There will be no shortage of NFL lists and rankings entering the league's centennial season. We've already seen Tom Brady get ranked as the sixth best active player, and Bill Belichick will help decide who the 100 greatest players of all time are.
On Monday, Nate Davis of USA Today decided to join in on the fun by ranking the 100 best teams ever. Of course, such a subjective exercise is impossible to perfect, but Davis's methodology included Super Bowls, playoff performances and margin of victory. Apparently his approach didn't take into account things like sustained success, single-season records and the greatness of a certain quarterback-head coach tandem.
The Patriots' highest-ranked team, the 2007 near-perfect team, came in at 17th overall. Again, 17. As in, 16 teams were ranked higher than the Patriots who were a David Tyree catch away from completing the first and only 19-0 season. The 2007 team that had Brady throw for 50 touchdowns (then a record) and had Randy Moss catch 23 touchdowns (still a record). As Davis notes, the '07 team scored 30 or more points in 13 of its 19 games and outscored opponents by 19.7 points per game.
The 2016 Patriots, who came back from a 28-3 deficit in the Super Bowl, were ranked two spots below the 2007 Pats at 19th. In all, 10 Patriots teams cracked USA Today's Top 100.
One interesting tidbit was that two teams — the 1999 Rams and the 2013 Seahawks — who lost to the Patriots in the Super Bowl soon after winning it, were ranked significantly higher than any New England squad. Kurt Warner's "Greatest Show on Turf" Rams were ranked ninth, while the "Legion of Boom" Seahawks were slotted at 12.
Two 49ers teams from the 1980's, the 1962 Packers, the 15-win Bears and undefeated Dolphins teams rounded out the top five.
In the coming weeks, AP, NFL Films and the Pro Football Hall of Fame will compile a more definitive list based off voting, so perhaps the Patriots will get more respect then.
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