There’s an old adage in the NFL which simply states ‘that defenses win championships’, and the 2023 Dallas Cowboys will certainly be hoping that mantra rings true once more.
Boasting a star studded defensive unit that includes the likes of Micah Parsons, Trevon Diggs, DeMarcus Lawrence and Stephon Gilmore, the Cowboys achieved the rare feat of shutting out their opposition in the first week of the NFL season.
Swarming and stifling the New York Giant offense on almost every play, the nature of the Cowboys 40-0 victory has got the NFL community talking, with even the victorious Cowboys stating that they want to be considered as one of the greatest defenses to have ever played the game.
Already considered a major contender to reach the Super Bowl, Dallas’s dominant defense has seen their odds shorten on sites such as Bodog Sports and many believe that this could finally be the year that they end their 28 year Super Bowl drought.
With Dallas hoping to join the record books, here are three of the best defenses that they are trying to emulate.
1985 Chicago Bears
The 1985 Chicago Bears are widely regarded as the best defense in the history of the NFL. Led by a trio of Hall of Fame players in the shape of Mike Singletary, Dan Hampton and Richard Dent, the Bears changed the way that NFL defenses operated due to the innovative 46 system that they employed.
Honed under the tutelage of Buddy Ryan, the Bears swarmed opposing offensive lines and were constantly making opposition quarterbacks run for their lives.
To this day, they hold the record for the least amount of points conceded in the post season, with the Bears just giving up one touchdown over three post season games.
To be considered great, it is the 1985 Bears who are the benchmark.
2000 Baltimore Ravens
Perhaps there has been no finer example of a defense winning a championship than the 2000 Baltimore Ravens.
Led by two of the greatest to have ever played the game in the shape of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed, the Ravens developed a fierce reputation for taking the ball away – achieving the feat a staggering 49 times on their way to Super Bowl glory.
Like the 1985 Bears, they only conceded one touchdown during their playoff run and are rightfully regarded as one of the best defensive units to have ever taken the field.
1975 Pittsburgh Steelers
Never before has one defensive unit yielded so many Hall of Fame players, but that’s exactly what the 1975 Pittsburgh Steelers achieved.
Affectionately known as the ‘Steel Curtain’, legendary players such as Mean Joe Green, Jack Ham, Jack Lambert and Mel Blount ensured that any opposition quarterback would be in for a tough day.
The 1975 Steelers will forever be remembered for their Super Bowl win over the Dallas Cowboys, but their average of 11.6 points allowed per game is still a record that very few defensive teams have been able to emulate since.
The Steelers are one of the most successful franchises in the NFL and that is largely due to the stout defensive work of the members of the ‘Steel Curtain’.