Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs' Defense Ranked Super Bowl's Best

According to ESPN and Football Outsiders, the Buccaneers' 2002 defense was the best to appear in a Super Bowl since 1989.

Photos from the Buccaneers Super Bowl victory parade in Tampa in 2003.

With Super Bowl 50 quickly approaching, ESPN's Vincent Verhei broke down the five-best defenses to appear in a Super Bowl since 1989. The rating was based on a DVOA obtained from Football Outsiders. Leading off the list at No. 1 is the Buccaneers' 2002 defense.

That season, the Buccaneers finished No. 1 in the NFL in both yards and points allowed. The team boasted Hall of Famers Derrick Brooks and Warren Sapp, along with Hall of Fame nominee John Lynch. In the team's Super Bowl victory over the Raiders, the Buccaneers held the Raiders to just 21 points in a lop-sided victory.

"Led by that defense, the Buccaneers went 12-4 and won the NFC South," Verhei wrote. "They opened their playoff run with a 31-6 beatdown of San Francisco, then traveled to Philadelphia to beat the Eagles 27-10 in the conference championship before crushing the Oakland Raiders 48-21 in Super Bowl XXXVII.

"In the process, they limited Jeff Garcia, Donovan McNabb and then-MVP Rich Gannon to a combined 54 percent completion rate, with two touchdowns and nine interceptions. Those two touchdowns both came with the Bucs up by at least three scores in the second half of the Super Bowl."

The Buccaneers pitched two shutouts in 2002 and allowed 10 or fewer points nine times, including the playoffs. They also finished No. 1 in the league in takeaways per game, the only time they've accomplished the feat in team history.

Rounding out the list were the Steelers (2008), Seahawks (2013), Broncos (2015) and Ravens (2000), in descending order. For more from ESPN, click HERE.

Photos from the Buccaneers' victory over the Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII in San Diego on January 26, 2003.

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