Super Bowl Champions- Efficiency Rankings, 10-1
Finally made it to the final 10 teams of the season. Hope you enjoyed it. I may put permanent links up to these in the future since the hits have been higher than I expected. Definitely some surprising rankings in the top 10, some of which really stunned me when I made this list up a few weeks ago.
10. 2004 New England Patriots (13th Scoring, 17th Defense) - The greatest modern era team since the salary cap and more offensive based rules came into play will likely keep that distinction for a long time. The 2004 Patriots were a rarity in todays NFL. A dominating team on both sides of the football that was actually able to sustain it for a full season and win the Super Bowl. It is rare that the best team or one of the best teams win the big game anymore and parity has made the dominant team much less impressive compared to the rest of the league. This years Patriots would rank 27th if they were to win the Super Bowl. The average rank for a 2000 and beyond champions is 31, with the Ravens topping off the list at number 19. This team was so far superior to the other New England teams that won through great coaching and defense, as this was the year that Tom Brady truly became an elite player. The team crushed the Colts and Steelers before a workmanlike win against the Eagles in the Super Bowl. They will likely keep their place in history for a long time.
9. 1994 San Francisco 49'ers (5th Scoring, 15th Defense) -After years of failing to get by the Dallas Cowboys, the 49'ers finally got over the hump by defeating Dallas 38-28 in the NFC Title game. Much press was made of the signings of CB Deion Sanders and LB Ken Norton Jr., but it was the offense that made the difference for this team. QB Steve Young won his second MVP award leading the team to a 13-3 record with 10 games in which the offense scored more than 30 points. The playoff run was a spectacle of 1st half dominance scoring 30, 31, and 28 first half points in their 3 playoff games. Their drubbing of the Chargers in the Super Bowl may have been the most lopsided Super Bowl of all time as the 49'ers would obtain that one last return to glory before the team begin to drift down over the next 15 years.
8. 1999 St. Louis Rams (8th Scoring, 26th Defense) - The Greatest Show on Turf was one of the most impressive offenses of any generation. Led by QB Kurt Warner and RB Marshall Faulk, the 99 Rams were unstoppable offensively finishing with 12 games of 30 or more points before the playoffs began. The defense, while not an all time great, does not get the credit they deserve though. The Rams opponents were held to about 22% below their average, which is about on par with the 2011 Baltimore Ravens, who most consider a great defense today. They became one of the main reasons the team won the title as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tennessee Titans brought very tough defenses into the playoffs that held the Rams 11 and 23 points, giving Warner the ability to hit huge plays down the stretch to win the game. Warner's big plays saw his team take the lead with about 5 minutes and 2 minutes left in the games to help him earn Super Bowl MVP honors and the Rams earn the number 8 all time position.
7. 1966 Green Bay Packers (27th Scoring, 3rd Defense) - The first ever Super Bowl champions were a dominant team defensively leading to the old adage "defense wins championships". The Packers held their opponents to under 12 points a game that season, opponents that averaged over 20 in their other games that season. With Vince Lombardi as head coach and Bart Starr at QB these Packers had already established themselves as the dominant NFL franchise winning 3 of the previous 5 NFL titles. While the offense was no longer the driving force of this championship team, Starr's 4 TD passes in the NFL Championship game were responsible for the defeat of their famous rivals the Dallas Cowboys, a game that was considered the real Super Bowl of the season.
6. 1984 San Francisco 49'ers (10th Scoring, 15th Defense) - Of all the 49'er championship teams it was the 1984 version that showed the most balance of any of them, ranking top 15 in both categories that season. The 49ers offense featured 5 Pro Bowlers, including 3 Offensive Linemen that protected QB Joe Montana and opened up the running lanes for RB Wendell Tyler and FB Roger Craig. The 49'ers cruised a 15-1 regular season record, the first team to ever do so, and beat the Giants and Bears by a combined score of 44-10 in the playoffs. Their meeting with Dan Marino and the explosive Miami Dolphins in the Super Bowl was expected to be a shootout, except the underrated 49'er defense picked off QB Dan Marino twice and eliminated any threat of a run. With the 49er offense exploding in the second quarter to build a big lead and the 49er defense holding Marino to field goals deep in 49er territory, the game was essentially decided at halftime.
