Ranking Every NFL Team by Historical Winning Percentage
The media of today covers the NFL like a gossip magazine at times, highlighting one-time greatness while forgetting about tradition and legend.
With that in mind, we thought it beneficial to highlight greatness from a different perspective. We will rank greatness from an overall historical perspective, and find out which franchises have stood the test of time.
From worst to best, this is where your team ranks by their historical winning percentage.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 222-335-1 (.399)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers entered into the NFL in 1976 and promptly lost their first 26 games. Talk about foreshadowing.
Things haven't always been gloomy, though. Head coach Jon Gruden was traded by the late, great Al Davis for the tune of four draft picks. Gruden led the team Tony Dungy had built to win Super Bowl XXXVII, ironically, against the Oakland Raiders.
31. Houston Texans: 62-92 (.403)
The Houston Texans haven't been around long, so we'll cut them some slack. They did pick David Carr with the first overall pick of the 2002 NFL draft, though. That one pick set the franchise back about 10 years.
Being in the AFC South hasn't helped the Texans cause much, as Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts have been dominating since day one. Things are shifting in that division, though, and this franchise is on its way up.
30. Arizona Cardinals: 491-698-39 (.413)
Believe it or not, the Arizona Cardinals are the oldest continuously run professional football team. The Cardinals started out in Chicago in 1898, and they were a charter member of the NFL in 1920.
You may also be surprised to know that the Cardinals have won two NFL championships, both of which occurred while the team was still in Chicago.
From the 1950s until the late 2000s and Kurt Warner, the Cardinals franchise was generally horrible, and despite their historic legacy, the team had long been a byword for losing in the NFL.
29. Atlanta Falcons: 295-397-6 (.427)
The Atlanta Falcons joined the NFL as an expansion team in 1965 as a way to keep the team from joining the AFL. The Falcons have only reached the Super Bowl once in franchise history, and they have struggled to consistently field a competent team.
The latest blunder by this franchise was only last season, as they team traded away most of their draft to move up to the sixth overall spot to pick Julio Jones out of Alabama. Jones is a gifted young player, but the team is lacking depth on defense and has struggled all season.
28. New Orleans Saints: 293-386-5 (.432)
The New Orleans Saints have recently climbed out of the cellar to bask in the sunlight of NFL glory. The franchise was long considered to be the worst team in the NFL until their Super Bowl XLIV victory in 2009.
Their franchise winning percentage will continue its upward climb as long as Drew Brees and Sean Payton are around.
27. Cincinnati Bengals: 292-376-2 (.437)
The Cincinnati Bengals are one of the old AFL teams that haven't ever found consistent success in the NFL. The Bengals have never won a championship, and the two times the franchise reached the Super Bowl, they were defeated by the same team (San Francisco 49ers).
There might be room for hope, however, for Bengals fans. Owner Mike Brown has made some shrewd moves this past offseason that might benefit the franchise for the next decade.
26. Carolina Panthers: 121-145 (.455)
One of the younger franchises in the NFL, the Carolina Panthers got off to a ripping start, winning seven games in their first season, then winning 14 games the next and going all the way to the conference championship game.
The torrid start has since cooled off, and the Panthers franchise is in full-blown rebuilding mode. They have a cornerstone with which to build their team, though, in Cam Newton.
25. Detroit Lions: 503-597-32 (.457)
The Detroit Lions are one of the older franchises in the NFL. The Lions are the only team in NFL history to have gone 0-16, a distinction they are loath to hold.
Barry Sanders was the best player in franchise history, and I often wonder what might have been if he had been able to play with a team that had any sort of supporting cast.
It seems like the organization might be turning a corner, as they have collected one of the better young teams in the NFL.
24. New York Jets: 356-418-8 (.460)
New York Jets fans still cling to the lone Super Bowl victory, claimed by Joe Namath and the rest of the boys in Super Bowl III.
The franchise has meandered to and fro in the realm of mediocrity since that fabled time.
Ownership needs to make some changes or the franchise will continue to dwell in the bottom half of this list.
23. Buffalo Bills: 363-411-8 (.469)
The Buffalo Bills hold the dubious distinction of being the only team in NFL history to have gotten to the Super Bowl four straight times, only to lose all four.
It's tough being in the same division as the New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins. The Bills struggles continue to this day.
22. Seattle Seahawks: 266-292 (.477)
The Seattle Seahawks have long been associated with cellar-dwelling. Maybe it has something to do with the dreary weather up there in the North coast.
The franchise experienced some fleeting glory in the mid-2000s. Matt Hasselbeck, Shawn Alexander and Mike Holmgren took the NFL by storm and almost claimed Super Bowl XL, but lost in one of the most controversial Super Bowls in NFL history.
