The 50 Best Teams of the Super Bowl Era

Tony Santorsa@@TonySantorsaSenior Writer IIMay 30, 2011

The 50 Best Teams of the Super Bowl Era

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 29:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots points out the defense against the New York Giants on December 29, 2007 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    This is the ultimate National Football League countdown: The 50 best teams of the Super Bowl Era.

    The very first NFL Super Bowl, or better known as the AFL-NFL World Championship Game, was held on January 15th, 1967—and from that point on, there have been a plethora of dominating teams. 

    As Super Bowl XLV has come and past, we're now up to 45 Super Bowl champions—so making a list of the best 45 teams of all-time would just be too easy.

    So, here I've created the 50 best teams of the Super Bowl Era.

    Be sure to leave your feedback! I'd love to hear what you think. 

    This article was first seen at Be sure to follow Tony Santorsa on Twitter @ TonySantorsa.    

50. 1982 Washington Redskins

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    Who knows what the 1982 Washington Redskins record could have been if the '82 season wasn't so short thanks to the work stoppage. However, the '82 Redskins put up an 8-1 record as they won Super Bowl XVII by a score of 27-17 over the Miami Dolphins. 

49. 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers

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    HOLLYWOOD - JULY 12:  (L-R) Jerome Bettis and Antwaan Randle El of the Pittsburgh Steelers show off their Super Bowl rings at the 2006 ESPY Awards at the Kodak Theatre on July 12, 2006 in Hollywood, California.  (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
    Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

    The 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers posted an 11-5 regular season record on their way to a victory in Super Bowl XL.

    The Steelers were led by their physically-dominating defense, running back Jerome Bettis and second-year quarterback Ben Roethlisberger

48. 1998 Minnesota Vikings

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    26 Dec 1998:   Randy Moss #84 of the Minnesota Vikings looks on the field during a game against the Nashville Oilers at the Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee. The Vikings defeated the Oilers 26-16. Mandatory Credit: Scott Halleran  /Allsport
    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    Dennis Green coached his 1998 Minnesota Vikings to a 15-1 record but fell short of a Super Bowl title.

    The '98 Vikings saw extreme success out of Randall Cunningham, Randy Moss and Cris Carter as they became known to be one of the best offenses to ever play the game. 

47. 2000 Baltimore Ravens

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    28 Jan 2001:  Ray Lewis #52 of the Baltimore Ravens hops on the field during the introduction before the Super Bowl XXXV Game against the New York Giants at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The Ravens defeated the Giants 34-7.Mandatory Credit:
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Ray Lewis led his Baltimore Ravens to a Super Bowl victory in 2000 as they had one of the NFL's greatest defenses to ever play the game.

    The 2000 Ravens put a strangle hold on opposing offenses as they only allowed an unbelievable 10.3 points-per-game. 

46. 1980 Oakland Raiders

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    The 1980 Oakland Raiders kicked off the new decade in dominating fashion with an 11-5 record and a 27-10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XV. 

45. 2007 New York Giants

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    NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 05:  Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg (C), Michael Strahan (L) and Eli Manning of the New York Giants ride in a float along Broadway, also known as 'The Canyon of Heroes' during Super Bowl XLII victory parade in New York City.  (Pho
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    The 2007 New York Giants were one tough football team as they upset the undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII 17-14. The Giants' victory is considered to be the biggest upset in Super Bowl history. 

44. 1967 Green Bay Packers

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    The 1967 Green Bay Packers may not have put up the greatest record at 9-4-1, but they proved to be a very winning team with their back-to-back wins with a Super Bowl II win over the Oakland Raiders 33-14.

43. 1988 San Francisco 49ers

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    22 Jan 1989: San Francisco 49ers players celebrate during Super Bowl XXIII against the Cincinnati Bengals at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami, Florida. The 49ers won the game, 20-16.
    Mike Powell/Getty Images

    The 1988 San Francisco 49ers was a well-rounded football team as they ranked seventh in the league with offense and eighth in the league with defense.

    The '88 49ers were led by Bill Walsh as they produced a 10-6 record on their way to a 20-16 victory in Super Bowl XXIII over the Cincinati Bengals. 

42. 1968 New York Jets

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    The 1968 New York Jets completed an 11-3 regular season record as they upset the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III with a score of 16-7.

    Quarterback Joe Namath predicted the upset over the Colts and proved to be one of the greatest teams to ever play the game of football. 

