John Elway says Broncos among best defenses in NFL history

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The Broncos showed they were the best defense in the NFL over the course of the 2015 season and the playoffs.

And the man who built them thinks they deserve to be considered among the best of all-time.

During the Broncos victory parade yesterday, executive vice president John Elway made that bold proclamation to adoring fans.

“I know one thing: I wouldn’t want to play them. I’m glad I didn’t have to play them,” Elway said, via the Denver Post. “Obviously, we’re biased in the fact that we rode their coattails all the way to the championship.

“To me, to sit here and say, if you look at it, if you look at the performance in that Super Bowl, they are in the argument to be one of the best ever. It’s hard to say that they’re going to be that, but they’re in the argument, which is a compliment to them.”

Of course, there are other teams which might disagree with Elway, and you can too, down in the comments section.

163 responses to “John Elway says Broncos among best defenses in NFL history

  1. If you take into consideration how much the rules have changed in favor of the offense since 1985, then yes, you have to put the Broncos in that elite category.

    Not sure if they are the best, but at least deserve to be in the conversation.

  2. Not even close..They were not better than any the five defenses in the poll..A debate could be made as to were they stand between 6th and 10th in NFL history..That’s it though..Myself, I put them around 8th best of all-time..There are several legendary NFL defenses that didn’t win a SB, but are regarded as historically great Ds..If Denver didn’t win or play in the SB, would this even be a discussion? I doubt it..

  3. Yes they are a great defense but they also benifited from the fact that both teams they played in the playoffs were banged up in a major way and they got the benifited of playing against a QB that had one of the worst performances in SB history, they aren’t even the best of the last few years

  4. 1985 Bears is correct answer

    BTW one defense that keeps being left out of the conversation is the 1986 Giants.

    I think all of the above defenses deserve to be in the conversation though and add that seattle D a few years back.

  5. 1. PFT is like the only site that ever gives the 2002 Bucs their due.

    2. Maybe it’s because of the personalities of the players on those other defenses, but it’s somewhat surprising how little of respect is given to the 2002 Bucs.

  6. Backhanded slap at Peyton. Still amazing how nobody will call him out for stealing limelight from Brock. “Best teammate ever” also dragged himself through 4 INT outing just to break passing record, before being benched in pro football’s first mercy killing. Even Geno Smith found that hard to watch.

  7. I think to have a “best defense,” it should be sustained for a few years, at least.

    Oh, and the poll overlooked the ’13 Seahawks. You know, the one that humiliated “the greatest offense in NFL history” in the Super Bowl while finishing a combined #1.

  8. So the 2015 Broncos make the list but not the 2013 Seahawks who thoroughly shut down and embarrassed the most powerful offense of all time?

  9. Big fan, but this is an over-reach. The best defenses pitch a few shutouts, and don’t get so many stupid penalties.

    Still a fine unit, though.

    It was great to see a game that was presented as Cam vs. Manning, really being about solid defenses. Love Old School football.

  10. ’85 Bears were the best D of the SB era.
    Shut out two very good Giants and Rams teams in the playoffs and allowed only 10 points in the SB. That’s an avg of 3.33 points allowed against playoff quality opposition. Just insanely good when it mattered most

  11. The thing about the 1985 Bears defense, that I haven’t seen before or since, is that it looked like they were the offense on the field, and the opposing offense looked like the defense. They attacked so voraciously that it looked like the ball was going the other way.

  12. 2000 Ravens didn’t even give up an offensive touchdown in their Super Bowl and would have had the only Super Bowl shutout, except for that pesky kickoff return.

  13. Every time the discussion of best defenses comes up, the 1991 Eagles are always left out even though statistically they were the best ever. This is a team that was 10-6 with virtually no offense after Randall Cunningham blew his ACL thanks to Bryce Paup in the first game of the season. Unfortunately for the Eagles and also the 10-6 49ers, the NFC was top heavy that year including the eventual Super Bowl Champion Redskins. They both missed the playoffs that year. Reggie White, Jerome Brown, Clyde Simmons, Seth Joyner, Eric Allen, just to name a few of the players in their prime.

  14. Re: DISAGREE WITH ELWAY AND VOTE IN THE POLL!!

    Geeze, Elway didn’t say they were the best defense in history. At a PEP RALLY, he said to screaming, adoring fans that he thought they were AMONG the best. He also said he was BIASED as the GM.

    Stop making it sound like Elway is making obnoxious statements that we have to debate. In the context, it was a great things to say to the fans during a moment of celebration…

  15. I agree with him. The offense scored six points in the Super Bowl. Only way fourhead gets another win.

  16. Ok, I’m the biggest Denver honk there is. But wayyyyyy does that Tampa Bay team get overlooked? Weren’t they top 3 in defense on some thing for like 8 straight years with 4 hall of famers. I guess people are allowed to have their opinions, as stupid as it is. The Seahawks don’t belong in the discussion either. The modern day teams need to exhibit SUSTAINED dominance. Sort like an annoying millennial, thinking they should make 100 grand a year with an office at 25 years old.

  17. That was a great defensive performance, actually, it was a good defensive Super Bowl which I enjoyed. I don’t like 45 -40 NFL games.

    I don’t think it was quite to the level of the 2000 Ravens or the 13 Seahawks or 85 Bears, however, it is impressive to accomplish it today with the way the rules are slanted to offense.

