All-time NFL standings

This section of The AFC North Homepage records the final standings of the NFL for each year since the league's founding in 1920, as well as the standings for the AFL and AAFC when those leagues were in operation. Look closely for more information about each team.

Postseason:   The tiny type to the right of a team's regular-season record shows the result, opponent, and score of each of that team's postseason games (except for the Super Bowl).

sample

The above image shows how this text is intended to look. I'm hoping that it's small enough to keep the standings page compact, but not too small to read. If it's not showing up properly on your browser, please let me know by sending me an e-mail.

Championships:   Conference and league champions are marked with a symbol to the left of the team name. Super Bowl winners are marked with a Lombardi Trophy.

AAFC AFL NFL AFC NFC Super Bowl

In Super Bowl years (starting in 1966), you can see the score of the Super Bowl by hovering the mouse pointer over one of these symbols.

Ties:   Tied games used to be much more common in the NFL than they are now. In 1974, the NFL started using sudden-death overtime to break ties for regular-season games, and the number of ties dropped sharply; in most seasons, there are no ties at all. For years before 1974, this site shows win, loss, and tie columns for every team; starting in 1974, it only shows the tie column for teams that tied at least once.

In today's NFL, a tie is counted as half a win and half a loss. For example, a record of 9-5-2 is equivalent to a record of 10-6; they both have a win percentage of .625.

But before 1972, ties were not counted at all in the standings; a team that went 9-5-2 would be treated as if they had only played fourteen games and had gone 9-5, producing a win percentage of .643 (meaning that a 9-5-2 team would finish ahead of a 10-6 team).

Team colors and helmets:   The colors used for each team represent the main colors of that team's uniform, and the helmet shows their regular helmet design for that year. As you go back through the standings, you can see how each team's uniform colors and helmets have changed over the years.

Houston 1966-1970

I have tried to make the helmet designs as accurate as possible from year to year, but don't read much into the changes in the shapes of the helmets you'll see in earlier eras in the NFL, particularly when it comes to facemasks. Different players on the same team have worn different types of facemasks based on their position and preference; there has never been one facemask design used by all players in the league.

But I did want to show that helmets have changed over the years, so as you go back in time, you will see the modern facemasks replaced by gray double-bar facemasks, then by helmets with no facemasks, then by leather helmets. Just don't attach much significance to the specific year that this site shows a team switching from one type of facemask to another; in most cases, I chose it to minimize the number of image files I would need to create for each team.

The farther back you go, the harder it is to find reliable information about team uniforms and helmets, especially in color! If I couldn't verify what colors or helmet a team used, I didn't attempt to show them. In order to verify a team's uniform colors, I needed either a dateable photograph, or two other independent sources (such as printed or online accounts of what colors a team wore, or the use of team colors in pennants, pins, and game programs). Still, I'm sure that some inaccuracies crept in. I did my best, but you should still take the uniform colors and helmets from before 1950 with a grain of salt.

Sources:   There's no way I could have put together this site without the great football history resources available both in print and online. These sources represent a lot of work by a lot of people, and are worth checking out if you're interested in pro football history.

Total Football II: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League — Bob Carroll, Michael Gershman, David Neft, John Thorn, Elias Sports Bureau. This book has over 1700 pages of tiny type covering the entire history of the NFL and other major pro leagues, including team histories, yearly standings, and accounts of every postseason game. Carrying it around is good for a workout, too!

Football @ JT-SW.comJohn Troan's online database of every season and game in NFL history, all the way up to the present.

Professional Football Researchers Association A long-standing organization of researchers into every aspect of pro football history. Their site has many fascinating articles about the birth and growth of pro football. My sources for this section of the site included articles by Stan Grosshandler (AAFC), John Hogrogian (Stapletons and Blues), and Bob Carroll (Jeffersons).

Society for Sports Uniform Research Information and news about sports uniforms. Of particular help to me was the Professional Franchise Team Colors database.

Mike Stanhope's Helmet Page Photos of the helmets used by every NFL team back to the 1950s.

Helmet HutA site that makes replicas of historical football helmets; they also have a lot of material about how helmets have changed over the years.

The Helmet Project Detailed computer drawings of NFL and college football helmets back to 1960.

Football Uniforms Past and Present A database of NFL uniforms for each year back to 1959. Sadly, it has not been updated for a while and is available only on a mirror site.

Cleveland Browns: Official Illustrated History — by Ron Smith, published by The Sporting News. This is an exhaustive history of the Cleveland Browns up to 1999. One of the best things about it is that it has photos from every year in the Browns' existence, helping me to verify uniforms not only for the Browns but for many of the teams they played.

The Green Bay Packers Uniform Database This is the most complete uniform database I have found on the Web for any team; it has year-by-year information for the Packers' uniforms going back to before they joined the NFL!

Ghosts of the Gridiron A fascinating page about the history of pro football teams in Philadelphia and the surrounding area before the Eagles.

Thanks also to many official NFL team sites, football card trading sites, and online auction sites that gave me a glimpse at photos and team memorabilia from the past.

Finally, Tim Brulia helped me immensely by sharing his meticulous research of photographs and newspaper accounts from pro football games all the way back to 1933.  This allowed me to fill in helmets and uniform colors I never could have any other way.

Find a mistake?   Have a question or comment?  
Send me an e-mail at webmaster@afc-north.com!