What Super Bowl Champion is the Greatest Team of All-Time? Here Are All 46 Super Bowl Winners, Ranked 1-46

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At the close of business this coming Sunday, the NFL will welcome the 47th Super Bowl champion to its most exclusive team fraternity.

So how do we rank the previous 46?

That’s a dangerous project, one guaranteed to bring arguments from many fan bases.

But I have decided I’m up to the task, especially after sampling a few of the old NFL Films Super Bowl productions from over the weekend.

ESPN did a somewhat similar list several years ago, ranking all 80 Super Bowl participants at the time.

That would really be starting too much trouble, ranking teams who have lost Super Bowls ahead of teams that actually got their name on the trophy.

So here it is, all 46 Super Bowl champions – starting with the dreaded Worst team ever to win the Super Bowl…

The Bottom 16

46.  1970 Baltimore Colts

Actually, naming the worst Super Bowl champion is not a hard decision.

The 1970 Colts went through much of the old AFL in the NFL’s first post-merger season and then defeated the third-year Cincinnati Bengals and Oakland Raiders. The Super Bowl V win was over the Dallas Cowboys in a game in which it was a shame someone had to win.

Incidentally, on the NFC side the Cowboys defeated the Detroit Lions in a Divisional playoff game in which the final score-line was 5-0. Here is some cool CBS post-game footage from the game with coach Tom Landry being interviewed.

Joe Namath and the Jets won Super Bowl III, but they go down as one of the worst Super Bowl champions ever.

Joe Namath and the Jets won Super Bowl III, but they go down as one of the worst Super Bowl champions ever.

45.  1968 New York Jets

Super Bowl III remains a benchmark event for professional football, and the Jets delivered in proving that the AFL had arrived in becoming equal with the original NFL.

From the highlights of that game though, it seemed like the Colts did not come to play that day. There have even been conspiracy theories over the years that the game was a “production.”

I don’t buy those theories, but I do believe that the ’68 Colts considered winning the old “NFL Championship” as the big game and mistakenly considered the Jets game as a mere formality.

44.  1969 Kansas City Chiefs

Hank Stram’s squad sent the old AFL out on a high note with a convincing trashing of the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV, proving the Jets upset of the previous year not to be a fluke.

The Chiefs were very talented, but the Vikings were perhaps the least impressive of 1960s’ “NFL Champions.” And Joe Kapp ranks near the bottom of starting QB’s ever in the big game.

43.  1967 Green Bay Packers

The Lombardi Era has always had its rightful place in league history. But the fifth and last of the Packers 1960s championships was its least impressive, as by this time Jim Taylor and Paul Hornung were among those who left the building.

Green Bay went 9-4-1 in the regular season. And then there was the Ice Bowl. Everyone knows the final chapter but does not talk about how Dallas rallied from 14-0 to lead 17-14 going into the Packers’ final drive.

If Bart Starr or a lineman slips on that final QB sneak, the Cowboys would have been NFL Champions. As it was, the Packers won, then took care of business against a young Oakland Raiders team two weeks later.

The following year the Packers were a 6-7-1 team, which started 20+ years of futility for the franchise.

42.  2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

I had to stick a somewhat recent champion near the bottom.

Controversy recently erupted over Tim Brown’s allegation that Bill Callahan “sabotaged” the game to let friend Jon Gruden win.

Watching the NFL Films production, it was interesting hearing Jerry Rice gripe in the first half about not getting the ball. Truth be told, Super Bowl 37 was decided when Raiders center Barrett Robbins went off the deep end in Tijuana a couple nights earlier.

Brad Johnson was the third-rated QB in the NFC that year, but defense (Sapp, John Lynch, etc.) carried this team.

41.  2005 Pittsburgh Steelers

It’s hard to slot the teams who caught fire at the right time.

The first sixth-seed to ever win the Super Bowl, the Steelers literally had to run the table after starting 7-5.

The signature moment of the playoff run en route to Super Bowl XL was Ben Roethlisberger’s tackle to prevent a would-be TD return in the Divisional playoff at Indianapolis.

40.  1980 Oakland Raiders

The first team who had to go through the Wild Card round to win it all.

A telling moment was Mike Davis picking off Brian Sipe in the infamous “Red Right 88″ play. With anyone other than the ailing Don Cockcroft kicking that day, Cleveland would have won.

Oakland’s championship was especially awkward with Pete Rozelle handing the SB XV trophy to Al Davis, who at the time was in a middle of a lawsuit with the league.

