Green Bay Packers Are 5th 15-1 Team in NFL History: How Did the First 4 Finish?

Zach Kruse@@zachkruse2Senior Analyst IJanuary 2, 2012

Green Bay Packers Are 5th 15-1 Team in NFL History: How Did the First 4 Finish?

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    In beating the Detroit Lions on Sunday, the 2011 Green Bay Packers became just the fifth team in NFL history to finish a season with a 15-1 record. 

    While history isn't always an indicator of future events, it's worth a look back at the previous 15-1 teams to see how they fared in closing out their seasons in the postseason. 

    In the following slides, we'll look at the four previous teams who finished with an identical record as the Packers have in 2011.

    Is history on their side?

1984 San Francisco 49ers

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    The '84 49ers were the first team in NFL history to go 15-1 after the league expanded its schedule to 16 games in 1978.

    Led by coach Bill Walsh and quarterback Joe Montana, the 49ers suffered their only loss of the regular season in Week 7 against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    San Francisco would go on to win their next 11 games, including two in the postseason, to reach the Super Bowl.

    Once there, the 49ers convincingly beat the Miami Dolphins, 38-16, to win Super Bowl XIX.   

1985 Chicago Bears

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    A year after losing in the playoffs to the 15-1 49ers, the 1985 Chicago Bears put together their own one-loss season.

    On the back of one the league's all-time defenses, the Bears strolled to a 15-1 regular season record.

    Only a defeat at the hands of the Miami Dolphins in Week 13 prevented the Bears from attaining a perfect season.

    The Bears stormed through the NFC playoffs, winning three postseason games by a combined score of 91-10.

    The 18-1 season was capped off with a 46-10 demolition of the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX.  

1998 Minnesota Vikings

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    Led by an offensive juggernaut that featured Randall Cunningham, Robert Smith, Cris Carter, Jake Reed and some rookie named Randy Moss, the '98 Minnesota Vikings put together the third-highest scoring season in NFL history (ironically, the Packers eclipsed their mark on Sunday with their final touchdown to clinch the 15th win). 

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Vikings in Week 9, but Minnesota wouldn't lose again—until the NFC Championship game.

    Gary Anderson, who hadn't missed a field goal all season, was wide on a 38-yard attempt that would have all but clinched a trip to the Super Bowl.

    The Atlanta Falcons would end up tying the score in regulation before beating the Vikings in overtime. 

2005 Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Guided by the No. 1 defense in football and rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, the 2004 Pittsburgh Steelers ran through their regular season schedule with just a single blemish (Baltimore Ravens, Week 2). 

    Along the way, the Steelers snapped the New England Patriots' 21-game winning streak, beat the previously undefeated Philadelphia Eagles and knocked off the New York Jets in the AFC Divisional round. 

    The Patriots got revenge in the AFC Championship game, however, as they beat the Steelers, 41-27, at Heinz Field.

    The Patriots would then go on to beat the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX.