It is really hard to determine what makes something or someone the best. Opinion matters a lot here and, as we know, everyone has differing opinions. Therefore, one person’s best may be another person’s worst. Trying to find the very best in any given field can be beyond difficult. So who are the best NFL franchises of all time?
It’s especially hard when you are trying to figure out the best NFL franchises of all time. What do you base it on? The number of Super Bowl wins? How about the number of regular-season victories? Conference titles? Division titles? Playoff appearances?
In reality, it’s a combination of all those things. Plus, you need to consider the longevity of the franchise. How long has it been supreme for? Have there been more ups than downs? Does the name of the team mean something in the heart of football fans everywhere?
Oh yes, there’s a lot to judge. With no further ado, the best NFL franchises of all time.
10. Buffalo Bills
With a record of 394-453-8 and a whopping 17 playoff appearances, you simply cannot understate the importance and might of the Buffalo Bills. While it is true that they have sometimes been the butt of jokes around the NFL, their record is impressive and definitely nothing to poke fun at.
The Bills have been home to some of the most legendary players to ever suit up, including Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, and more. Additionally, they won two consecutive AFL championships in 1964 and then again in 1965. That’s not a small feat. And while the Bills have never claimed a Super Bowl victory, they have appeared in the big game four times – consecutively! Again, that’s something to be proud of. Plus, they barely lost their first Super Bowl due to a heartbreaking missed field goal.
9. Chicago Bears
If you were a football fan in the 1980s, you know the Bears. And if you were on an NFL team in the 1980s, you were afraid of them. Why? Because there is little debate that the 1985 Chicago Bears had the best defense of all time. You did not want to go toe-to-toe with these guys in their prime.
The Bears’ prime lasted a while. They have claimed 11 championship game appearances and have taken home the gold at the Super Bowl on one occasion too. 23 division titles, 27 playoff appearances, and a record of 741-558-42 speaks for itself. They might be living up to it now, but there was a time when the Bears were the hottest team in the NFL.
8. Denver Broncos
Thanks to John Elway, the Denver Broncos are unquestionably one of the best NFL franchises of all time. His leadership of the team took the Broncos to two Super Bowls and helped them secure a pivotal win. Elway sums up the team in many ways: he was a bonafide star on the field: hard-working, smart, relentless. And he was the same way as the General Manager. Because of that, the Broncos always thrived in his hands.
The Broncos have won three Super Bowls and 8 conference titles and have always been an example of a determined and dedicated team.
7. San Francisco 49ers
26 playoff appearances, 6 conference titles, and a stunning 5 Super Bowl titles have made the San Francisco 49ers one of the most winningest teams in NFL history and a legitimate franchise for the ages.
The 49ers have had their fair share of ups and downs, just like every team on this list, but when they were playing at their best they felt downright unstoppable. This was especially true when the stars of the team’s history were shining brightest. Under Jim Harbaugh’s direction or because of the leadership of Bill Walsh and Joe Montana, the 49ers were a true force to be reckoned with. These men led the team through good times and bad and were the epitome of leaving it all on the field.
6. Dallas Cowboys
They call them America’s team and there is a good reason for that: the NFL is always better when the Dallas Cowboys are playing at their best.
And their best is really darn good. Their overall record is 482-365-6, which is a wildly impressive stat. And while their recent struggles wouldn’t suggest it, there was a time when all the Cowboys did was win. Winning came naturally when the team was spearheaded by Tom Landry and Jimmy Johnson. Under their leadership, and through the grit and tenacity of others, the Cowboys claimed 5 Super Bowl championships and 8 conference titles. The team even conquered two straight Super Bowls in Johnson’s heyday, an achievement that is still hard to repeat.
5. New York Giants
There is a great time to be a New York Giants fan for every generation. This team has made NFL championship appearances in multiple decades. The 1920s, the 1930s, 40s, 50, and 60s all saw the Giants go to the very end of the season with strength and unparalleled force. While they remained quiet and troubled in the 70s, they ended up winning Super Bowls in 1986, 90, 2007, and 2011.
