Determining the 25 Best Dream Teams in NFL History

Brian WrightCorrespondent IIOctober 25, 2011

Determining the 25 Best Dream Teams in NFL History

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    Vince Young may have have falsely called his Philadelphia Eagles a "Dream Team," but there's no question that all of the clubs on this list deserve that moniker.

    The 25 groups featured here were dominant against their respective competition. Most possessed legendary players on both sides of the ball.

    From the "Monsters of the Midway" to the "Greatest Show on Turf," here are teams that gave opponents reason to lose sleep.

25. 1976 Oakland Raiders

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    Offensive Stars: QB Ken Stabler, WR Cliff Branch, TE Dave Casper, LG Gene Upshaw, LT Art Shell

    Points Scored: 25.0 pts/gm (fourth)

    Defensive Stars: LB Phil Villapiano, LB Ted Hendricks, CB Willie Brown, FS Jack Tatum

    Points Allowed: 16.9 pts/gm (12th)

    Average Margin of Victory: 8.1 pts/gm (seventh)

    Pro Bowlers: Seven

    Season Result: 13-1 (won Super Bowl XI over Minnesota Vikings, 32-14)

    This group of ruffians was led by arguably the greatest offensive line of all-time, which gave quarterback Stabler time to throw to a solid receiving corps and win their first NFL title.

24. 1966 Green Bay Packers

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    Offensive Stars: QB Bart Starr, HB Paul Hornung, FB Jim Taylor, RT Forrest Gregg, RG Jerry Kramer

    Points Scored: 23.9 pts/gm (fourth)

    Defensive Stars: LB Ray Nitschke, DE Willie Davis, S Willie Wood

    Points Allowed: 11.6 pts/gm (first)

    Average Margin of Victory: 12.3 pts/gm (second)

    Pro Bowlers: Nine

    Season Result: 12-2 (won Super Bowl I over Kansas City Chiefs, 35-14)

23. 1942 Chicago Bears

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    Offensive Stars: QB Sid Luckman, RB Gary Famiglietti, WR Ray McLean

    Points Scored: 34.2 pts/gm (first)

    Defensive Stars: DB Sid Luckman, DE George Wilson, LB Bulldog Turner

    Points Allowed: 7.6 pts/gm (first)

    Average Margin of Victory: 26.5 pts/gm (first)

    Pro Bowlers: 10

    Season Result: 11-0 (lost NFL championship to Washington Redskins, 14-6)

    In the old days of the NFL, the Bears ruled the roost. How good was the defense down the stretch? They allowed a total of 14 points over the final six regular season games. Unfortunately, the offense didn't show up in the championship encounter with the Redskins.

22. 1955 Cleveland Browns

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    Offensive Stars: QB Otto Graham, RB Fred Morrison, WR Ray Renfro

    Points Scored: 29.1 pts/gm (first)

    Defensive Stars: S Ken Konz, DE Carlton Massey, LB Chuck Noll

    Points Allowed: 18.2 pts/gm (first)

    Average Margin of Victory: 10.9 pts/gm (first)

    Pro Bowlers: Eight

    Season Result: 9-2-1 (won NFL championship over Los Angeles Rams, 38-14)

    One of the greatest QB-coach combinations in pro football history with Graham and Paul Brown guided Cleveland to an unprecedented tenth consecutive league championship game.

21. 1986 New York Giants

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    Offensive Stars: QB Phil Simms, RB Joe Morris, TE Mark Bavaro

    Points Scored: 23.2 pts/gm (eighth)

    Defensive Stars: LB Lawrence Taylor, LB Harry Carson, DT Jim Burt, DE Leonard Marshall

    Points Allowed: 14.8 pts/gm (second)

    Average Margin of Victory: 8.4 pts/gm (second)

    Pro Bowlers: Eight

    Season Result: 14-2 (won Super Bowl XXI over Denver Broncos, 39-20)

    The Giants won their final nine regular season contests and carried that momentum through the playoffs. Taylor was his dominant self, recording 20.5 sacks.

20. 1975 Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Offensive Stars: QB Terry Bradshaw, FB Franco Harris, WR Lynn Swann, WR John Stallworth

    Points Scored: 26.6 pts/gm (fifth)

    Defensive Stars: DT "Mean" Joe Greene, DE L.C. Greenwood, LB Jack Lambert, LB Jack Ham, CB Mel Blount

    Points Allowed: 11.6 pts/gm (second)

    Average Margin of Victory: 15.1 pts/gm (first)

    Pro Bowlers: 10

    Season Result: 12-2 (won Super Bowl X over Dallas Cowboys, 21-17)

    Bradshaw established himself as one of the league's best quarterbacks as he reached his first Pro Bowl. The Steelers went on to win their second straight title.

