The 50 Most Intimidating Teams in NFL History
The most intimidating teams in NFL history—who are they, and what aspects made them the most dominating, in your face, scary teams of their time?
Will Ray Lewis' Baltimore Ravens top our list, or will Walter Payton's 1985 Chicago Bears and their Super Bowl Shuffle beat them out?
We break down the most intimidating teams in NFL history, going way back to 1921 and as recent as 2010 in our quest to find the teams who scared their opponents, and sometimes their fans, the most.
50. 1984 Chicago Bears
Most remember the 1985 Chicago Bears as one of the best teams in NFL history—and they were. The team that played just one season before the Super Bowl season of '85 was pretty dang good too.
In 1984, the Bears set an NFL record with 72 sacks in 16 games—a record that stands to this day.
The Bears would finish 10-6 on the strength of Walter Payton's running game, but the lack of a true starting quarterback would force the Bears out of the playoffs early.
Most intimidating players: Walter Payton, coach Mike Ditka
49. 1983 Los Angeles Rams
Many knew that Eric Dickerson would be a stud once he arrived in the NFL, but no one knew just how fast he would become one of the most intimidating running backs in the NFL.
During his rookie season in 1983, Dickerson set the NFL on fire with rookie records for rushing attempts, yards and touchdowns.
The Rams would finish 9-7 and make it to the second round of the NFL playoffs behind Dickerson.
Most intimidating players: Eric Dickerson
48. 1969 Kansas City Chiefs
What made the 1969 Kansas City Chiefs so intimidating?
How about the fact that seven future Hall of Famers played on this team? Or that they finished the season with just three losses and went on to beat the NFL representatives—the Minnesota Vikings—in Super Bowl IV?
With nine All-Star players and a decisive win over the NFL in the last "World Championship Game," this Chiefs team was the most intimidating and dominating of any to ever play in Kansas City.
Most intimidating players: Bobby Bell, Willie Lanier, Buck Buchanan, Emmitt Thomas
47. 2009 New Orleans Saints
Why would a Super Bowl-winning team rank so low on our list?
Most fans do not associate finesse offenses with being intimidating—especially offenses based on a passing game and without a dominating 1,000-yard rusher.
The Saints rolled to a 13-0 start before sitting their starters to rest for the playoffs—a move that would pay off, as New Orleans defeated the Indianapolis Colts to win its first Super Bowl.
Most intimidating players: Drew Brees, Darren Sharper, Jonathan Vilma, Jeremy Shockey
46. 2010 Pittsburgh Steelers
Who cares if they didn't win the Super Bowl—the 2010 Pittsburgh Steelers featured an incredibly talented defense, anchored by one of the best safeties to ever play the game in Troy Polamalu.
The offense was equally scary with Big Ben Roethlisberger and Hines Ward, who has never been afraid to lay the wood on a helpless defender, putting up unbeatable numbers.
This roster is loaded with intimidating players on offense and defense.
Most intimidating players: James Harrison, Ryan Clark, Troy Polamalu, Hines Ward, LaMarr Woodley
45. 1991 Washington Redskins
The 1991 Washington Redskins are our first Super Bowl winner from the famed 1990s to make the list. Perhaps underrated in history, the '91 Redskins coasted through the playoffs without ever trailing in any game.
In 2010, ESPN named the 1991 Redskins the "greatest team of all time." While I disagree, vehemently, the 'Skins were an amazing team in the early '90s.
Led by Mark Rypien and Darrell Green, plus a couple of guys known as the "Hogs," this Redskins team dominated teams without overpowering personalities or dominating individual players.
A great team? Yes. They were not that intimidating though.
Most intimidating players: Joe Jacoby, Darrell Green, Charles Mann, Wilber Marshall
44. 2004 Philadelphia Eagles
One of the more complete teams of the last 10 years, the 2004 Philadelphia Eagles featured a powerful offense and a back-breaking defense, led by Jeremiah Trotter and Brian Dawkins.
