We all like certain athletes, but we really root for our teams. As the old Jerry Seinfeld bit says, we’re rooting for laundry. Sometimes, though, incredible players are wearing that laundry. Since 2010, we have seen some truly great teams. We have seen dynasties rise and fall. Here are the 50 best teams of the 2010s. We’re talking about individual seasons, by the way. That means a franchise can appear more than once. Yes, brace yourself for a lot of Patriots and Warriors. You can’t argue with results, or rings.
The Giants roster, in hindsight, doesn’t look all that amazing on paper. Sure, there was Buster Posey, but the leading home run hitter for the 2010 Giants was Aubrey Huff. However, the Giants had quite the pitching staff. We’re talking Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and a promising young pitcher named Madison Bumgarner. They won 92 games during the regular season, second most in the National League, and then went on to win their first World Series since moving from New York to San Francisco.
It’s amazing what one transfer can do. Auburn got former Florida quarterback Cam Newton to join the team out of JUCO prior to the 2010 season, and that changed everything for the Tigers. Newton won the Heisman en route to leading the Tigers to an undefeated season. In the BCS title game, Auburn barely squeezed by the then-undefeated Oregon Ducks, but Newton and Co. pulled it off to win the title.
The Storm trounced the competition during the 2010 campaign. Led by MVP Lauren Jackson, the Storm went 28-6, including a spotless 17-0 record at home. Perfection was the name of the game for Seattle, because the Storm proceeded to win every single one of their playoff games en route to the title.
This is the first team we’ve listed that didn’t win the title, but you don’t need a ring to be a memorably great squad. The Canucks notched 117 points on the season, winning the Presidents Trophy by a wide margin. The dynamic duo of Henrik and Daniel Sedin both finished in the top four in points, with Daniel winning the Art Ross. Vancouver made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, where it and the Boston Bruins went to a seventh game. However, there the Bruins, the three seed out of the East, ended up hoisting the Cup.
The 2010-11 NBA season was overwhelmed by LeBron James taking his talent to South Beach in the offseason. However, the Bulls had the best regular season. Led by MVP Derrick Rose, the Bulls went 62-20. They ended up losing to the Heat, who had rounded into form, in the Eastern Conference Finals, but then the Heat proceeded to lose to the Mavericks in the NBA Finals. That’s why the Bulls are the team to remember from this season.
If you want to talk teams of the decade, Barcelona is definitely in the mix. The 2010-11 version of Barcelona may have been the best team they had in the 2010s. Led by Lionel Messi, who scored 31 goals in league play, Barcelona finished with a 30-6-2 record, posting a plus-74 goal differential in the process. That wasn’t all for Barca, who also won the Champions League with a 3-1 win over Manchester United in the finals. Sir Alex Ferguson called this team the toughest he faced in his storied career.
The Patriots went 13-3 in this campaign. The Packers actually went 15-1, but they lost their first playoff game. New England went all the way to the Super Bowl. Of course, there they lost to the New York Giants. It was the second time the Pats were stunned by an underdog Giants squad but without the helmet catch fun this time.
The only name I really need to say is Anthony Davis. In his one season in college he was stunningly good. However, this squad also had Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Davis and MKG ended up going first and second, respectively, in the 2012 NBA Draft. The Wildcats won the title after losing only two games all year, finishing with a 38-2 record. That set a record for the most wins in a single NCAA men’s basketball season.
Unsurprisingly, this Alabama team was loaded with talent. The offensive line was quite good, and the defense was loaded with future NFL talent. The Tide did lose one game — you may recall Johnny Manziel’s magical performance that season — but they still made it back to the title game. There, they destroyed Notre Dame by a score of 42-14 to repeat as champions.
Led by the dynamic duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the Thunder posted a 60-22 record. This is a story of what could have been though. Westbrook went down with a season-ending injury in the first round of the playoffs, which kept the Thunder from making a trip to the NBA Finals. We have to wonder what a healthy team might have done.