19. 1969 Minnesota Vikings

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    Offensive Stars: QB Joe Kapp, WR Gene Washington, HB Dave Osborn, C Mick Tingelhoff

    Points Scored: 27.1 pts/gm (first)

    Defensive Stars: DT Alan Page, DE Carl Eller, DE Jim Marshall, S Paul Krause

    Points Allowed: 9.5 pts/gm (first)

    Average Margin of Victory: 17.6 pts/gm (first)

    Pro Bowlers: Eight

    Season Result: 12-2 (lost Super Bowl IV to Kansas City Chiefs, 23-7)

    "The Purple People Eater" defense held its opponents to 10 or fewer points in 10 games. However, they must have been on a diet when Super Bowl IV cam around.

18. 1998 Denver Broncos

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    Offensive Stars: QB John Elway, RB Terrell Davis, TE Shannon Sharpe, WR Ed McCaffrey

    Points Scored: 31.3 pts/gm (second)

    Defensive Stars: LB Bill Romanowski, DE Neil Smith, FS Steve Atwater

    Points Allowed: 19.3 pts/gm (eighth)

    Average Margin of Victory: 12.0 pts/gm (second)

    Pro Bowlers: Nine

    Season Result: 14-2 (won Super Bowl XXXIII over Atlanta Falcons, 34-19)

    It was Elway's final year. But just as was the case in last season's championship run, Elway had the immense help of Davis and his 2,008 rushing yards.

17. 1968 Baltimore Colts

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    Offensive Stars: QB Earl Morrall, HB Tom Matte, TE John Mackey, WR Jimmy Orr

    Points Scored: 28.7 pts/gm (second)

    Defensive Stars: DE Bubba Smith, LB Mike Curtis, CB Bobby Boyd

    Points Allowed: 10.3 pts/gm (first)

    Average Margin of Victory: 18.4 pts/gm (first)

    Pro Bowlers: Eight

    Season Result: 13-1 (lost Super Bowl III to New York Jets, 16-7)

    Don Shula's group of Colts had the chance to emerge as one of the great teams in NFL history. But Joe Namath and the Jets came through to produce a legendary upset.

16. 1998 Minnesota Vikings

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    Offensive Stars: QB Randall Cunningham, RB Robert Smith, WR Randy Moss, WR Cris Carter

    Points Scored: 34.8 pts/gm (first)

    Defensive Stars: DE John Randle, LB Ed McDaniel, SS Robert Griffith

    Points Allowed: 18.5 pts/gm (sixth)

    Average Margin of Victory: 16.2 pts/gm (first)

    Pro Bowlers: 10

    Season Result: 15-1 (lost NFC championship game to Atlanta Falcons, 30-27)

    Before the 2007 Patriots, this was the greatest team of the Super Bowl era to not win a ring. Gary Anderson's missed kick in the NFC title game at the Metrodome crushed the Vikings' dream season.

15. 1984 San Francisco 49ers

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    Offensive Stars: QB Joe Montana, RB Wendell Tyler, FB Roger Craig, WR Dwight Clark, RT Keith Fahnhorst

    Points Scored: 29.7 pts/gm (second)

    Defensive Stars: FS Ronnie Lott, LB Keena Turner, CB Eric Wright

    Points Allowed: 14.2 pts/gm (first)

    Average Margin of Victory: 15.5 pts/gm (first)

    Pro Bowlers: 10

    Season Result: 15-1 (won Super Bowl XIX over Miami Dolphins, 38-16)

    With the mastery of head coach Bill Walsh, the Niners only stumbled to the Pittsburgh Steelers by three points on Oct. 14. San Francisco had the best record in the NFC by a four games.

14. 1973 Miami Dolphins

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    Offensive Stars: QB Bob Griese, RB Mercury Morris, FB Larry Csonka, WR Paul Warfield

    Points Scored: 24.5 pts/gm (fifth)

    Defensive Stars: LB Nick Buoniconti, DT Manny Fernandez, DE Bill Stanfill, SS Jake Scott, FS Dick Anderson

    Points Allowed: 10.7 pts/gm (first)

    Average Margin of Victory: 13.8 pts/gm (second)

    Pro Bowlers: 12

    Season Result: 12-2 (won Super Bowl VIII over Minnesota Vikings, 24-7)

    This group may not have been as perfect as the previous season, but the "No Name" defense grew stronger. Griese started 16 games and was victorious in all but one.

13. 1971 Dallas Cowboys

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    Offensive Stars: QB Roger Staubach, RB Duane Thomas, WR Bob Hayes, WR Lance Alworth

    Points Scored: 29.0 pts/gm (first)

    Defensive Stars: DT Bob Lilly, LB Chuck Howley, CB Mel Renfro

    Points Allowed: 15.9 pts/gm (seventh)

    Average Margin of Victory: 13.1 pts/gm (first)

    Pro Bowlers: Eight

    Season Result: 11-3 (won Super Bowl VI over Miami Dolphins, 24-3)

    With the dual quarterback system in place, Staubach and Craig Morton helped the 'Boys score at least 40 points in five games. Then, the "Doomsday" defense made the Dolphins the only team to go without a touchdown in a Super Bowl.

