Top 10 NFL Offenses of Last 25 Years
Of all the teams on this list, Dallas had the best balance between offense and defense. But don't underestimate the Cowboys' offense. NFL rushing king Emmitt Smith ran for 1,713 yards and 18 touchdowns and Troy Aikman threw 23 touchdowns in '92. Dallas outgained its opponents by over 100 yards a game and seemingly scored whenever it really needed to. The Cowboys also averaged 38.7 points per game in the playoffs en route to a Super Bowl championship.
Although Brett Favre's brilliance is commonly acknowledged, people tend to overlook the Packers' offense as a whole. Green Bay put up 456 points during the 1996 season (compared with just 210 by their opponents), and in several blowouts the Packers called off the dogs late in the game. Favre tossed 39 touchdowns in '96, while Edgar Bennett and Dorsey Levens combined to give Green Bay a dangerous running game. The Pack beat New England 35-21 to win the Super Bowl that season.
Though the Broncos had Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway, they were a run-first team that couldn't be stopped on the ground. Relying on a highly skilled line, Terrell Davis had 2,008 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns. When the Broncos did pass, they were very efficient, with Elway throwing to sure-handed receivers Rod Smith and Ed McAffrey and tight end Shannon Sharpe. The Broncos won their second consecutive Super Bowl that season by defeating the Falcons.
In just his second season, Dan Marino set single-season records for most yards (5,084), touchdown passes (48) and completions (362) as the Dolphins passed their way to a 14-2 record and a trip to the Super Bowl, where they lost to the 49ers. Opponents knew the Dolphins were going to throw often, but thanks to an outstanding offensive line and Marino's quick release, Miami could not be stopped.
San Diego ran the "Air Coryell" offense to perfection, scoring virtually at will en route to a 10-6 record and a trip to the AFC Championship Game. Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Fouts had a lethal arsenal of receivers, including Wes Chandler, Charlie Joiner and tight end Kellen Winslow. And the Chargers could move the ball on the ground with running backs Chuck Muncie and James Brooks.
How big a difference did rookie wide receiver Randy Moss make? The Vikes scored 354 points in 1997 and then set an NFL record by scoring 556 points in '98. Quarterback Randall Cunningham had a career resurgence thanks to his ability to throw the long ball to Moss. Running back Robert Smith and receiver Cris Carter also had excellent years to help Minnesota go 15-1. The Vikes eventually fell to the Falcons in the NFC Championship Game.
Joe Gibbs had already won a Super Bowl, but it was in '83 when he established himself as an offensive genius. The Skins scored 541 points, the second-highest total ever, and finished 14-2. Washington had an unstoppable power game with John Riggins and Joe Washington running behind one of the greatest offensive lines of all time. And the Redskins were dangerous in the air, with QB Joe Theismann throwing to Charlie Brown and Art Monk.
The Colts would score so fast and get such big leads that sometimes they'd have to call off the dogs by the second quarter. Peyton Manning set the all-time record by throwing 49 touchdowns and had a record 121.1 passer rating. The Colts had three receivers with at least 10 touchdowns -- Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne and Brandon Stokley -- and Edgerrin James ran for 1,548 yards.
The "Greatest Show on Turf" was brilliant from 1999 through 2001, and it's difficult to choose one year out of the three as the ultimate Rams offense. But the Rams won the Super Bowl in 1999, and that's when the NFL first realized that stopping St. Louis was virtually impossible. Third-string QB Kurt Warner came out of nowhere to throw 41 touchdowns, and the brilliant Marshall Faulk ran for 1,381 yards and had 1,048 yards receiving.
From their first Super Bowl win in 1981 to their last one in '94, the 49ers consistently had one of the best offenses in the NFL. The '94 version was the highest-scoring of the bunch, led by stars Steve Young, Jerry Rice and Ricky Watters. Young, the MVP that season, completed over 70 percent of his passes and had a then record 112.8 passer rating. The 1984, '87 and '89 San Francisco offenses are also worthy of strong consideration.