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NFL Standings for the Decade: Colts, Patriots Are the Best, Lions Are Clearly the Worst

Jan 7, 2010 – 10:00 AM
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JJ Cooper

JJ Cooper %BloggerTitle%

Peyton ManningA couple of weeks ago, the Colts execs mystifyingly tried to explain that 16-0 wasn't really that important a record, but they were quite proud of their 115 regular season wins in a decade--the most in the history of the NFL.

Setting the wins record for a decade isn't much of a case for swiping the team of the decade award away from the Patriots (who have three less regular season wins but two more Super Bowl titles with both in contention for this year's Super Bowl), but it is a pretty impressive feat. And it got me to thinking. While we all know that the Patriots and the Colts were the winningnest teams this decade, who was the best in the NFC? And how did everyone else fare this decade.

So here's a look at composite records for the 32 NFL teams (2000-2009). All teams are listed in their current division, even though the current divisional alignment didn't begin until the Texans joined the league in 2002.

AFC EAST W L T PCT S.B.
Wins
Super
Bowl
Appear.
Playoff
Appear.
New England Patriots 112 48 0 .700 3 4 7
New York Jets 80 80 0 .500 5
Miami Dolphins 79 81 0 .494 3
Buffalo Bills 66 94 0 .413 0
AFC NORTH W L T PCT
Pittsburgh Steelers 103 56 1 .648 2 2 6
Baltimore Ravens 92 68 0 .575 1 1 6
Cincinnati Bengals 68 91 1 .428 2
Cleveland Browns 57 103 0 .356 1
AFC SOUTH W L T PCT
Indianapolis Colts 115 45 0 .719 1 1 9
Tennessee Titans 91 69 0 .569 1 5
Jacksonville Jaguars 76 84 0 .475 2
Houston Texans 49 79 0 .383 0
AFC WEST W L T PCT
Denver Broncos 93 67 0 .581 4
San Diego Chargers 85 75 0 .531 5
Kansas City Chiefs 70 90 0 .438 2
Oakland Raiders 62 98 0 .388 1 3
NFC EAST W L T PCT
Philadelphia Eagles 103 56 1 .648 1 8
New York Giants 88 72 0 .550 1 2 6
Dallas Cowboys 82 78 0 .513 4
Washington Redskins 70 90 .438 2
NFC NORTH W L T PCT
Green Bay Packers 95 65 0 .594 6
Minnesota Vikings 84 76 0 .525 4
Chicago Bears 81 79 0 .506 1 3
Detroit Lions 42 118 0 .263 0
NFC SOUTH W L T PCT
New Orleans Saints 83 77 0 .519 3
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 79 81 0 .494 1 1 3
Carolina Panthers 79 81 0 .494 1 5
Atlanta Falcons 75 84 1 .472 3
NFC WEST W L T PCT
Seattle Seahawks 82 78 0 .513 1 5
St. Louis Rams 71 89 0 .444 1 2 4
San Francisco 49ers 68 92 0 .425 2
Arizona Cardinals 62 98 0 .388 1 2

There are a lot of records in this list that probably aren't very surprising. It does sum up the job Ken Whisenhunt is doing in Arizona--his Cardinals have made back-to-back playoff appearances and they are still have the worst record in a weak division by a significant margin.

DIVISION RECORDS
FOR THE DECADE
DIV W L PCT
AFC SOUTH 331 277 .544
NFC EAST 343 296 .537
AFC EAST 337 303 .527
AFC NORTH 320 318 .502
NFC SOUTH 316 323 .495
AFC WEST 310 330 .484
NFC NORTH 302 338 .472
NFC WEST 283 357 .442
Seeing the standings portrayed this way demonstrates just how weak the NFC South and NFC West have been over the decade. No team in either division are more than six games over .500 over the past 10 years while three NFC North and three NFC East teams are all above .500. In their defense, three NFC West teams have made the Super Bowl while two NFC South teams have made it and the Buccaneers won it all in 2003. The NFC North and the AFC West are the divisions who made the least noise come playoff time with only one Super Bowl appearance apiece.

The best division of the past decade--it's hard to argue with the AFC South. In any other division, Tennessee would have been winning division titles on a frequent basis. Stuck in the same division with the Colts, they were usually battling for wild card spots. Jacksonville had plenty of highlights as well while the Texans have climbed to respectability in recent years. This chart also shows just how difficult their climb was, considering the talent in the rest of the division.

We can also look at the overall standings for the decade from No. 1 to No. 32. The Colts and Patriots can debate who the team of the decade is, but there is no argument about who was the worst team this decade. And if you've ever shook your fist at Matt Millen, you probably already know who it is:

W L T PCT SB
Wins
SB
APP.
PLAY.
APP
Indianapolis Colts 115 45 0 .719 1 1 9
New England Patriots 112 48 0 .700 3 4 7
Pittsburgh Steelers 103 56 1 .648 2 2 6
Philadelphia Eagles 103 56 1 .648 1 8
Green Bay Packers 95 65 0 .594 6
Denver Broncos 93 67 0 .581 4
Baltimore Ravens 92 68 0 .575 1 1 6
Tennessee Titans 91 69 0 .569 1 5
New York Giants 88 72 0 .550 1 2 6
San Diego Chargers 85 75 0 .531 5
Minnesota Vikings 84 76 0 .525 4
New Orleans Saints 83 77 0 .519 3
Dallas Cowboys 82 78 0 .513 4
Seattle Seahawks 82 78 0 .513 1 5
Chicago Bears 81 79 0 .506 1 3
New York Jets 80 80 0 .500 5
Miami Dolphins 79 81 0 .494 3
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 79 81 0 .494 1 1 3
Carolina Panthers 79 81 0 .494 1 5
Jacksonville Jaguars 76 84 0 .475 2
Atlanta Falcons 75 84 1 .472 3
St. Louis Rams 71 89 0 .444 1 2 4
Kansas City Chiefs 70 90 0 .438 2
Washington Redskins 70 90 0 .438 2
Cincinnati Bengals 68 91 1 .428 2
San Francisco 49ers 68 92 0 .425 2
Buffalo Bills 66 94 0 .413 0
Oakland Raiders 62 98 0 .388 1 3
Arizona Cardinals 62 98 0 .388 1 2
Houston Texans 49 79 0 .383 0
Cleveland Browns 57 103 0 .356 1
Detroit Lions 42 118 0 .263 0

The Detroit Lions not only have the worst winning percentage of the decade, they also are one of only three teams, including the expansion Houston Texans, to not make a playoff appearance this decade.

But it gets worse than that. The Bills have had a winning season this decade (a 9-7 finish in 2004) and two 8-8 seasons. Houston has also gone 8-8 twice and 9-7 this season. But since going 9-7 in 2000, Detroit has won seven games only once and has won five or less games on seven different occasions. As bad as Cleveland has been, Cleveland still has a playoff appearance and an unlucky 10-6 season that somehow failed to give it a playoff berth.
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