The following is the definitive defensive team of the decade for the years 2000-2009.
The defense was much more difficult to choose than the offense because there are so many deserving players and statistics are not as helpful in evaluating the impact of a player on the game.
For example, a shut down cornerback does not get many interceptions because nobody wants to throw the ball his way and a stout defensive tackle doesn’t get credit for the havoc he wreaks allowing other players to get to the quarterback or ball carrier.
In other cases I name just one set of starters if those making the cut are deemed to be clearly better than their counterparts.
I only use statistics where needed when players are fairly close and it helps differentiate between contenders for key spots.
Fact checking was done using the following: NFL.com, 2009 NFL Record and Fact Book, Pro-Football-Reference.com, and Wikipedia.com.