How would history have been different if this play had been ruled a fumble? We'll never know, but we'll always wonder.

How would history have been different if this play had been ruled a fumble? We’ll never know, but we’ll always wonder.

39.  2001 New England Patriots

Some people still put an asterisk on New England’s first championship in SB 36 because of the Tuck Rule.

Still, New England has to earn points for upsetting the heavily favored St. Louis Rams. The Pats would prove not to be a one-hit wonder in the decade that followed.

38.  1987 Washington Redskins

This was the Doug Williams team that exploded for 35 points in the second quarter of the Skins’ Super Bowl 22 win over Denver.

The team’s 11-4 regular season record was padded by the replacement team going 3-0 while the NFL varsity was on strike early in the season. And Timmy Smith’s 204 rushing yards ranks as the biggest one-hit wonder ever.

37.  1982 Washington Redskins

I would like to rank Joe Gibbs’ first championship team higher. They went 12-1 after finishing the previous campaign 8-8 (after starting 0-5).

The Miami Dolphins did not provide much opposition in SB 17. An early 76-yard David Woodley pass and a Fulton Walker kickoff return accounted for Miami’s two TDs that day. The ‘Skins were able to stick around until John Riggins (166 yards) took over late.

36.  1981 San Francisco 49ers

In real time, the Super Bowl 16 matchup at the Pontiac Silverdome between the 49ers and Cincinnati Bengals was an odd battle of Cinderellas, and two franchises who hadn’t amounted to much in the previous several seasons.

Of the Niners five championships teams, I’ll slot this as the worst. Joe Montana was a bit young yet and Roger Craig and Jerry Rice had not yet arrived.

35.  2000 Baltimore Ravens

The Super Bowl 35-winning team featured one of the best defenses in league history, and it began Ray Lewis’ “vindication.”

That defense needed to be nothing short of legendary to win with Trent Dilfer at QB. And Kerry Collins was easy pickings for the Ravens in Tampa.

34.  1974 Pittsburgh Steelers

The first of the Steelers’ four championship teams in the 70s was not close to peaking on the offensive side, but defensively was one of the best ever.

Franco Harris ran wild in an ugly 16-6 win outdoors in a frigid rain in New Orleans over the Vikings in SB 9. That game was 2-0 Pittsburgh at halftime.

Rookies on this team included Swann, Lambert, Stallworth, and Webster. The best was yet to come.

33.  1988 San Francisco 49ers

This team gets ranked relatively low only due to a 10-6 regular season that featured Steve Young stepping in at QB during the season.

The 49ers routed the Chicago Bears in frigid conditions at Soldier Field before winning an epic Super Bowl 23 over the Cincinnati Bengals with a late Montana drive.

nfl-playoffs-predictions-packers-super-bowl-aaron-rodgers-clay-matthews

Aaron Rodgers and Clay Matthews led the Packers on their red-hot run to end the 2010 season.

32.  2010 Green Bay Packers

Another team I will put relatively low for being a six-seed in the playoffs.

As I said during that season, the Pack in reality had to win six games consecutively at the end of the season, like a low-seed making an NCAA basketball tourney run.

Green Bay’s championship vindicated Aaron Rodgers and was achieved despite numerous injuries to key starters throughout the season.

31. 2003 New England Patriots

It’s kind of hard to knock the New England championship teams. Interestingly, the team that was undefeated in 2007 was arguably better than the three teams that won.

The Carolina Panthers took the Pats to the wire in SB 38 before the Tom Brady/Adam Vinatieri late-game heroics for the second time in three seasons.

Ricky Proehl would make a great bridesmaid at any wedding.

***

Where is the Greatest Show on Turf? How about Peyton Manning’s Colts? And the recent Giants’ championship teams?

Continue reading to find out.

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About Kurt Allen

Have written/blogged about sports since 2000, along with starting my popular Twitter feed in 2009. I also closely follow fantasy sports developments, along with events such as the NFL Draft.

Comments

  1. Brian Denny says:

    The 96 Packers deserve to be rated higher on the list. Reggie White was still an unstoppable force on defense and Favre could seemingly score at will. With the number one defense and number one offense I would put this team up against any Superbowl team except for the 85 Bears.

    • I understand that the best Lombardi teams were pre-Super Bowl era, but I agree with Brian that the ’96 Packer team should be top 10. I mean, no Packer teams in the top 15, really???