  18. They sure knocked the stuffing out of the Steelers’ overrated offense. No doubt about that. Ouch.

  19. Although never a Buddy Ryan, he no doubt had the best defense, maybe of all time. And really that’s not even worth discussing, because it’s not even close.

  20. As a lifelong pats fan i must agree.

    Also von miller is not getting enough respect. He may be the best defensive player in nfl since Ray Lewis circa 2000. He deserves to be mentioned in the pantheon of nfl defensive greats (taylor singletary lewis etc)

    Instead people are more fixated on cam newtons lack of maturity instead of celebrating one of the best defensive run of performances in nfl post season history

  21. Yeah well that’s John Elway’s opinion.
    They were (are) a very good defense and all praise goes to Wade Phillips for that. But in reality, they succeeded in part by exploiting a short term weak spot, first in the Patriots and then the Panthers.
    Patriots were weak on their offensive line all year and especially in the AFLCC game and Wade saw it and planned around it. Patriots learned it but just ran out of time. It won’t happen again. The Patriot offence succumbed to the altitude which still recovering wring from injuries. So the combination was an anomaly that won’t happen again. Good on the Broncos for exploiting it but it won’t happen next year.
    The Panthers SuperBowl game was a variation of a theme. They suffered from Millennial Arroganza (yeah you heard it here first). They were so dominant all year long (but not for four quarters of every game all year long), that they didn’t believe it was possible for them to loose. In their mind, especially Cam’s, he thought he could toy with the Broncos for most of the game and come back for the victory in the last minute. Wade showed them differently. But again, Rivera won’t let that happen again. He will have the right coaches in place and will tweak the right players next year.
    But good for Wade Phillips. He did a great job. Kubiak’s offence was a bust. And Elway just got really lucky with his gamble.

  22. Is this a joke? The 2008 Steelers won the SB and were better than the Broncos is almost every defensive statistical category – including points allowed, passing yards, rushing yards, and total yards allowed. So yea, the Broncos have the best defense ever. Sure. Yea. Ok.

  23. Hard to judge defenses from different time periods against each other. That being said theres an argument that 2015 Denver defense isn’t even as good 2013 Seattle Defense (somehow omitted from above poll).

  24. Good job with the wishy washy distinction Horseface, because your team was nowhere near the greatest of all time.

    Here is a list of SB winning defense’s since 1985 that are better than yours:
    ’85 Bears
    ’86 Giants
    ’90 Giants
    ’91 Redskins
    ’92 Cowboys
    ’96 Packers
    ’00 Ravens
    ’02 Bucs
    ’08 Steelers
    ’13 Seahawks

    There are many other SB winning teams preceding ’85 that would rank higher as well.

    Then if we look at excellent defense’s that did not go in to win the SB, the list REALLY gets long.

    Just stick with “I wouldn’t wanna play against them”, and that they were good enough to win Super Bowl 50.

  25. the question is can he keep that defense together.

    salary cap today plays a big part in the equation.

    another is can these guys keep their level of play to that level

    and of course injuries

    time will tell, but the 85 bears had how many hall of famers? 6?

    i don’t see that many on this team, maybe 3

  26. Denver’s defense vs. Panthers (Super Bowl 50)

    Net yards allowed: 315
    Offensive points allowed: 10
    Passing yards allowed: 197
    Rushing yards allowed: 118
    Sacks: 7
    Defensive touchdowns: 1
    Interceptions: 1
    Fumbles recovered: 3

    Ravens’ defense vs. Giants (Super Bowl XXXV)

    Net yards allowed: 152
    Offensive points allowed: 0 (Giants’ seven points came on a kickoff return TD)
    Passing yards allowed: 86
    Rushing yards allowed: 66
    Sacks: 4
    Defensive touchdowns: 1
    Interceptions: 4
    Fumbles recovered: 1

  27. That was a heck of a run through the playoffs by Denver. I also watched them a few times this season and they caused havoc. Watched the Minnesota game and at the end of the game Bridgewater was rattled.

    As with anything, if they can do it again next year, it would solidify their reputation as one of the best ever. 85 Bears did not repeat. 2000 Ravens did not repeat. 2002 Bucs did not repeat.

    It will be difficult to go back to back.

  28. The ’85 Bears shutout 4 teams (2 in the playoffs), gave up less yards to the run, had a much better overall record, and won the Superbowl by a rout of 46-10. Among some of the main points, the Bears beat this year’s Broncos D in every category of statistics when comparing seasons.

    but, the Broncos defense is pretty good……Elway’s horse teeth, though….

  29. He’s right. What Wade Phillips did with the same unit from last year is nothing short of amazing. Without him the Broncos may not have even made the playoffs.

  30. 2000 ravens Defense gave up ZERO points in the Superbowl. During the regular season their offense went an entire month without scoring a touchdown and they won every single game. Not too mention the fact that they gave up the fewest point in a season in NFL history.

  31. He didn’t say they were THE best. He said they were in the argument, and that’s true enough, at least according to the attached poll. Doesn’t mean they’d win the argument.

  32. The defense was good enough to carry an unimpressive offense to a superbowl win against a Panthers team that looked absolutely unstoppable. So yes, that automatically puts them “in the conversation.”

  33. Not even close, the Broncos had a great D but they didn’t inspire fear. They did handle Brady and Cam in textbook fashion and it was a joy to watch.

    The 85 Bears allowed 10 points in the entire playoffs. Many of the Quarterbacks that faced them that year are still suffering from PTSD

    Never forget that Ravens team played in a division with the Bengals and Browns. A quarter of their games were played against teams that couldn’t move the ball against their own practice squads.

