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The Minnesota Vikings are the last undefeated and untied1 team in the NFL. Entering week 5, there were three undefeated teams, but the Broncos (Atlanta) and Eagles (Detroit) both lost on Sunday.

From 1970 to 2015, there were 43 times when there was one team standing as the lone unbeaten team remaining.2 How long did those teams remain undefeated? And how did their seasons ultimately end? Take a look:

YearTeamWeek Became Last UnbeatenWeeks as Lone UnbeatenWin %Playoff
2016MIN5?????
2015CAR1240.938Lost in Super Bowl
2013KAN740.688Lost in WildCard Rd
2012ATL640.813Lost in Conf CG
2011GNB690.938Lost in Div Rd
2010KAN410.625Lost in WildCard Rd
2009IND1510.875Lost in Super Bowl
2008TEN660.813Lost in Div Rd
2007NWE9121.000Lost in Super Bowl
2006IND920.750Won Super Bowl
2005IND5100.875Lost in Div Rd
2004PHI810.813Lost in Super Bowl
2003KAN830.813Lost in Div Rd
2002OAK510.688Lost in Super Bowl
2001STL430.875Lost in Super Bowl
2000MIN810.688Lost in Conf CG
1999STL530.813Won Super Bowl
1998DEN960.875Won Super Bowl
1997DEN620.750Won Super Bowl
1996IND510.563Lost in WildCard Rd
1995MIA510.563Lost in WildCard Rd
1994SDG530.688Lost in Super Bowl
1993NOR610.500Missed Playoffs
1992MIA620.688Lost in Conf CG
1991WAS940.875Won Super Bowl
1989RAM510.688Lost in Conf CG
1988CIN520.750Lost in Super Bowl
1987CHI510.733Lost in Div Rd
1986DEN7030.688Lost in Super Bowl
1985CHI850.938Won Super Bowl
1984MIA750.875Lost in Super Bowl
1983DAL530.750Lost in WildCard Rd
1982WAS1210.889Won Super Bowl
1981PHI610.625Lost in WildCard Rd
1980BUF510.688Lost in Div Rd
1979TAM510.625Lost in Conf CG
1978PIT800.875Won Super Bowl
1977DAL720.857Won Super Bowl
1976MIN620.821Lost in Super Bowl
1975MIN740.857Lost in Div Rd
1974STL620.714Lost in Div Rd
1973MIN730.857Lost in Super Bowl
1972MIA3141.000Won Super Bowl
1971WAS330.679Lost in Div Rd
Avg6.73.20.779

Some notes:

  • Just one team, the 1993 Saints, were the lone unbeaten team in the NFL and then missed the playoffs.
  • Ten times out of 43 (23%), the last unbeaten team won the Super Bowl.
  • Thirteen times, the last unbeaten team was identified in week 5, including this year.
  • On average, the last unbeaten team stayed that was for about 3 weeks.  For those that became the last unbeaten team in week 5, that number was slightly lower (2.3 weeks).
  • The most common playoff result? Losing in the Super Bowl (12 teams).
  • The good news for Vikings fans? The last four “lone unbeaten teams” remained undefeated for at least four weeks. The bad news? It’s been a decade since any of those teams have won the Super Bowl.

As always, please leave your thoughts in the comments.

  1. Note: Throughout this post, I am using “undefeated” or “unbeaten” to mean no losses and no ties. []
  2. Obviously that means there were four seasons where that wasn’t the case. In 2014, the Bengals and Cardinals were the last two unbeaten teams, and lost in week 5. In 1990, the Giants and 49ers both went 10-0, but lost in their 11th game before their head-to-head matchup. And in 1970, the Broncos, Lions, and Rams entered week 4 undefeated, but all left week 4 with a loss. []
  3. The Broncos and Bears entered week 7 as the lone unbeaten teams. Chicago lost on Sunday to Minnesotaleaving Denver as the lone unbeaten team…. Until Denver lost on Monday Night Football the next day. []
  • vfefrenzy

    There seems to be a problem with footnote 2. In 1972, one of the 5 unbeaten definitely did not lose in week 3 or ever. I know the Dolphins’ present is bad, but you could at least leave them the past.

    • Ahh, good catch. I found each team’s loss to run the study, so the ’72 Dolphins were filtered out in step 1. I’ve revised the post.

    • Richie

      I think the champagne party is nigh!

  • sacramento gold miners

    I see the Vikings losing their first on October 23rd at Philadelphia.

  • Anders

    how on earth does a team go 7-0 and then go 1-8 the rest of the way?

  • Just as a bump to remind that the 2016 Vikings are now the second last undefeated team to miss the playoffs