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This NFL.com List of Top 10 NFL Teams of the Decade is a Sick Joke

On one level, I get it. Football websites are for-profit businesses. And July for them is like it is for any seasonal industry that makes it money in the fall, winter and early spring. You’ve got to find creative ways to keep that sweet, sweet revenue stream flowing. It’s why a store chain called Christmas Tree Shop sells beach toys and ski resorts offer hiking and ziplining. You’ve got to be creative.

So in the case of NFL.com, covering a league at a time of year where basically all their newsmakers are working their hardest to not make news, they come up with lists. It’s a clever device for getting those hard-to-get July clicks. But in the words of Spinal Tap, “There’s a fine line between clever and stupid.”

I mean, even if you’re not really invested in making a list of the Top Teams of the Decade, even if it’s the Pro Football Writer equivalent of getting assigned a term paper on “Beowulf” or your mom making you sort out the recyclables and take them out to the curb, show some pride, man. You write for NFL frickin’ dot com. Roger Goodell’s state run media. Have some standards. Some dignity.

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Gil Brandt asks, Where did they go wrong?” Where do I even begin?

First of all, what’s this business of putting ten different franchises in your Top 10? Is this the MLB All Star roster, where every franchise has to be represented? How else can you explain seven teams making the list who didn’t even win the championship? SEVEN! Hell, they’ve got three teams that didn’t even make it past their conference championship game. Including the 2011 Packers, who got bounced out of the playoffs in the first game after going 15-1.

And even if you want to include the 2017 Jaguars because they had the 2nd best scoring defense and 5th most points, you can’t ignore the fact they were 18th in Passer Rating, THE most relevant, predictive stat in contemporary football besides points. And no matter how impressed we all were with the 2018 Kansas City offense, you have to factor in their defense gave up the 2nd most yards and 9th most points in the league and couldn’t make a stop in the AFC title game at home against a 41-year-old quarterback with limited weapons.

Which brings me to the real issue with this list. The problem is, thanks to the team that ended the season for the 2017 Jags and 2018 Chiefs, they only had seven championships franchises to choose from. If this was actually a meritocracy and not the elementary school play where everyone gets a role and even the kid with cooties who can’t form sentences gets to be a tree, the one true dynasty of the decade would have three entries. At least.

I mean, how do you not include the 2014 Patriots? Who not only ended the only other legitimate contender for the Iron Throne in this decade, Seattle, they left them permanently broken. There are something like three or four players left from that roster that almost won back-to-back titles. That edition of the Dynasty ranked as follows:

Points scored: 4th
Points allowed: 8th
1st downs: 5th
Passer Rating: 5th
Passing touchdowns: 5th

More importantly, they not only put up 28 points on four passing TDs in the Super Bowl against the same defense that held the 2013 Broncos (No. 5 on this list) to just 8 points, in the conference championship they held the most prolific passing attack in the league, the Colts (4,800+ yards, 42 TDs) to just 7.

And if they’re going to include teams that didn’t win a ring, they might as well put the 2011 Pats on there:

Points scored: 3rd
Points allowed: Middle of the pack
Total yards: 2nd
Passer rating: 3rd
Passing touchdowns: 4th
Rushing touchdowns: 3rd
Proximity to winning the Super Bowl: A Mario Manningham miracle catch, a Wes Welker drop and the length of Gronk’s fingers as he lunged for a Hail Mary on a badly injured leg.

As opposed to the Packers getting blown up by those same Giants at 37-20, in Green Bay, but still making this list.

But such is the nature of the Stupid Season in the pro football media. Where did they go wrong?Sorry about ending with yet another movie line, but as Max Bialystock put it in “The Producers,” “Where did we go right???”