The 2004 Eagles were perhaps the best in the Eagles' four-year run of NFC Championship Game appearances. This was the only Eagles team of the 2000s to make a Super Bowl—losing to the New England Patriots.
43. 2006 Indianapolis Colts
The lone Super Bowl-winning season in Peyton Manning's illustrious career. The 2006 version of the Indianapolis Colts featured an unstoppable offense and a defense made for speed.
Manning may not physically intimidate anyone, but what he does on a football field will give defensive coordinators nightmares in the weeks before and after playing No. 18.
Most intimidating players: Peyton Manning, Bob Sanders, Dwight Freeney
42. 2010 Green Bay Packers
Featuring an offense able to score at will and a defense with dominating players at almost every position, the 2010 Green Bay Packers rank as one of the best teams of the 21st century.
The Packers are led by Aaron Rodgers, but it's the defense that gets the mentioned on our most intimidating list.
Most intimidating players: Clay Matthews III, Charles Woodson, Tramon Williams, B.J. Raji
41. 1992 Dallas Cowboys
The Triplets—that's what the early 1990s Dallas Cowboys are known for.
Superstar offensive players Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin did their parts to strike fear in opponents, but don't forget about an offensive line that was dominant throughout the decade and an underrated defense.
Dallas has had many great teams throughout the history of the NFL. This is but one of them.
Most intimidating players: Michael Irvin, Jay Novacek, Nate Newton, Charles Haley, Ken Norton Jr.
40. 1998 Atlanta Falcons
Nicknamed the "Dirty Birds," the 1998 edition of the Atlanta Falcons knew how to hit hard and talk enough trash to knock opponents off their game.
They also had a player arrested for soliciting a prostitute on the eve of the Super Bowl, and somehow that adds to their intimidation score in my book.
If you have the balls to hook up with a hooker on the night before the biggest game of your life, you deserve mention here.
Over time, we have forgotten just how scary the Falcons were with Jamal Anderson running the ball, rookie Tim Dwight slicing the field as a return man and a smart, savvy veteran defense playing mistake-free football.
Most intimidating players: Jamal Anderson, Tim Dwight, Eugene Robinson, Jessie Tuggle, Keith Brooking
39. 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers
If you have never seen Hines Ward lay a crackback block on a linebacker or watched a 260-lb. running back streamroll through a defense, then you truly missed out on watching one of the toughest teams of our generation with the 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers.
Never afraid to lay a shot, whether legal or not, this Steeler team was physical from the opening whistle until the handshakes after the game.
If you love tough, hard-nosed football, you would love the 2005 Steelers.
Most intimidating players: Coach Bill Cowher, Jerome Bettis, Hines Ward, James Farrior, Casey Hampton, Troy Polamalu
38. 1977 Dallas Cowboys
If you were asked to design the toughest defensive line ever, you might start with two players from the 1977 Dallas Cowboys—Randy White and Ed Jones.
Known for their tough style of play, both White and Jones were experts in intimidation.
It did not hurt that Dallas also had a rookie running back by the name of Tony Dorsett scaring defensive players each week.
Most intimidating players: Tony Dorsett, Randy White, Ed Jones
37. 2010 New England Patriots
A team with a pretty boy quarterback and a head coach who looks like he just fell out of bed wouldn't normally be considered intimidating—until you watched them on the field.
The New England Patriots of 2010 were scary on paper and on the field, with a roster assembled to win it all.
While they wouldn't add another Super Bowl ring to the collection, the Patriots did finish with an NFL-best 14-2 record and a league-low 10 turnovers allowed.
What gives them reason for being mentioned here is the way their offense moved ever so efficiently, scoring at will during Brady's MVP season.
36. 1974 Pittsburgh Steelers
Where to begin?
This Steelers team found new ways to intimidate the opposition, and they are one of many "Steel Curtain" teams we'll mention over the course of the article.
The 1974 Steelers are notable for the way they used the NFL draft to intimidate their opponents. Finding four future Pro Football Hall of Famers in one draft class is a record, and one that will stand for a long time.