41. 1970 Baltimore Colts

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    Johnny Unitas led his Baltimore Colts to an 11-2-1 regular season record and a Super Bowl victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V. 

    The 1970 Colts ranked sixth in offense and seventh in defense as they proved to be a great well-balanced team. 

40. 1969 Kansas City Chiefs

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    The 1969 Kansas City Chiefs were Super Bowl IV champions as they recorded an impressive 11-3 regular season record.

    The '69 Chiefs were led by head coach Hank Stram as they ranked second in the league with offense and first in the league with defense. 

39. 1990 New York Giants

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    TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 27:  Safety Myron Guyton #29 and offensive tackle William Roberts #66 of the New York Giants walk off the field following the game against the Buffalo Bills during Super Bowl XXV at Tampa Stadium on January 27, 1991 in Tampa, Florida.
    George Rose/Getty Images

    The 1990 New York Giants may very well be one of the greatest defenses in NFL history. The '90 Giants allowed a mere 13.2 points-per-game while being coached by the great head coach, Bill Parcells. 

    The '90 Giants recorded a 13-3 record on their way to a Super Bowl victory over the Buffalo Bills. 

38. 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers

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    PITTSBURGH - FEBRUARY 03:  James Harrison #92 of the Pittsburgh Steelers shows off the Super Bowl XLIII trophy during a parade on February 3, 2009 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    The 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers gave head coach Mike Tomlin his first Super Bowl title. The '08 Steelers defeated the Arizona Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII. 

    The '08 Steelers were led by Ben Roethlisberger and their lights-out defense which ranked first in the NFL while only averaging 13.9 points-per-game. 

37. 1987 Washington Redskins

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    SAN DIEGO - JANUARY 31:  Wide receiver Gary Clark #84 (C) of the Washington Redskins celebrates his touchdown during Super Bowl XXII against the Denver Broncos at Jack Murphy Stadium on January 31, 1988 in San Diego, California.  The Redskins won 42-10.
    George Rose/Getty Images

    The 1987 Washington Redskins were definitely a well-coached team thanks to head coach Joe Gibbs.

    Gibbs coached his Redskins' to a very well-balanced season and an impressive victory over the Denver Broncos 42-10 in Super Bowl XXII. 

36. 1981 San Francisco 49ers

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    The 1981 San Francisco 49ers may not be the greatest team in NFL history, but they're certainly one of the most clutch teams.

    The '81 49ers are most known for "the catch" by Dwight Clark from the pass of Joe Montana for the game-winning touchdown to launch San Francisco to Super Bowl XVI. 

35. 2006 Indianapolis Colts

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    MIAMI GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 04:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Super Bowl trophy after winning the Super Bowl XLI 29-17 over the Chicago Bears on February 4, 2007 at Dolphin Stadium in Miami G
    Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

    Quarterback Peyton Manning proved in 2006 that he could lead his team to a Super Bowl title.

    The '06 Colts are definitely not the most-balanced team in NFL history, but they proved that offenses can win championships.  

34. 2010 Green Bay Packers

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    ARLINGTON, TX - FEBRUARY 06:  Aaron Rodgers #12 and Clay Matthews #52 of the Green Bay Packers of the Green Bay Packers holds the Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 during Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011 in
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    The 2010 Green Bay Packers were by all means not a great regular season team but when it came playoff time, the Packers proved to be winners.

    The Super Bowl XLV champions dealt with a large amount of injuries as they silenced the critics with a 31-25 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

33. 2009 New Orleans Saints

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    MIAMI GARDENS, FL - FEBRUARY 07:  Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints passes quarterback Drew Brees #9 the Vince Lombardi trophy after defeating the Indianapolis Colts during Super Bowl XLIV on February 7, 2010 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Ga
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    The 2009 New Orleans Saints rewarded the city of New Orleans with the franchise's and city's first championship with a 31-17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. 

    The '09 Saints, led by quarterback Drew Brees, ranked first in the NFL—the Saints relied heavily on the team's stellar ability to score points. 

32. 1995 Dallas Cowboys

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    28 Jan 1996:  Wide receiver Michael Irvin of the Dallas Cowboys scores a touchdown during Super Bowl XXX against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona.  Although the touchdown was nullified by a penalty, the Cowboys won the game,
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    The Dallas Cowboys certainly took care of business in 1995 when they went on to a 12-4 record and a Super Bowl title led by head coach Barry Switzer. 

