Defense wins football games.
It’s an old cliché, but it is also a truism. As they say, you can “connect the dots” between a great defense and a Super Bowl team. The list of great defenses in the NFL is a long one and many, like the Pittsburgh “Steel Curtain,” were dominate over several years.
Enjoy the Top 5 NFL defenses. There are many more to add. Enough for a Top 10 or 15. I am sure you have one or two to add as well. Let us know on our Facebook Page or on our Twitter Feed by clicking the links!
5.) 2000 Baltimore Ravens
The 2000 Ravens won Super Bowl XXXV with two of the best defensive players ever in the game: Ray Lewis and Rod Woodson. Lewis was named the MVP in the 34-7 Super Bowl win over the Giants. During the regular season, the Ravens defense allowed a paltry 10.4 points per game by giving up an NFL record low 165 points during the 16 game regular season. The defense was so good, that a mediocre quarterback like Trent Dilfer was able to lead his team to victory. Dilfer was released the following season.
4.) 2013 Seattle Seahawks
The 2013 Seahawks won Super Bowl XLVIII with a resounding 43-8 spanking of Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. Denver entered the game with the top scoring offense in the NFL and was totally shut down. The regular season was also a dominate one for the Seahawks’ defense, as they led the league in yards, points allowed and turnovers. Earl Thomas, Michael Bennett and Richard Sherman were the defensive leaders under the guidance of defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.
3.) 1972 Miami Dolphins
The 1972 Dolphins remain the only undefeated, untied team in the history of the NFL, so yeah, their defense belongs on the list. The Dolphins “No Name Defense” was led by players who are now very famous “names” in NFL lore: Jake Scott, Nick Buoniconti, Manny Fernandez, Bill Stanfill and Dick Anderson. The team whipped the Washington Redskins 14-7 in Super Bowl VII and went on to win Super Bowl VIII over the Minnesota Vikings and Fran Tarkenton. Some feel the ’73 Dolphins defense was better than the ’72 group. But how can you argue with a 14-0 regular season, and a 3-0 run in the post season?
2.) 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers
Putting any version of the “Steel Curtain” at number two may be a mistake, because many feel they should be number one. However, the 1976 crew was the best of the vaunted Steelers defenses of the 1970’s. What an incredible list of defensive performers: Mean Joe Greene, Jack Lambert, Jack Ham and Mel Blount (all Hall of Famers) along with J.T. Thomas, L.C. Greenwood, Ernie Holmes and Mike Wagner. The ’76 Steelers lost in the AFC Championship game to the Oakland Raiders, but dominated during the regular season by winning their final nine games, five of them by shutouts. Even though the Steelers did not win the Super Bowl in 1976, they did in 1974, 1975, 1978 and 1979. It was the “Steel Curtain” that led the way.
1.) 1985 Chicago Bears
The 1986 Bears had plenty of superstars on the defensive side of the ball and one of the greatest defensive coordinators in history, Buddy Ryan. It was a defense that blitzed its opponents into submission. Mike Singletary, Dan Hampton, William Perry, Steve McMichael, Wilbur Marshall and Richard Dent were some of the hardest hitters in NFL history. The ’86 Bears went 15-1 and won seven of their games by holding opponents to less than 10 points. Once they got into the post season, they did not give up a point until they reached Super Bowl XX. There they destroyed the New England Patriots, 46-10. In that game, Ryan’s vaunted “46 defense” held the Patriots to a mere seven yards rushing.