Was a little bored tonight, so I decided to put this together. I didn't give everything a whole lot of thought, so I'm reserving the right to make some changes, as people respond and give me more insight. Also, I'll edit in some more comments as we go along. Let me know what you think.....
1. 1985 Bears
18-1, #2 Points Scored, #1 Points Allowed, +258 Points
What can I say that hasn't been said before? A very legitimate claim to the best defense and best running back of all time- a combo thats not easy to beat. And their passing game actually wasn't too bad either: 4th in the league in yards per pass attempt. They went 15-1 and dominated in the playoffs, winning by scores of 21-0, 24-0, and 46-10. A few highlights about the best team of the past twenty years: The only team on this list to both score over 400 points and give up under 200, their defense not only didn't give up the points but they also forced an amazing 54 turnovers, they outgained their playoff opponents 1023 yards to 434, in the super bowl the Patriots gained yardage on only one of their first 16 offensive plays.
2. 1991 Redskins
17-2, #1 Points Scored, #2 Points Allowed, +261 Points
Maybe the most underrated team of all time in my opinion. They came closer than any other team to matching the Dolphins undefeated season. They lost in week 17 when they sat their starters- a game they surely would've won if they had tried. Their only other loss? A 3 point loss in a game in which their opponent caught a hail mary and recovered an onside kick. And all that while playing one of the toughest schedules of any team on this list, as their regular season opponents had a 53% winning percentage. No team was close to the Skins this year, as they won in the playoffs 24-7, 41-10, and 37-24(and that game really wasn't even as close as the score looks). A completely balanced team- great coaching, great offense, great defense, great special teams. Their most impressive stat: They sacked opposing QBs 50 times while only giving up 9 sacks to their opponents.
3. 1989 49ers
17-2, #1 Points Scored, #3 Points Allowed, +189 Points
How do you stop a team that averages 9.5 yards on every pass attempt? I guess you don't. The 1989 49ers went 14-2, losing those two games by one point and four points respectively. Joe Montana's best season in my opinion- he completed 70+% of his passes and set the NFL record with a 112.4 passer rating. Before they played the Broncos in the Super Bowl, Terry Bradshaw commented: "There is no way the 49ers can lose. It could be 55-3 by halftime." They ended up "only" leading 27-3 at half and winning 55-10. Oh yeah....and some guy named Rice chipped in with 17 touchdowns.
4. 2004 Patriots
17-2, #4 Points Scored, #2 Points Allowed, +177 Points
This team didn't blow teams out, so I can't wow you with stats. After all they were only the 7th ranked offense and 9th ranked defense in 2004. However, this is a team that I just couldn't bet against, especially in the playoffs: They gave up only 3 points to the Manning-led Colts, went into Pittsburgh and that game was over by the end of the first half, and then they defeated a very good Eagles team in the Super Bowl. Corey Dillon is the missing link that really pushed them over the edge as a great team in my opinion, and we saw just how important he was to them as they played and lost to Pittsburgh in the regular season when he was injured. I still have no way of explaining that perplexing loss to Miami late in the year, but other than that, this team was as dominant as can be.
5. 1994 49ers
16-3, #1 Points Scored, #6 Points Allowed, +209 Points
The one knock on this team is an embarrassing 40-8 loss to the Eagles- an embarrassing loss for a team considered one of the best of all time. But this team was just too good to drop any further. After that game, they went on a rampage, only losing a meaningless week 17 game and absolutely destroying everyone in the playoffs. Perhaps the best offense in the history of the league, they averaged 43.7 points in the playoffs and the Chargers never even had a chance in a 49-26 Super Bowl loss. Steve Young matched Montana in 1989 by completing over 70% of his passes, and his rushing ability made him nearly impossible to defend. Add in Deion Sanders on defense and this might have been the most fun team to watch of all time.
