The Quick Introduction
We've crunched the numbers from 46 glorious NFL seasons to identify the 25 Greatest Teams To Not Win The Super Bowl (plus two special mentions) -- a list that rewards overall record, per-game point differential, turnover margin, blowout victories, strength of schedule ... and any other bits of extra credit that would help vault teams into the countdown. So, in advance, we'd like to apologize to the 1967 Cowboys, 1974 Raiders, 1979 Oilers, 1981 Bengals, 1986 Bears, 1990 49ers, 1991 Lions, 1997 Packers, 2005 Seahawks and 2008 Titans, among others, for bypassing their significant contributions to NFL history.

1. 2007 New England Patriots

Regular Season Record: 16-0
Home: 8-0 ... Road: 8-0
Per-Game Point Differential: +19.7
Turnover Margin: +16
Wins Of 10 Points Or More: 12
Losses to sub-.500 teams: 0
Record vs. playoff teams: 5-0
Strength of division (minimum to maximum scale of 1 to 5): 2
Playoff Extra Credit: Lost in Super Bowl (Giants)

OVERVIEW: The Patriots' perfect regular season in 2007 was more than just an unblemished record; it was an across-the-board reckoning for a club that genuinely wanted to win every game 45-7, no exceptions. How else does one reconcile otherworldly production in point differential (19.7), turnover margin (+16), wins by 10 points of more (12) and a 6-0 mark against playoff teams -- including three division winners? But alas, there's a fine line between being universally hailed as the greatest club in NFL history (on the precipice of 19-0) ... and begrudgingly accepting the National Football Post's award for Best Team To Not Win A Super Bowl. But that's a reality of the ultimate bittersweet season. On the positive side, Tom Brady set an NFL record with 50 TD passes, with Randy Moss collecting an NFL-record 23 touchdown receptions. And realistically speaking, only the Ravens and Giants had fourth-quarter opportunities to spoil the Patriots' run of perfection during the regular season -- a stunning achievement in a parity-driven era. But a loss in Super Bowl XLII slightly downgrades New England's once- in-a-generation dominance from September-December ... to a mere footnote.

2. 1983 Washington Redskins

Regular Season Record: 14-2
Home: 7-1 ... Road: 7-1
Per-Game Point Differential: +13.1
Turnover Margin: +43
Wins Of 10 Points Or More: 11
Losses to sub-.500 teams: 0
Record vs. playoff teams: 5-1
Strength of division (minimum to maximum scale of 1 to 5): 3
Playoff Extra Credit: Lost in Super Bowl (Raiders)

Joe TheismannThe Raiders proved to be too much for Joe Theismann and the 'Skins.

OVERVIEW: Forget the near-meltdown against the 49ers in the NFC title game (up 21-0 in the fourth quarter). Forget the futile showing against the Raiders in Super Bowl XVIII (losing 38-9). From a regular-season perspective, the '83 Redskins trump nearly all comers in this countdown -- even the high-powered Vikings of 1998. Looking at the numbers, Minnesota had a better overall record, more points scored and one additional blowout victory. But the Redskins, led by QB Joe Theismann, John Riggins, Art Monk, rookie Darrell Green and head coach Joe Gibbs, prevailed in the end, thanks to an eye- popping turnover margin (+43), a 5-1 mark versus playoff teams, two one-point losses and an actual Super Bowl appearance. There's also this consolation prize: The 1983 Redskins are the greatest defending Super Bowl champs to NOT repeat the following season.

3. 1998 Minnesota Vikings

Regular Season Record: 15-1
Home: 8-0 ... Road: 7-1
Per-Game Point Differential: +16.2
Turnover Margin: +14
Wins Of 10 Points Or More: 12
Losses to sub-.500 teams: 0
Record vs. playoff teams: 3-0
Strength of division (minimum to maximum scale of 1 to 5): 3
Playoff Extra Credit: None

OVERVIEW:The Vikings were a viable powerhouse in that 1998 season, amassing a then-NFL record 556 points (predating the '07 Patriots), registering 12 blowout wins and dismantling the opposition by 16.2 points per game. (This explosion coincided with rookie WR Randy Moss's NFL debut: 69 catches, 1,313 yards and 17 TDs.) Perhaps more impressive, the offense didn't supremely click until after backup QB Randall Cunningham (3,704 yards passing, 35 total TDs) took over in Week 3 (due to Brad Johnson's injury). Of course, Minnesota 's championship hopes were dashed by Atlanta in the NFC title game -- remember Gary Anderson's only missed field goal in a two-year span? -- precluding a titanic clash with the eventual champion Broncos in Super Bowl XXXIII (John Elway's triumphant swan song).

