In the Super Bowl era, there have been some great defensive teams. In recent times, the Seattle Seahawks are the best in the business, ranking tops in points against each of the last three seasons. Seattle is led by its Legion of Boom, featuring Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas and Richard Sherman.
However, do they crack the top five defenses to ever play in a Super Bowl?
5. 2000 Baltimore Ravens
Some would argue this group should be higher on the list. The Ravens were a tremendous unit led by Ray Lewis, Rod Woodson and Tony Siragusa. Baltimore was dominant, but did not win its division and, surprisingly, was not the highest-ranked defense within the old AFC Central (the Tennessee Titans were No.1, the Ravens followed at No. 2). The Ravens are an all-time group, going an entire month without allowing a touchdown. Still, this is an accurate spot for Baltimore’s historic defense.
4. 1966 Green Bay Packers
The Packers had perhaps the best roster of all-time, featuring six Hall of Fame defenders on this team. Green Bay was loaded, with Willie Davis, Ray Nitschke, Henry Jordan and Dave Robinson all patrolling the front seven. The Packers were the top-ranked defense of the year, allowing 11.6 points per game before beating the American Football League’s Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl I. In 14 regular-season games, Green Bay held opponents under 95 passing yards five times.
3. 1975 Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers can lay claim to the best defense of all-time when talking about an extended period. Pittsburgh had an incredible team featuring Jack Lambert, Jack Ham, Joe Greene, Mel Blount and others, and they were devastating in 1975. The Steelers went 12-2 that year, ranking second in defense with 11.6 points/game allowed. Pittsburgh never went a game without forcing a turnover in 1975, accruing 11 in three playoff games. The Steelers beat the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl X, holding Roger Staubach and co. to 17 points.
2. 1985 Chicago Bears
You probably expected this would be the slam-dunk top defense. Not quite. While it was a very tough pick, the Bears fall second on the list because of roster and strength of schedule. Chicago played in a division with the Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions; none finished with a winning record. In the playoffs, Chicago beat a good New York Giants team before toppling Dieter Brock and Tony Eason for a championship. Great defense, incredible numbers (top-ranked in ’85) but not the best.
1. 1969 Kansas City Chiefs
This is the most underrated defense in pro football history. The ’69 Chiefs ranked first in almost every defensive category and the steamrolled through the playoffs. Kansas City throttled the top two offenses in the AFL, beating Joe Namath and the New York Jets before knocking off the Oakland Raiders, surrendering a combined 13 points. In Super Bowl IV, the Chiefs pounded the Minnesota Vikings 23-7, the highest-scoring NFL team. Kansas City had five Hall of Famers on defense, a feat unmatched since.