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The 2019 San Francisco 49ers and Kansas Burghal Chiefs will become the 107th and 108th Super Bowl participants. Through the years, there accept been several ascendant squads, some that bent lightning in a canteen and others acutely assertive for abundance that ultimately fell short.
With that in apperception as Super Bowl LIV approaches, actuality are what I accept to be the 54 greatest teams to comedy on Super Sunday … and not all of them won:
1. 1985 Bears (won Super Bowl XX): Pure dominance. Their 15 regular-season wins came by an boilerplate of 18.1 points. The aegis calm 64 sacks while acceptance aloof 12.4 credibility a week. Chicago shut out the Giants and Rams in the NFC playoffs afore an ballsy 46-10 Super Bowl dismantling of New England. All told, the Bears outscored their postseason opponents 91-10. Sure, it would accept been nice to see a rematch with Dan Marino and the Dolphins, who handed Chicago its alone accident of 1985, on Super Sunday. And maybe you’d like the best aggregation of all time – arguably – to affection a added acclaimed quarterback than Jim McMahon. But the actuality that an aperture led by Walter Payton (1,551 hasty yards) was about accidental additionally illustrates aloof how transcendent Buddy Ryan’s “46 defense” was. And a little flair should calculation for something, and with McMahon, Payton, Ryan, “Refrigerator” Perry, Mike Singletary, drillmaster Mike Ditka and abounding others – most accepting ablaze turns with “The Super Bowl Shuffle” – the ’85 Bears had character(s) in spades.
2. 1984 49ers (won Super Bowl XIX): They lacked the attractiveness of the ’85 Bears and conceivably don’t get their due accustomed the actual adjacency to that Chicago team. It’s also challenging to analyze the abundant Bill Walsh-Joe Montana San Francisco teams that bedeviled the 1980s. But this agglomeration was unique. These Niners were the aboriginal to win 15 regular-season amateur (average allowance of achievement was about 17 points), a accomplishment Chicago would bout a year later – and they abide the alone teams to accomplishment 18-1 and claim rings. Before airless a amazing Dolphins team, Marino’s best, 38-16 in the Super Bowl, the 49ers baffled the Giants and Bears by a accumulated account of 44-10 in the NFC playoffs (those franchises would win the abutting two Super Bowls with teams baronial amid the best ever). And this all occurred a year afore Jerry Rice arrived.
3. 1989 49ers (won Super Bowl XXIV): Stacking them up adjoin their ’84 aggregation engenders a amber adjoin boilerplate debate. The ’89 Niners – Rice by now the league’s top wideout – were a blow beneath appalling in the approved season, activity 14-2 with an boilerplate achievement allowance aloof abbreviate of 14 points. But boy did that ’89 juggernaut hit overdrive in the playoffs, acceptable its three amateur by a accumulated 126-26. Their 55-10 beatdown of the Broncos is the best askew in Super Bowl history and additionally represents the best credibility denticulate by one team. About the postseason antagonism for the ’89 Niners didn’t access what the ’84 aggregation faced. With a career-best 112.4 QB rating, Montana acceptable alliance (and, later, Super Bowl) MVP honors.
4. 1972 Dolphins (won Super Bowl VII): Yes, it’s the alone aggregation to win a Super Bowl afterwards bottomward a game (17-0), and there’s no absolute counterargument for “perfection.” But it’s additionally a apathetic argument. Miami won its three postseason amateur by a accumulated 17 points. It additionally feasted on a alarming regular-season agenda that included aloof two teams finishing with acceptable annal (both a middling 8-6). This isn’t meant to adumbration the Fins and their “No-Name Defense,” a agenda with six Hall of Famers additional Don Shula, the winningest drillmaster in NFL history. But ambience matters, and it already seems a acknowledgment baronial the ’72 Dolphins advanced of 1970s aeon in Pittsburgh, Dallas and alike Oakland – not to acknowledgment clubs advanced ranked on this list. A appropriate accumulation absolutely but not the best appropriate for my money.
5. 1991 Redskins (won Super Bowl XXVI): After activity 14-2 and outscoring their foes by 261 credibility in the approved season, they swept through the playoffs with an boilerplate allowance of achievement bigger than 20 points. The alone Washington aggregation to win a Super Bowl in a non-strike season, these underappreciated ‘Skins would accept gone all the way in best years. They topped 40 credibility bristles times and blanked three teams, so able balance – and that connected to appropriate teams and acknowledgment man extraordinaire Brian Mitchell.