    The '95 Cowboys were a very well-balanced team as both offense and defense ranked third in the NFL. 

31. 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    SAN DIEGO - JANUARY 26:  Head Coach Jon Gruden of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers holds up the Vince Lombardi Trophy after his team defeated the Oakland Raiders in the Super Bowl XXXVII at Qualcomm Stadium on January 26, 2003 in San Diego, California.  The Bucca
    Donald Miralle/Getty Images

    Head coach Jon Gruden led his Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a dominating victory over the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII in just his first year as the Buccaneers' head coach. 

    Tampa Bay ranked first in the league in defense while only allowing 12.2 points-per-game.

30. 1984 San Fransico 49ers

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    STANFORD, CA - JANUARY 20:  Defensive back Carlton Williamson #27 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates his end zone interception with teammate Dwight Hicks #22 during Super Bowl XIX against the Miami Dolphins at Stanford Stadium on January 20, 1985 in St
    George Rose/Getty Images

    The 1984 San Francisco 49ers were led by the offensive firepower of Joe Montana and the strong play of their defense—which only allowed an incredible 14.2 points-per-game.

    The '84 49ers defeated the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XIX with a score of 38-16.

29. 2001 New England Patriots

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    19 Jan 2001:  Kicker Adam Vinatieri of the New England Patriots ties the game in the closing seconds against the Oakland Raiders forcing overtime at Foxboro Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.The Patriots won 16-13.  Digital image. Mandatory Credit: Al Bel
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    The 2001 New England Patriots are the first team of New England's dynasty as they upset the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI with a score of 20-17.

    The '01 Patriots defined the word "team" as they became the first team in Super Bowl history to be introduced as a team. 

28. 1966 Green Bay Packers

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    January 15, 1967 was the date of the very first Super Bowl as the Green Bay Packers were victorious over the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10.

    The Packers were led by head coach Vince Lombardi and quarterback Bart Starr. 

27. 1997 Denver Broncos

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    25 Jan 1998:  A Denver Broncos Super Bowl Champions sign during Super Bowl  XXXII at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California.  The Denver Broncos defeated the Green Bay Packers 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Squire  /Allsport
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Mike Shanhan and John Elway led the 1997 Broncos to a 12-4 regular season record and a Super Bowl title.

    The '97 Broncos were an incredible team as they outlasted the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXII 31-24.

26. 1993 Dallas Cowboys

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    30 Jan 1994:  Linebacker Matt Vanderbeek of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates with a teammate during Super Bowl XXVIII against the Buffalo Bills at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia.  The Cowboys won the game, 30-13. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Daniel  /All
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    The 1993 Dallas Cowboys posted a 12-4 regular season record as they won the rematch of the previous year's Super Bowl, 30-13 over the Buffalo Bills. 

25. 1986 New York Giants

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    PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 25:  Head coach Bill Parcells of the New York Giants gets carried off the field following the game against the Denver Broncos during Super Bowl XXI at the Rose Bowl on January 25, 1987 in Pasadena, California. The Giants defeated th
    George Rose/Getty Images

    Head coach Bill Parcells led the amazing defense of the 1986 New York Giants to their first Super Bowl title. 

    The '86 Giants were frightening defensively with most notably Lawrence Taylor on that side of the ball. 

24. 1977 Dallas Cowboys

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    The 1977 Dallas Cowboys were led by head coach Tom Landry as they produced a 12-2 regular season record.

    The '77 Cowboys had eight Pro Bowls on their roster as they blew out the Denver Broncos 27-10 in Super Bowl XII. 

23. 1969 Minnesota Vikings

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    The 1969 Minnesota Vikings are one of the greatest teams in NFL history to not win a Super Bowl.

    The Vikings produced a stellar 12-2 record and beat the opposing teams by an average of 17 points-per-game. However, the '69 Vikings fell short in Super Bowl IV. 

22. 2004 Philadelphia Eagles

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    PHILADELPHIA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Quarterback Donovan McNabb #5 of the Philadelphia Eagles jokes with teammate receiver Terrell Owens #81 while on the sidelines during the second half of the game against the San Francisco 49ers on September 18, 2005 at Lincol
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    The 2004 Philadelphia Eagles may have fell short of a Super Bowl victory, but they were certainly quite the dominating team. 

