20 years ago today, the Packers ended the longest championship drought in franchise history by beating the New England Patriots 35-20 in Super Bowl XXXI. In between the team’s victory over the Raiders in SB II and the win over New England stretched 28 mostly futile years of frustration for Packer fans. However, other teams have gone through worse as this table of all 32 NFL franchise demonstrates:
|% Post -season Years||Longest Playoffs Drought||Losing season streak|
|San Diego Chargers||53||1964-2016||15||28%||13||7|
|Cleveland Browns||49||1965-95 1999-2016||15||31%||14||9|
|New York Jets||48||1969-2016||13||27%||11||3|
|Kansas City Chiefs||46||1971-2016||15||33%||15||6|
|New Orleans Saints||42||1967-2008||6||14%||20||12|
|New England Patriots||41||1960-2000||10||24%||13||7|
|San Francisco 49ers||31||1950-80||4||13%||12||4|
|New York Giants||29||1957-85||8||28%||17||8|
|Green Bay Packers||28||1968-95||5||18%||10||5|
|Tampa Bay Bucs||26||1976-2001||7||27%||14||14|
|San Francisco 49ers||22||1995-2016||9||41%||8||6|
|St. Louis Rams||17||2000-16||4||24%||12||10|
|Green Bay Packers||16||1945-60||1||6%||15||4|
Please note that the table includes the worst stretch for each franchises plus a handful of secondary title-less periods of at least 16 years for some squads. Within these fallow periods, the Packers percentage of making the playoffs is unimpressive, although the Steelers, Cardinals, Saints, Bears and 49ers have done even worse.
Green Bay’s worst streak of ten years without appearing in the postseason from 1983-1992 is bad, but does not compare to the Cardinals, Redskins and Steelers…although a good portion of those 20+ year streaks (and non-playoff percentage) occurred before the expanded playoffs began in 1967. The painful 20-year streak by the Saints, though, occurred entirely within the expanded format. The Bills have the longest current streak at 17 years.
The Packers worst streak of five consecutive losing seasons from 1973-77 is fairly ordinary and does not compare to the Bucs’ 14, the Saints 12, or the 10 of the Broncos, Lions and Rams. The Rams’ streak is currently running.
Aside from the 28-year length of the championship-less streak, it was not the worst period in team history, though. Even if we shorten the period to the 24 years before the arrival of Ron Wolf turned the franchise around, the winning percentage from 1968-91 was .423 (146-201-9). Sadly, the 11-year dark ages from 1948-58 “boasted” a winning percentage of .288 (37-93-2).
25 years of watching teams run by Wolf and Ted Thompson, coached by Mike Holmgren, Mike McCarthy and others and quarterbacked by Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers has blurred the memory of the lost decades of the 1970s and 1980s, but they were truly dispiriting.
Custom card in 1961 Fleer style.