Downloadable NFL Playoff Chart for Super Bowl Era

So we're into postseason mode now, and for a belated gift to the readers, I have updated the NFL playoff chart for the Super Bowl era. This shows how far each team advanced in every season since 1966. I first made this back in August, but upon request, I expanded it to highlight when a team went one-and-done versus winning a playoff game.

The Excel file can be downloaded here: (right-click and save)

Below is a preview of what it looks like, though I would recommend downloading the spreadsheet for better usage. The blue is for teams winning at least one playoff game, orange is one-and-done and Super Bowl appearances are green (win) or yellow (loss). Black is for when a team did not exist.

You'll find Colts under CLT, Cardinals under CRD, Rams under RAM and Raiders under RAI. Fans of Pro-Football-Reference will be familiar with those abbreviations, which are really the easiest way to avoid confusion. BAL could mean Colts/Ravens, STL could mean Cardinals/Rams and both the Raiders and Rams played in Los Angeles. Technically, HOU can cause some problems with Texans/Oilers, but I'm not a fan of "HTX" or "OTI" alternatives.

Enjoy and do what you please with this, except for passing it off as your own work. It's 2014. Plagiarism will not go undetected.


31 comments, Last at 06 Jan 2014, 6:44am

#1 by Theo // Jan 01, 2014 - 6:52pm

Ah yes, the immortal Kelly Holcomb; the last time the Browns did anything. Brings back memories about Tommy Maddox coming from his XFL days and running backs with names like Fuamatu-Ma'afala.

This handy sheet also makes you wonder about the Cardinals... oh dear.

Points: 0

#2 by Hurt Bones // Jan 01, 2014 - 7:06pm

Thanks Scott.

So with the help of the chart I made a list of each franchise's longest streak of non playoff seasons. * indicates active streak.

NO 20
ARZ 15
NYG 15
BUF 14*
CIN 14
KC 14
TB 14
SD 13
ATL 12
PHI 12
CHI 11
CLE 11*
DEN 11
DET 11(x2)
NYJ 11
OAK 11*
GB 10
NE 10
STL 9*(x2)
SF 8(x2)
JAC 6*

Points: 0

#5 by Bobman // Jan 02, 2014 - 2:13am

Thanks for that. Wow, I can't quite believe that MIN is just 4 and NYG is 15. PHI at 12 is also a bit surprising and I guess (like the Giants) linked to the dominance of Washington and Dallas for a couple decades. Were the STL Cardinals also in the old NFCE? That would explain their high number as well, then.

Points: 0

#8 by Hurt Bones // Jan 02, 2014 - 9:44am

Of Course with 4 divisions and 2 wildcards spots per conference, long playoffless stretches are tougher. So here is another list of each franchise's longest streak of seasons without a playoff victory. Asterisk indicates active streak.

NO 33
ARZ 32
DET 25
IND 23
CIN 22*
KC 21
SEA 20
NE 19
BUF 18*
TB 17
CLE 16*
NYG 15
GB 14
SD 14
MIA 13*
NYJ 13
PHI 13
ATL 12(x2)
DAL 12
TEN 12
CHI 11(x2)
DEN 11
OAK 11*
STL 9*(x2)
SF 9
CAR 7*

Points: 0

#9 by panthersnbraves // Jan 02, 2014 - 10:46am

Conundrum - Is it better if you:
a) Win your division and get a Bye but lose in the Divisional round?
b) Come in as a Wild Card, win that game, but lose the Divisional round?

Points: 0

#10 by Hurt Bones // Jan 02, 2014 - 11:15am

As a fan having experienced both, B absolutely. A is have a great season and blow it at the end. B is have a good season, win a playoff game and then lose to a better (most likely) team. A is crushing like you got gipped. B is partially satisfying.

So rather than list years without a division appearance, heres is a list of each franchise's longest streak of seasons without a conference championship appearance. Asterisk indicates an active streak.

ARZ 42
NO 40
ATL 32
GB 27
DET 25
CIN 24*
IND 23
KC 23
BUF 22
WAS 22*
CLE 21*
MIA 21*
SEA 21
NYG 20
PHI 20
NE 19
TB 19
TEN 19
CHI 18
DAL 18*
NYJ 15
JAC 14*
SD 14
SF 13
HOU 12*
STL 12*
DEN 11
OAK 11*
MIN 10
CAR 7*

Points: 0

#23 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 03, 2014 - 6:30pm

a), but then I'm a Lions fan.

Detroit has not won a 1st-round playoff game since 1957. In that 1991 season they were the 2-seed and had a week 1 bye.
Even in 1957 they barely managed it. They scored the last 24 points to shock 49ers. That game was so long ago SF kicked a 10-yard FG.

On the other hand, Detroit has never lost a second round playoff game (3-0, 1952, 1957, 1991). For form's sake, Detroit, all-time, is 4-10 in week 1 of the playoffs. They won their first 3 such games, so they're working on a 1-10 streak since 1953. They're also 0-1 in week 3, and have never made a Super Bowl (0-0).

Points: 0

#28 by Dennis // Jan 04, 2014 - 3:34pm

B is much better as has been previously said. You win a playoff game and losing on the road to a probably better team doesn't hurt nearly as much as losing at home to a probably worse team.