6. 1994 49ers (won Super Bowl XXIX): With QB Steve Young now at the helm, they became the alone Niners aggregation to exhausted 500 credibility in the approved season. Afterwards disappointment a three-peat bid by the Cowboys, they cruised able the Chargers in the Super Bowl, back Young threw a game-record six TD passes (while Rice and Ricky Watters found the end area three times apiece). And don’t balloon the added ancillary of the ball, which featured arresting amateur of the year Deion Sanders.
7. 1975 Steelers (won Super Bowl X): It “feels” a blow aweless cat-and-mouse this connected to acknowledgment the Steel Curtain dynasty, conceivably the league’s greatest. The issue? None of those teams seemed to affection its abundance of Hall of Famers at a accompanying apex, the aegis abundantly assuming the way in the aboriginal ’70s afore the aperture absolutely flourished afterwards in the decade. (The 1976 Steelers, who did not win the Super Bowl, ability accept been the best of their era, but injuries waylaid them in postseason.) Still, the ’75 team’s case is acute accustomed a 12-2 almanac and the bigger point cogwheel ( 211) in authorization history. Bandy in a Super Bowl win adjoin a Cowboys aggregation that was about as good, and you accept the adequacy of a assertive admirable acceptance as one of the NFL’s 10 greatest teams.
8. 1999 Rams (won Super Bowl XXXIV): Though abounding adult casual attacks had shined previously, the “Greatest Appearance on Turf” was in some ways the exhausted of today’s pass-oriented game. QB Kurt Warner, RB Marshall Faulk and WRs Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt absolutely resembled a bold of “Madden” appear to life, St. Louis’ 13 regular-season wins advancing by an boilerplate of about 23 points. Remarkably consistent, the Rams were captivated to beneath than 20 credibility aloof already (in the NFC appellation annular by Tampa Bay) and eclipsed 30 credibility 13 times. And Warner’s ascent from complete alien to alliance MVP and, ultimately, a Hall of Famer is a quintessential rags-to-riches tale. If there’s a blemish, it would be a affected playoff run that included a semi-controversial win in the above 11-6 defeat of the Bucs.
9. 1996 Packers (won Super Bowl XXXI): It may assume agnostic to account QB Brett Favre’s Packers advanced of Vince Lombardi’s teams. But the 1960s absolutism – it won bristles NFL championships in seven years – was at its acme afore the Super Bowl came into existence, the 1962 copy the arch accumulating of talent. Three decades later, Favre was in the bosom of acceptable the alone amateur to acquire MVP accouterments in three afterwards seasons. Reggie White, arguably the best arresting lineman ever, remained a force, accession a almanac three sacks of Patriots QB Drew Bledsoe in the Super Bowl. And from a numbers standpoint, this club ranks agreeably with any in Green Bay’s vaunted history, activity 13-3 in the approved division afore trashing its playoff opponents by an boilerplate of 17.3 points.
10. 1973 Dolphins (won Super Bowl VIII): Though the group only went 15-2, playoffs included, proponents accept this Miami aggregation ability accept been above to the best ’72 squad. The ’73 Fins were absolutely added ascendant in postseason, their boilerplate allowance of achievement 17.3 points.
BEST MOMENTS: 54 greatest in Super Bowl history
GREATEST PLAYERS: Who were the 54 best in Super Bowl history?
EVERY SUPER BOWL RANKED: Active bottomward every bold from best to worst
11. 2013 Seahawks (won Super Bowl XLVIII): They get my vote as the capital single-season aggregation of the 21st century. Patriots admirers will absolutely disagree, citing Seattle’s accident to New England in the afterward year’s Super Bowl, admitting best anybody can apparently accede Pete Carroll able the Pats that title. Conceivably added germane, the “Legion of Boom” and Co. thoroughly throttled Denver, antic the best abounding aperture in alliance history, 43-8 in the Super Bowl two weeks afterwards the Broncos handled the Patriots in the AFC championship game. Be absorbing to see how history commendations the LOB accustomed what it able in this era, surrendering a paltry 172 casual yards per bold in 2013.
12. 1978 Steelers (won Super Bowl XIII): The aperture had conceivably overtaken the acclaimed aegis by then, apparent by a 35-31 achievement over Dallas back alliance MVP Terry Bradshaw won the aboriginal of his two Super Bowl MVPs.
13. 1998 Broncos (won Super Bowl XXXIII): Their appellation aegis was abstraction up as legendary, what with a 13-0 alpha to the division and RB Terrell Davis on his way to 2,008 hasty yards and the MVP trophy. Denver admirers admired seeing QB John Elway retire as the Super Bowl MVP … and apparently breathed a blow of abatement that the Broncos drew Atlanta instead of Minnesota on Super Sunday.
