There’s been so many great offensive teams assembled throughout NFL history, it’s so tough to choose just one. Most people choose the 2007 New England Patriots and the 2013 Denver Broncos as the best offensive teams ever. That makes sense because those two teams hold just about every offensive record when it comes to yards gained, points scored, and more.
But when we dig a little deeper, the 1999 Saint Louis Rams had the best offense ever, because of their balance.
The ’99 Rams were nicknamed the “Greatest Show on Turf” because of their elite passing game and running attack. Led by undrafted quarterback Kurt Warner, the club posted a 13-3 record and rode the momentum all the way through the postseason to Super Bowl 34. There, the Rams would defeat the Titans by a score of 23-16.
This Rams team is better than any other team’s offense because of the talent, coaching, and unmatchable balance. Kurt Warner established himself as an elite quarterback by throwing 41 touchdowns to just 13 interceptions, an incredible passing achievement. Some teams have an elite quarterback but they lack a big running game, like for example the 70s Chargers or the 80s Dolphins who relied heavily on the vertical passing attack. The Rams starting running back Marshall Faulk put together an incredible ’99 season that ranks among the greatest ever. In 1999, Faulk ran for 1,381 yards and received 1,048 yards. Faulk became (and still is) just the second player ever to run for 1,000 yards and receive 1,000 yards in the same season in NFL history. Roger Craig did it first in 1985.
The ’07 Patriots running attack was led by Laurence Maroney and his 835 yards. The ’13 Broncos ground game was led by Knowshon Moreno with 1,038 yards. Both far cries away from the balanced pass-run attack provided by Marshall Faulk and his record breaking season.
The offense was also aided with Hall of Fame talent from the receivers and offensive line. Isaac Bruce led that Rams team with 1,165 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns through the air. Rookie receiver Torry Holt may have been young, but he provided a huge down field threat for Warner and reduced double coverage from Bruce. Holt would be a force for years to come. Perhaps the most underrated performer of the team may have been fourth round pick Az-Zahir Hakim. Hakim would post eight touchdowns as he was a valuable red zone threat. He also returned many punt returns for the team that season.
And who could forget about offensive tackle Orlando Pace? Pace was drafted No. overall by the Rams in 1997 and is widely considered one of the best offensive linemen of all time.
What also makes this offense the best ever (outside of the records, players, and numbers), is the fact that they won the Super Bowl. The ’07 Patriots scored just 14 points in a losing effort to the New York Giants. The ’13 Broncos were absolutely embarrassed by the Seahawks defense in Super Bowl 48 scoring just one touchdown in a lopsided defeat. The ’99 Rams however have a different ending. The Rams defeated the Titans with their offense scoring 23 points. Balanced attack wins again.
In 1984, Dan Marino threw a record 48 touchdowns, but the Miami Dolphins lost in Super Bowl 19. In 2007, Tom Brady threw a record 50 touchdowns, but the Patriots lost in Super Bowl 42. In 2013 Peyton Manning threw an unheard of 55 touchdowns, but the Broncos lost in Super Bowl 48. See where this is going? A lot quarterbacks throw for tons of touchdowns, but are unable to win the big one because their team lacks a running game.
In 1999, Kurt Warner threw 41 touchdown passes. Why is this significant? It’s important because it’s the most touchdowns ever thrown by a quarterback in a season, by a Super Bowl winning quarterback.
All statistics from the 1999 Rams can be found here at Pro-Football-Reference