W8 poll (Best season ever)

01/01/2005

Week Eight poll: Best Single Season

What team had the best season ever? That's easy, right? The 1972 Dolphins, the only Super Bowl winners to complete an undefeated season. But what about some of the other dominant teams of the Super Bowl era? Read about the three other teams we've selected below as candidates for Best Single Season before casting your vote ... and check back on our previous winners from Weeks One-Seven.

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1972 Miami Dolphins

Manny Fernandez, a key cog in the "No-Name" defense

Though they were led by the famed "No-Name Defense" that surrendered a league-low 171 points, the '72 Dolphins were by no means short of talent. Hall of Famers Paul Warfield, Bob Griese and Larry Csonka paced the offense while legendary coach Don Shula guided the team to 17 victories without a loss. Backup Earl Morrall spelled Griese when the latter went down with an injury and led them to wins from Week Five through the divisional playoffs. Griese returned to quarterback the AFC Championship win over Pittsburgh and the Super Bowl VII triumph over Washington. The Dolphins repeated as Super Bowl champs the following season.

1985 Chicago Bears

Jim McMahon

Fittingly, it was the Miami Dolphins that broke up the Bears' quest to become just the second undefeated Super Bowl winner with a Week 13 win in 1985. But little else went wrong that season for Mike Ditka's Bears. Led by a ferocious defense that included Mike Singletary, Richard Dent and Gary Fencik, the Bears dominated the NFL. Hall of Fame RB Walter Payton was the offensive focus, but "punky QB" Jim McMahon gave the team its swagger. After a 15-1 regular season, the Bears hammered the Giants (21-0) and Rams (24-0) in the NFC playoffs before dismantling New England in Super Bowl XX, 46-10.

1984 San Francisco 49ers

Joe Montana was MVP of Super Bowl XIX 

Just prior to the Bears' 1985 run, the 1984 49ers dominated the league. But unlike the Bears, it was an explosive offense that made San Francisco unstoppable. QB Joe Montana had a 102.9 passer rating and relied on the talents of RB Roger Craig and WR Dwight Clark under the tutelage of offensive mastermind, Bill Walsh. The Niners would rack up 475 points on the year, second only to Dan Marino's Miami team. Fittingly, the teams squared off in Super Bowl XIX. The 49ers established their superiority with a 21-point second quarter blitz and went on to defeat the Dolphins, 38-16.

1978 Pittsburgh Steelers

Terry Bradshaw fired 4 TDs in Super Bowl XIII

The third of Pittsburgh's four Super Bowl winners in the 1970s may have been the best of all. The "Steel Curtain" defense of Jack Ham, Joe Greene and Jack Lambert allowed just 195 points, while Terry Bradshaw's potent offense (WRs John Stallworth, Lynn Swann; RBs Franco Harris, Rocky Bleier) scored 356, just 28 fewer than defending champion Dallas. After a 14-2 regular season, the Steelers wrested the title away from the Cowboys in Super Bowl XIII, opening a 35-17 lead in the fourth quarter before two late Dallas scores made the final 35-31. Chuck Noll's group would repeat the following year. 

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Note: Photos courtesy of the Associated Press.

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