There have been 19 NFL teams that have won at least a single Super Bowl over their franchise history. There are also a handful who have never won any and even a few that have never appeared in one, but will not bring any more pain upon the fans of those teams by mentioning their names. Of the NFL teams who did win a Super Bowl, the question becomes, which are the best franchises of all time. The other question is, which are the teams that had their one or two moments of glory but are not really much better than those other sad teams who we left un-named? Read on for the definitive ranking of every team that has won at least one Super Bowl. The basis of our rankings is not simply who has the most Super Bowls, but rather which teams have been great for more of their history than the rest. There are some teams who reached the pinnacle only one or two times but have been in the mix during many other years in their history. There are also those who have a been great in one specific era but have otherwise been unremarkable in their history. Then of course there are those who have been sad and pathetic for most of their history outside of a single moment of glory. Read on as we explore the worst to the best NFL franchises of all time… That have at least won one Super Bowl.
19. New York Jets: Super Bowl Record 1-0
In the first big Super Bowl upset ever, Joe Namath guaranteed the New York Jets would beat the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl III. It was bold, it was foolish, and it was right. It was also the last time the Jets were ever any good. Of course Namath is in the Hall of Fame and so are seven other players who played for the Jets. Unfortunately four of them only played a year or so and had their Hall of Fame careers with different teams. Over their history, the Jets have only made the playoffs 14 times, their most consistent stretch being the first decade of the 2000s when they made it six times. The highlights of that stretch were of course when they reached the AFC Championship game back to back years with one of the best Jets quarterbacks of all time, Mark Sanchez. That’s right; Mark Sanchez is one of the best Jets QBs ever. Now I could go on making the case that the Jets are the worst franchise to ever win at least one Super Bowl, but I believe that says it all.
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Super Bowl Record 1-0
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the most inept, terrible, basically rubbish teams in the league for almost their entire history. They are the only team to win a Super Bowl that has a win-loss percentage under 40%. The Buccaneers lost their first 26 games in a row, going 0-14 in their inaugural season in 1976, and then losing their first 12 games of their second season before getting the franchise’s first and second victories at the end of 1977. They did somehow win their division twice and go to the NFC Championship game once in the next few years but they immediately returned to the world of two and three win seasons, winning more than six games only once over the next 15 years. At the end of the 1990s they finally got legitimately good and won their Super Bowl in 2002. Since then they have ascended to average, with a few especially good or especially bad seasons among the mediocrity. They beat out the Jets based on the fact that they have made it to the playoffs 10 times in 16 fewer seasons, and well, the fact that they are not the Jets.
17. Chicago Bears: Super Bowl Record 1-1
As a brilliant, anonymous internet commenter once said about the Bears, “Take away that 1985 Super Bowl and you basically have a less shitty version of the Browns.” Obviously the 1985 Bears were one of the most ruthless defenses that ever took the field and those Bears made the playoffs for most of the ensuing decade. They also had a good little run when Lovie Smith was coach that included a Super Bowl loss to the Colts. But other than that, mediocrity has reigned in the Midway. Outside of the Mike Ditka and Lovie Smth eras, the Bears have had four playoff appearances. Two pre-Ditka, and two between their Super Bowl appearances. Not to mention the fact that the best quarterbacks that have ever played in Chicago are Rex Grossman, Jay Cutler, and Jim McMahon. They have now put their faith in Mitch Trubisky so barring a major surprise; they will probably remain near the bottom of this list for quite some time.
16. New Orleans Saints: Super Bowl Record 1-0
It took 20 seasons in the league before the New Orleans Saints finally made their first playoff berth. That was the beginning of the Jim Mora era when linebackers Pat Swilling and Rickey Jackson roamed the field on defense and Craig “Ironhead” Heyward pounded the ball down the field on offense. They finished .500 or better seven straight times and made the playoffs three more times while never finishing with fewer than seven wins. The next decade saw perpetual averageness, with three bad seasons of 3-13 and the rest of the time spent winning between six and ten games until the dawn of the Drew Brees and Sean Payton era. Over the past 11 years the Saints won their lone Super Bowl but with one of the best QBs and one of the best offensive coaches in the league they have remained a threat. As long as Brees lasts, the Saints should stay competitive, and if they can find a good defense while he is there, they are a threat to do more.