  34. The 2013 Broncos were touted as the best defense in the history of the NFL…and the Seahawks held them to 8 points (on a TD which took the Broncos 3 quarters to get). They forced and recovered 2 fumbles, had one INT and one Pick-6. Even if you don’t count the Safety, that’s equal to or better than anything the 2015 Broncos did. If you throw in the fact that in this current era, the deck is stacked in favor of offenses, particularly passing, it puts it above anything from previous eras.

  35. PLEASE….is that the same defense who gave up 20 plus points for half of their games last season or the same defense Big Ben and the Steelers torched in Dec. Think were being a little bias here Elway.

  36. I guarantee the 76 Steelers, 85 Bears and 00 Ravens wouldn’t have been torched by the 15 Steelers offense like the Broncos were in the regular season. Nice try Elway.

  37. They were a really good postseason defense, but they weren’t all that wonderful in the regular season.

    Great defenses don’t let teams like the Browns take them to overtime.

  38. James Harrison and his greatest defensive play in Super Bowl history says this poll is stupid to not include the 08 Steelers. Better than any on the list except Bears and Ravens.

  39. billytodd2013blbaad says:
    Feb 10, 2016 7:10 AM

    really? they have a very good defense but they won 1 superbowl.. kinda early to be putting that label on them!
    ——————————

    How many Super Bowls did the ’85 Bears win?

  40. The thing about the 1985 Bears defense, that I haven’t seen before or since, is that it looked like they were the offense on the field, and the opposing offense looked like the defense. They attacked so voraciously that it looked like the ball was going the other way.

    ____

    I like this description. Its hard to explain what that defense was like to someone who didn’t see it. This gives a good description.

  41. steelcurtainn says:
    Feb 10, 2016 9:29 AM
    PLEASE….is that the same defense who gave up 20 plus points for half of their games last season or the same defense Big Ben and the Steelers torched in Dec. Think were being a little bias here Elway.

    ====

    Yes, it’s the same defense that knocked the Steelers out of the playoffs in January.

  42. Saying they are the best and deserve to be in the conversation about being the best are two entirely different things.

    I think few will argue that the Bears 85 were the best followed by the Ravens of 2000. After that, you have a group of very good defenses of which I would include Denver 2015 as being one of them.

  43. The overtime win against the Browns where Josh McCown looked like Brett Favre and scored at will in the second half and the loss to the Colts whose offense was terrible say otherwise.

    Congrats on your superbowl win John but calm it down buddy.

  44. 2013 seahawks
    2003,2004,2006 patriots

    just getting started

    the broncos defense had a nice run against the pats and the panthers but lets not get completely insane here

  45. Enogh already – they are not even in the conversation…and neither is the Legion of Boom… It’s the ’85 Bears, ’00 Ravens and ’76 Steelers in the conversation…and that’s it!

  46. My vote still goes to the 85 Bears.

    However–you got to give credit where credit is due. Denver beat some pretty good teams/qb’s this year. Look back at Bears, Bucs, Ravens, and ‘Hawks and not one of them had to face same caliber of qb’s to win it all. Rothlisburger, Brady, and Cam. Pretty tough road at the end. Gave up 16, 18, and 10 respectively.

    So–maybe not the best D overall over course of a season, but possibly best D in its final 3 to win it all.

  47. Talking strictly DEFENSE (Special Teams TDs do not count)

    1985 Bears: 10pts allowed, 123 total yrds allowed, 6 forced turnovers
    2000 Ravens: 0pts allowed, 152 total yrds allowed, 5 forced turnovers

    2015 Broncos: 10pts allowed, 315 total yrds allowed, 4 forced turnovers
    2013 Seahawks: 8pts allowed, 306 total yrds allowed, 4 forced turnovers

    ’85 Bears and ’00 Ravens are in a category of their own. Hands down the most dominant of all time. I give the edge to the Ravens, but i’m biased.

  48. Even though I am not a home fan of either team, I find I have to agree with those pointing out the snub of not mentioning the Seahawks and Giants teams in this vote.

  49. ===2000 ravens Defense gave up ZERO points in the Superbowl. During the regular season their offense went an entire month without scoring a touchdown and they won every single game. Not too mention the fact that they gave up the fewest point in a season in NFL history.==

    Actually, the 1976 Steelers only gave up 138 points to the Ravens 165 in 2000. Yes, it was only 14 game season in 1976 as opposed to the 16 we have now. Also, the 76 Steelers had five shutouts in their final nine games of the season with three consecutive shutouts in a row. In a five game span they only gave up nine points. They surrendered only 28 points in final nine games of the season, and in the final three games they gave up only three points total. No other team in modern NFL history has matched that overall domination – period.

  50. If we are talking about great defenses for a SINGLE season, then the ’85 Bears get the nod.

    In general though, that great Bears defense was great, truly great, for only the ONE year.

    The Steel Curtain of Pittsburgh was great for MANY years. The 80s Giants defense was the closest contender to that title. The early 2000 Ravens a distant third.

    Seattle fans, sit down. Your defense was SOLID – not “Great” – for only one year. The Patriots beat your “Legion of Boom” the next year, and they weren’t so hot THIS year, either.

    Tampa Bay? How are they even in the discussion???

  51. It’s hard to compare eras. The 70’s Steelers were the best and physical in a way that would get flags today. Back then a catch was a catch and CB’s could contest receivers in a way they can’t today.