Seahawks fans are hoping new head coach, Pete Carroll, can bring the franchise back into respectability.
21. Philadelphia Eagles: 513-547-26 (.484)
Before doing the research on this subject, I had no idea that the Philadelphia Eagles are a losing franchise from a historical standpoint. No wonder the fans in Philly are so grumpy all the time.
The Eagles have been around since 1933, and the team has won three championships, although none of those were Super Bowls.
After failing miserably this season, the Eagles franchise is in flux once again, and they must make some hard choices after the season.
20. Tennessee Titans: 382-394-6 (.492)
The Tennessee Titans occupy the last spot on the losing side of this list. Every other franchise on the list has an overall winning record.
The Titans began as the Houston Oilers in 1960, and Warren Moon gave them a bunch of competitive teams during the 1980s. Steve McNair almost won them the big one in 1999, but the team lost Super Bowl XXXIV to the St. Louis Rams.
19. San Diego Chargers: 388-383-11 (.503)
The San Diego Chargers have seen a lot of ups and downs throughout their history. Dan Fouts and Don Coryell brought excitement and brilliance in the 80s, though the team never did manage to win a Super Bowl.
The Chargers did win a championship in the AFL, but the closest they came to the ultimate prize was in Super Bowl XXIX, but they met the juggernaut 49ers who blew them out in epic style.
Nowadays, the team is in bad shape, and many people are calling for head coach Norv Turner to be replaced at the end of the season.
18. St. Louis Rams: 513-500-20 (.506)
Originally from Cleveland, the St. Louis Rams franchise has been around a long time. The team was founded in 1936, and has managed to post a winning all-time record despite being the laughing-stock of the NFC for a decade.
The Rams have many players in their franchise counted among the greatest in the NFL. Kurt Warner came out of nowhere in 1999 to lead the team to two Super Bowls, winning one.
The franchise is in the midst of rebuilding right now, and things are not going as planned.
17. Jacksonville Jaguars: 136-130 (.511)
The Jacksonville Jaguars came into the NFL at the same time as the Carolina Panthers in 1995. The team got off to a hot start for the first five years and got into the playoffs three times. Mark Brunell was the perfect fit for the Jaguars during the early years.
The Jaguars hit some bumps in the road and tapered off for a few years before David Garrard helped to bring them back into contention. Sadly, though, the team hasn't made much of an impact for the last handful of seasons and they are rebuilding.
16. Washington Redskins: 550-523-27 (.513)
The Washington Redskins were founded in 1932, and the franchise has had many winning memories throughout their long history.
The high tide for the Redskins was during the reign of Joe Gibbs, mostly during the 1980s. The team won three Super Bowls during his time as head coach. The Redskins have been trying in vain to recapture the old magic ever since.
15. Kansas City Chiefs: 399-371-12 (.518)
The Kansas City Chiefs were a dominant force in the AFL during the 1960s, and they joined the NFL in 1970.
The Chiefs were one of the elite teams in the AFC during the head coaching reign of Marty Schottenheimer, but they never managed to get over the hump to win a Super Bowl.
Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City remains one of the loudest places for opponents in the NFL.
14. Pittsburgh Steelers: 548-502-20 (.522)
When I started doing this list, there wasn't any way I thought the Pittsburgh Steelers would be this far down. The Steelers have won the most Super Bowls of any team, with six trophies in their possession. Apparently, there have been some mighty lean years somewhere down the line.
Formed in 1933, the Steelers didn't really do anything until Chuck Noll came into town in the 1970s and created a dynasty that is still standing today.
13. Denver Broncos: 403-369-10 (.522)
The Denver Broncos are a proud franchise that was lucky enough to get John Elway to come onto their team in 1983 after Elway rejected the Baltimore Colts, the team that drafted him. Elway made trade demands, and the Broncos were happy to oblige.
John Elway led the Broncos to five Super Bowls throughout his career in Denver. The Broncos won two, and Elway was assisted by stud running back, Terrell Davis.
The Broncos are in the middle of discovering which direction the team will go. The reason? Tim Tebow.
12. Indianapolis Colts: 451-406-7 (.526)
The Indianapolis Colts were a dominant team in the NFL long before the era of Peyton Manning. Johnny Unitas and Raymond Berry were leading their own charge in the offensive superiority department in the 1950s-1960s.
Between Unitas and Manning, the franchise has won two Super Bowls.
But for everything that goes up, there is inevitably a down somewhere in the future (physics and such) and the Colts are in the midst of the worst kind of down.
