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Ranking Every Super Bowl Champion

Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LVI on Feb. 13, 2022

An Aaron Donald-led disruptive pass rush paired with a productive offense resulted in the 2021 Rams securing a hard-fought victory in Super Bowl LVI in their home stadium

Having already compiled a ranking of every college football national champion over the last 50 years, I have attempted the same with every team to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.

Related: Ranking the Super Bowls: From I to LVI

It goes without saying that the college and pro levels are quite different so I used a slightly different set of criteria for this one. This could cause a bit of ire, but I asked the following questions in developing this ranking.

  1. What was their won/loss record?
  2. What was their playoff seed, i.e. did they win their division and did they win home-field advantage in the postseason?
  3. How did they rank in scoring defense and offense (I placed a higher emphasis on defense)?
  4. What was the strength of their division?
  5. How dominant were they in the playoffs?
  6. How many Pro Bowlers and first-team All-Pros did they have?

Regardless of their placement on this list, all of these teams rose to the occasion on the NFL's biggest stage and deserve our respect. Think of this as revisiting the NFL's best. Now let's begin.

56. 2011 New York Giants

Finished: Beat New England Patriots 21-17 in Super Bowl XLVI

Regular Season Record: 9-7

Playoff Seed: No. 4

Scoring Offense Rank: 9th

Scoring Defense Rank: 25th

Pro Bowlers or 1st Team All-Pro: 2

Division Rivals: Philadelphia Eagles (8-8), Dallas Cowboys (8-8), Washington Redskins (5-11)

New York became the first 9-7 team to win a Super Bowl thanks to dramatic upsets of Green Bay, San Francisco, and New England. The Giants are also the only team on this list who gave up more points than they scored over the course of a season.

55. 1970 Baltimore Colts

Finished: Beat Dallas Cowboys 16-13 in Super Bowl V

Regular Season Record: 11-2-1

Playoff Seed: No. 1

Scoring Offense Rank: 6th

Scoring Defense Rank: 7th

Pro Bowlers or 1st Team All-Pro: 3

Division Rivals: Miami Dolphins (10-4), New York Jets (4-10), Buffalo Bills (3-10-1), Boston Patriots (2-12)

Baltimore dispatched Cincinnati and Oakland to return to the Super Bowl for the second time in three years. There, the Colts won the sloppiest Super Bowl ever played to exorcise some of their demons from losing to the New York Jets two years earlier.

54. 2012 Baltimore Ravens

Finished: Beat San Francisco 49ers 34-31 in Super Bowl XLVII

Regular Season Record: 10-6

Playoff Seed: No. 4

Scoring Offense Rank: 10th

Scoring Defense Rank: 12th

Pro Bowlers or 1st Team All-Pro: 5

Division Rivals: Cincinnati Bengals (10-6), Pittsburgh Steelers (8-8), Cleveland Browns (5-11)

The Ravens' former owner and founder, Art Modell, died in September 2012. Then shortly before the playoffs, Ray Lewis announced that he was retiring at the end of the season so they were full of emotion going into the postseason. That fire translated into exceptional play (especially by QB Joe Flacco) and a Super Bowl win.

53. 1967 Green Bay Packers

Finished: Beat Oakland Raiders 33-14 in Super Bowl II

Regular Season Record: 9-4-1

Playoff Seed: No. 2

Scoring Offense Rank: 9th

Scoring Defense Rank: 3rd

Pro Bowlers or 1st Team All-Pro: 9

Division Rivals: Chicago Bears (7-6-1), Detroit Lions (5-7-2), Minnesota Vikings (3-8-3)

The Packers beat the Los Angeles Rams handily and then won the “Ice Bowl” against the Dallas Cowboys to win their third straight NFL title. They then flew to sunny Miami, whipped the Oakland Raiders, and carried Vince Lombardi off the field for his final game as Green Bay’s head coach.

52. 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers

Finished: Beat Seattle Seahawks 21-10 in Super Bowl XL

Regular Season Record: 11-5

Playoff Seed: No. 6

Scoring Offense Rank: 9th

Scoring Defense Rank: 3rd

Pro Bowlers or 1st Team All-Pro: 10

Division Rivals: Cincinnati Bengals (11-5), Baltimore Ravens (6-10), Cleveland Browns (6-10)

The Steelers opened Wild Card Weekend by beating the Cincinnati Bengals 31-17 on the road. The next week, they shocked the top-seeded Colts 21-18 and then beat the Denver Broncos to advance to Super Bowl XL and face the Seattle Seahawks. Pittsburgh won 21-10 and head coach Bill Cowher and running back Jerome Bettis were able to retire as Super Bowl champions. The 2005 Steelers were the first team to win a Super Bowl as a No. 6 seed.