Fellow NFL teams knew once the Steelers took the field in September of 1974 that the balance of power in the NFL had changed.
All made possible by the 1974 NFL draft.
Most intimidating players: Jack Lambert, Lynn Swann, John Stallworth, Mike Webster, Franco Harris, "Mean" Joe Greene
35. 1994 San Francisco 49ers
The 1994 San Francisco 49ers may have been the best all-around team of the 1990s. They were also one of the most intimidating with an All-Star cast of players on both sides of the ball.
We could probably get away with just naming those players, but that may be too easy.
During the '94 season, the 49ers faced little competition in marching to a 13-3 record with an NFL-leading 505 points scored.
The 49ers were so intimidating at this point because of the sheer fact that everyone knew they were going to win, even the opposing team.
Most intimidating players: Steve Young, William Floyd, Jerry Rice, Deion Sanders, Brent Jones, Dana Stubblefield, Bryant Young, Ken Norton Jr., Lee Woodall, Tim McDonald
34. 1967-68 Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers of the 1967-68 seasons won the Ice Bowl, Super Bowl II and flat-out scared the piss out of any team that faced them during this two-year period.
With Bart Starr, Paul Hornung and Herb Adderley on the field, these Packers were all but unbeatable.
Of the early NFL teams we looked at for this article, the Packers of the late '60s kept popping up on our radar. They weren't only winners—they were scary to line up against too.
Imagine having to take on the team that won the first ever Super Bowl. That in itself is enough.
Most intimidating players: Herb Adderley, Paul Hornung, Bart Starr, Bob Jeter
33. 1971 Minnesota Vikings
As far as scary nicknames go, the "Purple People Eaters" may not rank among the top. As for the scariest players, the 1971 Minnesota Vikings have that nailed.
While they would not win a Super Bowl in 1971, the Vikings were building what would become one of the best defensive lines of all time during this run.
Imagine lining up against Ron Yary or Carl Eller and Alan Page.
Most intimidating players: Ron Yary, Carl Eller, Alan Page, Paul Krause
32. 1999 Tennessee Titans
The 1999 Tennessee Titans were a sound football team, with exceptional play from Steve McNair and Eddie George leading the way.
The Titans make our list for one play alone—the Music City Miracle.
Imagine being the Indianapolis Colts and having to take on the Titans one week after they had won on a last-second trick play.
You may not be superstitious or believe in karma, but after watching Frank Wycheck chuck the ball across field to Kevin Dyson, the belief that Tennessee was destined to win was paramount.
Most intimidating players: Eddie George, Steve McNair, Bruce Matthews, Jevon Kearse
31. 1982 Washington Redskins
With a nickname like "The Fun Bunch," you might not think much of the 1982 Washington Redskins. That was a mistake many NFL teams made.
With power players like John Riggins, Russ Grimm and the Hogs up front and a defense powered by the terrifying Dexter Manley, this was a team to be reckoned with.
The Hogs and the Fun Bunch represented a blend of football that could not be stopped with a one-dimensional defense—and stopped they were not.
Most intimidating players: Russ Grimm, Joe Jacoby, Dexter Manley, Jeff Bostic, Mark May
30. 1982-83 San Diego Chargers
High-powered offenses, as mentioned before, rarely rate on a list of intimidating teams or players. That's where this article is different from others.
What could be more intimidating than a team that posted 11 straight games of more than 400 yards on offense—an NFL record that still stands?
The San Diego Chargers of 1982 and '83 may have never won a Super Bowl, but their offensive assault was enough to put teams around the NFL on notice.
Most intimidating players: Dan Fouts, Wes Chandler, Charlie Joiner
29. 1970 Baltimore Colts
In losing just two games through the entire 1970 season, Johnny Unitas and his Baltimore Colts were recognized as the most dominant team of the time, putting up points at will and stopping opponents with a tough defensive line and active linebackers.
The Colts may be remembered for Unitas, but it was their defense that won them their first Super Bowl when they defeated the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V.
It didn't hurt that players like Bill Curry and Mike Curtis would forever be known for a lethal style of football that led to many of today's player safety rules.