11. New England Patriots: 408-365-9 (.528)
The New England Patriots are the "team of the 2000s", having won 126 games between 2001 and 2010. The franchise was never a force to be reckoned with until the hiring of current head coach, Bill Belichick.
Since the Patriots made that fortuitous hire, the team has been an annual contender for the Super Bowl, making it to the big dance five times, while winning three of them.
10. Baltimore Ravens: 136-114-1 (.544)
Of the three teams to enter the NFL in 1995-1996, the Baltimore Ravens have been the most successful. Maybe it's due to the fact that the "Ravens" moniker was one that was chosen by the Baltimore fans.
The Ravens owe much of their success to the brilliant front office work of general manager Ozzie Newsome. He has a remarkable track record for drafting future Hall of Famers.
9. Minnesota Vikings: 415-344-9 (.547)
Fran Tarkenton and the Purple People Eaters highlight the dominance of the Minnesota Vikings in the 1960s-1970s.
Nowadays, the Vikings are caught in an interesting situation because the "Mall of America Field" is a stadium that must be replaced after the devastation caused by snow last year.
The team is in full-blown rebuilding mode, as the Donovan McNabb experiment was a complete failure. Christian Ponder looks like he could be a keeper, but quarterbacks are fickle creatures.
8. Cleveland Browns: 489-404-13 (.547)
The Cleveland Browns are the legacy of legendary NFL icon, Paul Brown. The team is named in his honor. The Browns franchise is one of the proudest, and rightly so. Jim Brown, Otto Graham and Ozzie Newsome all helped to make the Browns one of the most hallowed franchises in the NFL.
The franchise has turned the reigns of control over to Mike Holmgren, and I believe he has a strong vision that will bear fruit within the next two seasons.
7. New York Giants: 642-528-33 (.549)
Established in 1925, the New York Giants are one of the ancients of the NFL. The franchise has won seven titles, four of which were acquired before the advent of the Super Bowl.
Big Blue is one of the more stable franchises in the league. Current head coach Tom Coughlin is sometimes unduly criticized by the media. Year in and year out, he has the Giants contending for the NFC East crown.
6. Oakland Raiders: 424-347-11 (.550)
Whether you loved him or hated him, Al Davis will always be one of the great men of NFL history. The Oakland Raiders late owner started out as a head coach, and he turned the franchise into one of the all-time elite teams in all of professional sports.
Head coach Hue Jackson is attempting to bring the Raider way back to Raiders Nation, and I think he is well on his way.
5. San Francisco 49ers: 518-422-15 (.551)
The San Francisco 49ers are one of the best NFL franchises of all time. The team has won five Super Bowl Championships.
The 49ers glory years started when Eddie DeBartolo Jr. took over as owner. He is responsible for hiring the late, great head coach, Bill Walsh.
Walsh had a special eye for talent, and he stockpiled the 49ers with elite players at all the skill positions. As a result, the franchise dominated for well over a decade.
Things are looking up again for the 49ers with the emergence of Jim Harbaugh.
4. Green Bay Packers: 675-524-36 (.563)
Lambeau Field in January. Nothing says NFL football better than this. The Green Bay Packers franchise is the purest one left in all of professional sports, in my humble opinion.
The franchise is still owned by the fans. When the team plays on Sundays, there isn't a soul to be seen in the streets of Green Bay. Gas stations are closed down, for crying out loud.
This hallowed franchise is still going strong, and they are the favorites to win this year's Super Bowl.
3. Miami Dolphins: 397-298-4 (.571)
The Miami Dolphins are the only team in NFL history to have won every game from the beginning of the season, including winning the Super Bowl. The New England Patriots went undefeated in 2009, only to lose the Super Bowl to the New York Giants.
This proud franchise has many of its former players and coaches in the NFL Hall of Fame. There has been a recent drought, however, and the team will more than likely be going in a completely different direction next season, for better or worse.
2. Dallas Cowboys: 447-328-6 (.577)
Year in and year out, owner Jerry Jones has the Dallas Cowboys contending for a championship. The team is always among the most talent-laden in the NFL. Jerry Jones is the NFL's version of George Steinbrenner, always pushing for better talent.
Jones hired Jimmy Johnson in 1989, and the franchise became the "team of the 90s," winning three Super Bowls with players like Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin and Emmit Smith leading the way.
1. Chicago Bears: 711-515-42 (.580)
The No. 1 team on our list for all-time records is the Chicago Bears. The Bears were established all the way back in 1919, and the franchise has won nine championships (one Super Bowl).
The Bears hold the NFL record for most Hall of Famers, with 27 members, and they also hold the record for most retired jersey numbers, with 13.
This franchise has truly been impressive, having been around longer than most and continuing their winning traditions throughout the decades.