51. 2010 Green Bay Packers

Finished: Beat Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 in Super Bowl XLV

Regular Season Record: 10-6

Playoff Seed: No. 6

Scoring Offense Rank: 10th

Scoring Defense Rank: 2nd

Pro Bowlers or 1st Team All-Pro: 6

Division Rivals: Chicago Bears (11-5), Detroit Lions (6-10) Minnesota Vikings (6-10)

The second No. 6-seed to win a Super Bowl was the 2010 Packers, who seemed to be at their zenith entering the playoffs. Green Bay never trailed during the second half of their postseason games, beating the Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons, and Chicago Bears. In Super Bowl XLV, the Packers faced the Steelers and MVP Aaron Rodgers threw for 304 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions as his team won 31-25.

50. 2001 New England Patriots

Finished: Beat St. Louis Rams 20-17 in Super Bowl XXXVI

Regular Season Record: 11-5

Playoff Seed: No. 2

Scoring Offense Rank: 6th

Scoring Defense Rank: 6th

Pro Bowlers or 1st Team All-Pro: 4

Division Rivals: Miami Dolphins (11-5), New York Jets (10-6), Indianapolis Colts (6-10), Buffalo Bills (3-13)

What seemed like a Cinderella season was actually the official launch of the Belichick/Brady era. Tom Brady relieved an injured Drew Bledsoe in the second game of the season and has been the Patriots' starting quarterback ever since. Thanks in part to the "Tuck Rule," New England advanced to Super Bowl XXXVI and beat "The Greatest Show on Turf" in one of the biggest upsets in NFL history.

49. 1988 San Francisco 49ers

Finished: Beat Cincinnati Bengals 20-16 in Super Bowl XXIII

Regular Season Record: 10-6

Playoff Seed: No. 2

Scoring Offense Rank: 7th

Scoring Defense Rank: 8th

Pro Bowlers or 1st Team All-Pro: 6

Division Rivals: Los Angeles Rams (10-6), New Orleans Saints (10-6), Atlanta Falcons (5-11)

San Francisco was 6-5 going into a "Monday Night Football" matchup with Washington, but blew the Redskins out and won four of its last five games. By the playoffs, the 49ers were playing their best football and easily made their third Super Bowl and then won it, thanks to one of the most memorable late-game drives of all time.

48. 1982 Washington Redskins

Finished: Beat Miami Dolphins 27-17 in Super Bowl XVII

Regular Season Record: 8-1

Playoff Seed: No. 1

Scoring Offense Rank: 12th

Scoring Defense Rank: 1st

Pro Bowlers or 1st Team All-Pro: 5

Division Rivals: N/A (Because of the strike-shortened season, the playoffs were restructured with the top eight teams from each conference playing in a "Super Bowl Tournament")

The Redskins were the top team at the end of the hot mess of the strike-shortened regular season. And at the end of the 16-team "Super Bowl Tournament," they were the best team in the NFL thanks in part to 610 rushing yards from John Riggins over those postseason four games.

47. 2018 New England Patriots

Finished: Beat Los Angeles Rams 13-3 in Super Bowl LIII

Regular Season Record: 11-5

Playoff Seed: No. 2

Scoring Offense Rank: 4th

Scoring Defense Rank: 7th

Pro Bowlers or 1st Team All-Pro: 2

Division Rivals: Miami Dolphins (7-9), Buffalo Bills (6-10), New York Jets (4-12)

New England became the second franchise in this history of professional sports to win 10 straight divisional titles (the other is the Atlanta Braves). The Patriots then toppled their AFC playoff competition and beat the Rams in their stingiest performance of the season.

46. 1974 Pittsburgh Steelers

Finished: Beat Minnesota Vikings 16-6 in Super Bowl IX

Regular Season Record: 10-3-1

Playoff Seed: No. 3

Scoring Offense Rank: 6th

Scoring Defense Rank: 2nd

Pro Bowlers or 1st Team All-Pro: 6

Division Rivals: Houston Oilers (7-7), Cincinnati Bengals (7-7), Cleveland Browns (4-10)

Pittsburgh’s dynasty was still coming into its own, but by the end of the season, Terry Bradshaw was the starting quarterback and the defense had fully matured. The Steel Curtain was the foundation of the Steelers’ three playoff wins and the franchise’s first title.

