The Five Teams with the Longest Championship Droughts in the NFL

The Five Teams with the Longest Championship Droughts in the NFL

NFL

The Five Teams with the Longest Championship Droughts in the NFL

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The NFL has featured some great dynasties like the Green Bay Packers of the 1960s, the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1970s and the San Francisco 49ers a decade later. In the 2000s, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots were the dominant team. 

But for every franchise that wins consistently, there are teams that have gone many years without a championship. Here is a look at the five teams with the longest active championship droughts in the NFL.

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5. Buffalo Bills, 55 seasons

The Bills have had some great seasons since they last won a title back in 1965 when they were AFL champions. They had a great running game with O.J. Simpson in the 1970s and some steady playoff teams with Chuck Knox as coach in the early 1980s. 

But in the early 1990s, the Bills reached four consecutive Super Bowl games only to lose all four. The team was coached by Hall of Famer Marv Levy and featured an explosive offense led by Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas and Andre Reed while Hall of Famer Bruce Smith led the defense.

The Bills returned to the AFC Championship Game again last season and may be contenders for the next few years as they try to end this long championship drought.

4. Los Angeles Chargers, 57 seasons

Jan 3, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Darwin Thompson (34) runs the ball against Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Chris Harris (25) and outside linebacker Nick Vigil (59) during the second half at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Chargers have yet to win a Super Bowl, but they did win the AFL title in 1963 with an explosive offense led by running backs Paul Lowe and Keith Lincoln and Hall of Fame wide receiver Lance Alworth.

Since then, the Chargers had some great teams including those led by Dan Fouts in the early 80s that set all kinds of passing records. But the team lacked a defense that could equal its offense and never won a title.

The Chargers reached one Super Bowl after the 1994 season, but they were blown out by the 49ers 49-26. 

Since then, the Chargers have had many playoff seasons and have often been contenders, but they have yet to win a championship since the wide open early days of the AFL.

3. Tennessee Titans/Houston Oilers, 59 seasons

The Titans/Oilers franchise last won a title in the AFL’s second season, 1961 when Hall of Famer George Blanda led them to a 10-3 win over the San Diego Chargers in the AFL Championship Game.

The Oilers reached back-to-back AFC Championship Games in 1978 and 1979 under the leadership of Bum Phillips and the running of Earl Campbell but fell both times to the Steelers.

The Titans reached the Super Bowl after the 1999 season led by Steve McNair, but they literally fell one yard short of tying the game on the final play in a 23-16 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Tennessee reached the AFC Championship Game in 2019 and won the AFC North last season, so they hope to be able to end this long championship drought soon.

2. Detroit Lions, 63 Seasons

Jan 3, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Lions wide receiver coach Robert Prince during the game against the Minnesota Vikings at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The Lions last won a title during the Eisenhower Administration. Yes, it was 1957 when quarterback Bobby Layne last led Detroit to a championship. 

Since then, Detroit has reached the postseason 12 times and won exactly one playoff game which came back in 1991 when they crushed the Dallas Cowboys 38-6 under Wayne Fontes before losing to Washington in the NFC Championship Game.

Detroit acquired Jared Goff to be their new quarterback in 2021 and they hope he can be the catalyst to their return to glory after more than six decades as also rans.

1. Arizona Cardinals, 73 seasons

The Cardinals have called three cities home since they last won the NFL title in 1947. They played in Chicago through 1959, then moved to St. Louis for nearly 30 years until they moved west to Arizona in 1988.

The Cardinals had some contending teams in the mid-1970s with Jim Hart, Terry Metcalf and Mel Gray providing offensive fireworks, but they didn’t reach the Super Bowl until Kurt Warner led them there after the 2008 season. In that game, the Cardinals fell in a heartbreaker to the Steelers, 27-23.

The Cardinals are hoping that Kyler Murray will help them erase their championship drought before it reaches 75 yards. Harry S. Truman was in the White House the last time the Cardinals won a championship. 

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