Thanks to the rules the NFL has implemented over the course of the last 20 years, football has increasingly become a game that’s focused on offense. One need only look at the increase in scoring league average per team over time: 23.3 in 2018/19 season, vs a high of 21.5 between 1990 to 2001.
Much of the spike in offense can be attributed to the rules the league implemented to protect the quarterback – and, in short, running backs and wide receivers too – as well as the development of offensive schemes, better coaching, and more talented athletes.
We can see the proof of that by looking at the NFL’s top offenses in history – most of which fall within the last 20 years.
But which three, in particular, have proven themselves to be historic?
3. 2007/08 New England Patriots
Total Yards Per Game: 411.2 (1st)
Passing Yards Per Game: 295.7 (1st)
Rushing Yards Per Game: 115.6 (13th)
Points Per Game: 36.8 (1st)
You probably remember the ‘07 Patriots – an incredible offensive machine that went undefeated in the regular season (only the second team in the Super Bowl era to do that), cruised through the playoffs, but fell at the final hurdle in Super Bowl XLII, losing to the Giants 17-14.
This Pats team was able to mow through opponents thanks to their elite passing offense, punctuated by Randy Moss’ 23 touchdowns, 1493 receiving yards campaign. Tom Brady passed for 4,806 yards and a then-record 50 touchdowns ( with only eight picks) en route to winning the regular season MVP.
2. 1999/20 St. Louis Rams
Total Yards Per Game: 400.8 (1st)
Passing Yards Per Game: 272.1 (1st)
Rushing Yards Per Game: 128.7 (5th)
Points Per Game: 32.9 (1st)
The 1999 Rams’ offense was good, but the 2000 and 2001 teams gained even more yardage. So why are they the no.2 offense in history?
Because they are the only all-time top 10 offense in history that went on to win the Super Bowl.
Behind the incomparable talents of Marshall Faulk (1,381 rushing and 1,048 receiving yards), Isaac Bruce (1,165 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns) and new starter Kurt Warner (41 touchdowns, over 4,300 passing yards and league MVP), the Rams marched to a 13-3 regular-season record, and won Super Bowl XXXIV over the Titans 23-16.
1. 2013/14 Denver Broncos
Total Yards Per Game: 457.3 (1st)
Passing Yards Per Game: 340.2 (1st)
Rushing Yards Per Game: 117.1 (15th)
Points Per Game: 37.9 (1st)
Like, the 2007 Patriots, the 2013 Broncos were an incredible offensive machine that couldn’t quite seal the deal with a Super Bowl win.
Still, the Broncos broke and set records during the regular season with ease.
606 points – most in league history
5,477 passing yds – Peyton Manning set a new single-season passing record
55 touchdowns – Another single-season record set by Manning
Manning had an elite receiving corps at his disposal, with Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas each posting over 1,200 yds, and Wes Welker and Julius Thomas also snagging 10-plus touchdowns apiece. Knowshon Moreno racked up over 1,000 yards on the ground.
As you’d expect, Manning won the league MVP that season. But he’d have to wait for another ring.