6. 1996 Packers
16-3, #1 Points Scored, #1 Points Allowed, +246 Points
The only team on this list to both lead the league in points scored and points allowed. Brett Favre gets a lot of the credit(and he surely deserves it), but their defense was just as dominant, leading the league in points allowed, yards allowed, and passing yards allowed(a very impressive stat for a winning team because teams usually pass more when they are behind, thus winning teams usually don't have great pass defense statistics). No team came with 14 points of them in the playoffs, which were a bit anti-climatic with the Packers facing the forgetable Panthers and Patriots in the NFC Championship and Super Bowl. Interestingly enough, they still lost to the Cowboys in the regular season- a team that had been their big stumbling block the previous few years. Would've been a bit more interesting if they had played in the playoffs in my opinion.
7. 1998 Broncos
17-2, #1 Points Scored, #7 Points Allowed, +192 Points
They won their first 13 games and flirted with perfection before finishing 14-2, with one of the losses being a meaningless week 16 game. Terrell Davis made life easy for John Elway, rushing for 2000 yards. We missed out on a fabulous Super Bowl when the 15-1 Vikings were upset by the Falcons in the NFC Championship game when their Gary Anderson, who hadn't missed a FG all year long, missed his first one on a game winning attempt. Instead we got a Denver blowout, capping their dominant playoff run. Their defense was rather pedestrian in the regular season(12th ranked yardage wise and they gave up 309 points), but they really turned it on in the postseason, where they only gave up 3 touchdowns: A one-yard drive by the Jets following a blocked punt, a kickoff return by Tim Dwight and a TD pass by Chris Chandler with less than two minutes remaining in the Super Bowl blowout.
8. 1986 Giants
17-2, #8 Points Scored, #2 Points Allowed, +137 Points
They lost their first game of the year by 3 points to the Cowboys and had a 5 point loss to a good Seahawks team that finished 10-6. Other than that, they were close to flawless: A 14-2 record and wins of 49-3, 17-0, and 39-20 in the playoffs. Lawerence Taylor had 20.5 en route to winning MVP- the first defensive player to win the award since 1971.
9. 2000 Ravens
16-4, #14 Points Scored, #1 Points Allowed, +168 Points
Possibly the hardest team to rank on my list. I am a Ravens fan, but I honestly can say that I think I'm being objective here. Clearly the big knock on this team is their offense, which went 5 games in a row without scoring a touchdown.However, when your defense only allows one touchdown in 4 playoffs games(only one of which was at home) and your defense/special teams scores 4 touchdowns during that same stretch, you don't need much from your offense. I remember watching their AFC Championship game against Oakland- The Ravens scored on a long TD reception early in the game. I turned and said to my friend, "This game is over." And I meant it. Their defense was simply that good that I was completely confident that one score was enough. They set the all time record by only allowed 165 points, they also blew away the previous record by only allowing 2.69 yards per rush, they allowed under 4000 yards total. And by the end of the season their offense with Jonathon Ogden, Shannon Sharpe, and Jamal Lewis really wasn't as bad as they are made out to be, as they proved by scoring 34 points in the Super Bowl against a team that had just shut out the high-powered Vikings. Some will argue that I'm ranking them too highly, but the following stat really amazes me: After Dilfer took over, the Ravens outscored their opponents 294-96! That is more than a 3-1 margin and no team on this list even comes close to accomplishing that.
10. 1992 Cowboys
16-3, #2 Points Scored, #5 Points Allowed, +156 Points
The leading rusher, the highest rated passer, the 2nd most yards by a WR, the #1 ranked defense, and arguably the greatest o-line of all time. Had to beat a very tough 14-2 49ers team on the road in the NFC Championship game before dismantling the Buffalo Bills in the Super Bowl. A very complete team that could beat teams in a myriad of ways. There was so much star power on this team that its easy to forget about a guy like Jay Novacek, who was widely considered one of the best tight ends of his time. "America's Team", and a team that I absolutely despised being a Redskins fan.