4. 1968 Baltimore Colts

Regular Season Record: 13-1
Home: 6-1 ... Road: 7-0
Per-Game Point Differential: +18.4
Turnover Margin: +7
Wins Of 10 Points Or More: 11
Losses to sub-.500 teams: 0
Record vs. playoff teams: 1-1
Strength of division (minimum to maximum scale of 1 to 5): 4
Playoff Extra Credit: Lost in Super Bowl (Jets)

OVERVIEW: We could break down the Colts' Super Bowl III loss to the Jets in myriad ways. But it's more fun to wonder how NFL history might have been written if Baltimore had not been party to the most storied upset of all time. Something like ...
1) The AFL never earns the pre-merger respect of the NFL.
2) Coach Don Shula never feuds with Colts owner Carroll Rosenbloom and ends up leaving Baltimore for the still-in-expansion-mode Dolphins in 1970. (The Shula-led Colts slumped to an 8-5-1 finish in 1969.)
3) Newly minted celebrity QB Joe Namath never gets the chance to visit Bobby Brady, on his phony death bed, in a campy but memorable episode of TV's The Brady Bunch.
4) Even worse, Namath never inks a landmark deal to endorse pantyhose for Beauty Mist in the mid-70s.

5. 2011 Green Bay Packers

Regular Season Record: 15-1
Home: 8-0 ... Road: 7-1
Per-Game Point Differential: +12.6
Turnover Margin: +24
Wins Of 10 Points Or More: 8
Losses to sub-.500 teams: 1
Record vs. playoff teams: 6-0
Strength of division (minimum to maximum scale of 1 to 5): 3.5
Playoff Extra Credit: None (although that will change if the Giants win SB XLVI)

OVERVIEW: The No. 5 ranking seems great ... until you realize that heading into December, many pundits were hailing Green Bay as a viable candidate to go 19-0 and assume the mantle of Greatest Team In NFL History. But a Week 15 loss to the lowly Chiefs and Divisional Playoff home defeat to the Giants quickly softened the perception of these Packers, who were an offensive juggernaut throughout the year but mere mortals on the defensive end. Still, what's not to love about 560 seasonal points (just shy of the 2007 Patriots), 11 games of 30 or more points, a stellar turnover differential (+24) and sterling 6-0 mark against 2011 playoff clubs? Of course, that unblemished status doesn't include the devastating postseason loss to the Giants ... but the Packers aren't the first dominant team to be snakebitten by New York in the NFL playoffs.

6. 2010 New England Patriots

Regular Season Record: 14-2
Home: 8-0 ... Road: 6-2
Per-Game Point Differential: +12.8
Turnover Margin: +28
Wins Of 10 Points Or More: 9
Losses to sub-.500 teams: 1
Record vs. playoff teams: 6-1
Strength of division (minimum to maximum scale of 1 to 5): 3
Playoff Extra Credit: None

Tom Brady & Wes WelkerTom Brady and Wes Welker couldn't get past the Jets in the AFC Divisional Round.

OVERVIEW: Tom Brady has reached the Super Bowl five times in his career (including next week's opportunity), but the 2010 Patriots might have been his most complete and balanced club over a 10-year period. Brady threw for 3,900 yards and 36 TDs (against only four INTs) and cruised to NFL MVP honors. Tailback BenJarvus Green-Ellis rushed for more than 1,000 yards and 13 TDs -- while deftly sharing the rushing load with Danny Woodhead, Fred Taylor, Sammy Morris and Kevin Faulk. Pass-catchers Wes Welker, Deion Branch, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez finished with 700 yards or six touchdowns. And the typically bland New England defense allowed only 313 points -- with 7 or fewer points in four of its last five regular-season games. But the true greatness of the 14-2 season lies with Brady, who led the Patriots to 30-plus points in the last eight games -- which has to be a consecutive-games record.

7. 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers

Regular Season Record: 10-4
Home: 6-1 ... Road: 4-3
Per-Game Point Differential: +12.7
Turnover Margin: +15
Wins Of 10 Points Or More: 9
Losses to sub-.500 teams: 0
Record vs. playoff teams: 0-3
Strength of division (minimum to maximum scale of 1 to 5): 5
Extra Credit, Part I: NFL modern-day record of 5 shutouts
Extra Credit, Part II: Lost to Super Bowl champ (Raiders)

OVERVIEW: At the very least, the 1976 Steelers are the greatest team to start 1-4 in any NFL season. In their final nine games that year -- all Pittsburgh victories -- the famed Steel Curtain defense surrendered a TOTAL of 28 points (or 3 per game), a ferocious, awe-inspiring run that included three consecutive shutouts (an NFL record). And in the playoffs, the Steelers demolished the Colts in Baltimore, 40-14 ... before bowing out to the eventual champion Raiders in the AFC title game, a consequence of playing without injured running backs Franco Harris and Rocky Bleier. Of course, this ranking comes with some controversy, as Pittsburgh is the only club in the countdown to lose every time against playoff competition during the regular season, and it was a pedestrian 4-3 away from the friendly confines of Three Rivers Stadium. But for us, 'tis better to stay on Jack Lambert's good side.