14. 1966 Packers (won Super Bowl I): After a apathetic start, they pulled abroad to win the aboriginal Super Bowl 35-10 – for you nitpickers, the bold was clearly dubbed the “AFL-NFL Apple Championship Game” at the time – which came with absolutely a bit of burden for Lombardi back the apple affected such an aftereffect was a foregone conclusion.
15. 1968 Jets (won Super Bowl III): Their battleground Super Bowl defeat of the Colts, affirmed by audacious QB Joe Namath, is broadly admired as the most important bold in the history of able football for legitimizing the awaiting alliance of the AFL and NFL. Admitting adapted underdogs adjoin Baltimore, the Jets weren’t a fluke, fueled by Hall of Famer Namath’s abysmal casual to a brace of 1,100-yard receivers (George Sauer and HoFer Don Maynard). Yet it was RB Matt Snell’s active and an underrated aegis that put the anchor on the Colts in a 16-7 celebration that wasn’t that close.
16. 2007 Patriots (lost Super Bowl XLII): They had a bad bold at the affliction time, almost accident the Super Bowl 17-14 to the Giants. Point conceded, but still … This New England band charcoal the abandoned aggregation to cantankerous a 16-0 approved season. QB Tom Brady became the aboriginal amateur to bandy 50 TDs in a season, 23 to WR Randy Moss – still a single-season almanac for scoring grabs. The Pats outscored the action by an boilerplate of 19.7 points, calmly the best in this appreciative franchise’s history, above 30 credibility denticulate in 13 of 19 games. They couldn’t abutting the NFL’s aboriginal 19-0 season, but they still deserve a aerial branch on this account … alike afterwards a trophy.
17. 2016 Patriots (won Super Bowl LI): They overcame Brady’s four-game “Deflategate” suspension, TE Rob Gronkowski’s season-ending injury and a 28-3 third-quarter arrears adjoin the Falcons to appear with the aboriginal overtime achievement in Super Bowl history.
18. 1971 Cowboys (won Super Bowl VI): With drillmaster Tom Landry, QB Roger Staubach and the Bob Lilly-led “Doomsday Defense,” acceptable luck award a bigger copy of what would become “America’s Team.” Dallas limited the Dolphins, who would go best the afterward year, to a Super Bowl record-low three points.
19. 1969 Chiefs (won Super Bowl IV): They get overshadowed by the ’68 Jets but apparently had the bigger accumulating of aptitude while giving the AFL its additional Super Bowl win afore the 1970 merger. A aegis that boasted six Hall of Famers deserves added acclamation afterwards acceptance the atomic points, rushing yards, casual yards and absolute yards in the AFL that year while announcement a league-high 47 takeaways.
20. 1992 Cowboys (won Super Bowl XXVII): Let’s bless them the best of the 1990s “Triplets” Cowboys. Dallas set a authorization almanac with 13 regular-season wins afore Michael Irvin, Emmitt Smith and Super Bowl MVP Troy Aikman buried their absolutism banderole with a 52-17 Super Bowl assault of Buffalo … admitting DT Leon Lett’s showboating amount his aggregation the Super Sunday scoring record.
21. 1968 Colts (lost Super Bowl III): They’ll always buck the cantankerous of surrendering the NFL’s perceived ascendancy afterwards accepting accursed by the Jets. But above-mentioned to that, Baltimore was authoritative its case as the best aggregation ever, alike with Hall of Fame QB Johnny Unitas sidelined. Led by alliance MVP Earl Morrall, the Colts went 13-1, acceptable their regular-season amateur by an boilerplate of 20.6 points. Baltimore took the NFL acme by collectively assault the Vikings and Browns 58-14 in the playoffs.
22. 1986 Giants (won Super Bowl XXI): Big Blue’s aboriginal Super Bowl aggregation was led by LB Lawrence Taylor, the aftermost arresting amateur called alliance MVP. But QB Phil Simms blanket the appearance on Super Sunday, commutual 22 of 25 passes in a 39-20 defeat of Elway’s Broncos. New York won its three playoff amateur by an boilerplate of 27.3 points, including a 49-3 beatdown of Montana’s Niners.
23. 2017 Eagles (won Super Bowl LII): When accepted alliance MVP Carson Wentz was absent to a burst ACL in Anniversary 14, it seemed a foregone cessation that Philadelphia’s Super Bowl aridity would endure. But Nick Foles stepped into the aperture and won Super Bowl MVP honors, winning a blood-tingling 41-33 shootout with Brady that included a almanac 1,151 yards of offense. “Philly Special” indeed.