This was the best team of the era of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami. The Heat posted a 66-16 record, with LeBron emerging as the MVP. You surely remember the NBA Finals matchup between the Heat and the Spurs. You know, that famous, iconic Game 6 where Ray Allen hit that three to keep Miami’s hopes alive? They would win the series in seven and cap one of the best NBA seasons ever.
The Bundesliga doesn’t get the love of the English or Spanish leagues, so a team has to really dominate to stick out in Germany. That’s exactly what Bayern Munich did in this campaign. This team was absolutely loaded with talent, including the likes of Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm and Thomas Muller. Bayern went 29-4-1 with a plus-80 goal differential. They finished with 91 points, and no other team had more than 66. The Munich squad also won the Champions League for good measure.
Did the 2013 Broncos have the greatest offense in NFL history? You can make the argument. They scored 606 points, the most ever by an NFL team. They owed a lot of that to the fact Peyton Manning threw a stunning 55 touchdown passes, which also broke a record. The Broncos made it all the way to the Super Bowl, where, well, things could have gone better.
Who beat those 2013 Broncos in the Super Bowl? That would be the Seahawks. Like the Broncos, the Seahawks went 13-3. However, they were powered by a tremendous defense. That defense came out to play in the Super Bowl. The Seahawks jumped on the Broncos, winning the title with a stunning 43-8 victory.
Laden with talent like David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia, the Red Sox finished with the best record in the American League in 2013. With 97 wins, they tied the Cardinals for the most wins in the majors. Those two teams matched off in the World Series, where the Red Sox won it all in six games. Remember when the Red Sox went forever without winning a World Series? By 2013 it had become business as usual.
A whopping 25 players from this Seminoles team ended up playing in the NFL. That includes a redshirt freshman quarterback named Jameis Winston who ended up having a great year. It’s the secondary that was really incredible though. We’re talking Lamarcus Joyner, Ronald Darby and true freshman Jalen Ramsey. The Seminoles went undefeated, including winning the national championship.
The Spurs got their revenge on the Heat in this season. Powered by the big three of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker, they finished with a 62-20 record. They matched up with the Heat again in the NBA Finals, but this time the Spurs got the jump on them. San Antonio cruised to a five-game series victory. The MVP? An up-and-coming player named Kawhi Leonard.
The 2014 WNBA season was a battle between two Western Conference teams, the Mercury and the Minnesota Lynx. Phoenix, led by Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner, came out on top. The Mercury had a 29-5 record, best in the league, and beat the Lynx to make it to the WNBA Finals. There, they swept the Chicago Sky to win the title.
Apparently going 12-4 was en vogue in 2014. Five teams, including the Patriots, finished the year with a 12-4 record. Two of those teams, the Patriots and the Seahawks, made it to the Super Bowl. The Seahawks couldn’t repeat, though, because the Patriots emerged victorious, getting Tom Brady and Bill Belichick yet another ring.
How does a team that lost in the Final Four end up on this list? When that was the team’s first loss of the season. The Wildcats, led by Karl-Anthony Towns, were 38-0 when they faced the Wisconsin Badgers in the Final Four. John Calipari’s team lost, but until then they were an unstoppable juggernaut.
The team that ended up winning it all in 2015? That would be Duke. Coach K’s squad was a one seed thanks to having a 29-4 record when the tournament began. Let by the freshman trio of Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones and Justise Winslow, the Blue Devils would go on to win it all, the fifth title in school history.
In its first year as a member of the AAC, the Huskies lost their second game of the season to Stanford. That would be their only loss of the campaign. Connecticut cruised to a 38-1 record to win yet another women’s college basketball title. Breanna Stewart won about every individual award available. Too bad she couldn't get that win over Stanford, huh?
And lo, a dynasty was born. The Warriors jettisoned Mark Jackson as head coach, replacing him with Steve Kerr. That helped, but the emergence of Steph Curry as one of the best players in the league was the real boost. Curry won the MVP, the Warriors went 67-15 and then they proceeded to beat the Cavaliers for their first title during this run.
