Best Salary Cap Era Super Bowl Teams

February 3, 2018

Growing up as a kid in the 80’s there were very few Super Bowls that turned out to be good. The two best games of the decade involved my favorite childhood team, the Cincinnati Bengals, losing on two occasions to the San Francisco 49ers.  For the most part the games were blowouts.  In fact from the ’83 Raiders to the ’93 Cowboys the average margin of victory in the world’s most watched event was 23 points.

San Francisco was widely considered as the team of the decade after winning four titles during that span. With no salary cap in place, teams like the 49ers, Cowboys, and Giants all paid top dollar to accumulate stacked rosters.

In 1994, the NFL implemented the salary cap, making it far more difficult for teams to stockpile talent in backup positions. It would take a few years for the full effects to be felt, but it would forever change the landscape of the game.

Some complain that about the league’s parity today, but it has led to some great Super Bowl and some special championship teams. The biggest difference is today compared to previous eras is that it is much harder to sustain long-term success with the same roster.

With that in mind it has also become much tougher to pick a team of the decade than it used to be. Instead, I thought it would prove to be much more fun in deciding who the greatest single-season Super Bowl team of the Salary Cap Era is.

Here’s how I rank the Super Bowl Champs (Salary Cap Era) over the last two decades.

#1 – 2004 Patriots (14-2)
(Pro-Football-Reference | Wikipeida)
–Third Super Bowl title in four years (last one they’ve won)
–Their 11.1 point per game point differential was easily best in league
–Beat both teams that beat them, including at Pittsburgh in AFC Championship

#2 – 1998 Denver Broncos (14-2)

(Pro-Football-Reference | Wikipeida)
–Back-to-back Super Bowl Champs
–John Elway’s last season/Terrell Davis 2000-yard season
–9 players were voted Pro Bowlers

#3 – 1999 St. Louis Rams (13-3)
(Pro-Football-Reference | Wikipeida)
–Averaged 32.8 points per game/17.8 point per game point differential
–“Greatest Show on Turf” scored more than 30 points twelve separate times
–Opportunistic defense returned seven interceptions for touchdowns

#4 – 2009 New Orleans Saints (13-3)

(Pro-Football-Reference | Wikipeida)
–Averaged 31.9 points per game
–Went 13-0 before dropping last three of season
–Defeated three straight Super Bowl winning QB’s in playoffs

#5 – 2000 Baltimore Ravens (12-4)

(Pro-Football-Reference | Wikipeida)
–Allowed only 970 rushing yards (60.6 per game), an NFL record for a 16-game season
–Gave up the fewest points ever during a 16-game season (165)
–Made playoffs as wildcard after Titans won AFC Central

#6 – 2002 Tampa Bay Bucs (12-4)
(Pro-Football-Reference | Wikipeida)
–Jon Gruden’s first year replacing Tony Dungy
–Led the league in total defense, points allowed, and interceptions (1st since ’85 Bears)
–Had a +17 turnover takeaway/giveaway rate

#7 – 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4)
(Pro-Football-Reference | Wikipeida)
–Won 2nd straight AFC North title
–Mike Tomlin’s second year as coach
–Tied league record by holding 14 straight opponents under 300 yards

#8 – 2006 Indianapolis Colts (12-4)

(Pro-Football-Reference | Wikipeida)
–Put up 26.7 points per game
–Started 9-0 before dropping four of last seven games
–Allowed 5.33 rushing yards-per-attempt

Talk more football with me on Twitter @DanClasgens

*Image from YouTube

  • Categories: NFL

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