Not surprisingly, the Baltimore Ravens' 2000 defense was voted the best defense in NFL history in a poll on the Ravens' blog. I expected the Ravens to get most of the support, but I was surprised that they ran away with 79 percent of the votes in the SportsNation poll.
I am biased because I covered the 2000 Ravens team, and I've never seen a defense dominate like that one. Still, I thought it was strange that there wasn't more love for the 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers and 1985 Chicago Bears. Both of those teams can make an argument for being the best defense of all-time, although you wouldn't be able to tell by the results. The Steelers finished second with 10 percent, and the Bears finished tied with the 2013 Seattle Seahawks for third with 5 percent each.
Here are some comments from selected readers:
Peter (New Orleans): It's the 2000 Raven. It's hard to compare teams from different eras, and against different quarterbacks and offenses. But, at a time when offenses were on the rise, the Ravens simply silenced teams. The Seahawks deserve to be recognized for their defense, but is there no way of doing that these days without going over the top and claiming they're the best of all time? I'm sure even Richard Sherman would concede that point.
John (Stow, Ohio): Obviously, the Ravens fans have stardust in their eyes and a lack of history in their brains. The Steelers of the 1970s had undoubtably the best defenses, and the 1976 team that didn't make the Superbowl was the best ever. Without their starting quarter, the defense took command and only allowed 28 points over the last nine games. The Steelers registered 5 shutouts over that span. That's the best defense ever and has never been done since.
Summerfield (New York): The 1976 Steelers, and this year's Seahawks had very good offenses to help their defenses. The 1985 Bears did not have a great offense but it was respectable. Not so with the 2000 Ravens. Remember 0-for-October. The Ravens went five games that month without a touchdown.
Jefferson (Hilo, Hawaii): The Seahawks are the No.1 defense in NFL history the dominate performance in Super Bowl 48 and holding the greatest quarterback of all time to eight points highlights that. The Seahawks play in a different era than all of the previous great defenses of all-time. They play in an era where its more common to see a 40-point game than a shutout, and in this era, they have been able to hold teams to an average of 14 points. The greatest defense of all-time will be long debated after I'm gone in sports bars across america but I truly believe that they are the best of all-time and will probably be the last great one if the NFL keeps moving the focus towards offense and away from defense.