We had ended the era of the BCS by this time. Derrick Henry won one of the more unassuming Heismans for a juggernaut Crimson Tide team. Alabama did lose a game during the regular season and actually entered the playoffs as the two seed behind Clemson. They obliterated Michigan State, 38-0, in the semifinals and then took down Clemson, 45-40, in an all-time classic for yet another title for Nick Saban and Co.
Cam Newton does it again. Much as how he won a Heisman at Auburn to lead the Tigers to glory, Newton won the MVP in 2015, leading the Panthers to a 15-1 record. The only difference this time? Carolina didn’t win the title. The Panthers made it to the Super Bowl, but there they were defeated.
Yes, Peyton Manning was still the quarterback of the Broncos in 2015, but he was not the same guy. In fact, during the regular season he threw more picks than touchdowns. So how did the Broncos win the Super Bowl? They had a truly amazing defense. Led by Von Miller and coordinator Wade Phillips, the Denver D shut down everybody in the playoffs, including the Panthers, who only managed 10 points in the Super Bowl loss.
When the decade began, the Royals were mired in a stretch of mediocrity. Then, suddenly, they emerged as one of the best teams in the majors. Prospects and an elite bullpen powered the Royals to the best record in the American League. A team that had been a joke for many years took down the Mets to win their first World Series since the ‘80s. It was a magical run by a great team.
There is no question what program was the dominant force in women’s basketball in the 2010s. The 2015-16 season was the pinnacle of that run though. This wasn’t just the school’s fourth straight title. The Huskies went undefeated! That’s right, they went 38-0. Nobody could beat Connecticut. Until the next year’s Final Four, that is.
There are three NBA teams from the 2015-16 season on this list. What a season that was! The Spurs bowed out of the playoffs in the Western Conference Semifinals, but they still deserve a spot here. San Antonio went 67-15 during the regular season, with a 40-1 record at home. You can’t deny a regular season of that caliber.
However, the Spurs weren’t even the best regular season team this year. You remember this Warriors team. It’s the one that set a new record with a 73-9 record. Then Golden State went up three games to one in the NBA Finals. Of course, you know what happened after that.
LeBron James returned to Cleveland to get his hometown team its first NBA title. With the help of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, he finally did it. During the regular season, the Cavs went 57-25. Of course, all that really matters is that seven-game series win in the NBA Finals. LeBron brought the title home. He made up for The Decision. It was an amazing run.
Oh, just another ho-hum Super Bowl season for the Patriots. New England went 14-2 in the regular season. In the Super Bowl, the Pats faced MVP Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons. You remember that amazing Super Bowl. New England came from behind to win in overtime, the first-ever overtime Super Bowl game.
Hey, why not include a college hockey team in the mix. We decided the Pioneers were the top team of the decade. Denver finished the regular season ranked No. 1, posting a 33-7-4 record. The Pioneers scored 152 goals and allowed only 80. A lot of times the top-ranked team in men’s hockey doesn’t end up winning it all though. That wasn’t the case with Denver, which cruised through the first three games of the tourney, winning by at least three goals each time before beating Minnesota-Duluth in the finals.
Barcelona appeared on the list earlier, so naturally their greatest rivals, Real Madrid, have to be included too. It was a close battle between the two, as Real Madrid, powered by Cristiano Ronaldo, won La Liga by only three points. In fact, Barca had a better goal differential. Madrid won the league title, though, and then trounced Juventus, 4-1, to win the Champions League as well.
The ’97 and ’98 Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup. It was the last time that a team won back-to-back Cups…until the Penguins pulled it off. After winning the Cup in 2016, the Penguins followed it up with another victory in 2017. Sidney Crosby got his third ring as captain, and we were given one of the best hockey teams of the decade.
Once more, here are the Warriors. This time around, they had Kevin Durant in tow, as he followed the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” philosophy. It paid off big time for KD and for the Warriors. Not only did Durant win the NBA Finals MVP, but Golden State also went 16-1 in the playoffs, coming oh-so-close to the first 16-0 run in NBA playoffs history.