    The 85 Bears were great, but they were the 85 Bears. Steelers dominated the 70’s for years.

    JMO!

  52. LOL no 2013 Seahawks who dismantled the highest scoring offense in NFL history. This poll is a joke, its goes 1985 Bears, 2013 Seahawks, 2000 Ravens, and then the field. Bronco’s were good, but come on the Panthers had the easiest schedule this year so the points that put up were a bit skewed.

  53. Denver’s D is top 5 all time (although they lost to my RAIDERS this year:)… My vote for best all time is the Ravens 2000!

  54. dtriebel – Yes but at that time they were in the AFC Central which also had the Steelers, Titans and Jag’s who were pretty decent teams.

    Not trying to illicit an argument, just saying.

  55. realtimeeyes says:
    Feb 10, 2016 7:02 AM

    If Denver didn’t win or play in the SB, would this even be a discussion? I doubt it..

    ————————————

    So what? They did. I don’t know if you watched the Super Bowl, but the Broncos did in fact win that game against the MVP in a dominating defensive performance.

  56. I have seen each of these play except for the 1976 Steelers.

    I have to say the 85 Bears, 2000 Ravens and 2002 Bucs were by far better then the 2015 Broncos.

    The Broncos were one of the greats, yes, but behind those others.

    If I were to rank each…

    #1Bears
    #1Bucs (This team was a beast and very close to Bears)
    #3Ravens
    #4Broncos

    Again, I never saw the 1976 Steelers.

  57. The 2015 Broncos was historically elite at rushing the passer and was very good at stopping the run. Although the secondary is really impressive on paper, I don’t think they can compare to, for example, the Legion of Boom. Aqib Talib was inconsistent and even a liability at times.

  58. I think the 1969 – 1971 Vikings defense should be in the conversation as best of all time. They allowed 9.5, 10.2, and 9.9 points per game in those years. The Vikings were NFL champions in 1969 and the team had a cumulative 35-7 record those three years. In 1971, Alan Page became the first and still one of only two defensive players to win NFL MVP.

  59. Look the Broncos had home field advantage-Advantage. They had no offense. They did play good defense I will give them that. They played a carolina team with no receivers period. They practically beat the patriots every time they play them at home and they beat a steelers team who didn’t have half of their offensive arsenal and were banged up at home. They won sure, No way this team should be compared with the great defenses of the past.

  60. Denver beat the the 5-11 Ravens, who had a mediocre offense, due to a dropped pass by S. Smith with 30 seconds to go. I know it was at beginning of the season and things change, and Broncos certainly were playing well at end of the year, but that’s not a “greatest defense” argument.

  61. ’85 Bears, easily. ’15 Broncos deserve a top 5 spot, but I have trouble with any defense that is dirty and Broncos’ D have played dirty, been flagged and fined for some of it but not all (Miller’s spearing of Brady who was already tackled and flat on his back was merely small-fined as a “late hit”). They probably should have gotten a few suspensions and thus MAYBE not dominated through to get this year’s ring. The other issue with the Broncos’ D is home-field advantage, which helps pad the year’s stats as visiting offenses tire out in the 4th.

  62. TebowedOutOfThePostSeasonAndNeverToReturn says:
    Feb 10, 2016 8:16 AM
    They sure knocked the stuffing out of the Steelers’ overrated offense. No doubt about that. Ouch.

    ——————————————————-

    in the playoffs they barely beat a steelers team that was without their top 2 running backs, without their top receiver and had a banged up QB.. and the only reason they managed to get the lead in a game they were losing was that a 4th string running back fumbled the ball. also when the steelers were healthy I seem to remember that amazing defense watching AB score another touchdown!!

  63. Not that great a defense but more a lousy offense. Oher got handed his head all game long. Way to slow and lacked motivation to win. Ditto on the other side.
    This O line was awful. The defensive backs did a superb job covering the so so receivers for Carolina. Greg Olson was missing in action.
    No Carolina terribly under estimated Denver and over -estimated themselves

  64. The 1985 Bears not just dominated the Super Bowl but they dominated the whole playoff!

    21-0 vs Giants
    24-0 vs Rams
    46-10 vs Patriots

    Yep, all the playoff teams could only score 10 points on the Bears. With the exception of one Miami game, they dominated the regular season too. They pretty much dominated the entire season!

    The 2015 Denver defense were good but they did not dominate the way the 85 Bears did. Good job though!

  65. Great defense for sure. It doesn’t have the same feel as some of the other great defensive performances because the offense was so bad that they didn’t end up with big winning margins in the playoffs. Brady could have tied it on them despite how well the defense played which is really because the offense only got 3 points in the second half of that game.

    Hard to compare it to the 85 bears or the 13 Seahawks who were more dominant and more complete teams.

    They are more like the 2000 Ravens where the defense just wanted the offense to punt and get off the field.

    Denver is definitely on the list and probably top 5. They beat a 17-1 with the leagues best and most balanced offense and held them to 10 points.

  66. However–you got to give credit where credit is due. Denver beat some pretty good teams/qb’s this year. Look back at Bears, Bucs, Ravens, and ‘Hawks and not one of them had to face same caliber of qb’s to win it all. Rothlisburger, Brady, and Cam. Pretty tough road at the end. Gave up 16, 18, and 10 respectively.

    —————————————————————–

    You do realize that the Bears shut out HOF QB Phil Simms in the Divisional round and then held HOF RB Eric Dickerson to 44 yards rushing in the NFC Championship in yet another shut out of the L.A. Rams.

