Last week, Paul Kuharsky asked over at ESPN AFC South Blog which the best Oilers/Titans team was, listing among his possibilities the 1960 and '61 AFL champions, the 1979 team that lost close to the Steelers in the AFC Championship game, the 1999 Super Bowl team, and the 2000 team whose playoff loss caused me to kick apart a cardboard box. (Yes, it was empty, and I was going to throw it away. Yes, it felt good, dangit.)
I'd started some mucking around in this direction, poking around with different ways to evaluate the "best" team in franchise history. I tend to value regular season success more than postseason success, and particularly regular season dominance, as you'll see. I also didn't take into account in my analysis league-wide honors for players on that team, like Pro Bowls and All-Pro and Hall of Fame members. I especially don't particularly like relying on Pro Bowls, which tend to be the same players over and over mixed in with a smattering of guys who have good conventional stats. This tends to focus too much attention on particular big names (let's be honest, Bruce Matthews didn't really deserve to make it to the Pro Bowl every year he did), and also overrates stars-and-scrubs systems. In the analysis, I refer to teams' DVOA, the base statistic we use at Football Outsiders (available 1993-present), and also Pythagorean wins (PythWins), which tells you many games a team "should" win based on their points scored and points allowed.
So, what's my take on the best teams in franchise history?