Building a winning NFL team is incredibly difficult. It is even harder to sustain a high level of success over multiple years.
The NFL, though, has seen some truly dominant teams over the course of its 103 seasons.
The Action Network has looked at season-by-season data to identify the NFL’s top teams by decade.
Success was measured in three categories: wins, touchdowns, and total points scored over a ten-year period.
We conversely identified those franchises with the poorest performing decades in the history of the NFL as well.
NFL Teams With the Most Wins Over a Decade
When comparing franchise win rates, no NFL team has had a more successful decade than the New England Patriots, who won 125 out of 160 games in the 2010s. This period also saw the Patriots record an astonishing five Super Bowl appearances, winning three.
Staying in New England, the Patriots’ 00s era also ranks among the five most successful, with 112 wins in the decade between 2000-2009. In fact, the back-to-back decades spanning the 2000s and 2010s saw the New England Patriots achieve all six of their Super Bowl titles.
Meanwhile, in second, the Indianapolis Colts won 115 games in the 00s, securing a second-place spot in our all-time list. This on-field success helped guide the Colts to Championship success in 2006 and a losing Super Bowl appearance in 2009.
Next up, the San Francisco 49ers won an impressive 113 games in the 1990s. Curiously, though, their most successful period actually came the decade before, with four Super Bowl titles earned in the 80s.
Rounding out the top five teams by the number of wins across a ten-year period, we have the Dallas Cowboys, who recorded 105 wins from a possible 144 games in the 1970s – a better win rate, in fact, than the Patriots’ 00s, 49ers’ 90s, and Colts’ 00s teams. The period was a success for the franchise in terms of titles as well, with two Super Bowl wins from five appearances between 1970-1979.
NFL Teams With the Most Touchdowns in a Decade
Turning our attention to touchdowns, the New England Patriots once again claim the top spot. The Patriots scored 544 total touchdowns in the 2010s across the 160 games played between 2010-2019. That’s an average of 3.4 touchdowns per game.
Next up, the 2010s was also a successful era for the New Orleans Saints, who scored 535 touchdowns across 160 games. This gave them an impressive average of 3.34 TDs per game.
In third, we have the Indianapolis Colts’ 2000s era, with a Peyton Manning-led team. The Colts scored 506 touchdowns between 2000-2009, which is just over three per game. Meanwhile, the San Francisco 49ers also scored 506 touchdowns during their most successful period in the 1990s.
Finally, the Green Bay Packers 2010s team rounds out the NFL’s top teams for touchdowns, with 491 in 160 games. Their best year of this decade came in 2010/11, when the Packers team, led by QB Aaron Rodgers, won Super Bowl XLV.
NFL Teams Who Scored the Most Total Points Over a Decade
Of course, touchdowns aren’t the only way to score points in football. We looked at the franchises that have recorded the best decades for overall point tallies to account for defensive and special teams contributions as well.
Unsurprisingly, the New England Patriots are on the top of the list once again. Across the 160 games played between 2010-2019, the Patriots scored a whopping 4,720 points. This is just short of 30 points per game.
Ranking second, the New Orleans Saints scored 4,494 points in the same decade. The 2010s saw the Saints average 28 points per game.
This Saints team was followed closely by the Indianapolis Colts in the 2000s. Indianapolis put up a cumulative 4,269 total points over 160 games for an average of 26.7 per game.
Next up, the San Francisco 49ers recorded their highest-ever points tally in the 1990s, scoring 4,159 points across 160 games between 1990-1999. That’s an average of 26 points per game.
Rounding out the five highest-scoring teams of all time, we have the Green Bay Packers, who scored up 4,156 points in the 2010s. The franchise may have only won one Super Bowl title in the period, but they were a serious force to be reckoned with.
NFL Teams With the Most Losses in a Decade
We’ve looked at the best decades for various teams, but how about the worst? Comparing the franchises that suffered the most defeats across each ten-year period, we’ve been able to uncover the worst decades in NFL history.
Taking the unfortunate top spot, we have the Detroit Lions during the 2000s. The Lions won just 42 times between 2000-2009, losing the remaining 118. Meanwhile, just behind, the Cleveland Browns lost 117 games in the 2010s, winning 42 and tying the remaining one.
And finally, placing fifth overall when comparing the worst eras in NFL history, we have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers team of the 1980s. While the Bucs have earned Super Bowl glory twice this century, they were a different outfit between 1980-1989, losing 106 from 152 games.
Featured Image: The Action Network