Today we are going to look at the top 11 NFL franchises from 1970 to now, basically since the merger.
11) Green Bay Packers- I know Packers fans will scream that they shouldn’t be this low, but let’s look at facts instead of emotions. In the 1970s the Packers made the playoffs just once fast forward to the ’80s, and they made it once in a strike-shortened season. In the first two decades after the merger the Packers only playoff win was in an expanded playoff format. Since Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers got to Lambeau, the Packers have been very successful. In that time though Favre and Rodgers combined to win just two Lombardi trophies between them. In that same time period, the Packers have lost multiple playoff games and even a Super Bowl that they were favored to win.
10) Baltimore Ravens – It was hard to rank them this high because they were not around for the first 25 years, from 70-95. Then again in the time, they didn’t exist, they almost won as many games as the Packers did in the playoffs during those years. The Ravens have won two Super Bowls and have been a playoff regular since they joined the league, and with John Harbaugh leading the way, there are sure to be more playoff and Super Bowl appearances to come.
9) Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins were a juggernaut in the 1970s, but since 1985 they have dropped off dramatically. The seventies saw three straight Super Bowl appearances with the Dolphins winning two. Miami was still strong in the 1980s and ’90s, but have never one another Super Bowl. 1980 gives us Dan Marino and a lot of trips to the playoffs, but no more Super Bowl titles. From the start of the 2,000’s the Dolphins have struggled, but with the arrival of Coach Adam Gase that seems to be finally turning around.
8) Oakland Raiders – The Raiders were a dominant team in the 1970s and 1980’s winning three Super Bowls and they were a contender up until around 2003. Since 2003 the Raiders were a doormat of the league, that of course after the last year or two is changing, and the Raiders seem headed in the right direction. The “Just Win Baby” Raiders of the 1970s were an iconic team in NFL history, their battles with the Steelers will go down in lore as one of the most violent rivalries in NFL history.
7) Washington Redskins – The Redskins made many playoff trips under legendary Coach George Allen in the 1970s including a trip to Super Bowl VII. The 1980s would see the arrival of another legendary coach Joe Gibbs who would lead the Skins to three Super Bowl Titles, with an amazing three different starting Quarterbacks. Since Daniel Snyder has taken over the Redskins have not been the same.
6) Dallas Cowboys – The Cowboys were a perennial playoff team from 1970-85, led by legendary Coach Tom Landry. Landry led the Cowboys to two Super Bowl titles and a playoff berth every year from 1970-85, except for 1984 when they missed the playoffs by one game. After Coach Landry was let go and new Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones brought in Coach Jimmy Johnson and what would ensue over the next few years would be legendary. Johnson won the Boys back to back Super Bowls before being fired because Jerry Jones did not like Johnson stealing the limelight from him. In 1995 Barry Switzer led the Cowboys to another Super Bowl title. Since then the Cowboys have very rarely made it to the playoffs, The last year has seen a possible resurgence, hopefully, Jones doesn’t screw it up again.
5) Denver Broncos – The Broncos have been solid through all decades. The 1970s saw their first Super Bowl appearance with the famous “Orange Crush” Defense. The 1980s saw the Arrival of John Elway who made the Broncos an instant contender and would lead the Broncos to 5 Super Bowls winning the last two back to back. They returned to prominence behind Peyton Manning who led them to two more Super Bowls including winning it in 2015.
4) San Francisco 49ers – The 49ers were a playoff team in the early 1970s. but went through some tough times in the second half of the decade. That all changed with the arrival of Coach Bill Walsh and Quarterback Joe Montana. The Niners would go to the Super Bowl four times and win it in the decade of the ’80s. They followed that up with another title in 1994 and were a playoff team through most of the decades. The 2,000’s were another matter as they struggled up until the arrival of Jim Harbaugh who made the 49ers a contender again leading them to another Super Bowl appearance.
3) New York Giants – The Giants have won Super Bowls in four of the five decades and have been a consistent factor in the NFL playoff landscape since 1981. The Giants had one of the greatest defenses in NFL history in 1986, and they pulled off two of the greatest upsets in Super Bowl history beating the explosive Bills in Super Bowl XXV and beating the undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.
2) New England Patriots – The Patriots did not come into existence when Belichick and Brady arrived, the Patriots had been solid before the two legends arrived. The Patriots in 1976 were the only team to beat the eventual Super Bowl Champion Oakland Raiders before losing a controversial game in the playoffs to that Raiders team. The 1980s saw the Patriots first Super Bowl run which was ended by the Bears in Super Bowl XX. The 1990s saw the Arrival of Bill Parcells and a loss in Super Bowl XXXI. Of course, they get this rating off of the last 16 years with Belichick and Brady, and who knows when the run will be over?
1) Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steelers have been a consistent threat ever since Coach Chuck Noll took over the Steelers reigns. A huge reason as to why the Steelers are ranked one is they have had the best ownership in the league this entire time. The Rooney family is consistent, they care about their players and the players play hard for them. Since 1970 they have had just three Head Coaches and all three have won Super Bowls.