Today being Super Bowl Sunday, I was curious to know if older teams had a long-term advantage in the NFL. I put together a table showing the regular season win-loss records for all NFL teams since the 1970 merger between the NFL and the AFL. While the teams at the top are pretty much what you expect, I did find a few surprises in the results.
|Team||Division||Origins||Org||Join NFL||W||L||T||Pct||Winning Seasons||Losing Seasons|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||AFC North||old NFL||1933||1933||412||266||2||0.607||70.5%||20.5%|
|Miami Dolphins||AFC East||AFL exp||1966||1970||400||278||2||0.590||65.9%||20.5%|
|Dallas Cowboys||NFC East||60s exp||1960||1960||397||283||0||0.584||65.9%||25.0%|
|Denver Broncos||AFC West||AFL||1960||1970||393||281||6||0.582||59.1%||22.7%|
|San Francisco 49ers||NFC West||AAFC||1946||1950||387||289||4||0.572||59.1%||38.6%|
|Minnesota Vikings||NFC North||60s exp||1961||1961||379||298||3||0.560||61.4%||25.0%|
|New England Patriots||AFC East||AFL||1960||1970||375||305||0||0.551||63.6%||29.5%|
|Washington Redskins||NFC East||old NFL||1932||1932||361||317||2||0.532||54.5%||34.1%|
|Oakland Raiders||AFC West||AFL||1960||1970||357||317||6||0.529||50.0%||34.1%|
|Green Bay Packers||NFC North||old NFL||1919||1921||354||317||9||0.527||50.0%||36.4%|
|Baltimore Ravens||AFC North||AAFC||1946||1950||352||324||4||0.521||50.0%||38.6%|
|Philadelphia Eagles||NFC East||old NFL||1933||1933||347||325||8||0.516||47.7%||43.2%|
|Chicago Bears||NFC North||old NFL||1919||1920||343||336||1||0.505||38.6%||52.3%|
|Indianapolis Colts||AFC South||AAFC||1946||1950||342||336||2||0.504||52.3%||43.2%|
|New York Giants||NFC East||old NFL||1925||1925||337||340||3||0.498||45.5%||45.5%|
|St. Louis Rams||NFC West||old NFL||1937||1937||336||339||5||0.498||45.5%||50.0%|
|Seattle Seahawks||NFC West||exp1||1976||1976||293||303||0||0.492||44.7%||44.7%|
|Kansas City Chiefs||AFC West||AFL||1960||1970||328||345||7||0.488||47.7%||45.5%|
|Tennessee Titans||AFC South||AFL||1960||1970||329||349||2||0.485||43.2%||43.2%|
|San Diego Chargers||AFC West||AFL||1960||1970||322||353||5||0.477||36.4%||45.5%|
|Carolina Panthers||NFC South||exp2||1995||1995||144||160||0||0.474||26.3%||57.9%|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||AFC South||exp2||1995||1995||144||160||0||0.474||36.8%||52.6%|
|Buffalo Bills||AFC East||AFL||1960||1970||311||367||2||0.459||36.4%||56.8%|
|Cincinnati Bengals||AFC North||AFL exp||1968||1970||309||370||1||0.455||36.4%||47.7%|
|Atlanta Falcons||NFC South||60s exp||1966||1966||304||371||5||0.451||34.1%||59.1%|
|New Orleans Saints||NFC South||60s exp||1967||1967||305||371||4||0.451||27.3%||56.8%|
|New York Jets||AFC East||AFL||1960||1970||304||374||2||0.449||34.1%||45.5%|
|Arizona Cardinals||NFC West||old NFL||1898||1920||279||395||6||0.415||25.0%||65.9%|
|Houston Texans||AFC South||exp3||2002||2002||79||113||0||0.411||25.0%||58.3%|
|Detroit Lions||NFC North||old NFL||1929||1930||275||401||4||0.407||27.3%||63.6%|
|Tampa Bay Bucs||NFC South||exp1||1976||1976||233||362||1||0.392||31.6%||65.8%|
|Cleveland Browns||AFC North||exp3||1999||1999||77||163||0||0.321||13.3%||86.7%|
My general conclusion is that while a few old NFL teams have been very successful in the modern era, how long a team was established before the merger seems to have little relationship its long-term success. The most successful team (in the regular season and in terms of Super Bowl victories) has been the Pittsburgh Steelers, one of the earliest NFL teams. Charter NFL franchises the Detroit Lions and Arizona Cardinals (the oldest team in the NFL), however, are among the consistently worst teams in the league since the merger. The ten best regular season teams in the post-merger era are from the old NFL, the AFL ans the AAFC (the upstart league in the late-1940s). Post-merger expansion teams, by contrast, have struggled in the NFL, although the Seahawks are playing in the Super Bowl today.
And, of course, I have to moan just a little about my team, the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings are among the most successful NFL franchises–in the regular season, anyway–but they just can’t win the big one. Among teams who have have had winning seasons 50 percent or more years, the Vikings are the only team to have not won a Super Bowl. I don’t know how many years I have left, but I hope to see them break that curse in my lifetime.
7 thoughts on “The NFL Since the 1970 NFL-AFL Merger”
When will the nfl and the ufl trying to merger for planning to play games ?
Also why the nfl always subbornest and won’t list to me and I did tried to tell nfl commissioner Roger Goodell . He been ignore me and all people but God watch over the nfl in one day !
Successful? Vikings? Look at MY team and you’ll see successful. Go Pack!
The Packers had both Brett Favre & Arron Rodgers and went 1-1 with Favre & 1-0 with Rodgers. I mean they have had a dynasty since 93′ (That ended in 2016) but only one 2 Superbowl combined with two different Legendary QBs. No Excuse. Brady & The Patriots are 6-3 in the Superbowl, and the pats also were good from 94′-99′, making the playoffs all but 95′ & finished 8-8 in 99′, missing the playoffs. They also made the Superbowl (but loss) in 96′, Making there Superbowl record in the last 24 years 6-4. 10 Superbowls to 3. And the Steelers are the same way as the Packers, only 4 Superbowls (2-2) in the last 26 Years (1992-Current Dynasty ) While the Pats have 10 (6-4) in the last 24 years.
Didn’t the city of Cleveland successfully reserve the history of the Browns to carry over with the expansion team? I think I’m remembering correctly that the Ravens were to be treated as a new franchise upon moving to Baltimore.
Yes, that’s right, but for this article I was trying to see if being a longstanding team from the old NFL gave teams an advantage after the merger. The latest incarnation of teh Browns were in effect an expansion team (or at least played like one), even though the Ravens were treated as though they were an expansion team in terms of colors, records, etc.
What are the win /loss records up to the 2018 season