5. 1975 Pittsburgh Steelers (22nd Scoring, 5th Defense) - The great Pittsburgh Steelers teams in the 1970's are always in the conversation for the greatest team of all time and the numbers give the nod to the 1975 squad as the best of all. Of the great Steeler dynasty teams this one ranked 2nd to the 79 version in scoring while the defense was nearly 9% better than the 1978 team. The team featured 11 Pro Bowl players and 7 All Pro players and was the most dominant team in the NFL that season and the year in which the "Terrible Towel" was born. The Steelers matched up with their AFC rival Oakland Raiders in the AFC Title game, beating them 16-10 to advance to the Super Bowl where they met up with the Dallas Cowboys. WR Lynn Swann carried the offense while the "Steel Curtain" defense set the offense up for numerous points and held off a Cowboys rally late to win the Steeler's second Super Bowl and cement their place in history.
4. 1985 Chicago Bears (15th Scoring, 4th Defense) - Many people consider the 85 Bears the greatest of all time and it is hard to argue the point. The 46 defense took the league by storm in 1985 and helped changed the way the game was played offensively. The Bears did not just beat teams that season they annihilated them, by an average of about 16 points a game. 11 opponents failed to score more than 10 points against this team and in the playoffs they recorded two shutouts and gave up 10 meaningless points to an overmatched Patriot team that did not belong in the Super Bowl. This group was one of the most memorable of all time, with a cast of characters like Refrigerator Perry and Jim McMahon, and was the most cocky team to take the field certainly until the 2007 Patriots and perhaps ever. Their infamous Super Bowl Shuffle video told everyone in the league exactly who was the best team in the NFL long before the Super Bowl happened and probably went a long way towards making the NFL players into the celebrities they are today. For many people in my generation, fans in their mid to late 30s, this is the team that likely forever got them hooked on the NFL.
3. 1973 Miami Dolphins(18th Scoring, 1st Defense) - 1972 may have been the undefeated team, but there is not mistake as to which team was better. The 1973 Dolphins held their opponents to under 11 points a game in 1973 and their -45.89% efficiency just edged out the 2002 Bucs. Unlike the Bucs, though, this team scored points and featured 5 eventual Hall of Famers. With a punishing running game and offensive line the Dolphins wore teams out which meshed perfectly with their defense. The team was never challenged in the playoffs, building big leads early and snuffing the life out of the opponents late. RB Larry Csonka's 145 yards in the Super Bowl was the difference in a matchup of two great defensive teams while the Dolphins defense never allowed the Vikings to get on track offensively. A defensive stand late in the first half that prevented a Viking score broke their hearts and ended the game. A team that really exemplified the hard hitting game that was the 1970s NFL.
2. 1996 Green Bay Packers(6th Scoring, 13th Defense) - After a 30 year drought in Lambeau, the Green Bay Packers finally returned to the Super Bowl in 1996. This was a special group of players that dominated the 1996 season leading the league in both offense and defense, something that had not happened in over 20 years in the NFL. QB Brett Favre more or less rewrote every record in Green Bay that year, earning MVP honors on the season, and carved out a legacy that followed him for the next 15 years where he became an iconic figure for the team. DE Reggie White led a dominant defense with 8.5 sacks while the secondary was filled with players who made plays on the football to turn the ball back over to Favre and the offense. If there is one thing that has probably kept this team from being remembered historically it was a crushing loss to the Dallas Cowboys during the season. The Cowboys had eliminated the Packers in the previous three playoffs and certainly had their number, but were eliminated in the playoffs in 96, not allowing the Packers a chance to prove they could get over the hump and beat their rivals. The defense ruled the Super Bowl, causing 4 interceptions while KR Desmond Howard consistently changed field position with his returns giving Favre all the advantages he needed to complete a few big passes which was enough to win the Super Bowl and bring the Lombardi trophy back home.
