Numbers Don’t Lie: The Definitive Ranking of the Greatest NFL Franchises

by | Feb 17, 2024 | Blog, Sports

Updated as of February 17 2024. Congrats to the Kansas City Chiefs for moving up 3 spots on the all-time list (from Rank 10 to 7). 

Welcome to the ultimate showdown of NFL franchises! We’re here to rank all 32 teams based on their relative performance throughout their entire history in the NFL. Well maybe not the entire history, but the period that most experts consider to be the Super Bowl era. Starting from the first Super Bowl in the 1966 season.

This stat-tastic journey that will take us through the good, the bad and the ugly of every team’s performance. We’ll be using a combination of factors including depth of schedule and winning percentage to determine the ultimate champion.

Think your team is the GOAT? Well, let’s see what the numbers have to say about that! Get ready to relive the glory days and reminisce on the heartbreaking and heartwarming moments. It’s time to find out which team truly reigns supreme!


The History of the NFL

The NFL has had quite the wild ride throughout its history, and that includes adding new teams to the mix! Let’s take a trip down memory lane and look at the most notable expansion events since the Super Bowl era.

  • 1966: The first Super Bowl is played between the champions of the NFL and the AFL. An initial agreement to merge the two leagues is made – setting the stage for the conferences and rivalries that would define sports fans for decades to come.
  • 1967: New Orleans Saints are enfranchised.
  • 1968: Cincinnati Bengals are enfranchised.
  • 1970: AFL-NFL merger is completed.
  • 1976: The NFL gets a little bit of Pacific Northwest and Gulf Coast flair with the addition of the Seattle Seahawks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
  • 1995: The NFL gets catty and enfranchises both the Carolina Panthers and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
  • 1996: The Cleveland Browns pack up and move to Baltimore, becoming the Baltimore Ravens.
  • 1997: In one of the few instances of rebranding a franchise (other than the pure confusion of the Cleveland Browns franchise), the Houston Oilers move to Nashville and change team name to Tennessee Titans.
  • 2002: Houston – we have a problem. Houston fans missed a team so much that the NFL decides to add another team to the mix, the Houston Texans, bringing the total number of teams to 32.

And let’s not forget about the teams that have moved around!

  • 2016: The St. Louis Rams head west to Los Angeles.
  • 2017: The San Diego Chargers make the move to LA as well.
  • 2020: The Oakland Raiders say goodbye to the Bay Area and hello to Vegas, baby!

With all these additions and relocations, it’s clear that the NFL is constantly evolving. Europe? Mexico? Canada? Who knows what the future holds? But one thing’s for sure, we’re in for one wild ride!


Let’s Get To It – The Definitive Ranking of the Greatest NFL Franchises

Now that we are all on the same page, now let’s determine who is the GOAT franchise of the NFL. The question that has sparked countless debates among fans. Well, let’s take a look at the numbers and find out!

After analyzing the performance of every franchise since the 1966 season and considering relative performance averaged out over active seasons, we have established four tiers of NFL franchises with the franchise score for each team. Here are the rankings.


Tier 1 Franchises


1. New England Patriots – Tier 1, Rank 1 (+0 from last year’s ranking)

The New England Patriots are the ultimate dynasty of the NFL, and they’re not afraid to let you know it! With six Super Bowl championships (2001, 2003, 2004, 2014, 2016, 2018), 11 conference championships, and 22 division titles, the Pats have been the team to beat for since 2000. Led by the legendary quarterback Tom Brady, the team has consistently shown that they have what it takes to win, no matter the odds. No strangers to stirring the pot, whether it’s “The Tuck Rule” game, “The Spygate” scandal, or “The Deflategate” controversy, the Patriots always seem to come out on top. Love them or hate them, the New England Patriots are the gold standard of the NFL, and they’re always ready to add another championship ring to their collection.

Key Players:


2. Pittsburgh Steelers – Tier 1, Rank 2 (+0 from last year’s ranking)

The Steelers were formed in 1933 and have won six Super Bowls, including four in six years led by legendary quarterback Terry Bradshaw.

