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Who do you guys think is the greatest NFL defense ever?

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  • ...Just curious, since we are now in the off-season, who you guys would rank as the best NFL Defenses in NFL history? You know, the most dominant? For me, personally, my list would be:

    1-1985 Bears - Dominance like none other over the course of one season.
    2-Steel Curtain Steelers- Best defensive dynasty ever.
    3-2000 Ravens-Hold record for least points given over over a 16 game season and won Super Bowl.
    4-2013 Seahawks - Dominated choke artist Peyton Manning and Broncos high-scoring offense.
    Last edited by StouffersPizza on Mon Jan 07, 2019 4:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    StouffersPizza
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  • 4 would be 2013 Seahawks BTW not 2014.....just sayin"....not voting.
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  • Since I only started watching around 2001 and the game has changed so much since the old days it's unfair for me to say for certain. The LOB was pretty great but not unstoppable, I remember many games where they had lapses like getting lit up by the Bucs during their SB year or blowing a multiple touchdown lead to Andy Dalton sometimes it was attributed to an inconsistent pass rush.

    Browner was OKAY but got abused a lot by faster receivers cause he was just too slow and I actually really thought Maxwell was underrated. The LOB at its best to me was with Maxwell and Lane before he broke his leg. That was horrific as I thought if he didn't get hurt we win. As soon as Lane went out is when Brady started heating up.

    The '02 Bucs deserve mention. Soooo many great players on that defense. Even if for only one game maybe the Giants ferocious pass rush being able to stop the 18-0 Patriots.
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  • 2013 Seahawks have got to be in the conversation. Top 5 for sure.
    Aros
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  • StouffersPizza wrote:...Just curious, since we are now in the off-season, who you guys would rank as the best NFL Defenses in NFL history? You know, the most dominant? For me, personally, my list would be:

    1-1985 Bears - Dominance like none other over the course of one season.
    2-Steel Curtain Steelers- Best defensive dynasty ever.
    3-2000 Ravens-Hold record for least points given over over a 16 game season and won Super Bowl.
    4-2014 Seahawks - Dominated choke artist Peyton Manning and Broncos high-scoring offense.


    Relative to the era they played in is one thing, but if you factor in modernity. So in other words if you had to go out and play modern teams of today, with the current rules.

    Those older teams feature smaller, slower, bad bodied type players, with more favorable rules for defense. Individually there were players on those older teams that would transcend and could play in any era, but not collectively.


    1) 2012-2016 Seahawks.

    Built to shutdown Franchise QBs in the modern passing era Is why I give them the edge. Hawkblogger ran some numbers comparing these all-time great D's relative to their era, and they came in 1st. The LOB were several octaves better than anyone relative to their era avg'd over the 4-5 years of their dominance. Only got 1 Super Bowl out of it though which is a shame.

    2) '99-Through the 00's Ravens

    Went with a broader swath otherwise you leave out Ed Reed, T Suggs, & Holati Ngata which they were not on the 2000 team.

    3) '99-Early 00's Bucs

    4) 2015-2016 Broncos

    John Elway got his ass kicked by the LOB, so he went and copied it, and had very effective results. I ding them because they only had a two year run of dominace, or they would be higher.

    5) Late 00's - Early 10's Steelers
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  • Hawks. They shut down maybe the best offense in history. They had to do it with all the rule changes. Could you imagine if Kam and Earl could have been taking WRs and TEs heads off like the old Raiders or Sherm could have mauled WRs like Blount from the Steelers did.
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  • Fade, I appreciate your response, but just FYI - both football outsiders and profootballreference rank the 85 Bears ahead of Seattle in their adjusted for era statistical analysis. Football outsiders gave the 85 Bears Defense a more impressive DVOA, and profootballreference gave the 85 Bears as a team, a significantly higher SRS than Seattle. I would trust their in-depth statistical analysis and objectivity over Hawkblogger's for a variety of obvious reasons.
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  • I would also add that perhaps the most impressive thing about the 85 Bears defense was how it absolutely annihilated every single team it faced in the post season on its way to the Super Bowl. They remain the only defense to not surrender a single point on their way to the Super Bowl. Seattle was damn lucky to beat the Niners in that NFC Championship game and came pretty damn close to losing at home to Colin Kaepernick. The '85 Bears had no such close call.
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  • 1976 Steelers got off to a slow start (1-4) but in games 6 thru 14 they went 9-0 and gave up a total of 28 points including 5 shutouts
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  • HawksnDawgs35 wrote:1976 Steelers got off to a slow start (1-4) but in games 6 thru 14 they went 9-0 and gave up a total of 28 points including 5 shutouts



    Its the defense that changed the NFL. They had to make new rules to open up offenses
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  • StouffersPizza wrote:I would also add that perhaps the most impressive thing about the 85 Bears defense was how it absolutely annihilated every single team it faced in the post season on its way to the Super Bowl. They remain the only defense to not surrender a single point on their way to the Super Bowl. Seattle was damn lucky to beat the Niners in that NFC Championship game and came pretty damn close to losing at home to Colin Kaepernick. The '85 Bears had no such close call.