  2. 49ers won superbowl 24 55-10, not 55-20; I hope that was a typo

  3. you’re on crack if you think the ’91 redskins were the 13th best super bowl winning team. Easily top 5

  4. if the bears where that good, why didn’t they win more with that team…this is before free agency…clearly close games are the best…this guy must be from chicago!!!

    • busarider29 says:

      The article says “Greatest Team of All Time”, not “Greatest TeamS”. In other words, what team for ONE season was the greatest ever? Also, even before free agency, teams changed from one year to the next. So, the 1986 Bears team was not the exact same team as the 1985 Bears team in terms of personnel. That is why you don’t rate a Championship team in terms of Years, you rate them for the ONE season that they played and won it all THAT year. And yes, the ’85 Bears were THAT good. It was a foregone conclusion by mid-season they were going to win the Super Bowl. They recorded and released the Super Bowl Shuffle BEFORE the playoffs had even started!! Playoff scores were 21-0 over the Giants, 24-0 over the Rams, and 46-10 over the Patriots in the Super Bowl. So, 91-10 total score in the playoffs against playoff teams. Of the 10 point the Patriots scored, one was a FG that they got early when Payton fumbled on the game’s second play of the game. The TD they got was during garbage time when the Bears had 2nd and 3rd stringers out there late in the 4th quarter. To this day, that Super Bowl is still the most dominant by one team over another in Super Bowl history even though the 49ers over the Broncos had a more lopsided score (55-10). The Patriots looked like boys trying to play the game against men. It was really that bad. Lastly, there was never a team in the Super Bowl era that captured the hearts of all of America like that team did. They were “America’s Team” if only for that one year of 1985.

  5. easy any one of those giant SB victories rate better than your #1

    • I have rooted for the G-men for three decades now, so as much as I wish your statement was true, there is no possible way that any of the four Giant’s Super Bowl teams stack up to those incredible 85 Bears.
      While that team was great, as was their season, Ditka’s call to give the ball to the Fridge on the goal line is the worse coaching decision ever made in a Super Bowl game IMO, & is something I hold against him to this day. How the hell he doesn’t let Walter score that TD I don’t know. DItka has since called this the biggest blunder of his coaching career, & I couldn’t agree more.

      • I would still love to see that 2007 Giants team against the 85 Bears. The Bears were truly an unstoppable force, but the Giants D-Line that year played some of the most dominant football in recent memory. Eli doesn’t choke or fade against any competition (remember last years NFC championship – guy was hit more often than I can remember) and they had some playmakers behind a very good offensive line.

        While I think the Bears would win that matchup, I still think it would be one hell of a game. Definitely better than the 85 Patriots, that’s for sure.

  6. The1969 Chiefs were ranked FAR too low! That team had Len Dawson(Godfather of Inside the NFL!) Otis Taylor, Buck Buchanan, Curley Culp, Willie Lanier, etc.. ALL Hall Of Famers, PLUS they demolished the heavily favored Vikings helping to cement the inevitable merger of the AFL-NFL into the great league we have now! Not to mention this same team LOST Super Bowl 1 to the Packers!

  7. How are the 99 Rams not ranked higher? I remember one year they ran all the Super Bowl winners up until that point in time through a simulation against each other and the 99 Rams won 70% of the games, the most out of any other team for that experiment.

  8. How does that saying go until somebody beats you your still the champion Dolphins went undefeated and until somebody else does it they are the best you cant argue that

  9. Pretty good article, I’m a Saints fan and I think your list was pretty good, I do think the 73 Dolhins should of been higher, they were slated as being even better than the 72 Dolphins. The Saints were very similar to the Bears 1985 season on the exception of the dominating D, To me the bounty gate thing was a sham, all teams do it one way or another, I agree with the Kansas City comment they were a huge reason for the super bowls success. Good article.

  10. I disagree with much of this List. The 73 Dolphins were actually better than the 72 Dolphins. If you were to ask Don Shula he will refer to the 73 Dolphins as being a better and more complete team. I was there first hand growing up in Miami watching the Dolphins at the Orange Bowl. Much of this list is inaccurate.

  11. njersey5389 says:

    I’m a Giants fan, so I am biased, but I think the 1990 NY Giants team is underrated. Should be in the top 10. The 1990 Bills team, who lost the Super Bowl, should also be in the top 10. Those were 2 very good teams.

