NFL: The 20 Best Defenses in Football History Part II (Fewest Points Against, Single Season)

The New York Giants Lost to the Green Bay Packers in the 1944 NFL Championship

The New York Giants Lost to the Green Bay Packers in the 1944 NFL Championship

The New York Giants. Chicago Bears. Washington Redskins. Pittsburgh Steelers. Philadelphia Eagles.

Defense. Smash mouth football.

Throughout the history of the NFL, these teams in particular have been mostly associated with a defensive underpinning. How’d they get this reputation?

Sure offense played a part in some of their successful campaigns, but from the beginnings of the pro game to today, these great franchises drafted, schemed, went back to and counted on defensive mindedness and core to win football games and carry the season more often than not.

Through its formative years (1922-1939, say), the NFL was a low-scoring affair. Football was executed mostly with ground assaults and countering D. There were halfbacks, tailbacks, fullbacks and wingbacks. Passing was a part of the game, but its priority came later – it picked up steam in the 1940’s, hit another level in the 1950’s and 1960’s, exploded in the 1980’s and has been off the charts in the 2000’s (especially the past six years).

But I digress a bit. There is a point.

Yesterday, we looked at the 20 best defenses (Part I) of the modern era. Because of the continued exponential reliance on the passing game in the past 30 years as opposed to, previously, the running game, I felt it fair to split up “the 20 best defenses” into separate rankings.

First, yesterday, the best defenses of the 14-game (1961-1977) and 16-game (1978-2012) schedule eras. Today, its the best defensive teams from the earliest my source (pro-football-reference.com) goes back, 1940, to 1960. Before that, there wasn’t much consistent, high-powered offense in the game, anyway. Football was slow and grinding.

Here are the 20 best defenses of the transitionary era (1940-1960) based on fewest points against (PA) per game, led by the 1944 New York Giants and followed by the 1942 Chicago Bears – both of whom gave up less than 100 points in total on the season.

Those five franchises mentioned in the first line of this post? They make up 17 of the 20.

TEAM SEASON POINTS AGAINST PER GAME PA G W L T
1. New York Giants 1944 7.50 75 10 8 1 1
2. Chicago Bears 1942 7.64 84 11 11 0 0
3. Washington Redskins* 1942 9.27 102 11 10 1 0
4. New York Giants 1941 10.36 114 11 8 3 0
5. Pittsburgh Steelers 1946 10.64 117 11 5 5 1
6. Pittsburgh Steelers 1942 10.82 119 11 7 4 0
7. Green Bay Packers 1941 10.91 120 11 10 1 0
8. Philadelphia Eagles* 1949 11.17 134 12 11 1 0
9. Philadelphia Eagles 1950 11.75 141 12 6 6 0
10. Cleveland Browns* 1950 12.00 144 12 10 2 0
11. New York Giants 1940 12.09 133 11 6 4 1
12. Washington Redskins 1945 12.10 121 10 8 2 0
13. New York Giants 1950 12.50 150 12 10 2 0
14. Chicago Bears 1948 12.58 151 12 10 2 0
15. New York Giants 1942 12.64 139 11 5 5 1
16. Cleveland Browns 1951 12.67 152 12 11 1 0
17. Washington Redskins 1940 12.91 142 11 9 2 0
18. Philadelphia Eagles* 1948 13.00 156 12 9 2 1
19. Philadelphia Eagles 1944 13.10 131 10 7 1 2
20. Philadelphia Eagles 1945 13.30 133 10 7 3 0

* Won NFL Championship

Photo: rarenewspapers.com

Posted on October 7, 2013, in NFL Football and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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  1. Pingback: NFL: The 20 Best Defenses in Football History Part I (Fewest Points Against, Single Season) | SPORTS LIST OF THE DAY

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