The Bears, along with the NFL, are celebrating their 100th season and that means that there are plenty of lists, TV specials and more commemorating and ranking various NFL and Bears-related things.
Earlier this summer, we here at WCG unveiled our own list of the 100 Bears players of all time and there’s many others.
Well, Nate Davis of USA Today wanted to get in on the list-making and decided to rank the 100 greatest NFL teams of the first 100 years.
His criteria was simple:
A quick word on the methodology, such as it is: There’s no fair or reasonable way to compare teams spanning so many decades of NFL football. It isn’t presumptuous to assume the 2018 Arizona Cardinals, the league’s worst team a year ago pre-Kyler Murray, would make the 1920 Akron Pros look like rec league Joes were they able to share the same field. So given the way the game and players have evolved, extra weight and consideration was conceded to the modern game — you’ll note all 53 Super Bowl champions are listed, however many of the NFL and AFL champions prior to 1966 didn’t receive similar recognition. Metrics like titles won, victories, point differentials and such — which cut across generations with some level of equality — were taken into account, though there was also plenty of room for opinion and art in the final analysis.
There have been many league and Super Bowl champions, a handful of dynasties and many teams that have been crowned “one of the best ever.”
But there was only one team that could rank No. 1
1. 1985 Bears (won Super Bowl XX): Pure dominance. Their 15 regular-season wins came by an average of 18.1 points. The defense collected 64 sacks while allowing just 12.4 points a week. Chicago shut out the Giants and Rams in the NFC playoffs before that epic 46-10 Super Bowl dismantling of New England. All told, the Bears outscored their postseason opponents 91-10. Sure, it would have been nice to see a rematch with Dan Marino and the Dolphins, who handed Chicago its only loss of 1985, on Super Sunday. And maybe you’d like the best team of all time — arguably — to feature a more renowned quarterback than Jim McMahon, but the fact that an offense led by Walter Payton (1,551 rushing yards) was almost extraneous also illustrates just how transcendent Buddy Ryan’s “46 defense” was. And for a list like this, a little flair should count for something, and with McMahon, Payton, Ryan, “Refrigerator” Perry, Mike Singletary, coach Mike Ditka and many others — most getting star turns with “The Super Bowl Shuffle” — the ‘85 Bears had character(s) in spades.
Well said, Nate.
Interestingly, there are a number of teams that stood in the way of the Bears repeating as champions or becoming a dynasty of their own on the list as well, including the No. 2 ranked ‘84 49ers that defeated the Bears in the NFC Championship game.
The whole list is worth reading and there’s a lot of good stats to back up his ranks.
There isn’t much else that hasn’t been said about the ‘85 Bears, but I doubt there is anyone on here that wouldn’t agree with their ranking.