Think the same teams are in the playoffs every year? You might want to reconsider that argument. Only 7 out of the 30 franchises have advanced past the regular season in each of the last two years. Just five of those have made more than two consecutive trips.
The longest active streak of playoff appearances is shared by the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers at five a piece. What do both of these teams have in common? Each has a top level quarterback. Tom Brady of the Patriots and Aaron Rodgers of the Packers are both widely considered to be one of the best quarterbacks of their generation. While Brady is nearing the end of his historic career (will be 37 next August), Rodgers is right in the middle of his prime (turned 30 in December).
As impressive as the Patriots’ five straight playoff appearances may be, that streak could very easily be sitting at 11 in a row. The last time the Patriots missed the playoffs was in 2008. The same season that Brady was lost for the year in the first game of the season. Prior to that New England had made five consecutive playoff appearances.
If you are wondering which franchise holds the all-time record for most consecutive trips to the playoffs, that record is shared between the Dallas Cowboys and the Indianapolis Colts at 9. Dallas accomplished the feat from 1975-83, while Indianapolis did so from 2002-10. The Pittsburgh Steelers (1972-79), San Francisco 49ers (1983-90) and Los Angeles Rams (1973-80) are all tied for second with eight straight playoff appearances.
|Seasons||Team||Super Bowls Won|
|5||New England Patriots||—|
|5||Green Bay Packers||2010 (XLV)|
|3||San Francisco 49ers||—|
|1||Kansas City Chiefs||—|
|1||San Diego Chargers||—|
|1||New Orleans Saints||—|
To give you an even better idea of how difficult is to sustain success in the NFL, take a look at the active list of teams who have won at least one playoff game. There are just three active teams who have won a playoff game in two or more consecutive seasons. Both the Patriots and 49ers have done so in each of the last three years, while the Seattle Seahawks earned their second straight season with a playoff win this year.
|Seasons||Team||Division Champ||Conference Title|
|3||San Francisco 49ers||2011, 2012||2012 NFC|
|3||New England Patriots||2011, 2012, 2013||2011 AFC|
|2||Seattle Seahawks||2013||2013 NFC|
|1||New Orleans Saints||—||—|
|1||San Diego Chargers||—||—|
|1||Denver Broncos||2013||2013 AFC|