Ranking the Super Bowl Champions

For those of you who enjoy the Power Rankings I do during the season here is a look at the efficiency rankings of all the Super Bowl champions. For those unfamiliar with the rankings what these percentiles measure is the percent a team either scores or prevents an opponent from scoring above or below their schedules average for the season. So for example a team with a scoring efficiency of 25% means that team scored 25% more points per game than their opponents gave up that season. A defensive score of 25% means that a team held their opponents to 25% below their normal scoring output on the season. The stats are for regular season only.

While most people consider the 1985 Bears the greatest team of all time they actually only rank 4th on this system. The top team is the little praised Redskins who really dominated the league in 1991. The team’s opponents allowed just 19 PPG while the Redskins scored over 30. It’s the top performing scoring unit in the history. The defense wasn’t a slouch either holding teams to 24% below their averages.

The 1996 Packers, who looked like they were going to be the next dynasty franchise, ranked second with a tremendous all around tea. The 73 Dolphins rank 3rd and were far superior to the undefeated team in 1972 that faced a much easier schedule. The 75 Steelers fill out the top 10.  The worst SB champions have been the 70 Colts, 11 Giants, 07 Giants, 01 Patriots, and 87 Redskins, though it’s the bottom 4 that are teams that really surprise as being on the list of champions.

The most productive scoring came from the 91 Redskins, 77 Cowboys, 98 Broncos, 09 Saints, and 94 49ers. Only two teams had a below average scoring output and those were the 01 Patriots and 02 Buccaneers. The 90 Giants, 00 Ravens, and 81 49ers would round out the bottom 5. Defensively the best unit was not the 85 Bears or 00 Ravens but the 73 Dolphins who just edge ot the 02 Buccaneers, who I think people forget when discussing the great defensive teams. The 66 Packers, 85 Bears, and 75 Steelers are the other best ranking teams. At the bottom of the list are the 06 Colts, 11 Giants, 09 Saints, 07 Giants, and 98 Broncos, all of whom were below average.

Perhaps not so surprisingly is that no teams from the current era are close to the top of this list as the NFL is filled with parity and a lack of dominant teams that can run all the way to a title. The 2004 Patriots just cracked the top 10 and the next closest team is the 00 Ravens at 19 and 10 Packers at 22. Of the 13 lowest ranking teams, 6 are from 2001 onwards.

The current era will be represented better by either the Seahawks or Broncos either of whom would rank in the top 20. The Broncos would have the best scoring output of any team on this list but would also grab the “title” for worst defense and it would be by a wide margin. It would be unlikely  to see either mark broken anytime soon. The Seahawks defense would rank 9th all time, which is pretty impressive considering the way the rules have skewed to the offenses in this era.

The table below should be fully sortable.

Super Bowl Champion Rankings

RankYearTeamOffDefTotal
11991Washington Redskins60.77%24.51%85.28%
21996Green Bay Packers45.84%32.45%78.29%
31973Miami Dolphins30.38%45.89%76.27%
41985Chicago Bears31.03%43.10%74.13%
51975Pittsburgh Steelers24.49%42.65%67.14%
61984San Francisco 49?ers36.26%28.10%64.36%
71966Green Bay Packers18.57%43.55%62.12%
81999St. Louis Rams39.72%22.12%61.84%
91994San Francisco 49?ers48.21%10.52%58.73%
102004New England Patriots31.97%26.73%58.70%
111969Kansas City Chiefs16.30%40.95%57.25%
121977Dallas Cowboys54.44%2.23%56.67%
131972Miami Dolphins19.37%35.96%55.33%
141993Dallas Cowboys29.30%25.13%54.43%
151979Pittsburgh Steelers30.93%23.05%53.98%
161997Denver Broncos39.62%13.61%53.23%
171989San Francisco 49?ers27.18%25.88%53.06%
181998Denver Broncos51.09%-0.48%50.61%
192000Baltimore Ravens5.62%42.35%47.97%
201992Dallas Cowboys31.01%16.59%47.60%
211971Dallas Cowboys40.34%6.54%46.88%
222010Green Bay Packers12.70%33.37%46.07%
231978Pittsburgh Steelers13.02%33.05%46.07%
241995Dallas Cowboys29.72%15.68%45.40%
251967Green Bay Packers16.18%28.73%44.91%
262008Pittsburgh Steelers9.30%35.15%44.45%
272009New Orleans Saints50.80%-6.76%44.04%
281976Oakland Raiders31.73%12.10%43.83%
292002Tampa Bay Buccaneers-2.94%45.79%42.85%
302005Pittsburgh Steelers22.48%20.24%42.72%
311986New York Giants13.39%27.10%40.49%
321982Washington Redskins13.18%24.98%38.16%
331990New York Giants1.17%36.89%38.06%
341968New York Jets33.21%4.01%37.22%
352003New England Patriots12.74%23.67%36.41%
361974Pittsburgh Steelers8.66%25.50%34.16%
371981San Francisco 49?ers6.42%24.07%30.49%
381983Oakland Raiders20.68%8.27%28.95%
391988San Francisco 49?ers19.16%8.88%28.04%
402006Indianapolis Colts32.58%-7.96%24.62%
411980Oakland Raiders12.23%6.33%18.56%
422012Baltimore Ravens11.44%6.74%18.18%
431987Washington Redskins7.13%10.26%17.39%
442001New England Patriots-1.54%12.58%11.04%
452007New York Giants9.94%-0.61%9.33%
462011New York Giants15.29%-7.09%8.20%
471970Baltimore Colts8.02%-0.07%7.95%


 

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