Points: 0

#3 by panthersnbraves // Jan 01, 2014 - 8:33pm

Good stuff. It will also help quantify the cut-offs for bandwagon fans.

For example, if you have a friend who was a Saints fan before 1985, then they can be as happy/expressive as they want. Between then and around 2007, they can have SOME joy, but in moderation. Last 5 or so years - don't wanna hear it, unless they are a little kid.

Points: 0

#11 by Rikki (not verified) // Jan 02, 2014 - 11:45am

The film room intro got me thinking about seeds, and then with this chart I noticed the Packers need the #2 seed next season to get all six seeds within six years. It has been done once before, by the 93-98 Packers.

Points: 0

#14 by Bjorn Nittmo // Jan 02, 2014 - 3:20pm

This chart illustrates one of the best things about being a Giants fan -- while they've had long stretches of missing the playoffs or getting bounced early, when they sniff a championship they have been incredibly successful at bringing home the title. Their record in the final 2 playoff rounds (conf championship + Super Bowl) is 9-1; i.e., they've made the conf. championship round 5 times, won every time, and then gone on to win the Super Bowl 4 of those times (they got destroyed by Baltimore in 2000). I don't think any other team comes close to matching that late-round success, although of course several other teams have gotten to that round and won more championships much more often than NYG.

Points: 0

#18 by Not_Wayne_Rooney (not verified) // Jan 02, 2014 - 5:17pm

I put a big black line separating pre-cap (ie prior to 1994) seasons from the current cap based world we live in in my copy.

And looking at this chart and seeing all the different Super Bowls champs etc, I was thinking about MLB and Premier League soccer without salary caps, which have dominant teams year over year. I love have competitive the NFL has become. Every team has a chance. All ships rise with the tide. The overall quality of the product is much better as a result.

I think it's a joke, that the Miami Marlins and Oakland A's have $20m to $30m payrolls and the Yankees, Red Sox are $150m to $175m payrolls.

It's like playing pickup basketball, but one guys gets the first 10 picks. Tough sledding for the other guy.

Points: 0

#22 by MC2 // Jan 03, 2014 - 12:25am

I disagree. I think there's something to be said for having 1 or 2 dominant teams that everybody either loves or hates. You get these "David vs. Goliath" matchups where everybody that's not a fan of Goliath is rooting hard for David.

On the other hand, imagine if the Super Bowl this year ends up being, for example, the Bengals vs. the Panthers. How many people outside of Ohio and North Carolina are really going to care all that much about who wins that game?

Points: 0

#24 by Aaron Brooks G… // Jan 03, 2014 - 6:44pm

This is where the Premier League is a bit odd, because their best teams are located outside the primary population/cultural centers and sort of resembles 1960s-1970s baseball, when the league juggernauts were in Saint Louis and Oakland. A Manchester team has won 13 of 20 cups and finished 2nd another 6 times!. Although a London team (Chelsea or Arsenal) has won 6 of the remaining 7 cups. That said, even the 7th, Blackburn (the Royals of this analogy), is near Manchester.

Points: 0

#31 by TimK // Jan 06, 2014 - 6:44am

Yes, there are a lot of London teams which splits the fan-base there. The London metro area contains even more smaller teams as well. Likewise there are at least two Birmingham area teams though many people from outside UK might not realise that Aston Villa are one of them.

Blackburn winning the league was a kind of special case - they had a classic home-town boy made good, in Jack Walker, who came and invested a lot of money in the club and brought them many players far above their normal budget.

Also England is much smaller, people can support their parent's hometown team even if brought up the other end of the country and go to see a fair number of games even. This is especially true in the top levels as it is rare for teams from the far south-west or far north to reach that level so a lot of games will be well within a 2-4 hour train/coach journey (groups of fans can drink much more beer when not driving themselves...).

Points: 0

#29 by Dennis // Jan 04, 2014 - 3:38pm

I disagree because there wasn't much chance that those goliath teams were going to lose. It didn't matter how many people were rooting against the 85 Bears, the 86 Giants, those 49er or Cowboy teams, etc., because it's not very enjoyable watching a heavy favorite cruise to a win unless you are a fan of that team.

I'd much rather have a bunch of games with no clear-cut favorite and every team's fan thinks they have a shot at winning it all. It doesn't matter how many people are rooting for Cincy or Carolina, everyone is going to watch the game anyway.

Points: 0

#20 by Matt Groves (not verified) // Jan 02, 2014 - 7:48pm

On average in the last 48 years, teams have made 3 super bowl appearances, which seems like quite the span. I'm a bit of a homer, but to think that if the Broncos don't make it to the big game this year they'll be in that category.

Points: 0

#21 by Hurt Bones // Jan 02, 2014 - 9:06pm

Well as the Broncos have made 6 Super Bowl appearances they are not in that category. But 3 as an average is not quite fair as some teams haven't played 48 seasons. There have been 1338 team seasons over 48 years, so 1 Super Bowl appearance for every 13.9375 seasons. If Carolina makes the Super Bowl that will make 2 appearances over 19 seasons which is pretty respectable, rather than below average. It's still hard to compare teams that have only 12 seasons to teams that have played 48, but this may be a little fairer.

Points: 0

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