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Where Does Seattle's Defense Rank Among All-Time Greats?

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Seattle's DeShawn Shead is part of the fourth-best defense of all-time. Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images.
Seattle's DeShawn Shead is part of the fourth-best defense of all-time. Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images.

The Seahawks’ 43-8 dismantling of Denver should at least put them into the debate for best defensive team ever. (Here I think the entire postseason -- but not the regular season -- should be considered.)

This should get the juices flowing. I’m going to jump right in: I think the Seahawks are fourth.

I have to rate the ‘70s Steelers defense the best ever. They won four Super Bowls in six years, and shut down the other team in three of those Super Bowls. (The 35-31 win over Dallas in the 1979 Super Bowl is in a category by itself. That gets my vote for the best Super Bowl ever. ) 

Second, based on one Super Bowl, is the Bears team that destroyed the Patriots, 46-10, in 1986. You have to factor in their opponent -- the Patriots were not that good, and were lucky to beat the Raiders, a superior team. And then there’s the fact that they made it to only one Super Bowl.

But you have to consider the Bears’ entire postseason. They shut out the Giants 21-0 and then the Rams 24-0. 

The 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens come in third. Again, they went to only one Super Bowl. That team wasn’t very good on offense and relied on a dominant defense. They dominated the Giants in winning the 2001 Super Bowl, 34-7.

How did they get there? Via great defense and just enough offense. (If there was ever a “game manager,” it was Trent Dilfer.) They beat the Broncos 21-3,  the Titans 24-10 and the Raiders 16-3.  They were a wild-card team and only their first game was at home. For the postseason they allowed 23 points in four games.

Fourth is the Seahawks team we saw Sunday. They forced four turnovers against what had been a prolific offense led by a Hall of Fame quarterback. If the Seahawks can do it again, they can move up. 

They were, however, not as dominant as that Bears team or the great Raven defense. 

The Seahawks did not shut down either the Saints or 49ers, and both games were close. 

Those are my top four. I’m going to hand out a few honorable mentions.

You have to include the defense during the Green Bay Packers dynasty. That was a great defense, led by Ray Nitschke and Willie Wood. 

We all remember that Bart Starr scored the winning touchdown behind Jerry Kramer’s block in the Ice Bowl on Dec. 31, 1967. But let’s not forget that the Green Bay defense stifled the Cowboys virtually the whole day. And the Packers allowed just 14 and 10 points in the first two Super Bowls, which they won easily.

Let’s also include the Dallas Doomsday Defense of the ‘70s. They gave up just three points to the Dolphins and 10 points to the Broncos in winning Super Bowls, and allowed 16 points in a Super Bowl loss.