    Depends on how you define "greatness". Your saying great equals most dominant. Then I agree the Bears were most dominant/great defense.

    The Bears ran Buddy Ryans' 46 D which was the new exotic scheme of the day. Offenses of that era were ill equipped to handle it... until they adjusted to it a few years later. Bill Walsh's WC offense rendered it extinct by the end of the 80's. No one runs the 46 today, for good reason. Passing offenses of today would make it look silly. Also, take a look at the Bears roster and the weight of the lineman. The fridge was the only player (defense or offense) over 280 lbs. From a physical perspective players of the 80's simply don't compare to today. I realize its none of the above is the fault of the Bears, but that's what makes comparing teams from different eras a challenge.

    In reality, the 2013 Seahawks team would destroy the 1985 Bears if they played against each other... based on physicality and strengths of current players alone, let alone modern offensive and defensive schematics.

    If you say who is the "best defense" in terms of... Who is best equipped to stop any offense in any era of football history?... I'd put the Hawks defense above any. We know they could stop any of the best offenses in NFL history. We know this because it was tested against the statistically best offense in NFL history... and nearly shut them out.
    Last edited by SHOCKER315 on Mon Jan 07, 2019 6:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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  • Aros wrote:2013 Seahawks have got to be in the conversation. Top 5 for sure.


    Especially when you consider all the rule changes over the past 15 years to promote offense.

    I’d also put the 2015 Broncos in the conversation as well.
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  • Given the rules to aid modern offenses, the 2013 LOB has to be in consideration. Sounds homerish I know, but it’s not farfetched. Outside of that, the 2000 Ravens are also up there. The other defenses mentioned are great but how would they fair in today’s NFL? I feel that’s a legitimate question
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  • As much as I respect what the Bears did, they did not exactly face great offenses along the way to their title. The 46 defense was an eight man front that dared people to throw by shutting down the running game and brought blitzes on obvious passing downs. Facing the Giants, Rams and the Patriots who had only one real receiving threat each was very beneficial. Those offenses were also not known for their scoring, they combined to score over thirty points in only eleven out of their forty-eight regular season games (I know what you are thinking, teams scored so much more in 2013 than they did in 1985, but the scoring average for the NFL in 1985 was 21.5 and 23.4 in 2013). Compare that to the offenses that the Seahawks faced to get their championship, the Saints by themselves outdid each of them individually. The Niners scored more than thirty points in nine of their games and the Broncos failed to score more than thirty points in only three regular season games.

    The Ravens defense is a far better comparison given they were not really a gimmick defense as the '85 Bears were. They also faced good offenses on their way to their championship. The Seahawks have a vast advantage in the secondary. I'd say that the Ravens had a solid advantage on the defensive line. What it comes down to is the linebackers. I'd say that KJ Wright is definitely better than Jamie Sharper was. Peter Boulware was far better than our rotation. So, it comes down to whether you believe that Bobby Wagner in 2013 was better than Ray Lewis in 2000. The numbers go back and forth to make any determination. I'd say that Lewis had a massive advantage over Wagner in the fact that Adams was much better than Mebane and Siragusa was vastly better than Tony McDaniel to the point that Lewis could shoot gaps and get the higher numbers in tackles for loss. Wagner also had more coverage responsibilities. For me, I think that Wagner was better with more range and diversity than Lewis.
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  • 2013 Seahwks did what they did with every rule made to help the offense. Allow the 13 team to cover like the 70s Stealers were allowed to, and we would have held teams under 8 points a game.
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  • The Gritz Blitz. :lol:
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  • 2013 Seahawks and it isn’t even close.

    Prove Me Wrong.
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  • Everyone talks about 85 Bears, but the fact is, Don Shula and Dan Marino gave a blueprint of how to destroy it that very year. There's a reason the Bears only won 1 Super Bowl, and there's a reason no one uses the 46 anymore. It would suck with today's passing game. If the Patriots hadn't upset Miami in the 85-86 AFC Championship Game, I firmly believe Dan Marino would have a Super Bowl ring.
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  • Maulbert wrote:Everyone talks about 85 Bears, but the fact is, Don Shula and Dan Marino gave a blueprint of how to destroy it that very year. There's a reason the Bears only won 1 Super Bowl, and there's a reason no one uses the 46 anymore. It would suck with today's passing game. If the Patriots hadn't upset Miami in the 85-86 AFC Championship Game, I firmly believe Dan Marino would have a Super Bowl ring.

    The Bears were a powerhouse even after the 85 season. The main reason they struggled is due to their offensive production, and lack of a viable passer (their main guy was always injured). Ditka also played a role in the dismantling of the 85 Bears.
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  • justafan wrote:Hawks. They shut down maybe the best offense in history. They had to do it with all the rule changes. Could you imagine if Kam and Earl could have been taking WRs and TEs heads off like the old Raiders or Sherm could have mauled WRs like Blount from the Steelers did.



    I really think this point has to be considered. The Bears, Ravens, and Steelers Defenses of old would have really struggled in today's NFL. If Kam and Sherman were allowed to be as physical as those Defenses were, I know 100% the Seahawks would have put up even better numbers. In the era of today's rules, I don't think there would be a better Defense than the 2013 Seahawks. They were built to have the perfect combo of intimidation, power, speed, physicality, and still stay within the rules that favor Offenses.
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  • HawkFan72 wrote:
    justafan wrote:Hawks. They shut down maybe the best offense in history. They had to do it with all the rule changes. Could you imagine if Kam and Earl could have been taking WRs and TEs heads off like the old Raiders or Sherm could have mauled WRs like Blount from the Steelers did.



    I really think this point has to be considered. The Bears, Ravens, and Steelers Defenses of old would have really struggled in today's NFL. If Kam and Sherman were allowed to be as physical as those Defenses were, I know 100% the Seahawks would have put up even better numbers. In the era of today's rules, I don't think there would be a better Defense than the 2013 Seahawks. They were built to have the perfect combo of intimidation, power, speed, physicality, and still stay within the rules that favor Offenses.


    Agreed with this. Call me a homer, call it recency bias, call it whatever -- the 2013 (really 2012-2016) was the best defense I have ever seen. I can't imagine what they would've done if they were allowed to play as physical as those historical defenses.
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  • Tough to truly compare teams/units across decades. Fun to do, but you can't really compare modern day NFL play to play in the 80s. So many rule changes and the athletes are so much bigger and faster overall it seems.
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  • Best Scoring Defense 4 years in a Row in the modern Pass Happy, offensively favored rules.

    4 years in a row...
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  • ivotuk wrote:Best Scoring Defense 4 years in a Row in the modern Pass Happy, offensively favored rules.

    4 years in a row...


    Only one team equaled or bettered that, and they played when the NFL had only 12 teams.
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  • The best defense of all-time is the 91' Eagles and it's really not even close. We're talking about a defense that held QBs to under 45% completions. They had 55 sacks, 43 forced fumbles. 26 Ints, and gave up less than 3 YPC rushing. Keeping in mind they played 6 divisional games against the 1st, 4th, and 6th offenses in the league. Those stats are impressive on their own but considering they had the 4th worst offense in the league it becomes significantly more impressive.
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  • Purple People Eaters should be on the list.
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  • I'm partial to the 2000 Ravens. I think having a defense good enough to win a Super Bowl with Dilfer is remarkable.
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  • Steelers, I don't care if they were not chiseled athletes, todays players could not play a game in that era without being on the IR after the first half, completely different mentality and toughness with those players. The rules were less constricting on both offense and defense. Give those players the same training and diet and support to build their bodies todays have with their old school mentality and you would have a hell of a Monster.
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  • If you go by the rules the defenses were forced to play with then the list looks like this.

    2013 Seahawks
    2015 Broncos
    2000 Ravens
    2002 Buccaneers
    2008 Steelers

    The teams from the '60s and '70s were cool, but they got to play with easy rules, they could kill WR at the line and over the middle. They could also throw QB's around like rag dolls.

    If we go by the results of their era without regard to the rules.


    1976 Steelers
    2013 Seahawks
    1969 Vikings
    1985 Bears
    2000 Ravens


    The best defenses that no one knows about because the offense they had were god awful.

    1991 Eagles
    1992 Seahawks
    2004 Bills
    1988 Vikings
    2012 Bears
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  • 2013 hawks
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  • chris98251 wrote:Steelers, I don't care if they were not chiseled athletes, todays players could not play a game in that era without being on the IR after the first half, completely different mentality and toughness with those players. The rules were less constricting on both offense and defense. Give those players the same training and diet and support to build their bodies todays have with their old school mentality and you would have a hell of a Monster.

    Agree ..Young generation just does not get it.
    Football was a bloodbath..I really do miss those days.
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