WhatIfSports Super Bowl power rankings: comparing the Patriots to past champions

Once again, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are NFL champions. The duo delivered a Super Bowl title to the New England Patriots for the fifth time during their tenure. Before enjoying a well-deserved offseason, we have a couple more challenges for Belichick, Brady and company…

How do the 2016 Patriots compare to the franchise’s Super Bowl champions of 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2014? Using WhatIfSports.com’s NFL simulation engine, we played a round robin tournament with every New England championship-winner. Every team in the tourney played every other team 101 times. Check out how the squads fared:

Ranking Every New England Super Bowl Champ
Rnk Team Win % Avg PF Avg PA Simulate
1 2014 New England Patriots 63.0 27.7 22.9 Sim >
2 2004 New England Patriots 62.4 26.2 22.1 Sim >
3 2003 New England Patriots 54.4 23.0 21.0 Sim >
4 2016 New England Patriots 49.6 24.5 24.6 Champs!
5 2001 New England Patriots 20.6 17.9 28.7 Sim >

New England’s latest edition won nearly 50 percent of its games, which ranked fourth in the five-team field. The 2014 team narrowly edged the Patriots’ 2004 winner for the best winning percentage in the tournament, coming out on top in 63.0 percent of contests. Unsurprisingly, the 2014 Patriots were also the highest-scoring team in the simulation, averaging 27.7 points. The title of best defense went to the 2003 team, which held opponents to 21.0 points per game.

The Patriots’ dynasty began with the 2001 team, but the other squads showed no respect for their elders in the tournament. The 2001 Patriots won just 20.6 percent of their games, with a -10.8 scoring margin.

Next, we used the same format to see how the 2016 Patriots stack up against every other Super Bowl champion in NFL history. Every team in the field played every other team 101 times. Here’s how they finished:

Ranking Every Super Bowl Champion
Rnk Team Win % Avg PF Avg PA Simulate
1 1999 St. Louis Rams 77.6 30.7 20.4 Sim >
2 1989 San Francisco 49ers 69.8 28.3 21.7 Sim >
3 2013 Seattle Seahawks 67.3 25.7 19.6 Sim >
4 1991 Washington Redskins 63.9 26.5 21.6 Sim >
5 1985 Chicago Bears 63.7 24.4 19.6 Sim >
6 1996 Green Bay Packers 61.6 24.7 20.9 Sim >
7 1984 San Francisco 49ers 61.5 27.6 23.3 Sim >
8 1971 Dallas Cowboys 61.1 25.0 21.0 Sim >
9 2009 New Orleans Saints 60.7 28.8 25.2 Sim >
10 1994 San Francisco 49ers 59.5 25.6 22.6 Sim >
11 1993 Dallas Cowboys 58.7 26.9 23.8 Sim >
12 1998 Denver Broncos 58.5 26.6 23.5 Sim >
13 2002 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 57.7 21.8 19.5 Sim >
14 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers 57.2 23.7 21.2 Sim >
15 1972 Miami Dolphins 56.4 25.7 22.7 Sim >
16 1979 Pittsburgh Steelers 56.0 24.9 22.6 Sim >
17 2014 New England Patriots 54.9 26.0 24.9 Sim >
18 2010 Green Bay Packers 54.3 24.9 23.4 Sim >
19 1992 Dallas Cowboys 53.4 24.0 22.7 Sim >
20 1975 Pittsburgh Steelers 52.6 23.6 22.5 Sim >
21 1973 Miami Dolphins 51.7 22.9 21.6 Sim >
22 1977 Dallas Cowboys 50.6 21.7 21.2 Sim >
23 1987 Washington Redskins 50.5 25.0 24.9 Sim >
24 1976 Oakland Raiders 50.1 24.7 24.7 Sim >
25 2011 New York Giants 49.9 26.0 26.2 Sim >
26 2004 New England Patriots 49.3 24.4 24.8 Sim >
27 1988 San Francisco 49ers 49.3 23.7 24.0 Sim >
28 1997 Denver Broncos 49.1 25.1 25.6 Sim >
29 1969 Kansas City Chiefs 48.9 21.8 22.1 Sim >
30 2008 Pittsburgh Steelers 48.5 20.2 20.7 Sim >
31 2012 Baltimore Ravens 47.7 24.0 25.1 Sim >
32 1995 Dallas Cowboys 47.4 24.2 25.1 Sim >
33 2003 New England Patriots 46.7 20.6 21.6 Sim >
34 1978 Pittsburgh Steelers 46.4 20.7 21.9 Sim >
35 2006 Indianapolis Colts 44.0 26.3 28.6 Sim >
36 1968 New York Jets 43.7 21.4 23.4 Sim >
37 2000 Baltimore Ravens 43.5 19.8 22.0 Sim >
38 1974 Pittsburgh Steelers 43.4 19.9 21.8 Sim >
39 2016 New England Patriots 43.4 22.6 25.3 Champs!
40 1966 Green Bay Packers 43.3 20.4 21.9 Sim >
41 1982 Washington Redskins 43.3 20.9 23.4 Sim >
42 1986 New York Giants 42.7 21.1 23.7 Sim >
43 1983 Los Angeles Raiders 42.0 21.2 24.3 Sim >
44 2015 Denver Broncos 42.0 21.3 24.3 Sim >
45 1990 New York Giants 41.5 19.9 23.0 Sim >
46 2007 New York Giants 36.2 20.4 25.7 Sim >
47 1981 San Francisco 49ers 34.3 19.1 24.5 Sim >
48 1980 Oakland Raiders 31.8 18.3 24.6 Sim >
49 1967 Green Bay Packers 29.6 18.5 25.5 Sim >
50 1970 Baltimore Colts 27.5 17.8 25.7 Sim >
51 2001 New England Patriots 25.3 18.0 27.6 Sim >

The 2016 Patriots won 43.4 percent of their games, good enough for a 39th out of 51 teams. Just like in the Patriots-only simulation, the 2014 team was the franchise’s best. That group only finished 17th, though, with 12 franchises having a least one team ranked higher than the 2014 Patriots.

The top team in the simulation was the Greatest Show on Turf. The 1999 St. Louis Rams averaged a simulation-best 30.7 points per game and won 77.6 percent of contests, nearly eight percentage points higher than the second-place 1989 San Francisco 49ers.

New England was joined by San Francisco and the Dallas Cowboys as franchises with five participants in the tournament, while the Pittsburgh Steelers had six. The 49ers placed three teams in the top 10, and the Cowboys had four in the top 25.

More: Super Bowl runner-up power rankings

Super Bowl LI doesn’t have to be your last taste of football until September. Let WhatIfSports.com provide your daily fix. Create your ultimate roster using our Dream Teams feature. Then take that roster and simulate it against ANY TEAM IN NFL HISTORY using our NFL SimMatchup tool.