We’ve taken a spin through history and discovered that Falcons players and even coaches rank surprisingly high on the all-time NFL leaderboards for a variety of stats. Those articles probably made you feel pretty good about having some true league greats on this football team, and they certainly made me feel that way.
Unfortunately, it’s time to look at how the teams ranks overall in NFL history, and that’s going to be significantly less pleasant. If you’re having a nice morning, maybe just skip this one.
Wins: 25th (365)
The Falcons are primarily just ahead of franchise that came after them, here, including the Bengals (1968) and Buccaneers (1976) but also teams that only cropped up in the 1990s. There isn’t a single team born the same year or earlier than them that has fewer wins.
Losses: 16th (461)
The only teams who were born in the sametimeframe as the Falcons and have more losses are the Bills (1960), Jets (1960), and Titans/Oilers (also 1960). Every team born at the same time as the Falcons or a little later have fewer losses than our favorite team.
Win Percentage: 29th (.442)
The Falcons are, I believe, sitting around 11th in the NFL in win percentage since the year 2000, and they were at least a competent franchise in the 1990s. That should give you some clue as to just how bad the Falcons were from 1966-1990 or so, because they still have the 4th-worst win percentage in NFL history.
The only teams worse than them are the Jaguars (a star-crossed expansion franchise), the Arizona Cardinals (hideously bad for much of their 100 year run), and the Buccaneers (by far the most inept franchise in NFL history, and they still have a ring).
Playoff Wins: 26th (10)
Obviously, this isn’t great, but the Falcons are far from the most inept franchise in the playoffs, at least, despite the lack of a Lombardi. The sad sack Bengals (5 playoff wins, zero ring, around since 1968), Lions (7 wins, no rings, around since 1930), and Cardinals (7 playoff wins, zero rings, around since 1920) all have significantly more depressing histories. We’ve got that going for us.
Just behind the Falcons? The Saints, who have the Super Bowl they’ll never stop talking about but otherwise really just haven’t been great in the postseason.
Playoff Losses: 22nd (14)
As you might have guessed, this team is underwater in terms of playoff record. Crushing losses in 1980, 1998, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2016, and 2017 are “highlights” of that history.
Playoff Win Percentage: 25th (.417)
Yes, the Falcons have a worse playoff win percentage than regular season win percentage, in a much smaller sample size. The teams below them are mostly franchises with sad sack histories of their own, like the Bengals (a putrid .263), Lions (.350), Buccaneers (.400), Chargers (also .400), Chiefs (.406 and rising), and Vikings (.412 but sure to rise after they beat the Saints in the playoffs again).
Championships: 32nd (0)
Tied with the Panthers, Jaguars, Texans, Vikings, and Bengals. At least only three of those teams are expansion teams!
If we’re talking modern era only, they’re joined by the Cardinals, Bills, and more.
As you can see, the Falcons unfortunately rank as one of the worst franchises in history when it comes to the business of winning. That’s why we should probably all appreciate this current era a little more, but I will be very glad when this team can leave the ranks of the ringless and bump that win percentage up a bit and get past, say, the Saints.
Please let that happen soon.