    ’85 Bears with everyone else looking up at them!

  67. billytodd2013blbaad says:
    Feb 10, 2016 11:29 AM

    TebowedOutOfThePostSeasonAndNeverToReturn says:
    Feb 10, 2016 8:16 AM
    They sure knocked the stuffing out of the Steelers’ overrated offense. No doubt about that. Ouch.

    ——————————————————-

    in the playoffs they barely beat a steelers team that was without their top 2 running backs, without their top receiver and had a banged up QB.. and the only reason they managed to get the lead in a game they were losing was that a 4th string running back fumbled the ball. also when the steelers were healthy I seem to remember that amazing defense watching AB score another touchdown!!

    ————-

    Really the only reason the Steelers and Patriots were in both those games is because the Denver offense was so bad. A half decent offense would have made those scores lopsided. The Denver defense was great in both.

  68. 2013 Seahawks vs Broncos elite squad. Totally slammed the Broncos.
    What elite receivers did Cam have?
    Brady scored 9 points in the second half maybe could have been more if they opted for FG. That’s with tattered OLine.
    Greatest defense? Not that convincing…

  69. 1985 Bears: 10pts allowed, 123 total yrds allowed, 6 forced turnovers
    2000 Ravens: 0pts allowed, 152 total yrds allowed, 5 forced turnovers

    2015 Broncos: 10pts allowed, 315 total yrds allowed, 4 forced turnovers
    2013 Seahawks: 8pts allowed, 306 total yrds allowed, 4 forced turnovers

    ’85 Bears and ’00 Ravens are in a category of their own. Hands down the most dominant of all time. I give the edge to the Ravens, but i’m biased.
    =========================================

    Rule changes that favor the offense have to be under consideration here. There are other factors that need to be weighed as well. For example the offense production has a lot to do with it. How many 3 and outs did the Broncos defense have? I haven’t done the research but that might equate to the Panthers having more offensive possessions than the other defenses. That would definitely give the Broncos the advantage over the Seahawks defense.

  70. smurftacular says:
    Feb 10, 2016 11:37 AM

    However–you got to give credit where credit is due. Denver beat some pretty good teams/qb’s this year. Look back at Bears, Bucs, Ravens, and ‘Hawks and not one of them had to face same caliber of qb’s to win it all. Rothlisburger, Brady, and Cam. Pretty tough road at the end. Gave up 16, 18, and 10 respectively.

    ———————

    It’s true. No Tomato cans to play against, although Denver seemed to play to the level of whomever they played against as opposed to dominating bad teams.

  71. The 2000 Ravens defense held opposing QB’s to a 33.4 passer rating in the playoffs, with 14 sacks and 10 INT’s. They also allowed only 23 total points in their 4 playoff games (including the SB). An average of less than 6 over 4 games against top notch opponents. They allowed only 5 rushing TDs for the entire season. Not to mention shutting out their opponents, holding them scoreless, four times during the regular season. Over half of the opposing starting quarterbacks didn’t finish the games in which they started.

    That’s the best defense I’ve ever seen play.

    I was too young to recall the ’85 Bears but I’m sure they’re equal to or better than the 2000 Ravens from all that I have heard. Mention should be also given to the 2013 Seahawks.

  72. .

    Ditka could score 21 on this Broncos D in one play.

    Don’t forget the immature Cam Newton showed up for this game…
    the 85 bears would have massacred him
    McMahon woulda easily threw a few TD’s and the Fridge run for one…
    alas Walter Peyton would still be denied… thanks ditka

  73. .
    although I easily pick the bears…

    You can not deny while the Giants defense was not as dominating…
    they stopped the undefeated patriots and beat brady down…
    They did what no other team was capable of…
    They also did not play dumb and play COVER defense against the patriots like the 17 other teams did…
    They attacked, attacked attacked stopping belicheck cold…

  74. 2002 Bucs Defense.

    Sapp and Brooks HoFamers
    Rice, Barber and Lynch deserve to be HoF too.

    Half of the defense was elite players.

    2002 season :
    Derrick Brooks : Defensif MVP
    #1 yards defense (252.8yds/game) 2nd : 290.4
    #1 points defense (12.3pts/game) 2nd : 15.1
    #1 QB rating defense (48.4 : 10 TD / 31 interceptions) 2nd : 68.7
    #1 1st down defense (236) 2nd : 266
    #3 yds/run defense (3.8yds/run) 1st : 3.7

    Oakland was the #1 offense with only 10 interceptions in the season.

    In 1 game, Bucs intercepted Gannon 5 times for 3 TD

    13 Takeaways during the playoffs.

  75. Its criminal to not even include the 2013 Seahawks defense in that poll. They are superior to Denver’s and everyone knows it. People are just overreacting to what they just saw.

  76. It’s hard to really rank defenses from one era to the next. I always was impressed with the Chicago defense of 85. It was dominant for its era. However, I do give the edge to the Broncos because they had great talent on the defensive line as well as the secondary. The secondary is where the Broncos would have an edge. Yes, Chicago had some monster DE.and LB’s were HOF, but could they be successful with the speed and popularity of passing 70% of plays? How about the Chicago secondary following today’s rules of not being able to make contact after 5 yards? I just think it’s hard to compare. The Broncos I feel had two players who probably will reach the HOF. The rest probably not. Chicago, obviously had more. But if you added all the talent of every player on the field and their backups who played, I think Denver’s total would exceed Chicago’s.