  12. The 2007 Giants fine, but the 2011 Giants DO NOT BELONG ANYWHERE NEAR WHERE THEY ARE. Especially in front of their own previous win. As well, that Cardinals team that the Steelers beat should get more credit and therefore that Steelers teem should be higher.

  13. And your qualifications to rank and critique these teams is?????????? Also, you talk about teams destroying an opponent in the biggest game of the year, yet, you down grade the Raiders in their win over the Redskins after the 1983 season. The Redskins won the regular season match-up, but the Raiders absolutely dismantled them in the Super Bowl in Tampa. Despite all of the media accolades of the Redskins being a dynasty, the game was over before half-time. The Raiders would have defeated the ‘Skins in a mall parking lot. Absolute domination, and it could have been worse if not for Coach Flores calling off the dogs in the 4thQ and just running out the clock, even inside the 10-yard line. Could have been 45 or even 48 points for the Raiders.

  14. TrailStrider says:

    You ranked the 2005 Steelers at 41 and the 2007 Giants at 19. Huh? Both number 6 seeds who got hot at the end of the season. Those two teams should be right next to each other in the rankings. Then you say if the Ravens win this year, they’ll be around 30. If the 49ers win they’s be 15-19. Makes no sense. Your rankings need some work.

  15. 1992 Cowboys were the best. Offense and Defense were stacked at every position. They beat a strong 49ers team to get to that Super Bowl. Any other team on the AFC side would have suffered the same fate as the Bills did.

    • bygremlin says:

      i toatally agree with what chad said “1992 Cowboys were the best. Offense and Defense were stacked at every position. They beat a strong 49ers team to get to that Super Bowl. Any other team on the AFC side would have suffered the same fate as the Bills did”……this article claims “best s.b. winners” but the writer clearly means best season or something. the cowboys were so domination in that s.b. that they would have set records for most turnovers & points scored if not for lett showboating(good play by bebe)……as for most dominating s.b. victory this one of the best(83 raiders & 89 49ners the others) this team was so stacked that they lost 13 & 12 players from that team over the next 2yrs alone at the start of free agency(not the salary cap joke we have today) and still got back 2yrs later.

  16. You correctly pointed out the limited one dimensional offense of the 1990 Giants, but failed to mention that they had their backup QB at the helm (& for a few moments in the Super Bowl it looked like he too was going to be sidelined),& while Hoss got the job done, this had to play a large factor in their simplified offensive game plans.

  17. I noticed there were no Vikings teams. Oh, that’s right, they have never won a super bowl.

  18. buckeyesRus says:

    The Steelers teams of the ’70s would take any of these teams to a whippin’ behind the woodshed! They should be 1-4.

    • The 1972 Dolphins beat The Steelers
      (in Pittsburg) for the AFC Championship enroute to winning the Super Bowl over George Allen and the Skins.

    • Pittsburgh has the most NFL Superbowl rings, how are they number 34 right under the Ravens. Ravens only have one ring and you ranked them behind the Steelers, get out of here.

      • Not to defend this mediocre list, but who cares who has the most rings? It’s talking about best champions in the season they won the championship. Gee, one of the five Steelers titles is below the one Ravens title? How terrible! And no wonder, as that one Ravens team was better than the 2005 Steeler team that’s ranked below them.

  19. the patriots wins on the sb should be ranked lower, tuck rule, spygate, enough said

  20. There 31 Team in the NFL than there the PITTSBURGH STEELERS!

  21. rsjem1979 says:

    If you think there are 29 teams better than the 1990 Giants (including the 07 and 11 Giants) you’re out of your damn mind.

    Started 10-0, their only losses were a road defeat in Philly (the NFCs #4 seed at 10-6), at San Francisco (7-3 MNF final) and the home game against the eventual AFC Champion Bills, a game in which Phil Simms was lost to injury. They allowed the fewest points in the NFL, and in the playoffs they destroyed the NFC Central champion Bears 31-3, ended the 49ers quest for a three-peat by holding them to 13 points, then shut down a Bills team that had scored 95 points in the AFC playoffs.

  22. PeacemakerTX says:

    What???? Try re-posting after your are sober…

  23. Fun article, and always good for a barroom debate. However, the ’72 Dolphins have to be ranked number 1 … not only did they go undefeated, they backed it up in ’73, proving they were not a one-trick pony.

  24. Kurt
    How can you possibly think th 2002 Buccaneer team is nothing less than exceptional. How many Hall Of Famers will come from that squad? You are an idiot to listen to Tim Brown trying to get his name back in the spotlight. Jerry Rice did NOT agree with his convictions and no one else did either. Get a Grip!!

