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NFL Chronicles | 1920 - 2018 NFL Development and Past Champions Summary

September 15, 2023

The history of the NFL is much longer than that of the Super Bowl; in fact, the NFL was founded in 1920 when teams from four continents, Ohio, Indiana, New York, and Illinois, formed the NFL.In 1922, the organization officially changed its name to the NFL, and the league didn't host a championship in 1920, but Akron, the only team to go undefeated in a single game that year, was was eventually declared the champion.

Below is a summary of the past champions:

1920-1929 - The Beginning of the Chicago Bears

During this decade, the NFL did not host any of the nation's championship games, and a famous football legend, George Halas, took over as coach from the Decatur Staleys and moved the team to Chicago's Cubs Park, where the 1922 Staleys became the Division II champions with a 9-1-1 record. The team was officially renamed the Chicago Bears that same year.

1920 - Akron Pros 

1921 - Chicago Staleys 

1922 - Canton Bulldogs 

1923 - Canton Bulldogs 

1924 - Cleveland Bulldogs 

1925 - Chicago Cardinals 

1926 - Frankford Yellow Jackets 

1927 - New York Giants 

1928 - Providence Steam Roller 

1929 - Green Bay Packers

1930-1939 - Bears and Packers

The Green Bay Packers established their first dynasty era, winning the championship in 1929 and going on to win titles throughout the decade.

On December 17, 1933, the Chicago Bears defeated the Eastern Division champion Giants 23-21 at Wrigley Field. Halas retired from coaching for a while, but then returned to coach the Bears in what was a memorable 10-year run.

1930 - Green Bay Packers

1931 - Green Bay Packers

1932 - Chicago Bears

1933 - Chicago Bears 

1934 - New York Giants

1935 - Detroit Lions

1936 - Green Bay Packers

1937 - Washington Redskins

1938 - New York Giants

1939 - Green Bay Packers

1940-1949 - Bears Continue to Lead

The Bears continued to dominate the decade, winning five championships during that time. During the decade, the team gained University of Chicago's once lost nickname Monsters of the Midway, as well as their now-famous helmet "C", and a new theme song, the Pride and Joy of Illinois! The Pride and Joy of Illinois.

1940 - Chicago Bears

1941 - Chicago Bears

1942 - Washington Redskins

1943 - Chicago Bears

1944 - Green Bay Packers

1945 - Cleveland Rams

1946 - Chicago Bears

1947 - Chicago Cardinals

1948 - Philadelphia Eagles

1949 - Philadelphia Eagles

1950-1959 - The Brown Era

This was the decade of the Cleveland Browns, winning three championships during that time, and the Baltimore Colts also had a strong decade, winning two consecutive titles in 1958 and 1959.

1950 - Cleveland Browns

1951 - Los Angeles Rams

1952 - Detroit Lions

1953 - Detroit Lions

1954 - Cleveland Browns

1955 - Cleveland Browns

1956 - New York Giants

1957 - Detroit Lions

1958 - Baltimore Colts

1959 - Baltimore Colts

1960-1969 - The Beginning of the Super Bowl

From 1960 to 1969, the fledgling American Football League and the NFL began to compete for players and fans.

In 1967, the two teams began a championship game known as the "Super Bowl," with Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers leading the way with two championships in 1967 and 1968. But during the 1968-1969 season, young Jets quarterback Joe Namath - nicknamed "Broadway Joe" for his good looks and business charisma - was the first player to win a Super Bowl in his third season. The young Jets quarterback Joe Namath - nicknamed "Broadway Joe" because of his good looks and business sense - defeated the Baltimore Colts in Super Bowl III to win the game.