Most intimidating players: Johnny Unitas, John Mackey, Bill Curry, Mike Curtis, Jerry Logan, Bubba Smith
28. 1971 Dallas Cowboys
During the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Dallas Cowboys became affectionately known as "America's Team"—due in large part to their record (at this time) six straight first-place finishes in the NFC.
By 1971, it wasn't a matter of if the Cowboys were going to make the playoffs, but how far would they go in the NFL's ultimate tournament.
In '71, Dallas would win appear in their second straight Super Bowl, defeating the high-powered Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VI.
Featuring two of the hardest hitters in NFL history, Bob Lilly and Mel Renfro, the Cowboys were the NFL's most intimidating team during the 1971 season.
Most intimidating players: Roger Staubach, Herb Adderley, Duane Thomas, John Niland, Rayfield Wright, Bob Lilly, Mel Renfro
27. 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Some readers prefer pure statistics instead of glossy flashbacks to greatness. When describing the dominance and intimidation of the 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, numbers speak much louder than any words.
The 2002 Buccaneers became the first team to lead the league in total defense, points allowed and interceptions since the great 1985 Chicago Bears.
They also held opposing quarterbacks to an insanely low 48.4 passer rating for the season. That's JaMarcus Russell low, folks.
Most intimidating players: Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, John Lynch
26. 2001 St. Louis Rams
The Greatest Show on Turf. That's what we referred to the early 2000 St. Louis Rams as, a moniker that seemed to fit pretty damn well.
Offenses can be scary and intimidating in their own right, especially when everyone in the stadium knows that your defense cannot stop them. That was the case during the 2001 season, as the Rams carved up the turf against the best defenses the NFL had to offer.
It didn't matter where you played them, because the Rams went 8-0 on the road too. They were, quite simply, unbeatable during the regular season.
Most intimidating players: Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce, Orlando Pace
25. 1990 Buffalo Bills
It's been 21 years, and I still want to kick Scott Norwood's ass—and I'm not even a Buffalo Bills fan.
The 1990 Bills were one of the most amazing teams, both offensively and defensively, that I have ever seen and probably ever will see.
With Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas and Andre Reed setting up the offense, the Bills featured a defense that flew all over the field with reckless abandon, knowing their offense would back them up if their gamble for a big play backfired.
Trouble is, it rarely backfired. The Bills were by far the best team on the field during the 1990 season, until they ran into the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants—Mr. Bill Belichick—and Norwood famously wet the bed in the biggest moment of his life.
Most intimidating players: Thurman Thomas, Bruce Smith, Cornelius Bennett, Darryl Talley, Andre Reed
24. 1995 Dallas Cowboys
The greatest team ever bought—that's how I will always think of the 1995 Dallas Cowboys.
Not that there is anything wrong with that. This isn't baseball, thank god. In the NFL it's fine that ownership spends on free agents. That's what the salary cap is for.
During the 1995 season, Jerry Jones spent wisely on his Cowboys and purchased a Super Bowl win—the team's third in four seasons.
With the Triplets at the height of their dominance and the addition of Deion Sanders to the defense, this team was simply too good to be beaten.
Most intimidating players: Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, Deion Sanders, Larry Allen, Leon Lett, Darren Woodson
23. 1997-98 Denver Broncos
What was so intimidating about the Denver Broncos during the 1997 and 1998 seasons? One thing, really: John Elway.
Beating Elway was a problem for NFL head coaches since he was drafted in 1983. By '97, he was at his best, a smart veteran with the mobility to tear a defense apart on the ground and through the air.
The addition of Terrell Davis only made things scarier for opposing defenses.
Not to take away from Elway or Davis, as both were freakishly good, but the most intimidating player of the late '90s Broncos was safety Steve Atwater.
Watching him break receivers in half with punishing hits that would bring fines and flags in today's NFL, Atwater was a major reason no teams challenged the Broncos center field on defense.
You also had Bill Romanowski, who is one of the most terrifying individuals in the history of sports.
