Hello from sunny San Jose, California! I’m writing this week’s columns from about a mile from Levi’s Field. Perks of being married to a software developer, I suppose. We’re going to start this week with a top ten that has absolutely nothing to do with the 49ers, though. I know, I know, I can usually come up with a connection for everything. Sorry to disappoint. Just because I think it’s interesting, today’s list is dedicated to the ten NFL teams that have been the last undefeated club in the league the most times. It’s a mouthful, yes, but I also think it’s an intriguing topic. Bring it up at dinner next time there’s a lull in the conversation.
1. The Chicago Bears have been the last undefeated team in the league an impressive 14 times, though the most recent occurrence was in 1987. I wasn’t even born yet, to put that in perspective for you.
2. The St. Louis Rams (presumably during seasons in which they actually had a starting quarterback) have been the NFL’s last undefeated team 10 times in their existence. The last time, though, has been awhile. 2001 was the year.
3. The Cleveland Browns, rather surprisingly, have been the league’s last undefeated team a total of 8 times. There are a couple of things, though, that bear noting. No. 1: 4 times were in the NFL and 4 times were in the long-defunct AAFC. No. 2: The last time the Brownies held this distinction was 1964. Let that sink in for a minute. Nineteen. Sixty. Four.
(3*) 4. The Green Bay Packers have also been the NFL’s last team to be beaten 8 times. The last time the Pack managed this, however, was a heck of a lot more recent; like 2011 recent.
(3*) 5. The (read: my) Indianapolis Colts (yes, I’m prepping to take a beating this weekend, in case you were wondering) have also enjoyed 8 seasons as the league’s last undefeated team. This most recently happened in 2009. You might remember that as the year Peyton didn’t miss the entire season.
6. The Washington Redskins have been the final undefeated team in the NFL a grand total of 7 times in their long history. This last happened in 1991. Ah, the pre-RGIII/Cousins/McCoy era.
7. The Arizona Cardinals have been the last undefeated team in the league 6 times, with this very season being the most recent.
8. The Dallas Cowboys, henceforth known as the team that played Tony Romo with a broken back, has been the league’s final undefeated team 5 total times. They last enjoyed this distinction in 1983. Yikes. Admittedly, they’ve still got nearly 30 years on the Browns.
(8*) 9. The Denver Broncos have also been the last undefeated team in the NFL 5 times, 4 in the NFL and 1 in the AFL. Given that Peyton Manning is on their roster, one could be forgiven for thinking that this last occurred recently. In reality, it was 1998 (No. 18’s rookie year in Indy, ironically).
(8*) 10. The New York Giants, who have a long and illustrious history, have also enjoyed 5 years as the final undefeated team in the league. They last held this spot during the 1990 season.
(8*) 11. Rounding out today’s list are the San Diego Chargers, who have also spent 5 seasons as the league’s last undefeated team, 1 in the NFL and 4 in the AFL. 1994 was the last time the Bolts could claim this honor.