12. 1978 Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Offensive Stars: QB Terry Bradshaw, FB Franco Harris, WR Lynn Swann, WR John Stallworth, C Mike Webster

    Points Scored: 22.2 pts/gm (fifth)

    Defensive Stars: DT "Mean" Joe Greene, DE L.C. Greenwood, LB Jack Lambert, LB Jack Ham, CB Mel Blount

    Points Allowed: 12.2 pts/gm (first)

    Average Margin of Victory: 10.1 pts/gm (second)

    Pro Bowlers: 10

    Season Result: 14-2 (won Super Bowl XIII over Dallas Cowboys, 35-31)

    Pittsburgh returned to glory after a two-year absence thanks in part to a bevy of Pro Bowlers on the defensive side.

11. 1996 Green Bay Packers

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    Offensive Stars: QB Brett Favre, RB Edgar Bennett, TE Keith Jackson, WR Antonio Freeman

    Points Scored: 28.5 pts/gm (first)

    Defensive Stars: DE Reggie White, DT Gilbert Brown, SS LeRoy Butler, FS Eugene Robinson

    Points Allowed: 13.1 pts/gm (first)

    Average Margin of Victory: 15.4 pts/gm (first)

    Pro Bowlers: 5

    Season Result: 13-3 (won Super Bowl XXXI over New England Patriots, 35-21)

    Before Favre annoyed us, he thrilled us with his 39 touchdown passes in '96. In the postseason, the Packers won their three contests by an average of 17 points.

10. 1994 San Francisco 49ers

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    Offensive Stars: QB Steve Young, WR Jerry Rice, RB Ricky Watters, TE Brent Jones

    Points Scored: 31.6 pts/gm (first)

    Defensive Stars: CB Deion Sanders, DT Dana Stubblefield, LB Ken Norton, FS Merton Hanks

    Points Allowed: 18.5 pts/gm (sixth)

    Average Margin of Victory: 13.1 pts/gm (first)

    Pro Bowlers: 10

    Season Result: 13-3 (won Super Bowl XXIX over San Diego Chargers, 49-26)

    Young finally got the monkey off his back, temporarily erasing the shadow of Joe Montana with a stellar year. Rice isn't too shabby, either (1,499 receiving yards). The playoffs played out just like the regular season, as the Niners averaged 43.7 points including a demolition of AFC champion Chargers.

9. 1999 St. Louis Rams

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    Offensive Stars: QB Kurt Warner, RB Marshall Faulk, WR Isaac Bruce, WR Torry Holt, LT Orlando Pace

    Points Scored: 32.9 pts/gm (first)

    Defensive Stars: DE Kevin Carter, DE Grant Wistrom, LB London Fletcher, CB Todd Lyght

    Points Allowed: 15.1 pts/gm (fourth)

    Average Margin of Victory: 17.8 pts/gm (first)

    Pro Bowlers: Six

    Season Result: 13-3 (won Super Bowl XXXIV over Tennessee Titans, 23-16)

    In one season, the Rams went from doormat to "The Greatest Show on Turf." Faulk was dynamic and Warner became one of the game's great Cinderella stories.

8. 1992 Dallas Cowboys

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    Offensive Stars: QB Troy Aikman, RB Emmitt Smith, WR Michael Irvin, TE Jay Novacek

    Points Scored: 25.6 pts/gm (second)

    Defensive Stars: DE Charles Haley, LB Ken Norton, DT Russell Maryland, CB James Washington

    Points Allowed: 15.2 pts/gm (fifth)

    Average Margin of Victory: 10.4 pts/gm (second)

    Pro Bowlers: Six

    Season Result: 13-3 (won Super Bowl XXVII over Buffalo Bills, 52-17)

    With shrewd moved through the draft, the Cowboys rebuilt themselves into "America's Team." Jimmy Johnson's 'Boys were led by the always-notable "triplets": Aikman, Smith and Irvin.

7. 1991 Washington Redskins

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    Offensive Stars: QB Mark Rypien, RB Earnest Byner, WR Art Monk, WR Gary Clark

    Points Scored: 30.3 pts/gm (first)

    Defensive Stars: CB Darrell Green, DE Charles Mann, LB Wilber Marshall

    Points Allowed: 14.0 pts/gm (second)

    Average Margin of Victory: 16.3 pts/gm (first)

    Pro Bowlers: Seven

    Season Result: 14-2 (won Super Bowl XXVII over Buffalo Bills, 37-24)

    The Redskins didn't have any superstars, but they played like a super team. Washington, led by head coach Joe Gibbs, romped through the tough NFC East and outscored it's opponents 485-224.