Most intimidating players: John Elway, Terrell Davis, Steve Atwater, Neil Smith, Bill Romanowski, Shannon Sharpe, Jason Elam
22. 1996 Green Bay Packers
In 1996, the Green Bay Packers had the perfect mix of offense, defense and special teams to lead the NFL with a 13-3 record and win the franchise's 12th world championship.
En route to winning the Super Bowl, Green Bay went undefeated at home, had the highest-scoring offense in the NFL while allowing the fewest points and basically kicked ass and took names each week.
With Brett Favre, Reggie White and a cast of supporting characters as good as any roster in NFL history, these '96 Packers were a scary bunch to find yourself facing on Sunday.
Most intimidating players: Reggie White, Brett Favre, Edgar Bennett, Desmond Howard, Eugene Robinson, Mark Chmura
21. 1962 Green Bay Packers
The NFL's all-time record for rushing touchdowns in a season has stood for 49 years, surprising considering the change of the game and the many rushing records that have fallen since.
It was during the 1962 season that the Green Bay Packers set the record with 36 rushing touchdowns—a record that may never be broken.
Imagine the defeat of having a team line up and run the ball play after play, knowing the entire time that you can do nothing to stop them. Now that's intimidation.
If that were not enough, the '62 Packers featured the NFL's leader in interceptions, Willie Wood. They also had a middle linebacker you may recognize as one tough SOB—Ray Nitschke.
The '62 Packers weren't just intimidating—they may have been the most talented team in NFL history.
Most intimidating players: Bart Starr, Jim Taylor, Ray Nitschke, Willie Wood, Paul Hornung, Ron Kramer, Forrest Gregg, Bill Forester, Herb Adderley
20. 1998 Minnesota Vikings
The 1998 Minnesota Vikings may not have won a Super Bowl, thanks to Mr. Gary Anderson's lone missed field goal that season, but what they accomplished each week makes them one of the most intimidating teams in NFL history.
During the '98 season, the Vikings would win 15 games, score 556 points (a record at the time) and cruise to an NFC Central title.
Were we to have a tournament of the best and most intimidating teams in NFL history, it's likely the Vikings would be a high seed in the tourney if we could use the advantage of hindsight.
This Vikings team was one of the best to ever take the field in the entire league.
Most intimidating players: Randall Cunningham, Robert Smith, Randy Moss, Cris Carter, John Randle, Randall McDaniel, Todd Steussie, Ed McDaniel
19. 1990 New York Giants
Names like Jeff Hostetler, Ottis Anderson, Rodney Hampton and Reyna Thompson may not bring up old memories of the most intimidating teams in the NFL. But I bet one player from the 1990 New York Giants will.
While the 1990 season was not Taylor's best—in fact, it was a down season for him in general—his impact on offenses allowed his team to flourish.
The Giants would beat a favored Buffalo Bills super-team to win their second Super Bowl in five years.
Most intimidating players: Lawrence Taylor, Leonard Marshall, Mark Bavaro, Ottis Anderson, Reyna Thompson
18. 1975 Pittsburgh Steelers
I'm sure most of you were wondering when another Pittsburgh Steeler team would make the list. Don't worry—they have a few more spots here in the top 18.
The 1975 Steelers won a second straight Super Bowl on the strength of the '74 draft class mentioned beforehand (No. 36). It was this '75 team that would start to establish the dominance of the Steel Curtain era.
Most intimidating players: Rocky Bleier, Franco Harris, L.C. Greenwood, Joe Greene, Jack Lambert, Jack Ham, Mel Blount, Mike Wagner, Glen Edwards
17. 1941-43 Chicago Bears
I am doubting most of us were alive to witness the greatness of the 1941-42 Chicago Bears, but you don't have to take my word for it. They were good enough to leave one hell of a mark on the NFL record books.
In '42, the Bears went 11-0, besting their 1941 record of 10-1. The dominance these teams displayed was unmatched during their time.