11. 1993 Cowboys
15-4, #2 Points Scores, #2 Points Allowed, +147 Points
Emmitt Smith sat out the first two games due to a contract dispute, and the Cowboys started off 0-2. However, after he came back, nothing had changed from last year, including wins over SF and Buffalo in the NFC Championship and Super Bowl once again. They had a "bend but don't break" defense that wasn't too stingy as far as yardage and didn't create too many turnovers but only ended up giving up 229 points on the year. The ranking of these 2 Cowboys teams may seem a bit low, but I believe that their star power has caused many to overrate them. Statistically speaking, Irvin and Aikman aren't nearly as dominant as their reputations, and outside of rushing stats, this team isn't that impressive compared to the other teams on this list.
12. 2003 Pats
17-2, #12 Points Scored, #1 Points Allowed, +110 Points
As I said about the 2004 version, if you look at the stats, you're not going to be really impressed with this team. However, they won games, and there is nobody not named Montana that I strikes more fear in opposing defenses late in games than Tom Brady. They got embarred by an inspired Buffalo Bills team(Ty Law situation) in week one and lost by 3 points to the Redskins in week 4. But after that they won 15 in a row, including 3 playoff games that were as close as possible. Its hard to rank this team because they weren't dominant at all, but 15 wins in a row is 15 wins in a row. A team without much star power at all, but they would come through in the clutch time and time again. Extremely well coached.
13. 1997 Broncos
15-4, #1 Points Scored, #7 Points Allowed, + 185 Points
12-4 was only good enough for the #4 seed, as the Chiefs went 13-3. But it set up one of the most entertaining postseason runs ever. After blowing out Jacksonville, Denver had to play on the road against Kansas City and Pittsburgh where they had lost against both teams in the regular season. It didn't matter as they won 14-10 and 24-21 respectively. That set up a great Super Bowl against the defending champion Green Bay Packers, in which Elway won his first Super Bowl, 31-24. The Broncos were a very balanced team and finished #1 in offense and #4 in defense. Terrell Davis became a star this year behind that great o-line, rushing for 1750 yards.
14. 1995 Cowboys
15-4, #3 Points Scored, #3 Points Allowed, +144 Points
Deion Sanders switched teams and brought the Super Bowl trophy back to Dallas. Emmitt Smith rushed for a staggering 25 touchdowns in one of the greatest seasons ever for a running back. The defense was a bit worse than their 1992 and 1993 teams, and they lost their #2 WR, Alvin Harper, in free agency. For those reasons, I rank this team lower than the other 2 Dallas teams on this list. The Steelers were competitive in the Super Bowl, but it was pretty clear throughout that they were simply outmatched, as the Cowboys ended up winning by ten.
15-4, #18 Points Scored, #1 Points Allowed, +150 Points
A mini-version of the 2000 Ravens in my opinion. Their defense was tough, giving up only 196 points, forcing 31 interceptions, and leading the league in yards allowed. Brad Johnson and Keyshawn Johnson were servicable for the offense, although their leading rusher (Michael Pittman) only had just over 700 yards rushing, which I found very odd for a Super Bowl champ. In another odd happening, the New Orleans Saints, who didn't even make the playoffs, handed the Bucs 2 of their 4 regular season losses. The Bucs were very impressive in the playoffs though, dominating on the road against Philly in the NFC Championship Game and adding several late scores in the Super Bowl to blow out Oakland, 48-21.
16. 1990 Giants
16-3, #15 Points Scored, #1 Points Allowed, +124 Points
Fabulous defense, so-so offense, and one Scott Norwood miss equaled a Super Bowl win. Lawerence Taylor led a stingy defense that only let up 211 points on the year. They avenged a regular season loss by eeking out a 15-13 win at San Francisco in the NFC Championship before their classic Super Bowl victory. Surely one of the most entertaining Super Bowl runs.