24. 2009 Saints (won Super Bowl XLIV): They started 13-0, but a three-game accelerate to end the approved division appropriate addition affiliate of playoff futility. Drillmaster Sean Payton and QB Drew Brees, however, wound up throwing a Lombardi Gras affair four years afterwards the burghal suffered Hurricane Katrina, assault teams quarterbacked by Warner, Favre and Peyton Manning in postseason.
25. 2004 Patriots (won Super Bowl XXXIX): The additional time a authorization won three Super Bowls in four years and the aftermost to repeat, these Patriots accustomed a almanac by acceptable 21 amateur in a row, a band accomplished by the 2003 crew.
26. 2000 Ravens (won Super Bowl XXXV): Their ascendancy is all the added absorbing because they didn’t win the AFC Central nor averaged 21 credibility a week. Naturally, aegis was the adventure of this team, which accustomed aloof 10.3 credibility per game, atomic back the schedule expanded to 16 amateur in 1978. In four playoff wins, Baltimore ceded a bare 23 points, and Super Bowl MVP Ray Lewis’ aggregation pitched a annihilation adjoin the Giants (New York’s credibility came off a alpha return).
27. 1976 Raiders (won Super Bowl XI): Though their 13-1 almanac suggests a cakewalk, Oakland scuffled through the aboriginal allotment of the season, alike adversity a 31-point accident at New England. But the Silver & Black ailing late, rolling over Minnesota’s “Purple People Eaters” 32-14 in the Super Bowl.
28. 2002 Buccaneers (won Super Bowl XXXVII): Using their acclaimed “Tampa 2” defense – with advice from first-year drillmaster Jon Gruden – the Bucs alveolate their alone appellation with a absolute Super Bowl defeat of the Raiders, whom Gruden accomplished the antecedent year. Tampa Bay best off alliance MVP Rich Gannon bristles times, three of those swipes of the pick-six variety.
29. 1997 Broncos (won Super Bowl XXXII): They didn’t win the AFC West but did assuredly cleft the franchise’s aboriginal championship, burdensome playoff animus on Jacksonville afore Elway, Davis and Co. dethroned Favre’s Packers.
30. 2014 Patriots (won Super Bowl XLIX): Lombardi No. 4 accustomed 10 years afterwards Lombardi No. 3. But New England concluded its mini-drought in affecting fashion, amateur DB Malcolm Butler snuffing Seattle’s echo bid with his goal-line aces of Russell Wilson.
31. 1979 Steelers (won Super Bowl XIV): The Steel Curtain affected for its fourth and final Super Bowl achievement adjoin a 9-7 Rams aggregation afore affairs abroad in the fourth quarter.
32. 1977 Cowboys (won Super Bowl XII): Doomsday II showed up in the Super Bowl, banishment eight Denver turnovers. D-linemen Harvey Martin and Randy White are the alone players to allotment Super Bowl MVP honors. Dallas’ boilerplate allowance of achievement in postseason was 21.3 points.
33. 1983 Raiders (won Super Bowl XVIII): They were actual acceptable in the approved season, activity 12-4, but hit the afterburners in the playoffs, acceptable three amateur by an boilerplate of 24.3 points, dismantling a Redskins band in the Super Bowl that had the adequacy of greatness. The alone aggregation to accompany a Lombardi Bays to Los Angeles.
34. 1993 Cowboys (won Super Bowl XXVIII): Virtually unstoppable already Smith concluded his two-game holdout. He went on to win alliance and Super Bowl MVP honors.
35. 2010 Packers (won Super Bowl XLV): Their fourth Super Bowl achievement came via a wild-card playoff run as QB Aaron Rodgers clearly emerged from Favre’s shadow.
36. 2013 Broncos (lost Super Bowl XLVIII): The alone aggregation to top 600 credibility (606), address abundantly of Manning’s almanac 5,477 yards and 55 TDs through the air. About they’re always tainted for accepting smoked by Seattle in the Super Bowl.
37. 1967 Packers (won Super Bowl II): The absolutism was ambagious bottomward in Lombardi’s final division but acceptable abundant to blooper able Dallas in the allegorical “Ice Bowl” afore thrashing the AFL’s Raiders for what was finer a Green Bay three-peat accustomed the Pack additionally won the 1965 NFL title.
38. 1995 Cowboys (won Super Bowl XXX): The aboriginal time a club won the Super Bowl three times in four years. Glitz above the Triplets with Sanders’ arrival.
39. 1967 Raiders (lost Super Bowl II): Thoroughly ascendant on alley to AFL crown, activity 13-1 afore awkward Houston 40-7 for the championship. But Oakland was no bout for the crumbling Packers, accident the Super Bowl 33-14.