  77. Seattle fans, sit down. Your defense was SOLID – not “Great” – for only one year. The Patriots beat your “Legion of Boom” the next year, and they weren’t so hot THIS year, either.
    _____________________

    Wow, seriously? The Seahawks led the NFL in points allowed. Again. For the 4th straight year. Which has not been done in over 60 years. They were also #2 in total yards allowed, #1 in rush yards allowed, and #2 in pass yards allowed.

    In 2013, they were the first team since the 85 bears to lead the league in pts allowed, yds allowed, and turnovers. The triple crown of defense. In 2013, they allowed 28 fewer yards per game than the 2nd ranked defense. In 2014, they allowed 34 fewer yards per game than the 2nd ranked defense. That is insane.

    Tom Brady only beat them in the SB because over half their starting defense was either out with injury, or playing through significant injury (Sherm: torn UCL, Kam: torn MCL, Earl: torn labrum, Avril: concussion, Lane: broken arm and torn ACL, Mebane: torn hamstring, etc.)

    Maybe you should sit down, sir.

  78. mototax says:
    Feb 10, 2016 9:59 AM

    steelcurtainn says:
    Feb 10, 2016 9:29 AM
    PLEASE….is that the same defense who gave up 20 plus points for half of their games last season or the same defense Big Ben and the Steelers torched in Dec. Think were being a little bias here Elway.

    ====

    Yes, it’s the same defense that knocked the Steelers out of the playoffs in January.
    ———————————————
    You mean the same defense that didn’t even manage to do what a mediocre Baltimore defense with a seriously subpar offense did against the Steelers this season, a clean sweep?

  79. Let’s see, the job of the defense is to keep the other team from scoring more points than your offense does otherwise you lose. And since all of those teams on the list failed at least once I would have to say the greatest defense of all time has No Name

  80. The 85 Bears D dominated 10 of 16 regular season games, both of their playoff games & the SB.

    The Denver D dominated 3 of 16 in the regular season and the SB.

    Not much of a comparison.

  81. The Ravens defense was fantastic, but with the exception of LB, I feel the current Broncos are better.

    Here are the QBs that the Ravens faced in 2000

    Kent Graham, Akili Smith, Lamar Smith(Running Back), Kordell Stewart, Mark Brunell (2x), Brad Johnson, Air McNair (2x), Troy Aikman, Tim Couch (2x), Jake Plummer, Vinny Testaverde, and Ryan Leaf

    Denver faced

    Joe Flacco, Alex Smith (2x), Matt Stafford, Teddy Bridgewater, Derek Carr (2x), Aaron Rodgers, Matt Hasselbeck, Jay Cutler, Tom Brady (2x), Big Ben (2x), Philip Rivers (2x) and AJ Mccaron.

  82. getyourownname says:
    Feb 10, 2016 11:24 AM
    Denver beat the the 5-11 Ravens, who had a mediocre offense, due to a dropped pass by S. Smith with 30 seconds to go. I know it was at beginning of the season and things change, and Broncos certainly were playing well at end of the year, but that’s not a “greatest defense” argument.

    ————————————
    Baltimore lost early in the season to the Dolphins using a RB (Lamar Smith) as their QB. I know it’s early in the season, but that’s not a “greatest defense” argument.

    Ravens also didn’t play a single Pro Bowl QB that year.

  83. Long time Bronco fan here. I rember as far back as the 85 Bears but not the 76 Steelers. I will agree that they are 1 of the best i ever saw but to me IMO. I think it’s ridiculous that the 2014 Seahwaks are not on this list. Here’s how i would rank them excluding 76 Steelers cause I never saw them play so cant judge on hear say fans and replay if only good highlights

    1a. 2006 Ravens
    1b. 2014 Seahawks
    2. 85 Bears
    3. 2016 Broncos
    4. 2002 Bucs

  84. Without a doubt a fantastic defense. History will be kind to them. I am not sure they are on par with the Seattle Defense that annihilated Denver two years ago but I think they are a better Defense that what Seattle pitted against New England last year. They are certainly a top 10 all time defense. maybe top 5.

  85. DEN defense dominated the playoff run. But they looked pretty pedestrian in a lot of games int he regular season.

    Some of the other defenses DOMINATED all year from START TO FINISH.

  86. bspurloc says:
    Feb 10, 2016 12:13 PM

    .
    although I easily pick the bears…

    You can not deny while the Giants defense was not as dominating…
    they stopped the undefeated patriots and beat brady down…
    They did what no other team was capable of…
    They also did not play dumb and play COVER defense against the patriots like the 17 other teams did…
    They attacked, attacked attacked stopping belicheck cold…

    ———–

    I think you can say that was one of the best defensive performances ever in the Super Bowl but you can’t say that was one of the greatest defenses.

    The Patriots scored 38 on them in week 17.

    They just played really well and had a perfect game plan.

    I still feel like it mattered that Brady was in a walking boot from an injury in the AFC Championship game that year and couldn’t slide in the pocket the way he normally did and that the starting right guard, Stephen Neal, went down early in the game.

    Both things that allowed the rush to get to Brady more effectively.

