Bears, Steelers Lead List Of 100 Stingiest Defenses

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Apr 04, 2013



Here’s a look at the 100 Stingiest Defenses in History, sorted by number of teams that made the Top 100.

The Chicago Bears lead the list with 10 defenses on the list of 100 Stingiest. The most impressive part is that they did it five times in the pre-Super Bowl Era (1940-65) and then five times again here in the Live Ball Era (1978-present).

That's the most Top 100 defenses of any franchise in modern times, too.

The Steelers are second on the list, with nine members of the Top 100, five of them in the Steel Curtain Era of the 1970s.

Pittsburgh is the last franchise to field a Top 100 defense and did so in its Super Bowl-winning season of 2008.

Top 100 Defenses, by franchise (champions in bold)

Chicago Bears (10) – 1940, 1941, 1942, 1948, 1963, 1985, 1986, 1988, 2001, 2005

Pittsburgh Steelers (9) – 1942, 1946, 1972, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1978, 2001, 2008

Cleveland Browns (8) – 1946, 1947, 1948 (AAFC); 1950, 1951, 1953, 1954, 1994 (NFL)

New York Giants (8) – 1940, 1941, 1942, 1944, 1950, 1951, 1990, 1993

Philadelphia Eagles (8) – 1944, 1945, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1980, 1981, 2001

Washington Redskins (8) – 1940, 1942, 1943, 1945, 1971, 1974, 1977, 1991

Minnesota Vikings (7) – 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976

Los Angeles Rams (6) – 1967, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977

Green Bay Packers (4) – 1941, 1962, 1966, 1996

Dallas Cowboys (3) – 1968, 1976, 1978

Detroit Lions (3) – 1940, 1962, 1969

Kansas City Chiefs (3) – 1968, 1969 (AFL); 1973 (NFL)

Miami Dolphins (3) – 1971, 1972, 1973

Baltimore Colts (2) – 1968, 1971

Baltimore Ravens (2) – 2000, 2006

Brooklyn Dodgers (2) – 1940, 1941

Denver Broncos (2) – 1977, 1978

New Orleans Saints (2) – 1991, 1992

San Francisco 49ers (2) – 1946, 1976

Atlanta Falcons (1) – 1977

Carolina Panthers (1) – 1996

Cleveland Rams (1) – 1945

Jacksonville Jaguars (1) – 1999

New York Yankees (1) – 1946 (AAFC)

Oakland Raiders (1) – 1973

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1) – 2002

Tennessee Titans (1) – 2000

Four franchises boast eight members of the Top 100: Browns, Giants, Eagles and Redskins, the 2001 Eagles the most recent team on the list. In other words, 51 of the Top 100 Stingiest Defenses belong to just six franchises.

In the case of the Cleveland Browns, the numbers are largely skewed by their four-year dominance of the short-lived AAFC (1946-49). The Browns won all four AAFC titles and fielded three Top 100 Defenses. To their credit, they fielded a Top 100 Defense again in 1950, while winning the NFL title in their debut season.

Modern times, of course, have not been so kind to the Browns. However, they did field a Top 100 Defense in 1994 under head coach Bill Belichick.

The Minnesota Vikings and Los Angeles Rams consistently fielded Top 100 Defenses during the depths of the Dead Ball Era. In fact, Minnesota’s Purple People Eaters and L.A.’s Fearsome Foursome consistently fielded defenses better than Pittsburgh’s Steel Curtain. In a period of intense dominance from 1969 to 1971, the Vikings surrendered and average just 9.2 PPG over three entire seasons.

But neither the Vikings nor Rams could turn that defensive dominance into a championship, with the Vikings famously losing four Super Bowls, all of them badly.

Ten current franchises have failed to produce a single top 100 defense:

Arizona Cardinals (no team in Cardinals history, which dates back to the debut of the NFL in 1920, made the cut)

Buffalo Bills

Cincinnati Bengals

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts (Baltimore Colts are on the list twice)

New England Patriots

New York Jets

St. Louis Rams (Cleveland Rams and L.A. Rams are each on the list)

San Diego Chargers

Seattle Seahawks

 








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