Ten teams closest to matching Miami's Perfect Season
November 17, 2006
1 of 10Al Tielemans/SI
The Vikings started out 7-0, which is modest for this list, but in retrospect they were very close to matching the Dolphins' undefeated season in 1972. They lost to the Bucs 27-24 and then rolled through the rest of their schedule to finish 15-1. Led by rookie receiving Randy Moss and rejuvenated quarterback Randall Cunningham, the Vikes had the most prolific offense in NFL history. But they choked in the NFC Championship Game, falling 30-27 to the Falcons in overtime.
2 of 10Heinz Kluetmeier/SI
The '70s Steelers are considered by many to be the greatest dynasty in NFL history and the '78 team was arguably the most dominant. Quarterback Terry Bradshaw threw a career-high 28 touchdowns that season and the Steel Curtain defense was impenetrable. The Steelers started out 7-0 before losing to the Oilers, a team that gave them fits in the late '70s. Pittsburgh finished 12-2 and went on to capture its third of four Super Bowls under coach Chuck Noll
3 of 10John Biever/SI
Led by prolific running back Priest Holmes, the Chiefs averaged more than 38 points per game en route to a 9-0 record in 2003. But their vaunted offense stalled against the Bengals, who beat them 24-19 win in Cincy. Holmes set an NFL record with 27 rushing touchdowns that season, but didn't reach the end zone against the Bengals. Kansas City ended the season at 13-3 and fell to the Colts in first round of the AFC playoffs.
4 of 10Walter Iooss Jr./SI
America's team was at its peak in '77. Coach Tom Landry had become a national icon, quarterback Roger Staubach was everyone's favorite hero and a rookie running back named Tony Dorsett burst onto the scene and lit up the NFL. They ended up ranked No. 1 overall in offense and No. 2 overall in defense. Dallas won its first eight games before being upset by the Cardinals in Week 9. But the Cowboys did go on to beat the Broncos in Super Bowl XII.
5 of 10Walter Iooss Jr./SI
The '70s Vikings were like the Broncos of the '80s, the Bills of the '90s and to a lesser extent, the current Colts. They were typically tough to beat in the regular season and playoffs, but couldn't win a Super Bowl. In '73 -- a 14-game season -- they jumped out to a 9-0 record before losing at Atlanta in Week 10. Minnesota finished 12-2 and lost to the Dolphins in the Super Bowl.
6 of 10Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images
Of all the great 49ers teams, the '90 squad came the closest to going undefeated. With Joe Montana at quarterback and Jerry Rice dominating at receiver, the 49ers started out 10-0 before losing to the Rams in Week 12. The Niners finished the season 14-2 and then lost to the Giants 15-13 in the NFC Championship Game.
7 of 10Damian Strohmeyer/SI
The Skins had some scares early in the season, including a 33-31 win over the Cowboys in Week 2, but they managed to win their first 11 games. However, fate wasn't as kind in their second game against Dallas as they lost 24-21. The Redskins finished the season 14-2 and beat the Bills in the Super Bowl, giving coach Joe Gibbs his third championship.
8 of 10Al Bello/Getty Images
The Broncos had an unstoppable running game in 1998 and jumped out to a 13-0 record. Terrell Davis ran for 2,008 yards and 21 touchdowns, which made life much easier for quarterback John Elway in what would turn out to be his final season. The Broncos finally lost to the Giants in Week 15. Several players said losing was a relief and they went on to win their second straight Super Bowl that season.
9 of 10John Biever/SI
The Colts became the fourth team in history to start out 13-0 and looked unbeatable when they hosted San Diego in Week 15. But they came out flat against the Chargers and lost 26-17. Indy almost seemed like it wanted to lose and quell talk about finishing with a perfect record. The Colts finished the season at 14-2 and fell to the Steelers in the AFC divisional playoffs.
10 of 10Peter Read Miller/SI
The '85 Bears hold a special place in NFL history. Not only were they dominant, they also were one of the most charismatic teams of all time. With players such as Jim McMahon and William "The Refrigerator" Perry and the legendary Walter Payton, the Bears jumped out to a 12-0 record. But then Dan Marino's Dolphins, inspired by Miami's 1972 team, beat Chicago 38-24 on Monday Night Football. The Bears finished 15-1 and shuffled their way to a Super Bowl championship.
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