    The '04 Eagles were led by a stellar, play-making defense and the amazing, yet short-lived, combination of Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens

21. 1998 Denver Broncos

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    1 Feb 1999:  Head Coach Mike Shanahan of the Denver Broncos stands behind the Vince Lombardi Trophy smilling at the press during the MVP Press Conference after the Super Bowl XXXIII Game Between the Denver Broncos and the Atlanta Falcons at the Pro Player
    Tom Hauck/Getty Images

    The Denver Broncos dominated the NFL in 1998 as they completed a 14-2 record on their way to a 34-19 victory over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl XXXIII.

    This was quarterback John Elway's second Super Bowl victory. 

20. 1974 Pittsburgh Steelers

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    The 1974 Pittsburgh Steelers may have not shined in the regular season with a 10-3-1 record, but they certainly knew how to win as they beat up on the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IX with a score of 16-6.

    The '74 Steelers were the beginning of something special as they became later recognized as the Steel Curtain defense and an NFL dynasty. 

19. 1983 Los Angeles Raiders

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    The 1983 Los Angele Raiders may have only went 12-4, but absolutely dominanted in the playoffs. In fact, the Raiders destroyed the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XVIII with a 38-9 victory.  

18. 2001 St. Louis Rams

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    17 Dec 2001: Quarterback Kurt Warner of the St.Louis Rams during the game against the New Orleans Saints at Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Rams won 34-21. DIGITAL IMAGE. Mandatory Credit: Craig Jones/Getty Images
    Craig Jones/Getty Images

    The 2001 St. Louis Rams may have not won the Super Bowl, but they were one of the most unstopabble offensive teams to ever play the game.

    The Rams' offense, led by Kurt Warner, produced an average of 31.4 points-per-game as they went onto a 14-2 record. 

17. 1971 Dallas Cowboys

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    The 1971 Dallas Cowboys were one of the most well-rounded teams, however their explosive offense was definitely their strong point.

    The '71 Cowboys scored 40-plus points in five games that season thanks to the incredible play of Roger Staubach. 

16. 1975 Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Head coach Chuck Noll led this bunch to a 12-2 regular season record and a victory in Super Bowl X, 21-17 over the Dallas Cowboys. 

15. 1973 Miami Dolphins

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    After coming off of a perfect 17-0 season, the 1973 Miami Dolphins continued their success as Super Bowl champions with a 24-7 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

    The '73 Dolphins kept the core of their team intact as they completed a 12-2 regular season. 

14. 1992 Dallas Cowboys

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    31 Jan 1993:  Emmitt Smith #22 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates on the sidelines during the Superbowl XXVII against the Buffalo Bills at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. The Cowboys defeated the Bills 52-17. Mandatory Credit: Mike Powell  /Allsport
    Mike Powell/Getty Images

    Super Bowl XXVII was one of the most dominanting victories ever with a 52-17 crushing by the Dallas Cowboys over the Buffalo Bills.

    The '92 Cowboys recorded a 13-3 regular season as they were led by head coach Jimmy Johnson, quarterback Troy Aikman and running back Emmitt Smith. 

13. 2003 New England Patriots

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    BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 3:  A New England Patriots fan holds a poster of quarterback and Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady during a victory parade February 3, 2004 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Patriots celebrated their second championship in three years today with
    Darren McCollester/Getty Images

    The 2003 New England Patriots were the middle team of the Patriots dynasty.

    The '03 Patriots completed a 14-2 record as they out-scored the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII with a score of 32-29. 

12. 2004 New England Patriots

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    Tom Brady holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy as he stands on the podium with Deion Branch after The New England Patriots defeated The Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX at Alltel Staduim in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Steve Grayson/Getty Images)
    Steve Grayson/Getty Images

    The 2004 New England Patriots became the second team in NFL history to win three Super Bowls in just four years. 

    The '04 Patriots were led by Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and the team's physical defense—not to mention, running back Corey Dillon added a real boost to the Patriots' electric offense as he rushed for 1,635 yards. 

11. 1978 Pittsburgh Steelers

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    The 1978 Pittsburgh Steelers are not only the second best team out of the Steel Curtain dynasty, but they're the 11th-best team to ever play the game.

    The team was loaded defensively and saw Terry Bradshaw put up some decent numbers at the helm of the offense. 

10. 1976 Oakland Raiders

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    The 1976 Oakland Raiders were the best team of the John Madden era as they destroyed the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI 32-14. 

