Throughout the NFL’s long and storied history, there have been many incredible defenses that struck fear into opposing offenses. Here are 10 of the most dominant defenses in NFL history:
- 1985 Chicago Bears
The 1985 Bears are widely considered one of the greatest defenses ever. Led by stars like Mike Singletary, Richard Dent and William “The Refrigerator” Perry, the Bears allowed just 198 total points for the season, finishing first in yards and points allowed. The Bears demolished teams all year, culminating in a 46-10 win over New England in Super Bowl XX.
- 2000 Baltimore Ravens
The 2000 Ravens fielded one of the most fearsome defenses the league has ever seen. With Ray Lewis leading the charge, along with Rod Woodson, Sam Adams and more, Baltimore set NFL records for fewest points (165) and rushing yards (970) allowed. The Ravens completely shut down offenses on their way to a Super Bowl XXXV victory.
- 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers
The famous 1970s Steel Curtain defense reached its pinnacle in 1976. Powered by Mean Joe Greene, Jack Lambert and other stars, the Steelers led the NFL in total defense and points allowed, crushing teams with their vicious, hard-hitting style. The 1976 Steelers won the Super Bowl over Dallas 21-17.
- 1968 Baltimore Colts
Baltimore’s defense was nothing short of incredible in 1968. Bubba Smith and Billy Ray Smith wreaked havoc up front while Mike Curtis patrolled the secondary. The Colts allowed just 144 total points and shut out three opponents as they blasted their way to Super Bowl III (before the famous upset by Joe Namath and the Jets).
- 1969 Kansas City Chiefs
Anchored by stalwarts like Buck Buchanan, Willie Lanier and Bobby Bell, the Chiefs’ defense was instrumental in their Super Bowl IV win over Minnesota. Kansas City led the AFL in points and yards allowed, completely throttling opponents with their physical brand of defense.
- 1971 Dallas Cowboys
“The Doomsday Defense” reached legendary status in 1971. Bob Lilly, Chuck Howley and Mel Renfro led a smothering unit that paved the way for Dallas’ first Super Bowl win. The Cowboys allowed just one touchdown over their final six games as they dominated the NFL with their Doomsday Defense.
- 1973 Miami Dolphins
Miami’s “No-Name Defense” played a huge role in the NFL’s only perfect season. While the offense got the glory, stars like Nick Buoniconti, Dick Anderson and Manny Fernandez helped the defense finish top five in points and yards allowed on the way to victory in Super Bowl VII.
- 1962 Green Bay Packers
The great Packers dynasty of the 1960s was built on a foundation of phenomenal defense. Vince Lombardi’s 1962 unit, led by Willie Davis, Ray Nitschke and Herb Adderley, was the best of the bunch, allowing a paltry 10.6 points per game. Green Bay shut down opponents while going 13-1 in 1962.
- 1975 Los Angeles Rams
The Rams fielded a defensive monster in 1975 known as “The Fearsome Foursome.” Rosey Grier, Merlin Olsen, Jack Youngblood and Lamar Lundy disrupted offenses, leading the NFL in fewest yards allowed en route to an NFC championship. It was one of the greatest front fours ever assembled.
- 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers
The 2008 Steelers defense was vintage Pittsburgh. Troy Polamalu, James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley and more helped lead the NFL’s #1 defense, which allowed just 13.9 points per game. This fierce unit sealed the franchise’s NFL-record sixth Super Bowl victory in a win over Arizona.