15. Kansas City Chiefs: Super Bowl Record 1-1
The Kansas City Chiefs were of course the very first team to ever LOSE a Super Bowl, falling to the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl I. The Chiefs remained strong for the first few years of the Super Bowl era, eventually winning Super Bowl IV over the Vikings. For much of the next decade and a half they hovered around five to eight wins per year with a couple of worse and a couple of better seasons thrown in there. After their Super Bowl they only made the playoffs twice before the dawn of the Marty Schottenheimer era which started off in 1989 with both the Offensive and Defensive Rookies of the Year in Derrick Thomas and Christian Okoye. The following season started a streak of six straight playoff appearances before missing one and then getting a final one before Schottenheimer departed. Another 15 years passed with just four more playoff appearances before Andy Reid took over making them a pretty solid team over the past few years.
14. Seattle Seahawks: Super Bowl Record 1-2
After coming into the league in the AFC in 1976, the Seattle Seahawks remained a middling team for their first seven seasons until Chuck Knox became coach in 1983 and players like Steve Largent, Dave Kreig, and Kenny Easley became stars. It was not until Mike Holmgren took over seven years after Knox left that the Seahawks got good again, going to the playoffs five straight times including a trip to Super Bowl XL. Most recently the Pete Carroll era has returned the Seahawks to the top of the league. Led by stars like Marshawn Lynch, Richard Sherman, and Russell Wilson the Seahawks have been one of the elite teams in the NFL for much of the past five years, enjoying two trips to the Super Bowl including a dominating win over the Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII. With Russell Wilson and their strong secondary around, it looks like they could remain near the top for a while.
13. Indianapolis/Baltimore Colts: Super Bowl Record 2-2
With 13 out of 17 seasons from number 18, the Baltimore Colts spent 11 of those seasons in the playoffs. Besides the great run with Peyton Manning though, the Colts were also pretty good at the beginning of the Super Bowl era. With Johnny Unitas and Earl Morrall sharing time behind center, the Colts lost Super Bowl III but returned two years later to beat the Cowboys in Super Bowl V. After Unitas departed Baltimore, the Colts had just six playoff appearances over the next 25 plus years while racking up double digit loses 10 times, not to mention being snuck out of Baltimore in the dead of night by their owner to move to Indianapolis. Of course once Manning arrived, their fortunes changed dramatically and they had two more Super Bowl appearances winning Super Bowl XLI over the Bears. After losing Manning in 2011 they had the worst record in the NFL but were able to draft Andrew Luck, the best QB prospect since Manning himself so things look promising going forward.
12. Baltimore Ravens: Super Bowl Record 2-0
Although they have only two Super Bowl wins, and although they have only officially been around for a two decades, and although they are actually the team that used to be the Cleveland Browns, the Baltimore Ravens are one of the most consistently good teams in the NFL since they were relocated to Baltimore in 1996. Apparently the suffering that “The Fumble” and “The Drive” inflicted on the Browns must have been enough for them to be reincarnated as the Ravens who are usually a good bet to challenge for the division title in the AFC East. Over their 21 seasons, the Ravens have made the playoffs 10 times. Among their great players are probable Hall of Famers Terrell Suggs, Ray Lewis, Jonathan Ogden, and Ed Reed. They have played in two Super Bowls, winning both of them.
11. Los Angeles/St. Louis Rams: Super Bowl Record 1-2
The Los Angeles Rams have been pretty consistently decent and occasionally pretty good for much of their history between Los Angeles and St. Louis, up until the past few years. From 1966 through 1990 the Rams made the playoffs 16 times while finishing under .500 only four times. Early on they were known for their legendary “Fearsome Foursome” defense led by Deacon Jones, Merlin Olsen, Rosey Grier, and Lamar Lundy. Starting in 1973 they finished first in their division seven straight seasons, culminating in an appearance in Super Bowl XIV. The 1980s brought them six more playoff showings and offensive stars Eric Dickerson and Jim Everett. They started the 21st century with the Greatest Show on Turf led by Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk taking them to two Super Bowls, beating the Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV and losing to the Patriots on a last second field goal two years later.
10. Washington Redskins: Super Bowl Record 3-2
Since the beginning of the Super Bowl era until 1992, the Washington Redskins finished with a record of .500 or better in 22 seasons. 1992 also happened to be the end of Joe Gibbs’ first coaching stint with the Redskins. He returned to coach another four years in 2004 and added two more playoff appearances but outside of that, the Redskins have made the playoffs just three other times without Gibbs at the helm, mostly hovering at or below .500 in those years. That means most of the case for the Redskins being where they are on this list is their pre-1992 history, which with five Super Bowl appearances is pretty strong. Their first Super Bowl was a loss to the undefeated Dolphins in Super Bowl VII. They returned almost a decade later with Gibbs as coach, John Riggins running behind the legendary offensive line known as “The Hogs”, and Joe Theismann at quarterback. In Super Bowl XVII they got revenge by beating the Dolphins. The following year they lost to the Raiders but they picked up two more Super Bowls over the next eight years before losing Gibbs and proceeding to become permanently mediocre.
