The Most Stacked Teams Ever
One thing that sports fans have become more familiar with over the past several years is the forming of so-called superteams.
They typically consist of at least three stars combining forces to hunt a title together, putting aside personal accomplishments for team goals.
And with the Cleveland Cavaliers recently swinging a trade for power forward Kevin Love to team up with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, largely forming a trio that should have championship aspirations, it got me thinking about some other teams that have been absolutely stacked.
Who knows how the Cavs will fair, but these other teams proved to have the recipe for success.
1970 Brazil World Cup Team
Winning the third of Brazil’s five total World Cups, the 1970 version of Selecao was led by all-timers like Pele, Jairzinho, Rivelino and Carlos Alberto, using a flair and personality that hadn’t been seen in soccer before.
Outscoring opponents 19-7 during its six games in the Mexico-hosted tournament, the Brazilians made light work in the championship game, defeating Italy 4-1.
1998 New York Yankees
When a team wins the most games in the history of the most prominent MLB franchise around—going 114-48—it usually means that they're pretty damn good. And that's exactly what the 1998 New York Yankees were.
As balanced as humanly possible on offense, the regular batting included all but one guy belting more than 17 homers each, led by former All-Stars Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Paul O'Neill and Tino Martinez.
The pitching rotation was just as deep, with three guys—Andy Pettitte, David Cone and David Wells—all winning at least 16 games, with the luxury of the greatest reliever of all time, Mariano Rivera, as the last pitcher any opposing batter usually saw.
Going 11-2 in the playoffs on their way to a World Series title, these Yanks seemingly had it all.
2007-08 Boston Celtics
Were the 2007-08 Boston Celtics the most dominant team in NBA history? No, definitely not.
But were they the most feared team in the league when they were on the floor together? Absolutely.
That’s because the Celtics had three future Hall of Famers in Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen—along with an emerging star in point guard Rajon Rondo.
With Garnett occupying the paint on both offense and defense, Allen controlling the perimeter with his three-point stroke and Pierce the undoubted leader and heart and soul of the team, these Celtics went 66-16 during the regular season, ultimately lifting the Larry O’Brien Trophy by defeating the rival L.A. Lakers in the Finals.
1971 Dallas Cowboys
With a roster that eventually had eight Hall of Fame inductees—including head coach Tom Landry—the 1971 Dallas Cowboys redeemed themselves after a Super Bowl loss the previous season, capturing the first in franchise history.
While the offense featured quarterback Roger Staubach, huge targets in the receiving game in Lance Alworth and Mike Ditka and a three-headed monster at running back, the defense is what won the Boys their first ring, as they surrendered an average of just six points in three playoff games, holding the Miami Dolphins to just 185 yards in the title game.
1985-86 Boston Celtics
After losing the 1985 NBA Finals to their rival Los Angeles Lakers, the Boston Celtics entered the 1986 season with one mission in mind—winning a championship.
Luckily for them, they had one of the deepest teams in NBA history, starting four future Hall of Famers in Larry Bird, Kevin McHale, Robert Parish and Dennis Johnson, along with having another Hall of Fame center on their bench, Bill Walton.
Finishing with a 67-15 record and storming through the postseason—entering the NBA Finals with just one loss in the previous three playoff rounds—the C’s were able to raise their 16th banner.
1976 Cincinnati Reds
Winning 102 games during the regular season and their second straight World Series title, the 1976 Cincinnati Reds were one of the most balanced teams in MLB history.
Going a perfect 7-0 in the playoffs, Hall of Famers Joe Morgan, Pete Rose and Johnny Bench were the nucleus of a hard-hitting lineup, while the team’s pitching consisted of seven players with double-digit wins.
One of the most exciting teams in baseball, The Big Red Machine of 1976 was both scrappy and elite.
1978 Pittsburgh Steelers
Winning four Super Bowls during the ‘70s, one may think that it would be difficult to choose the most dominating Pittsburgh Steelers team, right?