The Giants might not always be at their best but they are undeniably terrific when they are performing at their peak. They even conquered the unbeaten Patriots and then took them down again a few years later.
It’s been a few years since the Giants found great success. History suggests that good times for Giants fans should be right around the corner.
4. Oakland Raiders
For a ten-year stretch between 1967 to 1977, the Raiders only missed one playoff. During that time, they took home the top game and won the Super Bowl in 1976.
But they weren’t done then. The Raiders would later go on to win again, in 1980 and 1983. While they have never reached the legendary heights of those years ago, the Raiders are forever known as a downright scary team. Perhaps it’s the ferocious, primal war paint the fans decorate themselves in, maybe it’s the swashbuckling pirate logo. Or maybe it’s just the fact that the Raiders have always felt tough and ruthless in their determination to win. Whatever the reason, the Raiders will always feel like one of the strongest, most formidable NFL franchises to ever do it.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
Born during the rough-and-tumble days of the 1970s NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the most demanding and physical teams in the history of the game. They play and they play hard. It doesn’t matter the decade, it doesn’t matter the opponent. The Pittsburgh Steelers are built to win.
And win they have. A lot. In fact, the Steelers have a near-perfect Super Bowl record. They have been to the big game eight times and walked away champions after six of those games. They have appeared in 29 playoff games and have 21 division titles to their name. Anyone who doesn’t rate the Pittsburgh Steelers in the top five NFL franchises ever just doesn’t know football.
2. New England Patriots
Go ahead and hate on them all you want but you cannot deny that the New England Patriots are one of the best NFL teams ever. No ifs, ands, or buts. They have come out on top of their division seven consecutive years, 12 of the last 13. They have been home to one of the greatest coaches of all time, Bill Belichick, and a man who will undoubtedly be viewed as the greatest football player ever by many: Tom Brady.
They have won six Super Bowls and have made 10 appearances in franchise history. That’s wild and especially wild when you consider that they made their first Super Bowl run in 1985 when they got totally demolished by the Bears.
Time and time again, people have counted the Patriots out, as they did in 2018 when the Pats were down by 25 points in the Super Bowl. But, Brady being Brady and Belichick being Belichick, the team came back strong and ended up winning 34-28 in overtime.
If you put your hate aside, you’ll recognize just how legendary that is.
1. Green Bay Packers
With two of the greatest quarterbacks of all time (Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers) and a coach that many consider to be the best ever (Vince Lombardi), the Green Bay Packers are the best NFL franchise of all time. Heck, the Super Bowl trophy is even named after Lombardi. That says it all, doesn’t it?
They have claimed 4 of the 5 Super Bowls they went to and have appeared in the playoffs a jaw-dropping 34 times. With 17 division titles and 9 conference titles as well, the Packers are the definition of victory again and again. Their overall record stands at 769-577-38, which is a resounding success any way you look at it.
The last few years have been very promising for the Packers and every Green Bay fan feels that they are on the cusp of complete and total victory.
- 1 Oh yes, there’s a lot to judge. With no further ado, the best NFL franchises of all time.
- 2 10. Buffalo Bills
- 3 9. Chicago Bears
- 4 8. Denver Broncos
- 5 7. San Francisco 49ers
- 6 6. Dallas Cowboys
- 7 5. New York Giants
- 8 4. Oakland Raiders
- 9 3. Pittsburgh Steelers
- 10 2. New England Patriots
- 11 1. Green Bay Packers
At The Buzzer, or ATB is the place for those who love sports, life, family, community, and so much more. We are far from the run-of-the-mill 24/7 sports news websites. We not only bring you what’s happening in the world of sports in terms of trades and breaking news, but we also bring you the news that goes on behind the scenes, like big life moments, and so much more. So take a minute and read one of our articles, we promise you won't regret it.