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Super Bowl Champions- Efficiency Rankings, 20-16

For the next two weeks, time permitting, I'm going to try to post my efficiency rankings, brief thoughts, and video clips for all 45 of the NFL champions as we head towards the Super Bowl. My plan is 5 teams a day, but if I get pressed for time may just go to the rankings. For those unfamiliar my efficiency grading is based strictly on scoring for a team. The way that the numbers are calculated are by determining just how many points a team scored or allowed in a season and comparing with that of the schedule they played that season. Their schedule is adjusted by taking their stats out of the equation. The numbers represent by what percentage a team scored above or below the schedules average and how much more points were allowed or not allowed on the season.

I find them to be decent indicators of performance in a game, though neither is a measure solely of offense or defense. Special teams scores and defensive scores would be credited to the "Scoring" category, which is primarily offense while the "Defense" category would also include points allowed by specials and pick six and fumble scores. I think they provide a decent picture of the overall team success/failures. The Total score is simply a combination of both sides of the ball. The higher the overall score the better a team is expected to perform. For example an efficiency of 0% means that, on average, a team simply played to the level of their competition that year and its reflected in the margins between points scored and allowed. A score of 60% means their margins on the year would be 60% better than their schedules average margin.

Many of these teams are before my time as my real recollection of football starts in 1982 and is much better from 85 onward, so feel free to share thoughts about the teams if you have a good memory of watching them. Onto the rankings…

20. 1992 Dallas Cowboys (16th Scoring, 28th Defense)- Very similar in results to the 1995 group, the 92 Cowboys were the younger version of the dynasty learning to deal with success and high expectations. Dallas had built a great collection of young talent through the draft process and NFL teams were stunned by just how good this group had become on both sides of the football. Compiling a 13-3 record, there was only 1 team in the NFL that could match these Cowboys on the field- the San Francisco 49'ers. Dallas upset the 49'ers in the NFC Championship game to advance to their first Super Bowl, a laugher against the Buffalo Bills. And with that win a dynasty was born.

19. 2000 Baltimore Ravens (42nd Scoring, 6th Defense) - This the considered the modern version of the 1985 Chicago Bears defense. The 2000 Ravens defense terrorized teams. They were so much more physical and aggressive than any team had been since the late 1980s run of great defenses in the NFC. 11 teams were held to 10 points or less. The defense was immovable up front and the pursuit of the QB ferocious, helping lead to 23 interceptions on the season. The offense was little more than along for the ride, as the Ravens defense held 4 playoff opponents to a combined 23 points in one of the most dominating defensive efforts of all time. The 34-7 dismantling of the New York Giants in the Super Bowl represented a beating so bad that the Giants rarely even discuss that season. Though the Ravens were not the most efficient defense on this list it is hard to imagine another NFL team ever approaching this level of intensity again. It really was one for the ages.

18. 1998 Denver Broncos (3rd Scoring, 42nd Defense)- Led by one of the most well balanced and efficient offenses of all time, the 1998 Denver Broncos rolled to a 13-0 start to the season. An offensive machine coached by Mike Shanahan, most people expected to see a shootout in the Super Bowl with the equally explosive Minnesota Vikings, but an upset in the playoffs saw former Broncos coach Dan Reeves lead the Atlanta Falcons to match up with QB John Elway and RB Terrell Davis. The Broncos decimated the overmatched Falcons building a 31-6 lead and never looking back. Elway retired after the game ending a magical career on the top of the NFL, something very few players ever get to do.

17. 1989 San Francisco 49'ers (21st Scoring, 18th Defense)- The final Super Bowl championship for Joe Montana may have been the easiest of his career. Everything seemed to come together on offense with Montana, WR Jerry Rice, RB Roger Craig, and WR John Taylor all seeming to peak at the same time. A tremendous blend of offensive firepower and defensive tenacity, the 49ers steamrolled the competition in the playoffs by an average score of 42-8.7. Their biggest win came in a blowout of division rival Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship. The Rams had upset defensive powerhouse NY to set up a showdown with the 49ers, who they had beaten earlier in the season and nearly beat a second time later in the year. San Francisco scored 30 unanswered points to blow the Rams out 30-3 and advance to the Super Bowl, a win which would mark the end of their 1980's glory run.

16. 1997 Denver Broncos ( 9th Scoring, 30th Defense)- The redemption season for QB John Elway whose career was marred by multiple Super Bowl failures as he prepared for the 97 season. The Broncos had surrounded Elway with talent that included TE Shannon Sharpe, WR Rod Smith, and most importantly RB Terrell Davis. This was a far different cast of players than Elway had carried all those years ago into the Super Bowl. The Broncos would actually finish the season second in their division to the Kansas City Chiefs, but defeat them on their road to the Super Bowl. The Broncos upset the Pittsburgh Steelers to advance to the Super Bowl where they were heavy underdogs against Brett Favre and the defending champion Green Bay Packers. Davis completed one of the greatest postseason runs in NFL history by running for 157 yards and 3 touchdowns to give the AFC their first win in well over a decade and get Elway that elusive title that helped cement his legacy as one of the greatest of all time.

Super Bowl Champion Efficiency Rankings

Rank Year Team Off Def Total
16 1997 Denver Broncos 39.62% -13.61% 53.23%
17 1989 San Francisco 49'ers 27.18% -25.88% 53.06%
18 1998 Denver Broncos 51.09% 0.48% 50.61%
19 2000 Baltimore Ravens 5.62% -42.35% 47.97%
20 1992 Dallas Cowboys 31.01% -16.59% 47.60%
21 1971 Dallas Cowboys 40.34% -6.54% 46.88%
22 1978 Pittsburgh Steelers 13.02% -33.05% 46.07%
23 2010 Green Bay Packers 12.70% -33.37% 46.07%
24 1995 Dallas Cowboys 29.72% -15.68% 45.40%
25 1967 Green Bay Packers 16.18% -28.73% 44.91%
26 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers 9.30% -35.15% 44.45%
27 2009 New Orleans Saints 50.80% 6.76% 44.04%
28 1976 Oakland Raiders 31.73% -12.10% 43.83%
29 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers -2.94% -45.79% 42.85%
30 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers 22.48% -20.24% 42.72%
31 1986 New York Giants 13.39% -27.10% 40.49%
32 1982 Washington Redskins 13.18% -24.98% 38.16%
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%
36 1974 Pittsburgh Steelers 8.66% -25.50% 34.16%
37 1981 San Francisco 49'ers 6.42% -24.07% 30.49%
38 1983 Oakland Raiders 20.68% -8.27% 28.95%
39 1988 San Francisco 49'ers 19.16% -8.88% 28.04%
40 2006 Indianapolis Colts 32.58% 7.96% 24.62%
41 1980 Oakland Raiders 12.23% -6.33% 18.56%
42 1987 Washington Redskins 7.13% -10.26% 17.39%
43 2001 New England Patriots -1.54% -12.58% 11.04%
44 2007 New York Giants 9.94% 0.61% 9.33%
45 1970 Baltimore Colts 8.02% 0.07% 7.95%

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