    The '76 Raiders just a violent defensive-minded team that wanted to physically dominant each player on the opposing roster. 

9. 1979 Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Super Bowl XIV champions, the Pittsburgh Steelers completed their 1979 regular season with a 12-4 record as they crushed the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl with a score of 31-19. 

8. 1996 Green Bay Packers

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    26 Jan 1997:  Quarterback Brett Favre of the Green Bay Packers gets sacked by New England Patriots defensive lineman Mike Jones during Super Bowl XXXI at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Packers won the game, 35-21. Mandatory Credit: Rick Ste
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Bret Favre and Reggie White were the two biggest names on the 1996 Green Bay Packers as they went onto a 13-3 regular season record and to a 35-21 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI. 

7. 1994 San Francisco 49ers

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    MIAMI - JANUARY 29:  Quarterback Steve Young #8 of the San Francisco 49ers finds room to run with the ball during Super Bowl XXIX against the San Diego Chargers at Joe Robbie Stadium on January 29, 1995 in Miami, Florida. The 49ers won 49-26. (Photo by Ge
    George Rose/Getty Images

    Steve Young proved the critics wrong in 1994 as he led the San Francisco 49ers to a 13-3 record and to a 49-26 victory over the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX. 

6. 1999 St. Louis Rams

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    ATLANTA - JANUARY 30:  Quarterback Kurt Warner #13 of the St. Louis Rams celebrates as he hoist up the Lombardi trophy after defeating the Tennessee Titans 23-16 in Super Bowl XXXIV at the Georgia Dome on January 30, 2000 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by B
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    The 1999 St. Louis Rams are not only the sixth-best team of all-time, but they're known as the "Greatest Show on Turf."

    The '99 Rams offense was lethal with Kurt Warner at the helm throwing lasers to Marshall Faulk, Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce. 

5. 1991 Washington Redskins

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    26 Jan 1992:  Quarterback Mark Rypien of the Washington Redskins celebrates during Super Bowl XXVI against the Buffalo Bills at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  The Reskins won the game, 37-24.  Rypien was named the game''s MVP
    Mike Powell/Getty Images

    Quarterback Mark Rypien and wide receiver Art Monk led the 1991 Washington Redskins to a 14-2 regular season record and to a 37-24 victory over the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVI. 

4. 2007 New England Patriots

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    FOXBOROUGH, MA - DECEMBER 23: Randy Moss #81 and Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots stand on the sideline against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on December 23, 2007 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. Patriots won 28-7. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Gett
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    The 2007 New England Patriots are the greatest team to not win a Super Bowl.

    The '07 Patriots were one of, if not the greatest, offensive teams to ever be assembled with quarterback Tom Brady tossing touchdown passes to Randy Moss and Wes Welker

    The '07 New England Patriots went onto a 16-0 regular season record but fell short in Super Bowl XLII. 

3. 1989 San Francisco 49ers

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    28 Jan 1990:  San Francisco 49ers quarterback Joe Montana (right) and wide receiver Jerry Rice celebrate during Super Bowl XXIV against the Denver Broncos at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The 49ers won the game, 55-10. Mandatory Credit: Rick S
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    The 1989 San Francisco 49ers are most definitely one of the most dominant offensive football teams to ever play. 

    The 49ers possessed the unstoppable tandem of Joe Montana to Jerry Rice as they went on to defeat the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXIV with an incredible 55-10 victory. 

    The '89 49ers were also extremely close to completing an undefeated season was they went 14-2 and lost those two games by a combined total of five points. 

2. 1972 Miami Dolphins

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    The 1972 Miami Dolphins may not be the greatest team to ever play, but they're the only undefeated Super Bowl Champions.

    The '72 Dolphins went onto complete a perfect NFL season with a 17-0 record as they marched onto their Super Bowl VII title. 

1. 1985 Chicago Bears

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    The 1985 Chicago Bears are the greatest team to ever play the game of football.

    The Bears went onto a 15-1 record and won Super XX led by head coach Mike Ditka. 

    The '85 Bears were known for their dominating defense with faces like Mike Singletary, Richard Dent, William "Refrigerator" Perry and Dan Hampton. Not to mention, the Bears' offense was nearly as dominating with the strong play from quarterback Jim McMahon and one of the all-time greats Walter Payton. 

    The Bears displayed the key ingredients to success: a dominating defense with a great running game.

    All in all, the 1985 Chicago Bears define greatness.