1. 1991 Washington Redskins(1st Scoring, 22nd Defense) - A team that nobody ever considers as the best of all time put up the greatest regular season in the history of the NFL. The only team to post a scoring efficiency above 60%, the Redskins averaged an additional 11.5 ppg against a schedule that allowed everyone else under 19. Everything clicked on offense. QB Mark Rypien, who most would look at in hindsight as nothing more than a journeyman QB, was one of the best in the NFL throwing for 28 TDs and only 11 interceptions. WR's Gary Clark and Art Monk both had more than 1000 yards on the year making it a tough defensive matchup while RB Earnest Byner ran for over 1000 yards. The Offensive Line was a great collection of players who would go on to multiple Pro Bowls. The defense was certainly good as well, ranking 22nd among Super Bowl champions and 2nd in points allowed in 1991. DE Charles Mann recorded 11.5 sacks on the season and the defensive scheme created significant pressure on the opposition. The Redskins only lost 2 games that season---by a combined 5 points. Once the playoffs began it was no contest- 24-7 against the Falcons and 41-10 against the Lions. The Super Bowl began sloppy for the Redskins and their opponents, the Buffalo Bills, but once they got their feet under them the Redskins blew the doors off the Bills building a 37-10 lead in the 4th quarter and cruising to cap off the greatest season of all time.
This team also marked the end of an era of football where teams were capable of building great periods of football without dominant QBs. This was the third Redskin Super Bowl Champion in 10 years and none were won with a great QB. They had great seasons but none were considered great talents. Other than Joe Montana with the 49'ers it was an era of champions with names like Rypien, Doug Williams, Jim McMahon, Joe Theismann, Jeff Hostetler, Phil Simms, and Jim Plunkett. After this season there have only been two teams that won with this level of QB- the 2000 Ravens and the 2002 Bucs who both built incredible defenses. The other names are Aikman, Young, Favre, Elway, Warner, Brees, Manning and Manning, Brady, Rodgers, Roethlisberger, etc…a list of true franchise players most of whom are headed to the Hall of Fame. To me that makes what the Redskins accomplished in that era something that can never be duplicated again in the NFL.
Super Bowl Champion Efficiency Rankings
|2||1996||Green Bay Packers||45.84%||-32.45%||78.29%|
|6||1984||San Francisco 49'ers||36.26%||-28.10%||64.36%|
|7||1966||Green Bay Packers||18.57%||-43.55%||62.12%|
|8||1999||St. Louis Rams||39.72%||-22.12%||61.84%|
|9||1994||San Francisco 49'ers||48.21%||-10.52%||58.73%|
|10||2004||New England Patriots||31.97%||-26.73%||58.70%|
|11||1969||Kansas City Chiefs||16.30%||-40.95%||57.25%|
|17||1989||San Francisco 49'ers||27.18%||-25.88%||53.06%|
|23||2010||Green Bay Packers||12.70%||-33.37%||46.07%|
|25||1967||Green Bay Packers||16.18%||-28.73%||44.91%|
|27||2009||New Orleans Saints||50.80%||6.76%||44.04%|
|29||2002||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||-2.94%||-45.79%||42.85%|
|31||1986||New York Giants||13.39%||-27.10%||40.49%|
|33||1990||New York Giants||1.17%||-36.89%||38.06%|
|34||1968||New York Jets||33.21%||-4.01%||37.22%|
|35||2003||New England Patriots||12.74%||-23.67%||36.41%|
|37||1981||San Francisco 49'ers||6.42%||-24.07%||30.49%|
|39||1988||San Francisco 49'ers||19.16%||-8.88%||28.04%|
|43||2001||New England Patriots||-1.54%||-12.58%||11.04%|
|44||2007||New York Giants||9.94%||0.61%||9.33%|
I think this ranking system helps put those arguments in perspective. It gives us a consistent foundation upon which we can make those arguments.
Thanks for all you do, Jason.