Patriots fan trigger warning: No modern Patriots team made this countdown.
It’s not that Bill Belichick’s defenses haven’t been great in the last 15 years. Heck, they would dominate the second tier of a top-50 countdown. It’s just that the modern Patriots lack something most of the historic defenses on this list had to cope with: lousy quarterbacking.
Just as our countdown of All-Time Great Offenses featured teams overcompensating for suspect defenses, this list is full of teams that needed to record shutouts and Cheap Jerseys score on pick-sixes to win because their too-old, too-young, too-injured or just too-terrible quarterbacks didn’t win the game for them.
So really, it’s Tom Brady’s fault that the Patriots aren’t on this list. Send him your angry emails.
These defenses are partially ranked according to stats, from points and yards allowed to sacks, turnovers and the advanced stuff tracked by Football Outsiders’ all-time DVOA list. Everything is adjusted for era, of course, so this is not just a countdown of late ’60s and mid-’70s defenses. Playoff dominance also counts, as does impact: Teams that transformed football strategy or fielded a bunch of Hall of Famers take precedence over teams that put up great numbers for a year or two.
As with all of Cheap nfl Jerseys these countdowns, there’s a “shadow effect” in place. The Steel Curtain Steelers are represented by one year that illustrates their other great years. That way, we can tell some other stories. Of course, those Steelers get bonus points for their dynastic dominance.
Finally, teams from before the dawn of the AFL-NFL era (1960) were omitted from this countdown, though they were included in some others. The Canton Bulldogs allowed 15 points in 12 games in 1922. But no one remembers, and only a handful of us really care.
Without further ado, let’s meet some all-time great defenses…as well as some of the all-time strange and unfortunate quarterback situations that made many of them necessary.
The Jets played in back-to-back AFC championships less than a decade ago, beating Carson Palmer’s Bengals and Philip Rivers’ Chargers in 2009 and Peyton Manning’s
Customized Jerseys Colts and Tom Brady’s Patriots in 2010 playoff games. They did all of this with Mark Sanchez at quarterback.
The preceding paragraph should silence any doubts about whether the 2009 Jets defense belongs on a top-25 countdown.
Darrelle Revis became his own island in 2009, intercepting six passes while Jets opponents threw just eight touchdowns. Seven different opponents were held to 10 points or less. Sanchez coughed up 20 interceptions as a rookie, but the Jets allowed the fewest points and yards in the league, despite all the extra opportunities their offense gift-wrapped for opponents.
Rex Ryan’s scheme combined old-school 46-defense principles with modern, conservative concepts like dropping eight defenders into zone coverage. Ryan mixed and San Francisco 49ers Jerseys matched defenders like David Harris (shown with Ryan), Calvin Pace, Bart Scott and others in ways not even savvy opponents were able to account for.
The Jets released the last holdovers to this era in the offseason, and Ryan was making the wrong kind of headlines a few weeks ago while his peers were coaching OTAs. But it wasn’t very long ago that great defense made the Jets innovators and contenders. Life, as they say, comes at you fast.
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