Well, not really.
While the other teams that decade were clearly great, the 1978 Steelers were absolutely the best.
The height of the Steel Curtain on defense, this squad ultimately sent nine players and head coach Chuck Noll to the Hall of Fame, becoming the first NFL franchise to win three Lombardi Trophies.
Led my Terry Bradshaw at quarterback and a workhorse on the ground in Franco Harris, the team went 14-2, with those two losses being by a combined 10 points.
A.C. Milan 1987-1991
One of the most successful club teams in European history, Italian Serie A’s A.C. Milan didn’t just have a year or two of dominance, but nearly half a decade.
Consisting of world-class players like Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard and Paolo Maldini, among others, the team captured two straight European titles during their reign, with the 1989-90 team generally regarded as one of the best club teams ever compiled.
1992-93 Dallas Cowboys
The offense boasted the league’s all-time leading rusher, Emmitt Smith, at running back, as well as future Hall of Famers Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin.
Going a combined 25-7 in the regular season in both ’92 and ’93, Dallas won two-straight Super Bowls by beating the Buffalo Bills both times.
1976-77 Montreal Canadiens
Led by future Hall of Fame players like Guy Lapointe, Guy Lafleur and Ken Dryden, the Montreal Canadiens showed that they were arguably the most lethal team in NHL history.
Earning a still-record 132 points after going 60-8-12 during the regular season, the 1976 Canadiens also had Hall of Fame coach Scotty Bowman manning the sidelines, proving that they were nearly perfect in all aspects of the game.
Going 12-2 during their playoff run that year, Montreal hoisted the Stanley Cup for the 20th time in their history, with this team being the best of the bunch.
1985 Chicago Bears
Walter Payton, Mike Singletary, Richard Dent.
Those are just three big-time names off of the 1985 Chicago Bears roster that not only went 15-1 during the regular season, but then demolished the New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl.
With the backbone of the team being one of the most dominating defenses in NFL history thanks to Buddy Ryan's "46" system, the offense had a star in Payton and did just enough to control the game, allowing the defense to do its thing.
Winning 14 games by double digits, "Da Bears" were one of the best in league history.
1986-87 Los Angeles Lakers
Winning 65 games during the regular season, the 1986-87 Los Angeles Lakers stormed through the postseason, entering the NBA Finals with just one loss in the previous three rounds, eventually taking out their rival Boston Celtics in six games for the NBA title.
Future Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson and James Worthy made up the core of the roster, with complementary parts like Kurt Rambis, Byron Scott and A.C. Green providing depth.
Coached by Pat Riley, the Lakers became much-see TV thanks to their Showtime highlights.
1989 San Francisco 49ers
More than just the 14-2 regular-season record, the 1989 San Francisco 49ers were arguably the most talented team in NFL history.
First in total offense and scoring that year, the Niners also posted the fourth-best defense, showing that there were no easy ways to game-plan for them.
And while names like Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Ronnie Lott and Charles Haley are the most recognizable, the entire roster had talent that went on to win the Super Bowl, losing by a combined five points in the two games they lost that year.
The Original Dream Team
With players like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, the 1992 USA men’s hoops team proved that they were the best roster ever put together—maybe in any sport.
The team’s average margin of victory was 44 points, and the players were so popular that opponents actually asked for photos with the All-Stars after getting thrashed on the hardwood.
Need any more proof that this is the best team ever? Of the 12 players on the team, 11 are in the Basketball Hall of Fame for their NBA careers.
1927 New York Yankees
Do the names Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Earle Combs mean anything to you? They should, as the trio are not only all in Cooperstown, but they were three of the hitters that comprised the 1927 New York Yankees' “Murderer’s Row,” belting a combined 113 home runs to earn the nickname.
The rest of the team wasn’t too bad either (six members in total are in the Hall of Fame), with the Yanks winning a then-record 110 games, capturing a World Series title and generally thought of as the best baseball team ever assembled.