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Warriors: The Greatest Season of All Time? Well….

Mark Kreidler
June 09, 2017 - 4:11 pm

Let’s face it: These debates almost always go sideways in some hideous fashion or other.  Trying to compare a playoff-undefeated Warriors of 2017 team to, say, the Shaq-Kobe Lakers of 2001 who lost a single playoff game en route to a smashing title, is intermittently interesting, but ultimately a fat waste of time.

Still, if the Warriors beat Cleveland on Friday night, they’re essentially unassailable.  They’d be a perfect 16-0 in the post-season, a runaway NBA champion, and by any measure one of the great teams ever assembled.  That and two bucks will get you in a wait-line at Peet’s.

And if they lost Game 4 but won the next game at Oracle arena to finish 16-1?  They’re still dominant.  And they’re still historic.  And it still won’t settle too many arguments.

(About the only thing I’m sure of, when we get around to comparing eras that functioned under markedly different conditions and sporting evolutions, is that LeBron James would’ve played at all-universe levels whenever.  The rest is up for grabs.)

So instead of pounding that piece of burlap into the dust, let’s take a few moments to appreciate some of the great team seasons, however they were accomplished.  (Place the current Warriors ahead of all of them if it makes you feel good.)


1972 Miami Dolphins

Perfection.  The Dolphins, led by quarterback Bob Griese, won the Super Bowl to conclude a 17-0 campaign (they’d have to go 19-0 under the current NFL format).  They didn’t have the scariest regular-season schedule in history, but they won every game placed in front of them, and finished with an average margin of victory of 13.6 points.  Paul Warfield, Larry Csonka, Larry Little, Nick Buoniconti, Coach Don Shula – pretty stacked, and still unmatched.


1927 New York Yankees

This is history, so we can go as far back as we please.  The ’27 Yankees are the team against which every subsequent great baseball team has been measured.  The Yanks went 110-44 during the regular season (the old 154-game schedule) and, unhindered by any sort of newfangled “playoff” system, headed directly to the World Series, where they swept the Pirates.  Babe Ruth (60 home runs), Lou Gehrig (47), Tony Lazzeri, Mark Koenig, Bob Meusel, Earl Combs – this was the “Murderer’s Row” team.  The Yankees’ team batting average that season: .307.


1976-77 Montreal Canadiens

Like I know hockey.  But you need to know very little about the history of the NHL to appreciate a Canadiens team that lost just eight times in an 80-game season en route to the Stanley Cup.  The All-Star Game that season included about half the Montreal team – Savard, Lapointe, Lafleur, etc. The great Scotty Bowman coached.


1995-96 Chicago Bulls

It’s fun to browse each of the Bulls’ six title-winning teams of the era, but this Jordan-Pippen-Rodman concoction was really something.  Stormed through the regular season at 72-10, lost a single game en route to the Finals, then went up 3-0 on Seattle before spitting up twice in a row prior to the closeout.  A high-functioning Phil Jackson system at peak strength.


1989 San Francisco 49ers

Let us not overlook the Joe Montana-Jerry Rice edition that went 14-2 through the regular season, then crushed the Vikings (41-13), the Rams (30-3) and the Broncos (55-10) to claim the Lombardi Trophy.  John Taylor, Roger Craig, Guy McIntyre, Charles Haley, Matt Millen, Bill Romanowski, Ronnie Lott – heck, Steve Young was a backup on that team.  Ludicrous.


1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers

Went 12-0 by an average score of 53-14.  Beat No. 2 Florida for the national championship in the Fiesta Bowl by a score of 62-24.  Just stupid good.  Quarterback Tommie Frazier was the all-everything player for Tom Osborne that season, but that Nebraska team featured 27 future professionals.  Fun fact: Nebraska trailed in one quarter all season.


Regardless of whether or not the Warriors go 16-0 in the playoffs, they’re poised to join the company of single-season teams who delivered historically overpowering performances.  With all other hyperbole set aside, that’s a pretty remarkable place to be.

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