Key Players:


3. Dallas Cowboys – Tier 1, Rank 3 (+0 from last year’s ranking)

The Cowboys were formed in 1960 and are known as “America’s Team”, with five Super Bowl wins and legendary players such as quarterback Troy Aikman, running back Emmitt Smith, and wide receiver Michael Irvin.

Key Players:


4. San Francisco 49ers – Tier 1, Rank 4 (+0 from last year’s ranking)

The 49ers were founded in 1946 and have won five Super Bowls, including Super Bowl XXIII led by quarterback Joe Montana and wide receiver Jerry Rice.

Key Players:


5. Baltimore Ravens – Tier 1, Rank 5 (+0 from last year’s ranking)

The Ravens were formed in 1996 and have been dominant in the NFL, winning two Super Bowls, including Super Bowl XXXV led by linebacker Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.

Key Players:
  • Ray Lewis
  • Ed Reed
  • Terrell Suggs
  • Jonathan Ogden
  • Haloti Ngata
  • Jamal Lewis
  • Peter Boulware
  • Matt Stover
  • Michael McCrary
  • Sam Koch


6. Green Bay Packers – Tier 1, Rank 6 (+0 from last year’s ranking)

Owned by the people, the Packers are one of the NFL’s oldest franchises. The Packers were founded in 1919 and have won 13 championships, including four Super Bowls led by legendary quarterbacks Brett Favre, Bart Starr, and Aaron Rodgers.

Key Players:


7. Kansas City Chiefs – Tier 1, Rank 7 (+3 from last year’s ranking)

The Chiefs were formed in 1960 and recently won Super Bowl LIV in 2020 and back to back Super Bowls for LVII and LVIII, led by quarterback Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce.

Key Players:


Tier 2 Franchises



8. Denver Broncos – Tier 2, Rank 8 (-1 from last year’s ranking)

The Broncos were established in 1960 and have won three Super Bowls, including Super Bowl XXXII led by quarterback John Elway.

Key Players:


9. Las Vegas Raiders – Tier 2, Rank 9 (-1 from last year’s ranking)

The Raiders (formerly for Los Angeles and Oakland) were established in 1960 and have won three Super Bowls, including Super Bowl XI led by legendary coach John Madden.

Key Players:


10. Los Angeles Rams – Tier 2, Rank 10 (-0 from last year’s ranking)

The Rams were established in 1936 and have won Super Bowl XXXIV led by quarterback Kurt Warner and Super Bowl LVI led by long-time Lion Matthew Stafford.

Key Players:


11. Indianapolis Colts – Tier 2, Rank 11 (+0 from last year’s ranking)

The Colts were established in 1953 and have won two Super Bowls, including Super Bowl XLI led by quarterback Peyton Manning.

Key Players:


12. Minnesota Vikings – Tier 2, Rank 12 (+0 from last year’s ranking)

The Vikings were established in 1961 and have made four Super Bowl appearances, led by legendary quarterback Fran Tarkenton.

Key Players:


13. New York Giants – Tier 2, Rank 13 (+0 from last year’s ranking)

One of the NFL’s oldest franchises, the Giants were established in 1925 and have won four Super Bowls, including Super Bowl XLII and XLVI led by quarterback Eli Manning both against the New England Patriots. Eli Manning proved to be Tom Brady’s kryptonite stopping him twice including the second attempt in NFL history at a perfect season.

Key Players:
  • Lawrence Taylor
  • Eli Manning
  • Michael Strahan
  • Phil Simms
  • Frank Gifford
  • Y.A. Tittle
  • Sam Huff
  • Mel Hein
  • Emlen Tunnell
  • Rodney Hampton


14. Miami Dolphins – Tier 2, Rank 14 (+0 from last year’s ranking)

The Dolphins were formed in 1966 and have won two Super Bowls, including the perfect season led by coach Don Shula in 1972. This franchise has the only perfect season in modern NFL history.

Key Players:


15. Philadelphia Eagles – Tier 2, Rank 15 (+1 from last year’s ranking)

The Eagles were established in 1933 and won their first Super Bowl in 2018 led by quarterback Nick Foles.

