In the aftermath of Sunday's Super Bowl victory, Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Michael Bennett giddily proclaimed that the champion Seattle Seahawks had the NFL's best defense since the 1985 Chicago Bears.
Since we do not yet have time travel, all we have to compare these great defenses are our eyeballs and statistics, and statistics are a lot more objective, especially over time. Those numbers show that the 2000 Ravens defense was better than these 2013 Seahawks in most of the major statistical categories.
Both teams led the NFL in points allowed during their respective regular seasons, but the Ravens allowed 10.3 points per game, much fewer than the Seahawks’ 14.4.
The Seahawks allowed 273.6 yards per game this season, which led the league by nearly 30 yards per game, but the Ravens, who actually finished second in the NFL in total defense in 2000, allowed 247.9 per game.
Both teams led the NFL in takeaways, but with 49 of them, the Ravens had 10 more than these ball-hawking Seahawks had this season. However, the Seahawks, with 44 sacks, had more nine more sacks than the Ravens.
The Seahawks allowed 40 points in their three playoff games, including just eight in the Super Bowl against a Denver Broncos offense that was one of the most prolific in NFL history during the regular season. The 2000 Ravens allowed just 23 points in four playoff games, though, and a kickoff return for a touchdown was the only score they allowed in Super Bowl XXXV.
Clearly, based on the numbers, the 2000 Ravens were a little more dominant the 2013 Seahawks, though an argument can be made that what the Seahawks did was more impressive considering how point and yardage totals have inflated in the NFL since 2000 (this is why that time machine would really have come in handy).
Whether you agree with Bennett or you feel he underestimated the 2000 Ravens, you have to at least acknowledge these Seahawks should be in the conversation about the greatest defenses of all-time with teams like the 2000 Ravens, the 1985 Bears and the Steel Curtain Pittsburgh Steelers. They were all pretty damn dominant.