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The Best Seasons From Every AFC North Team


AFC Best Seasons
© Darryl Norenberg-USA TODAY Sports

There have been several great teams throughout the history of the NFL. Every team has had its share of highlight moments, dream seasons, and dominant performances.



This is the second installment of every NFL team's best season by division, now with the AFC North.


Baltimore Ravens: 2000

The Baltimore Ravens' 2012 championship team may have been a more balanced unit. But the utter dominance of Baltimore's 2000 defense gives them the nod as the franchise's best team. That season, Baltimore's defense, led by Hall of Famers Ray Lewis and Rod Woodson, recorded four shutouts during the regular season and allowed only 23 points in four postseason games. In Super Bowl XXXV, the Ravens' defense shut out the Giants' offense while holding New York to just 152 yards.


AFC Best Seasons
© RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore's 2000 squad also featured the league's best returner in Jermaine Lewis, whose 84-yard kickoff return for a score in Super Bowl XXXV ended any hope of a Giants comeback. The Ravens' offense featured a punishing running game, led by rookie Jamal Lewis and Priest Holmes. Baltimore's offense also included Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe, whose 96-yard touchdown spearheaded the Ravens' 16-3 win over Oakland in the AFC Championship Game. 


Cincinnati Bengals: 1988

If you asked Cincinnati Bengals fans what their best team was, then most would answer the 1988 team. Quarterback Boomer Esiason was a huge reason this team was so good. Esiason amassed more than 3,500 yards and 28 touchdowns, earning first-team All-Pro, Pro Bowl and NFL MVP honors.


AFC Best Seasons
© RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie running back Ickey Woods had more than 1,000 yards rushing. Eddie Brown had more than 1,200 yards receiving. It’s easily one of the best offenses Cincinnati has ever had. It’s the closest that the Bengals ever came to winning the ultimate prize.



This also is why this is the best season that the Bengals ever had.


Cleveland Browns: 1948

The 1948 season was a special one for the Cleveland Browns as a part of the All-American Football Conference. The Browns opened up the season with a win over the Los Angeles Dons 19-14, and there was no looking back. Cleveland won all 14 regular season games and the offense was the big difference. In each of the last four regular season games, the Browns put up at least 31 points.



In the AAFC Championship game, the offense had 49 points against the Buffalo Bills on the way to a blowout victory. The NFL doesn't recognize it because it was before their NFL days, but the Pro Football Hall of Fame does. Hall of Fame Fullback Marion Motley averaged more than 6 yards a carry to lead that dynamic offense.


Pittsburgh Steelers: 1978

The ‘78 Steelers featured the league and Super Bowl MVP winner in quarterback Terry Bradshaw. Bradshaw was flanked on the offensive side by fellow Hall of Famers in center Mike Webster, running back Franco Harris, and receivers Lynn Swann and John Stallworth.


AFC Best Seasons
© Manny Rubio-USA TODAY Sports

While Pittsburgh's offense had blossomed into a machine by 1978, its defense was just as dominant. Leading the NFL's top-ranked defense in '78 was two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Joe Greene, along with fellow Hall of Famers Jack Ham, Jack Lambert, Mel Blount and Donnie Shell. L.C. Greenwood, one of the best Steelers not currently in Canton, earned his fifth of six Pro Bowl selections that season.



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