40. 1969 Vikings (lost Super Bowl IV): Like the Colts the antecedent year, they were accepted to cruise to a title. But Minnesota, boasting what was probably the fiercest edition of the “Purple People Eaters,” suffered the aboriginal of its four Super Bowl setbacks in an eight-year span.
41. 1983 Redskins (lost Super Bowl XVIII): They denticulate 541 credibility in the approved season, a almanac that stood for 15 years, but were shockingly thrashed by the Raiders while striving for a Super Bowl repeat.
42. 1990 Giants (won Super Bowl XXV): Bold apprenticeship from Bill Parcells and abundant abatement casting from Jeff Hostetler – Simms went bottomward with a burst bottom in Anniversary 15 – accustomed New York to agitated San Francisco and Buffalo on the way to its additional Super Bowl win in bristles seasons.
43. 2003 Patriots (won Super Bowl XXXVIII): They went 14-2, yet eight of their wins were by alone one score. That trend connected in the Super Bowl, back New England survived Carolina 32-29.
44. 1981 49ers (won Super Bowl XVI): Vaulted by “The Catch” – Montana to Dwight Clark – in the NFC championship bold vanquishing of Dallas, a about accumulation of unknowns brought home the aboriginal of San Francisco’s bristles titles in a 14-season stretch.
45. 2005 Steelers (won Super Bowl XL): They didn’t attending about as absorbing in the approved division as the antecedent year’s 15-1 squad. But the wild-card Steelers (11-5), helped by some playoff luck (Carson Palmer’s injury, Mike Vanderjagt’s absent FG, Jerome Bettis’ goal-line bollix in Indianapolis, favorable Super Bowl officiating adjoin Seattle) beatific the Bus into the dusk in style.
46. 2011 Patriots (lost Super Bowl XLVI): Would Gronkowski accept snared Brady’s Hail Mary for a Super Bowl phenomenon had the ablaze bound end not been saddled with a aerial abate sprain? What if wide-open WR Wes Welker hadn’t alone that canyon with allowance to run and aloof four account to go? We’ll never know. If alone TB12 could bandy to himself, appropriate Gisele?
47. 1978 Cowboys (lost Super Bowl XIII): If alone Hall of Fame TE Jackie Smith had captivated on to what would accept been a TD, Dallas might have salvaged a Super Bowl breach with the Steelers and staked its own affirmation as aggregation of the ’70s.
48. 1988 49ers (won Super Bowl XXIII): They compensated for a forgettable approved division (10-6 record) by smoker Minnesota and Chicago in NFC’s playoff bracket by accumulated 62-12 account afore Montana engineered signature 92-yard drive to adios Bengals in Super Bowl’s final minute.
49. 1974 Steelers (won Super Bowl IX): Aided by the finest amateur chic anytime (Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert, John Stallworth, Mike Webster and Donnie Shell), they brought home Pittsburgh’s aboriginal championship by airless Minnesota.
50. 2018 Patriots (won Super Bowl LIII): Methodical advance to record-tying sixth Lombardi Bays abundantly lacked ability and anguish up actuality the final division (presumably) for baroque Gronk.
51. 2008 Steelers (won Super Bowl XLIII): QB Ben Roethlisberger and WR Santonio Holmes snatched arena No. 6 for Pittsburgh, admitting disturbing to exhausted agilely admired Arizona in a awful absorbing Super Bowl apparently amount this aegis a abode in the pantheon.
52. 2001 Patriots (won Super Bowl XXXVI): Despite Brady’s bewitched admission as a starter, including that arguable “Tuck Rule” win over Oakland in the playoffs, no one gave them a attempt adjoin St. Louis. Oops. A ablaze bold plan from Bill Belichick, able bold administration from TB12, and Adam Vinatieri’s clamp bang launched a absolutism no one foresaw.
53. 2007 Giants (won Super Bowl XLII): Overcame an animal 0-2 alpha to cleft a wild-card berth, a aisle that culminated with that ballsy agitated of advanced best Patriots. David Tyree’s “Helmet Catch” became one of league’s signature moments.
54. 2001 Rams (lost Super Bowl XXXVI): The alone aggregation in authorization history to win 14 games, they were on the bend of absolutism status afore accepting ambushed by New England’s beginning empire.
Other Super Bowl winners: 1970 Colts, 1980 Raiders, 1982 Redskins, 1987 Redskins, 2006 Colts, 2011 Giants, 2012 Ravens, 2015 Broncos
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis.
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