The only question that would remain if the Packers were to finish the regular season undefeated and also win the Super Bowl is if the 2011 Packers would be the best team in NFL history.
The general consensus among sports media is that the 1985 Chicago Bears and the 1972 Miami Dolphins are two of the greatest teams to ever play the game. Are the Green Bay Packers better than either of those teams?
Maybe not, but would seven more wins propel them past Chicago and Miami as the best team in NFL history? It's a question worth asking, and a question we will try to decide in the rest of this article.
Would they be the best team talent-wise?
This may be the biggest factor because, logically, the best team in NFL history would be the one with the most talent. Overall talent-wise, the 2011 Packers match up favorably to the talent of the 1985 Bears and 1972 Dolphins.
With players like Aaron Rodgers, Greg Jennings, Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson, Green Bay's roster is filled with players that have potential to eventually end up in the Hall of Fame. However, where the Packers come up short is with that talent performing up to their full potential on the field.
Sure, their offense is incredibly impressive, but their defense has been one of the worst in the league. The problem isn't with the amount of great players, it's with those players playing each and every game at their absolute best.
The 1985 Bears dominated nearly every opponent they faced. They outscored opponents by an overwhelming mark of 456-198. Their offense was efficient, but their defense was what made them truly great.
Their defense was punishing, impenetrable and any other intimidating word you could think of. Simply put, the 1985 Bears defense was the greatest in NFL history.
With the 1972 Dolphins, there wasn't as much talent as the 1985 Bears. In fact, the Dolphins weren't even close to the '85 Bears in the talent department. They rarely dominated opponents and were actually underdogs in the Super Bowl against the Washington Redskins. It was a great run for this team, but it wasn't as talented as either the 1985 Bears or the 2011 Packers.
The Bears rank first in the talent department, with the Packers next, followed by the Dolphins.
Is there an "elite superstar" player?
While this may not be a super important factor in deciding the best team, the media desires a darling on the greatest team in NFL history.
The Bears had Walter "Sweetness" Payton while the Dolphins had Larry Csonka on the field as their best player. This is one area that the 2011 Packers surpass both the Bears and Dolphins.
Right now, Aaron Rodgers is playing the most difficult position on the field at a level that has never been seen before. His 2011 season has the possibility as going down as the greatest season for a quarterback in NFL history.
If that isn't elite, I don't know what is.
How much does undefeated really mean?
Does the fact that the 1985 Bears finished the regular season 15-1 really make them less great?
While a 16-0 regular season is quite the achievement, it doesn't make a team the greatest in NFL history. For example, the 2007 New England Patriots became the second team in NFL history to finish the regular season with an undefeated record, but very few would consider them in the same category as the 1985 Bears.
However, the fact that a team could win 19 straight games has to be worth something when considering the greatest team ever. To play at that high of a level for such an extended period of time is simply incredible.
Should the Packers finish the regular season 16-0 and go on to win the Super Bowl, they would absolutely need to be considered one of the best teams in NFL history.
Would a 19-0 season make them the best, though?
Here is the ultimate question, and the answer is that it wouldn't make them the best team. However, it would put them directly behind the 1985 Bears as the second-greatest team in NFL history.
A 19-0 season is certainly impressive and would forever be remembered, but it wouldn't make them the best team in NFL history.