8. 1969 Minnesota Vikings

Regular Season Record: 12-2
Home: 7-0 ... Road: 5-2
Per-Game Point Differential: +17.6
Turnover Margin: +12
Wins Of 10 Points Or More: 9
Losses to sub-.500 teams: 2
Record vs. playoff teams: 2-0
Strength of division (minimum to maximum scale of 1 to 5): 4
Playoff Extra Credit: Lost in Super Bowl (Chiefs)

OVERVIEW: The 1969 Vikings achieved the rare triple crown of leading the NFL in points scored (379), points allowed (133) and per-game point differential (17.6). Throw in nine blowout victories, a perfect mark against 1969 playoff teams and three outings of 50-plus points ... and we're talking about one of the greatest single seasons in league history. But just like the 1968 Colts, the '69 Vikings will forever be stained by a Super Bowl loss to a seemingly inferior team (Kansas City) from a seemingly inferior league (AFL); and while the Chiefs get full props for taking down the Vikings when it mattered most -- 65 Toss Power Trap, anyone? -- it's important to include one gut-wrenching footnote: In Week 1 of the 1970 season -- the first official year of the NFL-AFL merger -- Minnesota exacted some revenge on Kansas City, rolling to an emotional 27-10 win in Bloomington.

9. 1984 Miami Dolphins

Regular Season Record: 14-2
Home: 7-1 ... Road: 7-1
Per-Game Point Differential: +13.4
Turnover Margin: +8
Wins Of 10 Points Or More: 10
Losses to sub-.500 teams: 1
Record vs. playoff teams: 2-1
Strength of division (minimum to maximum scale of 1 to 5): 2
Playoff Extra Credit: Lost in Super Bowl (49ers)

OVERVIEW: The 1982 Dolphins reached Super Bowl XVII on the strength of a dominating defense, affectionately dubbed The Killer B's. But when Miami reached The Big Game two years later, it had seamlessly morphed into an offensive machine, coinciding with the emergence of receivers Mark Duper, Mark Clayton and QB Dan Marino, who would break new ground with 48 TD passes in 1984 (an NFL record that stood for 20 years). With Marino (the sixth QB taken in Round 1 of the heralded '83 draft) leading the charge, the '84 Fins were virtually unstoppable, notching 10 blowout victories and a sizable point differential (13.4). The only drawbacks: In Week 11, Miami suffered its first loss to an underwhelming San Diego club (in overtime); and in the AFC playoffs, the Dolphins were lucky to avoid the defending champion Raiders (knocked out in the Wild Card round).

10. 2004 Pittsburgh Steelers

Regular Season Record: 15-1
Home: 8-0 ... Road: 7-1
Per-Game Point Differential: +7.6
Turnover Margin: +11
Wins Of 10 Points Or More: 8
Losses to sub-.500 teams: 0
Record vs. playoff teams: 3-0
Strength of division (minimum to maximum scale of 1 to 5): 3
Playoff Extra Credit: Lost to Super Bowl champ (Patriots)

OVERVIEW: The NFL has churned out only five 15-1/16-0 teams since the league expanded the regular season to 16 games in 1978. So, the following statement shouldn't be constituted as a slap in the face to the Steel City faithful: The '04 Steelers are the worst 15-win team of the bunch. (how droll) With that said, there aren't enough superlatives to describe the balance between the Pittsburgh defense, ranked No. 1 in scoring that season, and the offense helmed by rookie QB Ben Roethlisberger (2,621 yards passing, 18 total TDs) and veteran RB Jerome Bettis (13 TDs). Following a Week 2 defeat to Baltimore, Big Ben and Co. ripped off 14 straight victories to finish the regular season. The Steelers were similarly stellar in three major areas: Turnover margin (+11), blowout wins (8) and 3-0 against playoff teams. And just like the 1979 Chargers, Pittsburgh posted easy regular-season wins against the future Super Bowl combatants -- New England and Philadelphia (back-to-back weeks).

11. 1992 San Francisco 49ers

Regular Season Record: 14-2
Home: 7-1 ... Road: 7-1
Per-Game Point Differential: +10.4
Turnover Margin: +7
Wins Of 10 Points Or More: 8
Losses to sub-.500 teams: 0
Record vs. playoff teams: 5-1
Strength of division (minimum to maximum scale of 1 to 5): 3
Playoff Extra Credit: Lost to Super Bowl champ (Cowboys)

Steve YoungSteve Young and the Niners would go on to win a Super Bowl by blowing out the San Diego Chargers.