1960 - Houston Oilers (AFL)

1960 - Philadelphia Eagles (NFL)

1961 - Houston Oilers (AFL)

1961 - Green Bay Packers (NFL)

1962 - Dallas Texans (AFL)

1962 - Green Bay Packers (NFL)

1963 - San Diego Chargers (AFL)

1963 - Chicago Bears (NFL)

1964 - Buffalo Bills (AFL)

1964 - Cleveland Browns (NFL)

1965 - Buffalo Bills (AFL)

1965 - Green Bay Packers (NFL)

1966 - Kansas City Chiefs (AFL)

1966 - Green Bay Packers (NFL)

1967 - Green Bay Packers (NFL)

1968 - Green Bay Packers (NFL)

1969 - New York Jets (AFL)

1970-1979 - League Merger

Beginning in 1970, the AFL and NFL officially merged to become the AFL, designated as the American Football League, with the NFL now known as the National Football League. The annual Super Bowl was continued and continues to determine the NFL Championship. The Pittsburgh Steelers won more than four Super Bowl championships in this decade - technically the fourth victory was in 1980, and the first dynasty was established after the league merged in 1979.

1970 - Kansas City

1971 - Baltimore Colts

1972 - Dallas Cowbays

1973 - Miami Dolphins

1974 - Miami Dolphins

1975 - Pittsburgh Steelers

1976 - Pittsburgh Steelers

1977 - Oakland Raiders

1978 - Dallas Cowboys

1979 - Pittsburgh Steelers

1980-1989 - Rice-Montana era

1980-1989 - Rice-Montana Era San Francisco quarterbacks Joe Montana and Jerry Rice ruled the decade together, winning four Super Bowls (technically, the fourth Super Bowl came in the early 1990's, after 1989), making the 49ers a part of the 1980's Dynasty of the 1980s.

1980 - Pittsburgh Steelers

1981 - Oakland Raiders

1982 - San Francisco 49ers

1983 - Washington Redskins

1984 - Los Angeles Raiders

1985 - San Francisco 49ers

1986 - Chicago Bears

1987 - New York Giants

1988 - Washington Redskins

1989 - San Francisco 49ers

1990-1999 - Team USA

Inspired by quarterback Troy Aikman, the Dallas Cowboys, known as America's Team, spent the first five years of the last decade winning three Super Bowl titles in four years.

Denver quarterback John Elway, long considered a superstar but a perennial loser in championship games, eventually won two consecutive Super Bowls.

1990 - San Francisco 49ers

1991 - New York Giants

1992 - Washington Redskins

1993 - Dallas Cowboys

1994 - Dallas Cowboys

1995 - San Francisco 49ers

1996 - Dallas Cowboys

1997 - Green Bay Packers

1998 - Denver Broncos

1999 - Denver Broncos

2000-2009 - Beginning of the Brady Era

Coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady began their super duo, representing the United States in the Super Bowl eight times over the past 20 years and winning five.

2000 - St. Louis Rams

2001 - Baltimore Ravens

2002 - New England Patriots

2003 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2004 - New England Patriots

2005 - New England Patriots

2006 - Pittsburgh Steelers

2007 - Indianapolis Colts

2008 - New York Giants

2009 - Pittsburgh Steelers

2010-2018 - Goal-Line Stand and Historic Comeback

In 2010-2018, with just 20 seconds left in the game, in Super Bowl XLIX, the Seattle Seahawks were preparing for a drive in the New England Patriots red zone, and while the world was expecting Beast Mode, the Seahawks inexplicably opted to pass, and New England Patriots rookie Malcolm Butler swooped down into the end zone for a touchdown, sacking the opposing team's pass. New England ended up winning the championship. In 2017, Brady and his Patriots trailed by 25 points midway through the third quarter as they created a historic comeback to win Super Bowl 51.

2010 - New Orleans Saints

2011 - Green Bay Packers

2012 - New York Giants

2013 - Baltimore Ravens

2014 - Seattle Seahawks

2015 - New England Patriots

2016 - Denver Broncos

2017 - New England Patriots

2018 - Philadelphia Eagles

2019 - New England Patriots


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