The 1941 version of the Bears was winning its second consecutive NFL championship. Had George Halas not left as head coach in November to join the Army in World War II, it is widely believed the team would have capped a three-peat as NFL champs.
It would be okay, though, as the Bears would win the championship again in 1943.
Most intimidating players: Coach George Halas, Sid Luckman, Frank Maznicki, Gary Famiglietti
16. 1967-1970 Oakland Raiders
It may seem unfair to group the great Oakland Raider teams of the 1960s together, but so little changed in terms of rosters during this era that the players remain largely unchanged.
That shouldn't take away from the greatness that was the Raiders.
Masters of intimidation, players like Daryle Lamonica and George Blanda mentored youngster Gene Upshaw on the art of playing dirty and never getting caught.
The Raiders seemed to always punch first and were the best at avoiding flags. If that's not intimidating, I don't know what is.
Most intimidating players: Gene Upshaw, George Blanda, Daryle Lamonica, Jim Otto, Willie Brown, Harry Schuh
15. 1950 Los Angeles Rams
One of the greatest offensive teams of all time, the 1950 Los Angeles Rams averaged an NFL-record 38.8 points per game at a time when the forward pass was still considered a fluke.
With Norm Van Brocklin, Tom Fears and Elroy Hirsch on offense, the Rams helped legitimize the passing game we see in today's NFL.
Most intimidating during that '50 season was the fact that no one could stop the Rams offense. They scored an unbelievable 163 points in a three-game span, including 70- and 65-point totals in back-to-back weeks.
Most intimidating players: Norm Van Brocklin, Tom Fears, Elroy Hirsch, Bob Waterfield
14. 1972-73 Miami Dolphins
If winning every game isn't intimidating, I don't know what is.
So why are the Miami Dolphins ranked so low?
Largely because they won those games by beating a weak lineup of opponents. They do say you can only play the teams you're scheduled, but history is too kind to the '72 Dolphins, who feasted on opponents who won just 39.6 percent of their games.
Miami was certainly intimidating in its day, as teams facing them later in the season knew the responsibility of stopping greatness was on their backs.
If this were a ranking of the best teams of all time, Miami might be a little higher.
Most intimidating players: Larry Csonka, Larry Little, Bill Stanfill, Dick Anderson
13. 1978-79 Pittsburgh Steelers
Imagine looking at your schedule and realizing you had to play a Pittsburgh Steelers team that did not allow a first-quarter touchdown all season, or knowing you would face off against the best roster in the NFL at the time, if not ever.
That's what NFL teams had to face during the 1978-79 seasons when playing the Steelers.
This was the golden era of Steeler football, with an unmovable Steel Curtain defense and an offense with playmakers at virtually every skill position.
Most intimidating players: Franco Harris, Jack Lambert, Jack Ham, Joe Greene, Rocky Bleier, Mike Webster, Donnie Shell
12. 2008-09 Indianapolis Colts
We all know how hard the Indianapolis Colts have been to beat since they drafted Peyton Manning in 1998. The best years in Indy came during the 2008-09 seasons, when the Colts won 23 straight regular season games.
We tend to overlook teams of our generation when comparing them against the all-time greats, too often believing old means better. That's not so when looking at the intimidation factor Manning brings to the Colts offense.
Look back at the greatest quarterbacks in history—not teams, just the quarterbacks. Name one quarterback who scares you more as a fan than Manning.
I'm not even a Manning fan, quite the opposite, but I get a sick feeling in my stomach any time he has the ball late in a game.
That's intimidation, fellas.
Most intimidating players: Peyton Manning, Dwight Freeney, Bob Sanders, coach Tony Dungy, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark
11. 2000 St. Louis Rams
Many would consider the 1999 St. Louis Rams the better team, but remember that they largely came from nowhere to win the Super Bowl that season. They were Cinderella.
During the 2000 season, the Rams were less Cinderella and more Godzilla, killing any defense that dared step in front of them during the regular season.
St. Louis would set an NFL record with 7,075 yards on offense this season, terrifying defensive coordinators along the way.
The '99 season was much better for the Rams, and it help set up the intimidation the Rams would carry with them in 2000.