45. 1980 Oakland Raiders

Finished: Beat Philadelphia Eagles 27-10 in Super Bowl XV

Regular Season Record: 11-5

Playoff Seed: No. 4

Scoring Offense Rank: 7th

Scoring Defense Rank: 10th

Pro Bowlers or 1st Team All-Pro: 5

Division Rivals: San Diego Chargers (11-5), Kansas City Chiefs (8-8), Denver Broncos (8-8), Seattle Seahawks (4-12)

Starting quarterback Dan Pastorini broke his leg in the fifth game of the season and Jim Plunkett took over and led the team to a wild-card berth out of the AFC West. The Raiders then beat Houston at home, Cleveland on the road in the dramatic “Red Right 88” game, and then overwhelmed division champ San Diego early and held on to win the AFC title. In the Super Bowl, Oakland dominated Philadelphia to become the first wild-card team to win the Lombardi Trophy.

44. 2020 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Finished: Beat Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 in Super Bowl LV

Regular Season Record: 11-5

Playoff Seed: No. 5

Scoring Offense Rank: 3rd

Scoring Defense Rank: 8th

Pro Bowlers or 1st Team All-Pro: 1

Division Rivals: New Orleans Saints (12-4), Carolina Panthers (5-11), Atlanta Falcons (4-12)

The Buccaneers acquired a number of veterans in the offseason, most notably Tom Brady. It took this team a little time to gel and it was 7-5 going into its Week 13 bye. Then Tampa Bay never lost again, dispatching No. 2 seed New Orleans and the No. 1 Green Bay Packers in the postseason to play the Super Bowl in its home stadium. There, the Bucs' defense shut down Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City's offense and Brady and company methodically scored touchdowns.

43. 2006 Indianapolis Colts

Finished: Beat Chicago Bears 29-17 in Super Bowl XLI

Regular Season Record: 12-4

Playoff Seed: No. 3

Scoring Offense Rank: 2nd

Scoring Defense Rank: 23rd

Pro Bowlers or 1st Team All-Pro: 3

Division Rivals: Tennessee Titans (8-8), Jacksonville Jaguars (8-8), Houston Texans (6-10)

After years of futility, the Colts finally put together a Super Bowl run. They played gutsy defense against Kansas City and Baltimore and then won a shootout with New England in one of the most exciting AFC Championship games ever played. Peyton Manning’s first title culminated with a win in the only Super Bowl ever played in the rain.

42. 1997 Denver Broncos

Finished: Beat Green Bay Packers 31-24 in Super Bowl XXXII

Regular Season Record: 12-4

Playoff Seed: No. 4

Scoring Offense Rank: 1st

Scoring Defense Rank: 6th

Pro Bowlers or 1st Team All-Pro: 5

Division Rivals: Kansas City Chiefs (13-3), Seattle Seahawks (8-8), Oakland Raiders (4-12), San Diego Chargers (4-12)

The Broncos lost the AFC West by one game, but were perfect in the playoffs. Their run culminated in an epic upset of Green Bay, giving quarterback John Elway his first Super Bowl win in four tries.

41. 1987 Washington Redskins

Finished: Beat Denver Broncos 42-10 in Super Bowl XXII

Regular Season Record: 11-4

Playoff Seed: No. 3

Scoring Offense Rank: 4th

Scoring Defense Rank: 6th

Pro Bowlers or 1st Team All-Pro: 6

Division Rivals: Dallas Cowboys (7-8), St. Louis Cardinals (7-8), Philadelphia Eagles (7-8), New York Giants (6-9)

In the strike-shortened season, Washington went 8-4 with its regular roster and 3-0 with replacement players. But in the playoffs, head coach Joe Gibbs chose to start Doug Williams over Jay Schroeder in a move that went down as one of the best in NFL history.

40. 2015 Denver Broncos

Finished: Beat Carolina Panthers 24-10 in Super Bowl L

Regular Season Record: 12-4

Playoff Seed: No. 1

Scoring Offense Rank: 19th

Scoring Defense Rank: 4th

Pro Bowlers or 1st Team All-Pro: 4

Division Rivals: Kansas City Chiefs (11-5), Oakland Raiders (7-9), San Diego Chargers (4-12)

Sporting the top-ranked defense in the league during the regular s