9. New York Giants: Super Bowl Record 4-1
Despite numerous championship wins and appearances before the Super Bowl era, starting in 1966 the New York Giants had only two winning seasons through 1980 and did not make their first playoff appearance until 1981. That also coincided with Lawrence Taylor’s rookie year. Over the next decade the Giants added Phil Simms and coach Bill Parcells and suffered just three losing seasons while winning Super Bowls XXI and XXV. After Parcells left the Giants were up and down for most of the next decade but never too good or too bad. They made it back to the Super Bowl XXXV where they lost to the Ravens and then returned again a few years later with Eli Manning and a Tom Brady-proof defense beating the Patriots in two Super Bowls over five years.
8. Miami Dolphins: Super Bowl Record 2-3
If we were ranking teams based on their performance in the 21st century, the Miami Dolphins would be near the bottom of the list, having made the playoffs just twice in the past 15 years. Part of the problem is being in the same division as the Patriots and Bill Belichick who always win the AFC East. That means the Dolphins have twice missed the playoffs with nine wins and missed it once with 10 wins. The real glory days for the Dolphins however came before 2000. With Don Shula in charge, Miami played in Super Bowls IV, V, and VI winning twice and also going undefeated in 1972. They were back again eight seasons later for Super Bowl XVII where they lost to the Redskins. They then acquired Dan Marino who led them to ten playoff appearances including Super Bowl XIX where they fell to Joe Montana and the 49ers. Now Ryan Tannehill is their QB and the remain trapped in the division with Brady and Belichick. All they can do now is wait until those two are gone until they have a chance at glory once again.
7. Las Vegas/Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders: Super Bowl Record 3-2
The Raiders, in both their Los Angeles and Oakland guises were pretty dominant for the first 20 years of the Super Bowl era. With legendary coaches John Madden and Tom Flores, some of the toughest defenses around, and a steady stream of Hall of Famers including Fred Biletnikoff, Gene Upshaw, Willie Brown, Art Shell, and Kenny Stabler, the Raiders did not post a losing season until 1981. The Raiders first appearance was in Super Bowl II where they lost to the Packers. They then appeared in six conference championship games over the next eight years before making it back to Super Bowl XI where they beat the Vikings. Once the 1980s arrived so did a new group of stars including Marcus Allen, Howie Long, Lyle Alzado, and Mike Haynes. After they won Super XVIII in 1983, they continued to mostly win, baby for the next decade or so. From 1966 through 1994 they had only four losing seasons, three of which they ended up 7-9. After returning to Oakland in 1995 they were not much of threat until Jon Gruden turned them around at the turn of the century. They made it back to Super Bowl XXXVII but Gruden had been traded to their opponent the season before and his Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat them. The next 13 years the Raiders were just bad, finishing under .500 every year until this season when they were back to being one of the best teams in the NFL before Derek Carr was injured at the end of the season.
6. Denver Broncos: Super Bowl Record 3-5
The Denver Broncos have actually been in the second most Super Bowls of all time with eight. They were not any good at the beginning of the Super Bowl era and did not make it to the playoffs until 1977 which is also the year they went all the way to Super Bowl XII. They only had one bad season over the next 13 years and fortunately it was when they went 2-7 in the strike shortened 1982 seasons. It was rather well timed as they ended up with the first pick in the NFL Draft and were able to select John Elway who of course led them to five of their Super Bowls. He lost his first three, making the Broncos the second team to lose four Super Bowls after the Vikings had already done it and before the Bills joined the group. The Broncos did come back and win two at the very end of John Elway’s career, going back to back in Super Bowls XXII and XXXIII. Even in the 17 years since Elway retired they have had only two losing seasons, one which gave them the high draft pick which they used on another Super Bowl MVP, Von Miller. With Miller’s help they reached two more Super Bowls, losing to the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII and then triumphed in Peyton Manning’s final career game in Super Bowl 50.
5. New England Patriots: Super Bowl Record 5-4
Everyone knows the New England Patriots have the most Super Bowl appearances in the history of the NFL. But they did lose four of them giving them a Super Bowl Record of 5-4. Now if you are from New England than that obviously means they are the best NFL franchise that has ever been. If you are not from New England however, you know they aren’t quite the best ever. The fact is the Patriots have been consistently great for one stretch of time in their history. That has been the years where Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have been running the show. But in the rest of the Super Bowl era, the Patriots have been a pretty trash team for a big chunk of time. Sure they made the Super Bowl in 1985, but they got stomped by the Bears and they were only a wild card team that year anyway. Take out Tom Brady and Drew Bledsoe and the greatest Patriots QBs were Steve Grogan, Tony Eason and washed up Jim Plunkett. Without Brady or Bledsoe the Patriots have five playoff appearances in almost 30 years and are not even on this list because they don’t have a Super Bowl victory. Just take away Bill Belichick, and Tom Brady could have turned out like Brady Quinn and the Patriots could have been down near the Saints and the Bears on this list.