Most intimidating players: Coach Mike Martz, Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk, Torry Holt, Isaac Bruce, Orlando Pace
10. 1964 Cleveland Browns
How rare is it for one NFL team to feature the league leader in rushing yards and touchdown passes? In today's NFL, it's pretty rare. During the 1964 season, it happened in Cleveland.
Led by Jim Brown's 1,446 yards rushing and Frank Ryan's 25 passing touchdowns, the Browns steamrolled to a 10-3-1 record and an NFL championship.
Brown and Ryan would be joined by studs Paul Warfield and Lou Groza to become the most intimidating team of the 1960s.
What I have to point out here is that Jim Brown was at least 20 pounds bigger than some of his offensive linemen. Imagine that: an offensive lineman running faster than any player on the field. It would be like trying to tackle a bull.
9. 2003-04 New England Patriots
Winning 21 straight games, an NFL record, is our reason for including the 2003-04 New England Patriots on our list of the most intimidating teams in NFL history.
Think back to those two seasons not that long ago. Unless you are a diehard Indianapolis Colts fan, chances are you realized that no one was beating the Patriots during that span—and I freaking mean no one.
The Patriots won two straight Super Bowls, posting identical 14-2 records in both the '03 and '04 seasons, capping what may be the greatest two-year stretch in NFL history.
Most intimidating players: Coach Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, Rodney Harrison, Corey Dillon, Willie McGinest, Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel
8. 2000 Baltimore Ravens
Forget for a moment that the 2000 Baltimore Ravens were quarterbacked by Trent Dilfer and focus on this number: 165.
Why is this significant? Because that's how many points the Ravens allowed all season. That's 10 points per game, math fans. It's also nucking futs.
Just how good the 2000 Ravens were may be debatable in the course of history due to a weak passing game, but what their defense did during this season, and really in seasons thereafter, has been incredible.
And if you don't find Ray Lewis intimidating, just remember that he may have killed someone after the team won the Super Bowl this year.
Most intimidating players: Ray Lewis, Jamal Lewis, Rod Woodson, Shannon Sharpe, Trent Dilfer...OK, that one was a joke.
7. 1984 San Francisco 49ers
Coming off a Super Bowl win during the 1982 season, many wondered if the 49ers were for real. They settled those arguments with a 15-1 record in 1984 and a dominating performance to win Super Bowl XIX.
By this time Joe Montana was legendary around the league, as was Bill Walsh. For younger fans, this was like facing Tom Brady and Bill Belichick—only there was no Peyton Manning to debate against Montana like you can with Brady.
No, Joe Montana was it in 1984, and so were the 49ers. The unquestioned best team in the NFL, facing them each week was a devastating event for teams before the opening kickoff.
You didn't have to just worry about Joe Cool and the offense though, as hard hitter Ronnie Lott led the defense. One of the most feared hitters in NFL history, Lott changed the way offenses played the 49ers.
Most intimidating players: Coach Bill Walsh, Joe Montana, Roger Craig, Keena Turner, Ronnie Lott, Eric Wright
6. 1985 Chicago Bears
The legend of the 1985 Chicago Bears is part of the greatness of NFL history. Led by future Hall of Famers Mike Singletary, Richard Dent and Walter Payton, the Bears are remembered as one of the greatest teams of all time thanks in part to their dominance in '85.
A 15-1 record, a Super Bowl win, a stupid dance and one hell of a running back: That's what built the intimidation in Chicago. That, and playing in freezing Soldier Field, helped Chicago take on mythical qualities as it stormed through the league.
Most intimidating players: Coach Mike Ditka, Mike Singletary, Richard Dent, William Perry, Walter Payton, Jim McMahon, Steve McMichael, Dan Hampton, Dave Duerson, Wilber Marshall, Otis Wilson
5. 1986 New York Giants
The New York Giants of the late 1980s were an unstoppable force, if only because they had something no other team knew how to stop—linebacker Lawrence Taylor.
The Giants won many games during the decade, but no year was more intimidating than the squad assembled for the 1986 season.
Taylor would light the NFL on fire with 20.5 sacks in what was, at the time, the best season ever for a defensive player.
Judging on pure intimidation alone, no player in NFL history was more intimidating than LT.
Most intimidating players: Lawrence Taylor, Harry Carson, Gary Reasons, Carl Banks, Leonard Marshall, Mark Bavaro, Jim Burt, Joe Morris, Maurice Carthon
4. 1976 Oakland Raiders
In 1976, the Oakland Raiders featured a roster full of terrifying figures. It would be two more years until Jack "The Assassin" Tatum paralyzed wide receiver Darryl Stingley with a punishing hit, but his reputation was well founded by '76.
Tatum was not alone in Oakland. Known for their bad boy attitudes and tough-as-sh*t style of play, the 1976 Raiders remain one of the mythical teams from the "gridiron" days of football.
The team would lose just one game, a Week 4 loss to the Patriots. That loss fueled the fire in Oakland, as the team went on a rampage for the remainder of the season, resulting in a Super Bowl win.
If we could ask Pro Football Hall of Fame voters who the dirtiest, meanest team in NFL history was, I would feel confident betting my entire salary on the 1970s Raiders winning the vote.
Most intimidating players: Jack Tatum, Ted Hendricks, Art Shell, Gene Upshaw, Dave Casper, Willie Brown, Ken Stabler, Fred Biletnikoff, Cliff Branch
3. 2007 New England Patriots
When the New England Patriots traded for wide receiver Randy Moss during the 2007 NFL draft, all bets were off. It was that point that marked the "WTF" moment for other NFL teams. How the hell were they supposed to stop this offense and try to score on this defense?
It was a question that went unanswered, as the Patriots cruised to an NFL record 16-0 during the regular season on the strength of 589 points offensively, also an NFL record.
The defense was sound, applying a bend-but-don't-break approach and relying on turnovers in big spots, but it was the offense that couldn't be stopped.
Tom Brady set an NFL record with 50 touchdown passes, 23 of them (also a record) to Moss.
The greatest team to never win a Super Bowl, the 2007 New England Patriots were both fun and terrifying to watch.
Let me just add this...don't start with the "Spygate" BS in the comments.
The Patriots had to win those 16 games, and no amount of film study could have ever led to 18 straight wins. Bringing up "Spygate" makes you all look like sore losers.
Most intimidating players: Coach Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, Randy Moss, Rodney Harrison
2. 1921-23 Canton Bulldogs
The New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts have both assembled impressive runs in terms of consecutive wins. Neither of them can touch what the Canton Bulldogs started in 1921 and put the finishing touches on in 1923.
Not only did the Bulldogs go two seasons without a loss, they also posted an NFL record (still) 25 straight games without a loss. The only asterisk on the record books is that they did tie in three games during this time.
Still, 25 straight games without a loss? How demoralizing would it be to face a team that had not lost in two years?
Most intimidating players: Guy Chamberlin
1. 1988-89 San Francisco 49ers
You cannot get much more intimidating than what the San Francisco 49ers were to the NFL as the 1980s came to a close.
The so-called "Team of the '80s," the 49ers' dominance was well documented and well known around the league.
In 1988, the 49ers, led by Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, won the Super Bowl on the strength of a 10-6 record in coach Bill Walsh's final season. This set the stage for a run through the NFL in '89 that would leave opponents shaking.
The '89 version of the 49ers, this time with George Seifert as head coach, would lose just two games as they won a second straight Super Bowl. The '89 squad would be ranked by ESPN as the "Greatest Team of All Time."
The '88 49ers set it up, and in '89 they crushed it with an amazing season by perhaps the best team of all time.
Most intimidating players: Joe Montana, Steve Young, Roger Craig, Tom Rathman, Jerry Rice, John Taylor, Brent Jones, Steve Wallace, Bubba Paris, Kevin Fagan, Matt Millen, Ronnie Lott, Charles Haley, Bill Romanowski, Keena Turner