OVERVIEW: The 1992 Niners were as dynamic as their dynastic forebears of the 1980s, with Steve Young succeeding Joe Montana at quarterback and George Seifert seamlessly handling the coaching reins after Bill Walsh retired from the pro game in February 1989. Looking at the numbers, the '92 Niners earned strong marks in point differential (10.4), turnover margin (7), blowout wins (8) and overall record against playoff teams (5-1). For good measure, Young and Co. capped the regular season with eight straight victories -- a necessity for holding off the eventual champion Cowboys in the race for home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. Not that Dallas needed it to capture its first Lombardi trophy in 15 years.

12. 1990 Buffalo Bills

Regular Season Record: 13-3
Home: 8-0 ... Road: 5-3
Per-Game Point Differential: +10
Turnover Margin: +14
Wins Of 10 Points Or More: 9
Losses to sub-.500 teams: 0
Record vs. playoff teams: 4-2
Strength of division (minimum to maximum scale of 1 to 5): 3
Playoff Extra Credit: Lost in Super Bowl (Giants)

OVERVIEW: The 1990 Bills ruled the AFC through fear ... and a devastating, quick-strike offense (27 points per game) that had no peer. Behind Hall of Famers Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas and Bruce Smith (sorry, Andre Reed -- for now), the '90 Bills enjoyed a problem-free run to the East title and AFC championship, thumping the Dolphins and Raiders in the playoffs before suffering a gut-wrenching loss to the Giants in Super Bowl XXV. But that franchise-defining defeat -- capped by kicker Scott Norwood's wide-right miss at the gun -- doesn't obscure double-digit excellence in point differential and turnover margin, the nine blowout victories or a 4-2 mark against playoff teams (including the Giants in December). Unfortunately, New York got its revenge in January.

13. 1998 Atlanta Falcons

Regular Season Record: 14-2
Home: 8-0 ... Road: 6-2
Per-Game Point Differential: +8.6
Turnover Margin: +20
Wins Of 10 Points Or More: 8
Losses to sub-.500 teams: 0
Record vs. playoff teams: 2-2
Strength of division (minimum to maximum scale of 1 to 5): 3
Playoff Extra Credit: Lost in Super Bowl (Broncos)

OVERVIEW: There's plenty to love about the 1998 Falcons, from their perfect home record and monster turnover margin (+20) ... to the eight decisive victories against top-notch competition. Throw in a major upset win in the NFC title game (over the juggernaut Vikings) and a respectable loss to John Elway's greatest Broncos team in Super Bowl XXXIV ... and you have one of history's most undervalued clubs. How unsung was this group? The team's three biggest offensive weapons were QB Chris Chandler (3,154 yards passing, 25 TDs), RB Jamal Anderson (2,165 total yards, 16 TDs) and WR Tony Martin (1,181 yards, 6 TDs).

14. 1967 Los Angeles Rams

Regular Season Record: 11-1-2
Home: 5-1-1 ... Road: 6-0-1
Per-Game Point Differential: +14.4
Turnover Margin: +16
Wins Of 10 Points Or More: 10
Losses to sub-.500 teams: 0
Record vs. playoff teams: 2-0
Strength of division (minimum to maximum scale of 1 to 5): 4
Playoff Extra Credit: Lost to Super Bowl champ (Packers)

OVERVIEW: The 1967 Rams, led by QB Roman Gabriel and the Fearsome Foursome (Lamar Lundy, Roger Brown and Hall of Famers Merlin Olsen and Deacon Jones), enjoyed a sublime regular season -- 10 blowout victories, one signature win over the eventual champion Packers, plus impressive margins with point differential (14.4) and turnovers (+16). Simply put, this might have been the Rams' second-greatest team of their 48-year tenure in Los Angeles (after the 1951 NFL champions -- led by the immaculate QB tandem of Norm Van Brocklin and Bob Waterfield).

15. 1999 Jacksonville Jaguars

Regular Season Record: 14-2
Home: 7-1 ... Road: 7-1
Per-Game Point Differential: +11.2
Turnover Margin: +12
Wins Of 10 Points Or More: 10
Losses to sub-.500 teams: 0
Record vs. playoff teams: 0-2
Strength of division (minimum to maximum scale of 1 to 5): 3
Playoff Extra Credit: None

OVERVIEW: It's not a stretch to draw eerie parallels between the 1999 Jaguars and 2007 Patriots, the kingpins of this countdown. Both clubs proffered double-digit excellence in point differential and turnover margin, while winning at least nine games by 10 points or more. The two head coaches, Tom Coughlin (Jags) and Bill Belichick (Patriots), were direct descendants of the Bill Parcells coaching tree. And both teams, excruciatingly, lost to only one franchise during their near-flawless campaigns. Of course, New England lost to the Giants in the waning moments of Super Bowl XLII ... whereas Jacksonville went 0-for-3 against division rival Tennessee. That, in a nutshell, explains why the Jags aren't sitting at No. 2.

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