  87. Good job with the wishy washy distinction Horseface, because your team was nowhere near the greatest of all time.

    Here is a list of SB winning defense’s since 1985 that are better than yours:
    ’85 Bears
    ’86 Giants
    ’90 Giants
    ’91 Redskins
    ’92 Cowboys
    ’96 Packers
    ’00 Ravens
    ’02 Bucs
    ’08 Steelers
    ’13 Seahawks

    ——————————————————————

    I love my skins till the day I die but I’d take the ’91 Eagles defense over ours.. More sacks, they allowed the fewest rushing and passing yards that season and they had NO offense with Randall being out that year, and were on the field much longer than the Skins defense was…

  88. 2002 TB Buccaneers Super Bowl 37 Defensive Statistics
    272 passing yards allowed
    19 rushing yards allowed
    291 total yards allowed
    2 passing TD allowed – 1 TD was questionable(Jerry Porter feet inbounds?)
    6 turnovers
    5 Int’s. – 3 returned for TD’s
    1 forced fumble
    5 sacks

    Enough said…Game Over!!!!

  89. The 2002 Bucs D scored 21 points themselves in the Super Bowl. Essentially, the offense could have been sitting in the stands and the Bucs D would have played Oakland to a tie.

  90. “The Seahawks don’t belong in the discussion either. The modern day teams need to exhibit SUSTAINED dominance.”

    What? The Seahawks have led the NFL in scoring D for 4 straight years and counting. No other team has done that in the SB era. They have accomplished this against one of the most difficult SoSs in the NFL over that time frame. How is this NOT sustained dominance?

  91. That’s B.S. The freaking Kansas City Chiefs put up 24 points and 29 points against this team this year.

    This is only being brought up because of it is so recent. The reality is Denver’s defense should not be in this conversation.

    Not saying they didn’t accomplish something special this year, they just aren’t an all-time great defense.

  92. milehirow39 says:
    Feb 10, 2016 10:06 AM

    My vote still goes to the 85 Bears.

    However–you got to give credit where credit is due. Denver beat some pretty good teams/qb’s this year. Look back at Bears, Bucs, Ravens, and ‘Hawks and not one of them had to face same caliber of qb’s to win it all. Rothlisburger, Brady, and Cam. Pretty tough road at the end. Gave up 16, 18, and 10 respectively.

    So–maybe not the best D overall over course of a season, but possibly best D in its final 3 to win it all.
    ——————————

    The 85 Bears went 0,0,10.

  93. You do realize Phil Simms is NOT in the Hall of Fame, right? Having said that, the ’85 Bears are still the best.

  94. I know I’m biased and I know they had they greatest QB ever at the helm, but why do the Patriots of the early 2000s never get mentioned in these things?

    They beat the “Greatest Show on Turf” and had them at 3 points going into the 2nd Half. They gave “among the best QB’s ever Peyton Manning” fits every time they played and beat him every time until 2006. They played Carolina with a really tough offense and then beat the scorching Eagles offense w T.O and Mcnabb the year after.

    Willie McGinnest
    Teddy Bruschi
    Mike Vrabel
    Richard Seymour
    Ty Law
    Lawyer Milloy
    Rodney Harrison, etc
    and the mastermind BB behind them.
    Maybe its BB and TB, but those defenses were lights out and never get brought up as among the best ever. Not saying they are top 3 but top 5-7 maybe

  95. This year’s performance was impressive, but some things to keep in mind:

    1) The Panthers marshmallow schedule – they played in one of the worst divisions and also played against the nfc east, probably the worst division in football this year. The sb really exposed that.

    2) The performance of this same defense against the Patriots was not as good or as thorough as it was against the Panthers; that goes to point number 1. The Panthers were not as good as advertised

    3) The 2000 Ravens basically had to run the gauntlet with a fraction of the offensive firepower of the Broncos. They knew they couldn’t rely on their offense for anything and were still beating people. In 2000, the Giant who were a good defensive team in their own right, beat Minnesota 41-0 in the nfc championship, but could to even score a touchdown in the sb. I’ve never seen a more dominating performance on defense. By the way, I’m a Giants fan and I’m saying this. Stopping their offense was easy, but our offense went 3 and out over and over and even a blind squirrel can find nut given enough opportunity. That was the most painful part of watching that game. Watching Trent Dilfer blow play after play and not being able to take advantage of it whatsoever. I invite anyone to watch that game and compare it to any other defensive performance including the 85 Bears. The Bears could play complementary football with Walter Payton. So could the Seahawks D. The Ravens’ offense was a sad joke but that was ok, because they never needed it. Also, the Giants had Tiki Barber in his prime.

  96. I don’t remember their two starting CB’s but that 2000 Ravens defense was so damn good that I always felt myself feeling sorry for the other teams offense.

    I’ve never seen a defense beat people up like they did.

  97. They carried a team with the statistically worst QB in the league and a below average rushing offense to the NFL championship. They are in the discussion.

  98. 85 Bears, and it’s not even close.

    And the primary reason it’s not close isn’t because of a couple minor statistical differences, but the INTANGIBLES.

    No team has dominated like that, ever. And no team has ever assembled the collection of extraordinary, powerful characters like that, or struck (literal) fear in the hearts of opposing teams, or captured the imagination of the ENTIRE country (and even an international following!) the way that 85 Bears team did. The Super Bowl Shuffle, Black & Blues Bros, The Fridge, Sweetness, McMahon and his antics, Ditka, Mongo – the personality of that team was off the charts.

    Then when you consider the legacy they left behind, in terms of both HOF players and coaches (heck, one of the coaches in this very last Super Bowl was an 85 Bear!) – Ditka, Ryan (Buddy, Rex, and Rob!), Singletary, Jeff Fisher, Rivera, etc. – their impact is/was so profound, it’s still echoing throughout the NFL to this day.