Key Players:


16. Washington Commanders – Tier 2, Rank 16 (-1 from last year’s ranking)

The Commanders were founded in 1932 and have won three Super Bowls, including Super Bowl XVII led by quarterback Joe Theismann.

Key Players:


Tier 3 Franchises


17. Seattle Seahawks – Tier 3, Rank 17 (+0 from last year’s ranking)

The Seahawks were established in 1976 and won their first Super Bowl in 2014 led by quarterback Russell Wilson – which is great, but if Marshawn got the ball, they would have had two Super Bowls.

Key Players:


18. Carolina Panthers – Tier 3, Rank 18 (+0 from last year’s ranking)

The Panthers were founded in 1995 and have already made two trips to the Super Bowl, led by quarterbacks Jake Delhomme and Cam Newton, respectively.

Key Players:
  • Steve Smith Sr.
  • Julius Peppers
  • Luke Kuechly
  • Cam Newton
  • Thomas Davis Sr.
  • DeAngelo Williams
  • Jordan Gross
  • Ryan Kalil
  • John Kasay
  • Sam Mills


19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Tier 3, Rank 19 (+0 from last year’s ranking)

The Buccaneers were formed in 1976 and won their first Super Bowl in 2002 led by quarterback Brad Johnson and their next on the Tom Brady retirement tour in Super Bowl LV.

Key Players:
  • Derrick Brooks
  • Warren Sapp
  • John Lynch
  • Ronde Barber
  • Lee Roy Selmon
  • Mike Alstott
  • James Wilder
  • Doug Williams
  • Paul Gruber
  • Brad Johnson


20. Buffalo Bills – Tier 3, Rank 20 (+1 from last year’s ranking)

The Bills were established in 1960 and infamously made back-to-back-to-back-to-back Super Bowl appearances in the 90s, led by quarterback Jim Kelly – without a single Super Bowl win.

Key Players:


21. Tennessee Titans – Tier 3, Rank 21 (-1 from last year’s ranking)

The Titans were established in 1960 as the Houston Oilers and won their only Super Bowl in 1999 as the Tennessee Titans, led by quarterback Steve McNair.

Key Players:
  • Eddie George
  • Steve McNair
  • Bruce Matthews
  • Jevon Kearse
  • Frank Wycheck
  • Keith Bulluck
  • Michael Roos
  • Kyle Vanden Bosch
  • Warren Moon
  • Earl Campbell


22. Chicago Bears – Tier 3, Rank 22 (+0 from last year’s ranking)

One of the NFL’s oldest teams, the Bears were established in 1920 and have won eight championships, including Super Bowl XX led by legendary coach Mike Ditka.

Key Players:


23. Los Angeles Chargers – Tier 3, Rank 23 (+0 from last year’s ranking)

The Chargers were founded in 1960 and have had limited playoff success, but have had notable players such as quarterback Philip Rivers and the all-time great LaDainian Tomlinson.

Key Players:


24. New York Jets – Tier 3, Rank 24 (+0 from last year’s ranking)

The Jets were founded in 1959 and won Super Bowl III led by legendary quarterback Joe Namath. And the fan base has basically been holding on to that moment for 60+ years.

Key Players:


Tier 4 Franchises


25. New Orleans Saints – Tier 4, Rank 25 (+0 from last year’s ranking)

The Saints were formed in 1967 and won their first Super Bowl in 2010 led by quarterback Drew Brees as well as some hitmen for hire.

Key Players:


26. Jacksonville Jaguars – Tier 4, Rank 26 (+0 from last year’s ranking)

The Jaguars were founded in 1995 and made the AFC Championship in 1996, led by quarterback Mark Brunell. Since, they had a Cinderella run in 2017 and have had some interesting coaching choices (What kind of name is Urban anyway?).

Key Players:
  • Tony Boselli
  • Fred Taylor
  • Mark Brunell
  • Jimmy Smith (Top 25 Wide Receiver of All-Time)
  • Maurice Jones-Drew
  • John Henderson
  • Calais Campbell
  • Jalen Ramsey
  • Telvin Smith
  • Paul Posluszny


27. Cincinnati Bengals – Tier 4, Rank 27 (+0 from last year’s ranking)

Founded in 1968, the Bengals have had limited playoff success until recently, but have had notable players such as quarterback Boomer Esiason and wide receiver A.J. Green.

