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! Check out the first round of voting right here. The second round of polling closes at noon ET on Thursday.
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 and a historic defense running amok?
In the NBA, did we truly experience the best team ever in 2017 when the Golden State Warriors ran through the league?
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 who 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 voters didn’t seem to think his teams stacked up all that well against two of the greatest ever in the 1972 Dolphins and the 1976 Raiders. The Dolphins might be cracking another bottle of champagne before this one is over. Click here or on the image below to vote.
The first round of the NBA bracket brought with it an upset — albeit maybe a predictable one. Led by Shaq and Kobe, the 2001 Los Angeles Lakers were one of the stronger contenders in the field. It sets up one of the more intriguing second-round matchups of any sport in our series as that Lakers team will now go up against Michael Jordan’s 1996 Bulls, which delivered the most lopsided win in the opening round. Click here or on the image below to vote.
We’re moving on to the second round and all the MLB heavyweights are still in the fight. The 1927 Yankees, 1970 Orioles, 1975 Reds, 1986 Mets and 2016 Cubs are among the eight teams that advanced. The first round featured one of the biggest blowouts of any sport (’98 Yankees over ’17 Astros) and one of the closest margins (’84 Tigers eked out a win over the ’04 Red Sox. Click here or on the image below to vote.
The top seeds cruised with ease in the first round of our college football bracket, which sets up some tasty second-round action. The only upset was from the 2005 Vince Young-led Texas team that produced one of the most iconic victories in college football history. Its reward for moving on: A matchup with one of the most celebrated teams ever, the 2001 Miami Hurricanes. Click here or on the image below to vote.
Men’s college basketball
It’s going to be hard for college hoops fans to discern which all-time team deserves to be crowned the best ever. How do you compare a legendary John Wooden UCLA team against the title-winning Tar Heels led by Michael Jordan? Luckily, you don’t have to yet since they’re on opposite sides of the bracket. The only major first-round upset here was 1979 Michigan State knocking out the famed “Fab Four” Michigan team. Click here or on the image below to vote.
Women’s college basketball
When almost half the bracket is comprised of teams from just one school, it’s clear how dominant that program has been over the years. Six of the seven UConn teams in our bracket moved on to the second round (the only one that didn’t lost to, you guessed it, another UConn team). The biggest upset was the 2003 UConn team knocking off No. 2 Louisiana Tech. Click here or on the image below to vote.
The 1999 Houston Comets pulled off an upset in a tough first-round matchup over the 2019 Washington Mystics, which hold a slew of WNBA records. The Comets advanced with 54 percent of the vote. Meanwhile, the 2000 Comets delivered one of the most lopsided wins of any sport, garnering 87 percent of the vote in an opening win over the 2005 Connecticut Sun in the Nos. 1-16 matchup. Click here or on the image below to vote.
The Edmonton Oilers repeated as Stanley Cup champions in 1985 behind Wayne Gretzky in one of the more impressive seasons in modern hockey history. They certainly had no trouble dispatching the Bobby Orr-led Bruins in Round 1, racking up 77 percent of the vote. Now the 1985 Oilers face another title-winning iteration of the franchise in the second round in the 1987 Oilers. Smart money’s on Gretzky (sorry). Click here or on the image below to vote.
It’s no surprise that the legends of yore dominated the opening round of the NASCAR bracket, but not a single driver from this century advanced. With names like Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt in the bracket, nostalgia surely plays a role as those drivers delivered some of most lopsided results of any sport. It’ll make for a fascinating Round 2, with Petty vs. Petty, Petty vs. Earnhardt, and Earnhardt vs. Gordon all set to square off. Click here or on the image below to vote.
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. Click here or on the image below to vote.
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