  99. Manning had that defense on the field so much all season, it’s no wonder that they were good.

    “Practice makes perfect.”
    -Ben Franklin.

  100. ravenbiker says:
    Feb 10, 2016 1:07 PM

    ———————————————
    You mean the same defense that didn’t even manage to do what a mediocre Baltimore defense with a seriously subpar offense did against the Steelers this season, a clean sweep?

    ==========
    Ravens played tough against the Steelers. Always do! But, we’re talking about playoff teams here, not the Ravens.

  101. Yes, it’s the same defense that knocked the Steelers out of the playoffs in January.
    ———————————————
    Congrats, yes they did! The steelers and broncoes are two good teams who split their games with both teams winning at home. I will add during the playoffs the steelers were using their 3rd string rb, not one of the best rbs in the NFL Leveon Bell. They were missing the top receiver in the NFL, Antonio Brown and had a star qb half injured who could barely throw the ball. All that and they still lead through the 4qtr. No excuses tho, injuries happen to the best of them. Could go the other way next time.

  102. trollaikman8 says:
    Feb 10, 2016 3:40 PM

    I don’t remember their two starting CB’s but that 2000 Ravens defense was so damn good that I always felt myself feeling sorry for the other teams offense.

    I’ve never seen a defense beat people up like they did.

    ———————————–

    Chris McAlister and Duane Starks were the CBs with Kim Herring and Rod Woodson at safety.

    I agree. Having seen the ’85 Bears and the ’00 Ravens, I have to say the the Ravens were actually more physically dominating on all levels.

    The funny thing is, the ’06 Ravens defense may actually have gone down in history as being better than the ’00 squad if McNair didn’t lose it in the playoffs.

  103. In Super Bowl 48 the #1 offense of all time scored 8 points. The Seattle Seahawk defense scored 9, hell, the special teams even put up 7. Denver’s lone TD came 45+ minutes into the game during garbage time.

    Kerry Collins nor Steve Grogan/Tony Eason led the #1 offense of all time.

  104. The 2000 Baltimore ravens defense was very impressive… What I remember most was in the Denver game, Denver opened up and drove down the field for a field goal, and never crossed midfield for the rest of the game…… That was incredible!
    Secondly, when Siragusa landed on Rich Gannon, it was like Andre the Giant belly-flobbing on a 5-year old, and Gannon was done, as were the Raiders.
    Lastly, the Giants annihilated the Vikings 41-0, so we thought they’d be competitive in the SB…… Not even for a minute… Not to mention Dilfer made 2 bad throws or it would’ve been 48-7. But we’re talking defense

  105. 2015-16 Broncos SB — allowed one offensive TD, one FG
    2000-01 Ravens SB — allowed 0 offtensive TDs, 0 FG
    Any questions?

  106. The Giants were a good offensive team in 2000, scoring 41 points in the NFCCG. They never got to the 25 yd line, on offense, during SB 35. The 2000 Ravens D was top 3 of all time.

  107. There’s a radio show on Siruis XM called Moving the Chains. It features Pat Kirwan, and Jim Miller. These guys are great, and I love listening to their no nonsense critiques. Since SB 50 they’ve compiled at list of the best playoff defenses in the Superbowl era. This includes all playoff games, not just the Superbowl. However, by their own admission all things as per the statistics are equal. IE: Total points scored, yards per pass, yards per carry, total sacks, total int’s, and possibly some other stats I can’t remember. The 2015 Broncos come in about number ten, the 2013 Seattle Seahawks aren’t even in the top ten. Most of the top payoff defenses played in the 70’s 80’s and 90’s.

    However, my point is this: most of the top playoff defenses came before the NFL rules changes favoring offenses, and thus the criterion for determining the best are skewed. In order to be fair, there needs to be a before and after NFL rule changes criterion, and then tally up whose best. I realize that this will be allot of work, but in the end; it will be more accurately fair.

  108. Apples N Oranges, man.

    The reason they cite is a fallacy. The rules have change so much in the last couple of decades, you simply cannot compare different eras. All those stats they used to base their analysis on were far lower back then. I have watched pro football for more than 50 years now and I have witnessed both good and bad rules changes.

    The fact that the Seahawks have posted 4 straight years with the lowest points defense in this era is amazing. If those historic Minnesota Vikings teams allowed fewer total points/yards per pass/etc., it only shows how much the game has changed over the years.

    I am not putting down the great defenses of the past. I loved watching them. I still like to watch a great D like Tampa Bay against Oakland or Denver against Carolina this year. To me, that’s what separates the NFL from college football. There are great players at every position with almost every team. Scoring is a lot harder and that’s just fine with me.

    I’m not sure that’s what Goodell or the fantasy sports world wants, but it makes for a very entertaining game. I find college football boring to the max. A few great teams dominate much weaker opponents due to uneven talent. Big deal!

  109. People really are THAT stupid? No way the Broncos defense is even close to the 2000 Ravens statistically or by points scored. 2000 Ravens would have made Manning retire right then and there. Game wouldn’t even be close.

  110. Bucs D was also top ten, for like 10 years.

    No one else in the list was great for more than a season or two …

    Case closed.
    … Ravens defense was top 10 or top 5 for most of Ray Lewis’ career. Try again.

  111. In 2000 if the Giants didn’t return a kick off for a TD that would have been the first and only shut out in SB history. Think about that. The Ravens effectively shut out a team that had scored 41 points in the NFC championship game. Ravens defense in 2000 (and 2006) best ever.

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