The 2017 regular season is now in the books, which means that it is now available to posterity for analysis. We have just completed the 48th season since the NFL-AFL merger, and one thing that I find interesting, yet exceedingly difficult to actually trace, is organizational success from then until now, which is widely regarded as the ‘modern’ period of the NFL.
Beginning last season, I began to self-compile win-loss records for every organization, accumulating only the seasons played since the merger. It also just so happens to neatly coincide with the very beginnings of the burgeoning Pittsburgh Steelers dynasty that would quickly take the 1970s by storm.
Following 2017’s 13-3 record, among the best season finishes in team history, the Steelers have merely extended their lead and added to their reputation as the most dominant franchise in the modern history in the NFL. As was the case a year ago, they are the only franchise, new or old, to post a winning percentage north of .600.
This year’s record has driven it up to .616, while their nearest competitors have all slipped. The Cowboys’ winning percentage remained stagnant at .585, after rounding, but the Broncos plummeted from .589 to .583, Dallas overtaking them for the second-best post-merger record. The Dolphins dropped from .584 to .579, but the Patriots’ winning percentage rose from .567 to .573, still fifth-best.
The news of the season is that the Steelers became the first franchise since the merger to post 450 victories, currently sitting at 457. They are 22 victories clear of the Cowboys as the next-closest franchise. They also remain the only franchise active at the time of the merger to have fewer than 300 losses.