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Sports Then and Now

A Look at the Best NFL Teams of the Decade

Posted on January 22, 2020 by John Harris

2020 is here and a lot has been made of the upcoming Super Bowl, the pending draft and the greatest players of the past decade but what about the franchises that have kept us entertained throughout the past 10 years? Now, we look at the best sides of the 2010s.


It’s quite easy to forget about the Broncos because they’ve been someway off the pace in the last few years. The first half of the decade though was a different story. 2010 saw a poor campaign with 12 losses but when expectations were low Denver took off; five seasons followed where they finished in first place in their division, which was aided with the arrival of Comeback Player of the Year Peyton Manning in 2012. 

The post season was a sore subject for many years though with defeat in NFL Super Bowl 48 a hard pill to swallow but you can’t keep a good Bronco down and their decade reached it’s peak in 2015 as they finally lifted the Super Bowl with a victory over the Carolina Panthers.


John Harbaugh has done a tremendous job with the Ravens over the last 12 years but, despite a more than competitive decade, they could have achieved so much more. Four division triumphs, a conference win and narrow Super Bowl glory – where Joe Flacco was named MVP – were the highlights and a win rate of .613 ensures the franchise keeps improving decade on decade. If they can continue the progression into the 2020’s then we’ll have a team on our hands and given they’ve switched style from a defense first approach to a now eye catching offense who knows what lays in wait.


The Seahawks spent the entire decade challenging at the top of their division with all but one of the campaigns ending with the minimum of a second-place finish. Their post season displays were respectable too and although back to back Super Bowl wins eluded them after defeat to the Patriots in 2014 there is simply no ignoring their success the year before where they destroyed the Broncos 43-8, which was the biggest Super Bowl win of the decade.


If this list was based on the first couple of years of the 2010s then Green Bay might have sat in first place after the way they started the decade with a Super Bowl victory in 2010 and then how they backed that up with the most wins they’ve recorded in a single campaign (15) in 2011. 

With Aaron Rodgers bossing things on the field and Mike McCarthy organising from the side line you would have received good odds that the Packers wouldn’t reach another Super Bowl but despite strong displays in the regular season where they achieved a win rate of .644 another Bowl appearance was never forthcoming. 

Rodgers and McCarthy became embroiled in a rumoured fall out later in the decade and, after a dip in their results, McCarthy was replaced by Matt LaFleur. The new voice in Green Bay had the desired outcome as their form recovered with Rodgers re-establishing himself as one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history but that next Super Bowl appearance is still yet to come though.


It just had to be the Patriots. Nobody gets close to what Bill Belichick’s men have achieved in the last decade. They’ve finished first in the East division every single year and have five conference titles under their belt along with five Super Bowl appearances to boot. 2011 saw a 21-17 Super Bowl defeat at the hands of the New York Giants and two further years of failure saw the team’s ‘drought’ stretch to nine years. 

A lesser team with weaker mentality might have crumbled but this is Tom Brady and co and they were not going to give in and three Super Bowl wins in five years – as well as a second loss – is quite simply remarkable, as is their decade win rate of .781. Patriots build a legacy when they are always favorites in the odds for the Super Bowl, just like a leading horse in the Kentucky Derby bets.

There you have it, a look back at the best teams of the decade. It’s fair to say that most of those mentioned should be regarded as some of the greatest franchises ever; will the next decade offer up anything quite as good? Let’s enjoy finding out.

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