4. Green Bay Packers: Super Bowl Record 4-1
If you count pre-Super Bowl era, the Green Bay Packers are the best NFL franchise of all time, by far. Limiting things to the last LI years, the Pack are still among the very best teams of all time. They have three of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game, Brett Favre, Bart Starr, and Aaron Rodgers. They have Super Bowls wins in three distinct time frames, with the first two Super Bowls, a win and a loss during the Favre era, and one a few years ago with Rodgers. They have been a perennial playoff team since the early 90s with four more trips to the NFC Championship game in that time, and of course were a staple in the playoffs from the Lombardi era through the late 1960s. They had their fallow times in the late 70s and 80s, but overall the Packers have been consistently great throughout their history, have won four out of their five Super Bowls, and have always been a team that fans from across the country have embraced.
3. San Francisco 49ers: Super Bowl Record 5-1
The San Francisco 49ers had just three playoff appearances in the first 15 years of the Super Bowl era, ending the 1970s with back to back 2-14 seasons. They also ended the 1980s by hiring Bill Walsh and drafting Joe Montana. They then proceeded to start the 1980s by winning Super Bowl XVI in 1981. Over the next 18 years they made the playoffs 16 times winning five Super Bowls. With names like Jerry Rice, Charles Haley, Roger Craig, Ronnie Lott, and later Deion Sanders, and Montana’s replacement Steve Young, the 49ers were easily the best team in the NFL in the 1980s and among the best in the 1990s. The Niners made the playoffs twice in the 2001 and 2002 but then things went south and they did not finish with a winning record for the rest of the decade. Bringing Jim Harbaugh aboard turned things around and got them to three straight NFC Championship games and to Super Bowl XLVII where they lost to the Ravens. Unfortunately they jettisoned Harbaugh and now are among the worst teams in the league until further notice.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers: Super Bowl Record 6-2
Up until 1972, the Pittsburgh Steelers were just bad. After going 2-11-1 in 1968, the Steelers hired coach Chuck Noll in 1969 and he proceeded to go 1-13. But they also acquired ‘Mean’ Joe Greene and LC Greenwood that year and were able to draft Terry Bradshaw. In the next few drafts they picked up Franco Harris, Jack Lambert, Jack Hamm and more of the players who would form the best team of the 1970s, winning four out of the last six Super Bowls of the decade. The 1980s were a different story with just four playoff appearances and a lot of seasons just over or under .500. When Bill Cower became coach in 1992 the Steelers returned to prominence, making the playoffs ten times in his 16 years in charge while losing one Super Bowl and winning Super Bowl XL with Ben Roethlisberger. Cower’s replacement Mike Tomlin got the Steelers back to the big game two years later when they beat the Phoenix Cardinals in Super Bowl XLIII. The Steelers had one more appearance in 2010 when the Packers beat them in Super Bowl XLV. They remain contenders as long as Big Ben is healthy and have not had a losing season since 2003.
1. Dallas Cowboys: Super Bowl Record 5-3
For those of you out there who hate the Cowboys I have some bad news for you. For those of you that love the Cowboys, try not to gloat. The fact is the Dallas Cowboys are probably the best NFL franchise of all time. Based on Super Bowls, they are tied with the Patriots and the 49ers with five wins. They also have three other appearances. The Cowboys have spread their greatness out over time as well. With star quarterbacks from Roger Staubach to Troy Aikman and even Tony Romo and now Dak Prescott, and star running backs from Tony Dorsett, to Emmitt Smith, and now Zeke Elliot, the Cowboys have been good or great a lot more than most teams. If it wasn’t for the Packers, the Cowboys could have been in the first two Super Bowls. They also lost in the NFC Championship game six other times, which could have been six more Super Bowls. The Cowboys did not have a losing season in the first 20 years of the Super Bowl era. The end of the 1980s saw five losing seasons and the end of Tom Landry’s coaching career, but the start of the 1990s saw the beginning of the careers of Jimmy Johnson, Emmitt Smith, and Troy Aikman which lead to the Cowboys winning three out of four Super Bowls from 1992 through 1995. Since Aikman’s retirement in 2000 the Cowboys have mostly finished around .500, with six seasons with losing records and six with playoff appearances. Now with a new version the the ‘Triplets’ in Dak, Dez Bryant and Zeke, they are looking to remain near the top of the league for another ten years.
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