6. 2007 New England Patriots

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    Offensive Stars: QB Tom Brady, WR Randy Moss, WR Wes Welker, LT Matt Light

    Points Scored: 36.8 pts/gm (first)

    Defensive Stars: DT Vince Wilfork, LB Mike Vrabel, LB Tedy Bruschi, CB Asante Samuel, SS Rodney Harrison

    Points Allowed: 17.1 pts/gm (fourth)

    Average Margin of Victory: 19.7 pts/gm (first)

    Pro Bowlers: Eight

    Season Result: 16-0 (lost Super Bowl XLII to New York Giants, 17-14)

    In a league where parity is king, the Pats looked unbeatable. And they were, until the Giants gave them a dubious record of 18-1.

5. 1989 San Francisco 49ers

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    Offensive Stars: QB Joe Montana, WR Jerry Rice, WR John Taylor, RB Roger Craig

    Points Scored: 27.6 pts/gm (first)

    Defensive Stars: FS Ronnie Lott, LB Charles Haley, DE Pierce Holt

    Points Allowed: 15.8 pts/gm (third)

    Average Margin of Victory: 11.8 pts/gm (first)

    Pro Bowlers: Five

    Season Result: 14-2 (won Super Bowl XXIV over Denver Broncos, 55-10)

    With George Seifert now at head coach in place of the retired Bill Walsh, the 49ers showed no signs of a drop-off. In fact, both the offense and defense improved from the previous year.

4. 1979 Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Offensive Stars: QB Terry Bradshaw, FB Franco Harris, WR Lynn Swann, WR John Stallworth, C Mike Webster

    Points Scored: 26.0 pts/gm (first)

    Defensive Stars: DT "Mean" Joe Greene, DE L.C. Greenwood, LB Jack Lambert, LB Jack Ham, CB Mel Blount

    Points Allowed: 16.4 pts/gm (fifth)

    Average Margin of Victory: 9.6 pts/gm (second)

    Pro Bowlers: 10

    Season Result: 12-4 (won Super Bowl XIV over Los Angeles Rams, 31-19)

    Of all the great Steelers teams in the 1970s, this was the best (but not by a lot). The defense was still great, but not dominant. However, the offense really took charge. Bradshaw threw for 3,724 yards and 26 TDs, while Harris averaged 4.4 yards per rush.

3. 1962 Green Bay Packers

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    Offensive Stars: QB Bart Starr, HB Paul Hornung, FB Jim Taylor, RT Forrest Gregg, RG Jerry Kramer

    Points Scored: 29.6 pts/gm (first)

    Defensive Stars: LB Ray Nitschke, DE Willie Davis, CB Herb Adderley, S Willie Wood

    Points Allowed: 10.6 pts/gm (first)

    Average Margin of Victory: 19.0 pts/gm (first)

    Pro Bowlers: Eight

    Season Result: 13-1 (won NFL championship over New York Giants, 16-7)

    The best offense, the best defense and the greatest coach of all-time pacing the sidelines in Vince Lombardi.

2. 1972 Miami Dolphins

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    Offensive Stars: QB Earl Morrall, QB Bob Griese, RB Mercury Morris, FB Larry Csonka, WR Paul Warfield

    Points Scored: 27.5 pts/gm (first)

    Defensive Stars: LB Nick Buoniconti, DT Manny Fernandez, DE Bill Stanfill, SS Jake Scott, FS Dick Anderson

    Points Allowed: 12.2 pts/gm (first)

    Average Margin of Victory: 15.3 pts/gm (first)

    Pro Bowlers: Nine

    Season Result: 14-0 (won Super Bowl VII over Washington Redskins, 14-7)

    The only team that was ever perfect. So why are they No. 2? The competition wasn't as good. Miami's opponents had a combined winning percentage of under .400.

1. 1985 Chicago Bears

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    Offensive Stars: QB Jim McMahon, RB Walter Payton, WR Willie Gault, LT Jimbo Covert

    Points Scored: 28.5 pts/gm (second)

    Defensive Stars: LB Mike Singletary, DE Dan Hampton, DE Richard Dent, LB Otis Wilson, SS Dave Duerson

    Points Allowed: 12.4 pts/gm (first)

    Average Margin of Victory: 16.1 pts/gm (first)

    Pro Bowlers: 10

    Season Result: 15-1 (won Super Bowl XX over New England Patriots, 46-10)

    The Bears of the 1980s could have been a dynasty. But for one year, it all came together. Of course, everyone remembers the "46" defense that shut out both opponents in the NFC playoffs and dismantled the Pats in Super Bowl XX.