So our last time time out we took a look at the top five college football national champions of the last 20 years and I still feel confident in that list. Trying to figure out the top five Super Bowl champions of the last 20 years was a bit more difficult. This are not going to be in order like college, rather just more of a general here are maybe the best five. Again, this was difficult.
The first team that came to mind was the 2013 Seattle Seahawks that systematically dismantled the Denver Broncos. This was the peak of the Seahawks’ run and their strongest team with three members of their secondary getting named to the All-Pro team. The defense was otherworldly, leading the NFL in points allowed, yards allowed and takeaways. Their three losses were all in one score contests.
The offense held up their end of the bargain too with steady play all year from Russell Wilson at quarterback, Marshawn Lynch running people over at tailback and a group of okay wide receivers. This was a dominate team that went 13-3 and got after the Broncos in the big game of the year. Let’s not forget the year Denver had going into this game either with a record setting offense and a red hot Peyton Manning under center. Seattle deserves to be on this list for how they handled that Denver team.
You might not expect this team but the 2000 Baltimore Ravens were really good team. Well, really good defensive team. Their offense kept them from winning their division but, as the old saying goes, defense wins championships. Led by controversial linebacker Ray Lewis, the Ravens held teams to around 10 points a game all season and never allowed more than 10 points in the four playoff games they were in.
The New York Giants were like lambs to the slaughter in the Super Bowl despite having one of the best ground games in the league and a steady quarterback. Baltimore’s defense picked off Kerry Collins four times with a blowout win. The Ravens were a team dominated by defense and rode that to one of their two Super Bowl trophies.
Up next, and this will probably get some flak but this is my top five. The 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs sold their soul for Jon Gruden to coach this team and it worked out for them with their lone Super Bowl win. Tampa won a franchise record 12 games and had, you guessed it, a pretty outstanding defense with five players being named to the All-Pro team. Tampa held opponents to a passer rating of 48.4 through the season.
Tampa Bay got past their cold weather issues, having a horrid record in freezing temperatures, in the NFC Championship game to face the Oakland Raiders in the Super Bowl. This is where this gets a little interesting. Gruden designed the Oakland offense and had a general idea of what they were going to do. Tampa slaughtered them by 27 points and picked off five passes, three of them going back for touchdowns.
To this day the 2004 New England Patriots may be the best overall team in the Brady led era. No disrespect to the 2007 team but they didn’t win the championship that season. This Pats team went 14-2 and one of those two losses was just a one score game.
Their roster wasn’t full of a lot of house hold names but they put together a great team and really had their way with a couple of really good teams in the playoffs in the Colts and Steelers, winning both of those games by more than two touchdowns.
There’s just not much to say about this team because they were just so well rounded with not a lot of ego. Just one of the best quarterbacks of all time doing his thing with a lack of a great supporting cast to win a second straight Super Bowl.
Finally, with one more spot, we are going to go with the greatest show on turf, the 1999 St. Louis Rams. The Rams had an offense to remember that season led by Iowa’s own Kurt Warner who came out of nowhere to become an NFL MVP. The Rams dropped three games that year, all just by one score.
The offense, though, was the name of the game even as their defense really held up their end of the bargain. St. Louis led the league in yards, passing yards, scoring, rushing defense and sacks that season. So it’s a little unfair to just say this team was all offense when their defense was also fantastic.
The Super Bowl itself was really the first memorable one that I watched. How many games can be that bad when they are defined by one play? The Tackle. STL linebacker Mike Jones stopping Tennessee’s Kevin Dyson on the one yard line as time expired.
So those are my five best Super Bowl teams of the past 20 years. Disagree? Agree? Let’s hear yours for both college and professional.