Key Players:
  • Anthony Munoz
  • Boomer Esiason
  • Ken Riley
  • Chad Johnson (Ochocinco)
  • Isaac Curtis
  • Corey Dillon
  • Reggie Williams
  • Geno Atkins
  • Carl Pickens
  • James Brooks


28. Atlanta Falcons – Tier 4, Rank 28 (+0 from last year’s ranking)

Established in 1966, the Falcons have had several successful seasons, including a trip to the Super Bowl in 2016 led by quarterback Matt Ryan (the infamous 28-3 blown lead to the Patriots) and some of the greatest highlight tapes of all time with Michael Vick in the early 2000s.

Key Players:


29. Cleveland Browns – Tier 4, Rank 29 (+0 from last year’s ranking)

Established in 1946, the Browns are one of the NFL’s original teams. Relocations and a lengthy list of quarterback-coach combos have accounted for the recent years’ struggles. Regardless, they can always fall back on running back Jim Brown if needed.

Key Players:



30. Houston Texans – Tier 4, Rank 30 (+0 from last year’s ranking)

The Texans were formed in 2002 and have made the playoffs several times, led by star defensive end J.J. Watt, but have not had a history of consistent playoff success.

Key Players:


31. Arizona Cardinals – Tier 4, Rank 31 (+0 from last year’s ranking)

Founded all the way back in 1898, the Cardinals have had a rocky history in terms of winning, but did make their first Super Bowl appearance in 2008 behind quarterback Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald. Though they came out on the losing end, it was one of the most entertaining Super Bowls of recent memory.

Key Players:


32. Detroit Lions – Tier 4, Rank 32 (+0 from last year’s ranking)

The Lions were founded in 1930 and have won four championships (all-pre Super Bowl era), but have had limited recent success, despite having players such as all-time great wide receiver Calvin Johnson. The Pride are a dedicated fan base, but their team doesn’t score well on the all-time list.

Key Players:



The Data – updated as of February 18 2024

Tier Rank   # of Active Seasons Total So Far Score
1 1 New England Patriots 57 422.232 7.41
1 2 Pittsburgh Steelers 57 408.231 7.16
1 3 Dallas Cowboys 57 391.933 6.88
1 4 San Francisco 49ers 57 388.454 6.81
1 5 Baltimore Ravens 28 173.361 6.19
1 6 Green Bay Packers 57 326.492 5.73
1 7 Kansas City Chiefs 57 311.377 5.46
1 8 Denver Broncos 57 304.146 5.34
2 9 Las Vegas Raiders 57 294.374 5.16
2 10 Los Angeles Rams 57 283.005 4.96
2 11 Indianapolis Colts 57 266.153 4.67
2 12 Minnesota Vikings 57 259.880 4.56
2 13 New York Giants 57 259.161 4.55
2 14 Miami Dolphins 57 256.537 4.50
2 15 Philadelphia Eagles 57 252.873 4.44
2 16 Washington Commanders 57 252.166 4.42
3 17 Seattle Seahawks 48 202.226 4.21
3 18 Carolina Panthers 29 108.116 3.73
3 19 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 48 176.717 3.68
3 20 Buffalo Bills 57 206.707 3.63
3 21 Tennessee Titans 57 200.095 3.51
3 22 Chicago Bears 57 194.067 3.40
3 23 Los Angeles Chargers 57 177.644 3.12
3 24 New York Jets 57 177.382 3.11
4 25 New Orleans Saints 57 173.401 3.04
4 26 Jacksonville Jaguars 29 86.814 2.99
4 27 Cincinnati Bengals 56 167.312 2.99
4 28 Atlanta Falcons 57 168.781 2.96
4 29 Cleveland Browns 54 158.686 2.94
4 30 Houston Texans 22 61.598 2.80
4 31 Arizona Cardinals 57 138.162 2.42
4 32 Detroit Lions 57 132.997 2.33


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