17. 2001 Pats
14-5, #6 Points Scored, #6 Points Allowed, +99 Points
I'm a huge Brady fan and I was definitely rooting for this team to upset the Rams in the Super Bowl, but lets be honest: They caught the break of all breaks with the "tuck rule" call against Oakland. If two people sit down to play a game, neither of them know about a particular rule of the game, the game is played out and as they are playing someone comes by and tells them about that rule, and that rule decides the game, would you really consider whomever won to be the true victor? Because theres no way that any player on the field had even heard about the tuck rule. I've said in my previous two rankings of Pats teams that stats aren't really important with the Pats, so I won't harp too much on their 19th ranked offense or 24th ranked defense. But I will mention that they essentially had a rookie QB, might have had the least amount of talent ever on a Super Bowl winning team, and got the benefit of two calls(in addition to the tuck rule, after the Super Bowl the NFL changed the rule to say that no more than 5 seconds could run off the clock on a field goal, a rule which would've meant that the Rams would've had a few more seconds to try to win the Super Bowl if it had been implemented). They surely have evolved into one of the greatest dynasties in football history, but in their weakest year, I have to put them near the bottom of this list.
18. 1999 Rams
16-3, #1 Points Scored, #4 Points Allowed, +284 Points
One of the most overrated teams in NFL history I think. The "Greatest Show on Turf" played one team with a winning record in the regular season, and they lost. One team with a winning record! In the playoffs, they really should have lost to the Bucs in the NFC Championship Game. There was a key play late in the game where a Bucs receiver caught a ball that hit the ground, but the receiver had complete control over the ball even when it hit the ground. They ruled it incomplete. In the offseason, the NFL revised the rulebook to clarify the fact that it should have been a catch. Then in the Super Bowl, they won by one yard over a team that was only there because of a "miracle" kick return. Yes, the Rams stats were impressive, but I believe that 1999 was a weak year all around. The four favored teams coming into the year were Denver, Minnesota, NY Jets, and Atlanta. Elway retired and Terrell Davis got injured, Cunningham missed half the season, Testaverde missed the entire year, and Jamal Anderson missed the entire year. Only the Vikings were able to even be competitive. As a result, there was a lot of mediocrity that year, which enabled the Rams to take advantage and win the Super Bowl. Their offense, while successful, was very one dimensional in the playoffs, as they only rushed for 111 yards during 3 playoff games. I feel like many of the great defenses on this list would've taken advantage of that.
19. 1987 Redskins
14-4, #5 Points Scored, #6 Points Allowed, +94 Points
They were only 11-4. There were two dominant teams this year: The 13-2 SF 49ers and the 12-3 New Orleans Saints(and consider that they had to play each other twice, so they were really a combined 23-3 in other games). And the Redskins somehow avoided playing both of them in the playoffs, as the 8-7 Minnesota Vikings upset both of them before the Skins beat them. The Redskins, in fact, barely escaped their first playoff game, narrowly beating Chicago by 4. Moreover, the 22nd ranked defense didn't scare anyone. However, despite all of that they were actually pretty close to an undefeated season, as their 4 losses came by 1, 4, 4, and 2 points. And then they beat Denver 42-10 in the Super Bowl. Despite the fact that I'm a huge Skins fan, I have to rank them low due to the aforementioned factors.
20. 1988 49ers
13-6, #7 Points Scored, #8 Points Allowed, +75 Points
An average 10-6 record, nearly 300 points allowed, and a very close Super Bowl victory hurt the 49ers ranking here. However, its tough to bet against Montana and Rice, and they were very impressive in winning the NFC Championship game in Chicago, 28-3. With their defense, its hard to say. On one hand, they were 3rd in yards allowed. But on the other hand, they gave up nearly 300 points. They did lose quite a few heartbreakers, which is different for a Montana-led thing, but I guess they were the victors when it mattered most. Amazing drive against the Bengals to win the Super Bowl.