Welcome to the Best Team Ever bracket series, where the greatest of all time have their most dominant seasons stacked up against each other until we ultimately crown a champion in each sport. The tournament will be decided by fan vote, so be sure to submit yours below! The first round of polling closes at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT on Tuesday, March 31.
All sports fans have had the debate.
Were the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins the best NFL team of all time? What about the 1984 49ers with Joe Montana or the 1985 Bears with Walter Payton running amok?
What about the NBA? Did we truly experience the best team ever in 2017 when the Golden State Warriors ran through the league without so much as a scratch on their record?
With sports on hold, there's no better time to revisit which teams had the best seasons ever in their respective sports. Here's your chance to vote for which teams you think pieced together the most immaculate campaigns of all time.
The New England Patriots have been dominant ever since Bill Belichick took over the reins as head coach back in 2000. But how do his best teams stack up against the greatest of all time? The ‘72 Miami Dolphins might be cracking another bottle of champagne before this one is over. Vote here.
The 2017 Golden State Warriors pieced together one of the most remarkable runs in any sport ever, but any NBA comparison runs through the Michael Jordan-era Chicago Bulls. And the Larry Bird-era Boston Celtics. And the Wilt Chamberlain-era Los Angeles Lakers. So we guess it’s not as clear-cut as one might think. Vote here.
Women’s college basketball
One of the greatest individual seasons ever got derailed earlier this month when the NCAA women’s college basketball tournament was canceled due to concerns over the coronavirus.
Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu, the only player in Division I history to record 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 1,000 assists, had her incredible college career ended in early March. Does that diminish Oregon’s accomplishments when comparing them against some of the best teams ever? How do the Ducks stack up against some of the all-time teams from UConn, Louisiana Tech and Tennessee? Vote here.
Men’s college basketball
If you’re a college basketball fan, it’s going to be hard to discern which all-time team deserves to be crowned as the best ever. UCLA owned the 1960s and 1970s behind John Wooden, but maybe no team was more dominant than the undefeated 1973 team. How do the Bruins compare to the title-winning Tar Heels led by Michael Jordan? How about one of the most dominant teams in NCAA tournament history in the 1990 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels? Vote here.
Since college football goes back to the 1800s, we had to put a limit on the number of teams we could consider for this tournament. But when one of the most dominant teams of our lifetime just finished running the table, we don’t think anybody is going to complain about recency bias. Which college football team had the best season ever? It probably depends on your fandom. Vote here.
The birth of “tiki-taka” and a Barcelona treble, or Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United running rampant during one of the most dominant seasons in club history? Perhaps Real Madrid’s torrid run through the 2016-17 season deserves some consideration? In the world of soccer, there are a dozen or so clubs that claim the status of best ever. We want to drill it down to one. No pressure. Vote here.
Our baseball bracket spans generations — from the famed 1927 New York Yankees to the now-infamous 2017 Houston Astros. To spread things out a bit, we didn’t let every great Yankees team in. We limited the Bronx Bombers to a modern team and a historic team.
The rest of the bracket? As you’ll see, it spans some of the game’s most successful teams and most famous teams. Part of what makes baseball great is the 83-win team that can go on a run and capture the World Series title. It’s a great underdog story, but how does that compare to the end of the most famous title drought in sports?
These are the types of questions we’re looking for answers to. And we’re about to find out. Vote here.
This bracket includes drivers only from NASCAR’s modern era, which is from 1972 onward, so not every season of Richard Petty’s was eligible for consideration in this tournament.
Will the current generation era win out? Or will the runs of Petty, Earnhardt or Waltrip carry enough nostalgic value to push them through the tournament? Vote here.
The 2000 Houston Comets team cemented its legacy as the WNBA’s first dynasty with a fourth championship in four years, sweeping the playoff competition. It’s hard to compete with that. But there are plenty of other strong contenders in the WNBA bracket, including last year’s Washington Mystics, which set a franchise record with 26 wins. Vote here.
Is anybody ready to go one-on-one with The Great One? The Edmonton Oilers repeated as Stanley Cup champions in 1985 behind Wayne Gretzky in one of the more impressive seasons in modern hockey history. But they’re hardly the only team deserving of the best-of-all-time moniker. Vote here.
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