It was business as usual for the 2017 New England Patriots. They went 13-3 and made it to the Super Bowl. You know who else went 13-3 and made the Super Bowl? That would be the Eagles. Of course, during the year they lost Carson Wentz, replacing him with former starter Nick Foles. Foles went on a magical run, and the Eagles won their first-ever Super Bowl, making Philly sports fans act even crazier than usual.
In 2015, the Golden Knights of Central Florida went winless. How quickly things can change. Scott Frost took over as head coach and in two years turned the Knights into a force to be reckoned with. Central Florida went undefeated. This includes a Peach Bowl win over Auburn. Despite this the Golden Knights finished ranked sixth in the AP poll. What could have happened had UCF gotten a chance to play in the playoffs? We’ll never know.
The Astros tore themselves down but were able to quickly build themselves back up. In addition to guys like Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa, the Astros had added Justin Verlander in a trade that changed the franchise. Only a couple of seasons removed from yet another 100-loss year, the Astros won 101 games and went on to win their first-ever World Series.
Weirdly, Villanova finished second in the Big East during the regular season. It had a better record than Xavier, but all four of its losses happened to be in-conference. Those were the only losses the Wildcats would have. They won the Big East tourney to get a one seed and then proceeded to win their second championship in three years. This time, they didn’t need a buzzer-beater either.
The Premier League is the top league in Europe, and no team has ever had a better season than the 2016-17 Manchester City squad. That’s just math. Man City finished with 100 points, the most ever in the history of the Premier League. They also set records for wins, goals and goal differential. Nobody finished within 19 points of City. The team may have gone out of the Champions League in the quarterfinals, but history must be recognized.
The Golden Knights are here based on the difficulty of their learning curve. Vegas was an expansion team. People assumed the Knights would be bad; expansion teams normally are. Instead, Vegas made the playoffs. Not only that. The Knights made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals. It was a magical, improbable run. Though they eventually lost to the Capitals, this was maybe the most incredible season of the 2010s.
The Red Sox won 108 games in 2018, the most a team had won since the Seattle Mariners in 2001. That team famously didn’t make it to the World Series. Boston, led by MVP Mookie Betts didn’t suffer the same fate. The Red Sox cruised to a World Series victory, beating the Dodgers in five games.
Clemson and Alabama were dueling to be the team of the decade, but this Clemson team may have been the best of the bunch. The Tigers, led by freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence and a great defense, went undefeated during the regular season. To be fair, the ACC schedule was pretty easy. If you had quibbles, the Playoffs answered them. Clemson beat Notre Dame, 30-3, in the semifinals and then crushed Alabama, 44-16, in the title game.
For years the Raptors just couldn’t get over the hump. Apparently what it took was getting one of the five best players in the NBA on their team. With the addition of Kawhi Leonard, the Raptors took on a whole new level of potential. Granted, Toronto was helped by Golden State suffering injuries in the playoffs, but the Raptors still got their first-ever NBA title.
Liverpool put up 97 points on the season. That was the third most in Premier League history. The only problem for Liverpool? Manchester City finished with the second-most points in Premier League history. At least Jurgen Klopp’s squad could take solace in winning the Champions League, something Man City has never done.
Nevertheless, we have to honor Manchester City’s second of back-to-back titles. Like we just said, Man City had 98 points, the second-most ever for a Premier League season. They also had a plus-72 goal differential, better than Liverpool’s plus-67. Liverpool lost one game all season? Whom did they lose to? That would be Manchester City.
We end with the most recent team on the list. Powered by the dynamic duo of Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole on the mound, the Astros won 107 games during the regular season, tops in the majors. Many expected a rematch between them and the Dodgers in the World Series, but instead the Astros met up with the upstart Washington Nationals. There, they ended up falling in seven games, but Houston still makes this list. It had one of the best offenses ever during the regular season. Somehow, it just disappeared in the World Series.
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