Putting together a winning NFL season is no small feat. With injuries, bad luck, and four-month schedules, plus the playoffs, any team who wins more games than they lose deserves commendation. It’s even more impressive when teams put together significant winning streaks. Let’s take a look at five of the longest winning streaks in the NFL.
2003-04 New England Patriots: 21 games
From October 5, 2003 until October 31, 2004, the New England Patriots didn’t lose a game. This streak did not take place within one NFL season, but it did extend over an entire calendar year. It also occurred during two seasons when the Patriots won Super Bowls, the 2003-04 season as well as 2004-05.
While the Patriots won a Super Bowl in 2002, one could argue this was the true start of New England’s dominance. The 2001-2002 Patriots were considered underdogs when they beat the heavily favored St. Louis Rams. With this winning streak, the Patriots proved to be the NFL’s elite team.
2010-11 Green Bay Packers: 19 games
When the Green Bay Packers drafted Aaron Rodgers in 2005, many people doubted he’d ever find his way out of Brett Favre’s shadow. Then, when Rodgers’ assumed starting duties in 2009, he had an impressive first year. But doubters remained until 2010.
That year, the QB led the Packers to a Super Bowl championship and 19 consecutive wins between two seasons. On December 18, 2011, the Kansas City Chiefs ended the streak. The Packers lost to the New York Giants in the playoffs that year.
1972-73 Miami Dolphins: 18 games
This Dolphins team is one of two on this list with the distinction of finishing a regular season undefeated. The only difference between the Fins and their modern-day counterparts? Miami only went 14-0 due to a smaller NFL schedule at the time. Would they have gone 19-0 given the opportunity? It’s impossible to tell, but their opponents would likely say yes.
1997-98 Denver Broncos: 18 games
Current football fans know John Elway as the head of the Denver Broncos organization. But fans from the ’80s and late ’90s remember him as one of the best quarterbacks of all time. During the 1997 and 1998 seasons, Elway– along with standouts like Terrell Davis, Rod Smith, and Shannon Sharpe — led two Broncos teams to 18 straight victories.
The went on to win the Super Bowl in the 1998-99 season but lost to the Giants, a spoiler team who appears several times on this list, on December 13 of that season to end the streak.
2007-08 New England Patriots: 18 games
This version of the Patriots may not have the longest winning streak in league history, but they were the only team to win 18 consecutive games in one season. Behind Tom Brady, Randy Moss, and an insanely prolific offense, the Patriots blew the doors off the rest of the league that year. They won their final regular-season game against the Giants in a close contest.
The fairy tale season ended with a loss, however, when those same Giants played spoiler in the Super Bowl to upend the Pats, leaving them at 18-1. Will any team ever go undefeated again? It’s unclear, however, if one does, it will probably be New England.
Several other significantly long winning streaks didn’t make this list, but deserve recognition:
- The longest regular-season winning streak is 23, by the 2008-09 Indianapolis Colts.
- It didn’t take place in the NFL, but the Cleveland Browns (then with the All-American Football Conference) won 18 straight games from 1947-48.
- From 1988-90, the San Francisco 49ers won 18 consecutive road games.