Ranking the Seattle Seahawks Among the 10 Greatest Defenses Of All Time
The "Legion of Boom"'s Place Among 10 Best Defenses
"Defense Wins Championships." This axiom has always been true since the inception of football. In a league now filled with offensive domination and league rules permitted to high scoring affairs and quarterback shootouts, the Seattle Seahawks have a defense that could have played in just about every decade.
At every level of defense (defensive line, linebackers and secondary), the Seahawks have fast athletes who can chase opposing ball carriers and hit with the best of them. These are two prerequisites to a championship-level defense.
The Seahawks also some of the best players at the most important positions on the field. Richard Sherman is the best cornerback in all of football. Free safety Earl Thomas is the best in the NFL, and middle linebacker Bobby Wagner is one of the five best middle linebackers in all of football.
While there is no L.C. Greenwood or Alan Page on the defensive line, this unit is incredibly deep and can get to the passer with the best of them.
The Seahawks are already good, but they might be even better if not for the season-long suspension of Pro Bowl cornerback Brandon Browner.
The statistics will speak for themselves. In 2013, the Seahawks allowed a league-low 14.4 points per game which is 6th in the NFL since 2004. Seattle also led the league in fewest yards allowed with just under 275 per game, led the league in lowest opposing passer rating with 63.4, fewest yards per play at 4.42, fewest 20-yard plays allowed with 36 and most takeaways with 39.
Here now are my "Top 10 Defenses" in NFL History -- some are single-season units while some last longer.
10. 2013 Seattle Seahawks
The "Legion of Boom" is well on their way to being in the discussion of the greatest defenses of all time.
While the body of work is short, the results have been outstanding. The Seahawks only allowed 14.4 points per game in 2013 with the NFL average at 23.4 points per game. Seattle also led the league in lowest passer rating at 63.4, fewest yards per game with 273.6, fewest yards allowed per play at 4.42 and takeaways with 39.
Slowing down the single greatest regular season offense in NFL history in the Denver Broncos will only validate this selection.
9. Minnesota Vikings "Purple People Eaters"
From 1969-76, the Minnesota Vikings' defense dominated the NFC Central, winning seven division championships in eight seasons.
The defense led the way as they were repeatedly one of the top units in the NFC, led by Hall of Famers Carl Eller, Alan Page and Paul Krause.
Unfortunately, defenses aren't defined by postseason, rather they are defined by postseason success. In four Super Bowl appearances, the Vikings lost all four games and the defense was manhandled in each game.
8. 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense dominated the NFL. The defense scored nine touchdowns on the season with three on the biggest stage, Super Bowl 37, and became the first team since the 1985 Chicago Bears to lead the league in total defense, points allowed and interceptions..
This defense was led by future Hall of Famer Warren Sapp and another two or three more with Derrick Brooks, John Lynch and Ronde Barber.
The defense did face Jon Gruden's former team in the Super Bowl, the Oakland Raiders, giving them a decided advantage.
7. Miami Dolphins' "No Name Defense"
The Miami Dolphins' "No Name Defense" of the early 1970s was the main reason why the Dolphins went to three consecutive Super Bowls and had a perfect season in 1972.
Often forgotten because of the lack of star-caliber names, this defense made few mistakes and dominated opposing offenses in that stretch.
The unit was led by Hall of Fame linebacker Nick Buoniconti along with Pro Bowl safeties Jake Scott and Dick Anderson and Pro Bowl defensive linemen Bill Stanfill and Manny Fernandez.
6. 2000 Baltimore Ravens
The 2000 Baltimore Ravens defense is one of the top three best single-season defenses of all time.
The Ravens were led by Hall of Famers Ray Lewis and Rod Woodson along with Pro Bowler Sam Adams.
Baltimore only allowed 165 points in 16 regular season games, only five rushing touchdowns all season and registered four shutouts. They also dominated Super Bowl 35 by not allowing an offensive touchdown to the New York Giants.
5. Hank Stram's Kansas City Chiefs
The most under-appreciated defense in the NFL, Hank Stram's Kansas City Chiefs defenses of the mid 1960s to early 1970s were as talented as any in NFL history.
The defense was led by Hall of Famers Buck Buchanan, Curley Culp, Willie Lanier, Bobby Bell and Emmitt Thomas along with All-Pros Johnny Robinson, Jim Lynch, Jerry Mays and Jim Marsalis. In three postseason games in 1969, the Chiefs gave up less than 10 points in all three games and dominated the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV.
4. Tom Landry's 1st "Doomsday Defense"
The first edition of the Dallas Cowboys' "Doomsday Defense" was among the greats in NFL history.
From 1966 to 1975, Doomsday one featured three Hall of Famers in Bob Lilly, Mel Renfro and Herb Adderley along with All-Pros in Lee Roy Jordan, Cornell Green and George Andrie. This group led the Cowboys to their first Super Bowl title after being repeatedly labeled as "Next Year's Champions."
3. Lombardi's Packers
The toughest defense in NFL history, Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers defense of the 1960s was the best defense to play in big-time games. In Green Bay's 10 playoff games under Lombardi, the defense only gave up 17 or more points only once.
The defense was anchored by six Hall of Famers in Willie Davis, Herb Adderley, Dave Robinson, Ray Nitschke, Henry Jordan and Willie Wood.
2. 1985 Chicago Bears
The most intimidating defense that ever stepped on the field, the 1985 Chicago Bears absolutely destroyed the league. In three playoff games, the Bears shutout two opponents and held the Patriots to 10 points in Super Bowl XX with the defense scoring nine points of their own.
The unit was led by Hall of Famers Richard Dent, Dan Hampton and Mike Singletary.
The "46" defense under Buddy Ryan absolutely crushed the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, only allowing seven yards rushing on 11 carries and 123 total yards on the game. The Bears also set a Super Bowl record with seven sacks.
1. Pittsburgh's "Steel Curtain"
The clear-cut No. 1 choice, the Pittsburgh "Steel Curtain" defense of the 1970s led the way to the greatest dynasty in NFL history.
This unit was so stacked with talent that 11 players made the Pro Bowl and four are Hall of Famers (Mel Blount, Jack Lambert, Jack Ham and Joe Greene). In four Super Bowl appearances in the 1970s, the Steelers won all four with the defense leading the way to victory.
Here are some defenses who just missed the cut.
Atlanta Falcons' "Gritz Blitz"
Bill Parcells' New York Giants
Dick LeBeau's Pittsburgh Steelers
The 1950's New York Giants
Buddy Ryan's Philadelphia Eagles
Tom Flores' Oakland Raiders