
Delineating between these various iterations of a dominant Pittsburgh squad is challenging, but we’re going with the 1975 Steelers to represent this dynasty. This version of Chuck Noll’s club had 11 Pro Bowlers and six first-team All-Pros, including WR Lynn Swann, LB Jack Lambert, and CB Mel Blount.
Pittsburgh lost just two games during the regular season by a combined 16 points. In the playoffs, the Steelers took down the Baltimore Colts and Oakland Raiders before defeating the Cowboys in Super Bowl X.
6) 1989 San Francisco 49ers
The 1989 49ers essentially had a Hall of Fame induction class on their roster. QBs Joe Montana and Steve Young, WR Jerry Rice, RB Roger Craig, and S Ronnie Lott were part of a San Francisco roster that led the NFL in scoring and ranked third in points allowed.
While the 49ers had won the Super Bowl the previous season, they’d only gone 10-6 during the regular season. The 1989 Niners were far more dominant, posting a 14-2 record before putting up one of the more authoritative playoff runs in recent memory.
None of San Francisco’s postseason games were close. Bill Walsh and Co. beat the Minnesota Vikings and Rams by a combined 55 points before managing a 55-10 victory over the Broncos in the Super Bowl.
5) 1991 Washington Commanders
While Joe Gibbs had Super Bowls with Washington after the 1982 and 1987 seasons, the Commanders were in a bit of a rut in 1991. They’d missed the playoffs altogether in 1988 and 1989 before a first-round exit in 1990.
But the 1991 club got things back on track and solidified a future Hall of Fame berth for Gibbs. Washington rostered two All-Pros (OT Jim Lachey and CB Darrell Green) in 1991, along with six Pro Bowlers, including QB Mark Rypien, RB Earnest Byner, and WR Gary Clark.
Of course, we can’t forget “The Hogs,” the Commanders’ top-tier offensive line that cleared the way for the team’s offensive production in the eighties and nineties. Center Jeff Bostic, left guard Russ Grimm, right guard Mark May, and left tackle Joe Jacoby stuck together for all three of Gibbs’ Super Bowl-winning clubs.
4) 2007 New England Patriots
The 2007 Patriots infamously lost the Super Bowl to the Giants after going undefeated in the regular season, so they can’t be atop our list of the greatest teams in NFL history.
But that’s the only blemish keeping this New England team from headlining our list.
Tom Brady won his first MVP award after setting the league on fire with a then-record 50 touchdown passes. Offseason trade acquisition Randy Moss set an NFL record of his own, hauling in 23 TD catches for a mark that still stands. No team has ever posted a better point differential (+315) than the 2007 Patriots.
But when it mattered most, New England scored just 14 points while being upset by New York in Super Bowl XLII.
3) 1984 San Francisco 49ers
The 1984 49ers were oh-so-close to going undefeated during the regular season. They became the first NFL team to win 15 games since the league transitioned to a 16-game schedule in 1978.
San Francisco’s only defeat was a three-point loss to the Steelers in Week 7. Joe Montana drove the Niners down the field as the clock expired, but kicker Ray Wersching missed a 37-yard field goal that would have sent the game to overtime.
Montana won the league and Super Bowl MVP awards in 1984, while the 49ers sent 10 players to the Pro Bowl.
2) 1985 Chicago Bears
How’s this for a commanding playoff run? The 1985 Bears shut out the Giants and Rams in the first two rounds of the postseason before authoring a dominant, Super Bowl-shuffling 46-10 win over the Patriots.
Mike Ditka’s squad finished seven games ahead of the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Central. Chicago went 15-1 during the regular season while allowing just 198 total points, good for 12.4 per game.
Ditka won Coach of the Year, LB Mike Singletary earned Defensive Player of the Year, and both men eventually entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame alongside fellow 1985 Bears like RB Walter Payton, DT Dan Hampton, DE Richard Dent, and OT Jim Covert.
Who Is the Greatest NFL Team of All Time?
1) 1972 Miami Dolphins
The undefeated 1972 Dolphins sit atop our list of the greatest NFL teams of all time. Miami led the league in points scored and points allowed while managing the only undefeated, Super Bowl-winning campaign in NFL history.
The amazing thing about the 1972 season is they did it mostly with backup quarterback Earl Morrall at the helm. Morrall replaced starter Bob Griese, who broke his ankle in Week 5, and went on to win first-team All-Pro honors.
Head coach Don Shula re-inserted Griese during Miami’s Round 2 playoff game against the Steelers, replacing Morrall at halftime. The Dolphins held on for a 21-17 win over Pittsburgh before upsetting Washington to win Super Bowl VII.
No team has matched Miami’s perfect season. Until that changes, the 1972 Dolphins will remain the greatest team in NFL history.
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