Not What You Think: 5 Legendary Teams That Weren't One-Dimensional

By Mick Warshaw
June 05, 2013 7:31 am
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Throughout NFL history, there have always been teams that were especially dominant in one aspect of the game.

Some of these teams were innovative; some just had better personnel than everyone else.  Fans agree though, that they won because they were just so overwhelmingly good at their one special skill.

Well, the fans are wrong.  These teams were indeed overwhelmingly dominant at that one thing, but without fearsome “other” units, we wouldn’t remember them at all.

Keep reading to see which forgotten pieces of these great teams from the Super Bowl era ought to be involved in any discussion of their greatness.

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10 months ago
Juan Lujan, if you read this - the Rams of those years put their defense back on the field so fast that they had to defend a lot more plays than the other top defenses, so they may have even been significantly better than their rankings.

Look at me, I am considering context! :)
10 months ago

Mick,

A picture paint a thousand words. Now, that is what I am talking about. Thank you.
10 months ago
Nice article. I like the knowledge.
10 months ago
Nice Mick. I love it when someone actually does research and points out things I have been arguing for years.

There are people STILL actually saying Terry Bradshaw wasn't an elite QB. smh. The guy has 4 rings and two mvps of those Superbowls.I was just a kid and watched those games against Dallas and the Cowboys and Staubach were carving up our defense. Terry put those 2 L's on the Cowboys. Those were great Dallas teams and Roger was/is one of the greatest QB's also to play the game.
Terry was a tough SOB too running for another 30 td's in his career.

I also commend you on complimenting the 49'ers Defense. Everyone knows the name Ronnie Lott however, on passing downs the 9er's had 4 db's that could cover anybody.
10 months ago

Rob - thanks for the kind words! Growing up a Giants fan in the 80s, I learned to hate those mean SOBs over in SF, they could lay some lumber!

And for the record, I love Bradshaw, and gave him some respect here: http://www.footballnation.com/content/captain-clutch-is-tom-brady-really-great-postseason-qb/22881/
10 months ago

Rob-I agree with you 100% about Bradshaw. He was the ultimate gunslinger in big games and I use that term in a most positive way.
10 months ago

Mick-you have to watch how you word things on this site (I know by experience). Technically, the Steelers D only gave up 24 points in that S.B. game as the Cowboys scored on a fumble return and also technically the Patriots D gave up all 29 points in that '03 S.B. game. So that is why I now say-the '78 Steelers gave up the most points ever by a S.B. winning team.
10 months ago

Good catch, Bob - as I hope you've noticed, I try to back my stance up with solid research, and that slipped past me. Won't happen again.
10 months ago

Rob, Terry Bradshaw was one tough SOB and did have a few solid years at quarterback. In totality, not sure he deserves the same accolades as Roger Staubach. He did ride the Steel Curtain coattails much longer than necessary until he matured as a passer. Nonetheless, Bradshaw still deserves some recognition. As for the credit for putting 2 L's on the Cowboys, as Mick so eloquently points out, the Steel Curtain was so dominant. If Roger had to lose to a defense, it is more gratifying to lose to the best instead of the weakest.
10 months ago

Juan, he won those games. lol Did you watch them? The Steel Curtain was one of the best defenses yes however, Roger carved them up. It was Terry who beat the Doomsday defense in the end. In fact, if it wasn't for a sure handed Jackie Smith drop in the end zone; the defense might have lost the Superbowl for the Steelers.

In totality, Bradshaw is one of the top five QB's to ever play the game. The NFL is about Championships and he was MVP of two of those 4. Bradshaw deserves some recognition? lol The two time Superbowl MVP deserves a lot of recognition.

Roger didn't lose those games to the Steeler D, his defense did.
10 months ago

To further the significance of what he accomplished. Only one team gave up 31 points and still won the Superbowl. Who Qb'd that team that still won? Terry Bradshaw.
10 months ago

Rob, yes I did watch all those games. As I recall Swan and Stalworth made some amazing catches and RAC plays. That was not all Terry. Although, I agree with you that Terry did played will in the two Superbowls against Dallas. If you also recall Randy White playing special teams fumbled at mid-field, which did help Terry. He had help, that is all I am telling you. No QB does anything alone. You already admit that Roger craved them, but did not get support for the D. With Rocky and Harris pounding the ball, it help set up some great play action.

By the way, I have 15 of the greatest games on DVD, which includes all the Superbowls that Dallas and Steelers played. Working on getting the Niners best games soon. Appreciate your insight to football.
10 months ago

Juan - take the Rams game for an example. Bradshaw audibled to a play called "60 prevent slot hook and go" whn a run play was the original call. That freed led to Stallworth's first huge gain. Later, same formation, same D, same audible, same result. Nolan Cromwell is still having nightmares.

The fact is, the QBs influence in games goes beyond each individual throw, or even the totality of their "visible" contributions like stats. In those days especially, guys were calling plays and audibilizing a lot. I think you are selling Bradshaw short.
10 months ago

No. I am not selling him short. Terry looked sharp in some games but it was not all him.

Here is on example. In SB13, the NFL was not tracking yards after the catch, which is what Swan and Stallworth did all day. This made the QB look very good. Terry threw some short passes that the receivers ran for long yardage/TD. Franco also had a 22 yard score. Not to mention the Benny Barnes incidental contact penalty that led to a Steeler TD inside the 20 yard line. Let us not forget the Randy White fumble late in the fourth that gave the Steelers another TD inside the 20. If you take any of these scores or situations away, Dallas could have won. Terry would not have been giving that much credit.

Terry Bradshaw had a career day passing and got the MVP. I get that. Terry was a goober and played with the best defense of all time. Tell me that is not a huge advantage. Ask Dan Marino what he could have done with the steel curtain.
10 months ago
This Was A Very Knowledgeable And Easy Read. I Will Be Looking For More From You In The Future.
10 months ago

Thanks!
10 months ago
Loved it..especially for saving the Giants HUGE upset till the end!
10 months ago

Haha the '07 Pats and a discussion on my Brady story led to this idea. I put them chronologically, by first SB win.
10 months ago
Mick, yes their defense was on the field more than other defenses and I think that's a testament to their dominance. To be one the field that much and still dominate games, while today you have people that say "oh they're on the field too much so that's why they gave up such and such yards and such and such touchdowns... The offense needs to pick it up and you can't have your defense on the field that long." So in short I 100% agree with you that they are far better than what the numbers would suggest.
10 months ago

Thanks for the feedback! I really liked those Rams teams, they were a blast to watch.

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