  25. spockmckoy says:

    the rams/steeler game was close because the steelers were playing against themselves. former steeler coaches were with the rams and new all…….

  26. Apparently you’ve never heard but the tuck rule was proven a legitimate call and as for spygate… you really should look up the facts about that ‘scandal’ before posting a blatantly ignorant remark saying the Patriots SB victories are illegitimate because of that. It is truly ignorant to think that the Patriots were the only team videotaping that kind of stuff. Even the NFL Commissioner acknowledged it did not taint their SB victories.

    • Try selling that tuck rule fiasco as legit to anyone not from Massachusetts & see how far that gets you. Also, of course the Pats weren’t the only team w/ a cam-corder, they however were the ones that got caught.

      The advantage gained from these tapes played such a negligible role in the overall success of the Pats that their championships aren’t deemed illegitimate because of it, but because the advantage is there, their success will be (correctly) forever associated w/ it.

  27. The Bucs had one of the greatest Defenses of all time, however they also had an avg QB and offense at best.

  28. Not a SINGLE entry (until now!) that could have just simply read: GOOD JOB, KURT!

    Someone takes (I imagine) a great chunk of his OWN time to come up with such a research/text, which is then put out there on the web for absolutely FREE for (supposedly) our sheer reading pleasure, yet, the guy gets piled on ten-fold more than he gets a word of congrats, etc.

    Sad country, sad mentality of the people, sad state of affairs… :/

    • “Now let’s get ready to argue.
      Which team is rated too high? Which is rated too low? State your cases in the comment section below.”……Sounds to me like the author wanted people to bring alternative points of view through their comments, not a bunch of brown nosing adda boys.

    • Thanks everyone for the praise, and thanks for the criticisms!!!

  29. Don’t agree with the list, wouldn’t being a 6th seed and still winning it all (playing everyplayoff game on the road) be something that should be praised instead of counted against? Very sad foo.

  30. Become Legendary says:

    Yeah foo, why you hatin on the ’02 Bucs? They had a #historicdefense, you just like to hate on everything.

  31. Master Grant says:

    This is the best list ever! just like my # 4 draft pick of dion waiters!

  32. #NiceTerrible overlooking the fact that DEFENSE should be taken into consideration when making a list like this. That kinda, sorta matters.

  33. The Bears arent ranked high enough

  34. I humbly suggest that the 2007 and 2011 Giants whould be rated higher. They were not favored to even get through the playoffs, yet they won both Super Bowl games handily, and both against the Pats, who were supposedly unbeatable with their Super Q-back.
    Baby-face Eli can get it done, with the Giants focused squarely on winning.
    Just a tought …

  35. The best Team ever steelers 6 championships no way to argue that. Screw the cowboys and the fudge packers

    • Cheesehead says:

      lol only 6 championships, let me know when the Steelers catch up to the Packers 13. Good job, you are almost half way there/ 96 Packers are #2 on the list, end of discussion.

  36. 11. 2009 New Orleans Saints – “I say there was a lot more motivation than a few C-notes to knock out opposing players on that team.” Uhh…what is THAT supposed to mean?!? That game was definitely a top ten…btw

  37. Dolphins wouldn’t have won 4 of 7 in those simulations. Your simulation has the Bears giving up 16 or more points to the Dolphins offense in 5 of 7 games. They only gave up that many 16+ point games in an entire 1985 season and playoff run. The Dolphins offense also only scored over 30 points in the entire 1972 season 3 times. You have them doing that against aguably the best defense ever 2 out of 7 games. By proxy you are calling the 1972 Dolphins offense the greatest of all time. The simulations are not based on anything logical or historical.

  38. When I was 5 years old, in 1937, my Dad took my to Griffith stadium to watch the Redskins beat the Giants 13 to 3, in their First game in D.C.. I was there on Dec. 7, 1941, when they beat the Eagles 20-14. I have been a FAN ever since. To me- a FAN is indeed a FANatic – i.e. “one who goes beyond what is reaonable”. I Am A Redskind Fan. Asked “What is your favorite team” – I respond = “I have TWO favorite teams – the Washington Redskins, and whom ever beats the Cowboys”.
    Meet me at Hooters on a game day between the two, I will allow you to buy me one.
    Ed / egadams32@gmail.com
    [[and-I am sorry to say- I now live in Dallas, so my Hooters is the one up on Beltline]]
    love them wings

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