Making the playoffs is the epitome of success in any sports league, and that includes the NFL. However, one list you don’t want to find yourself on is a list of the longest playoff droughts. While making the NFL playoffs is a tough enough task for some franchises, winning a playoff game in the NFL is a whole other task some teams go years without completing.
Longest Current Playoff Droughts in the NFL
Below, we have listed every NFL team’s most recent playoff appearance. As of 2023, the New York Jets have the longest playoff drought. They have not made the dance since 2010! That would be a whopping 13 years now. Behind them are the Dever Broncos, who have not qualified since 2015.
There is one team, the Detroit Lions, that is likely going to finally break one of the longer NFL playoff droughts out there. The Lions have not made the playoffs since 2016 but are currently leading the NFC North with one of the best records in the NFL.
- Arizona Cardinals: 2021
- Atlanta Falcons: 2017
- Baltimore Ravens: 2022
- Buffalo Bills: 2022
- Carolina Panthers: 2017
- Chicago Bears: 2020
- Cincinnati Bengals: 2022
- Cleveland Browns: 2020
- Dallas Cowboys: 2022
- Denver Broncos: 2015
- Detroit Lions: 2016
- Green Bay Packers: 2021
- Houston Texans: 2019
- Indianapolis Colts: 2020
- Jacksonville Jaguars: 2022
- Kansas City Chiefs: 2022
- Las Vegas Raiders: 2021
- Los Angeles Chargers: 2022
- Los Angeles Rams: 2021
- Miami Dolphins: 2022
- Minnesota Vikings: 2022
- New England Patriots: 2021
- New Orleans Saints: 2020
- New York Giants: 2022
- New York Jets: 2010
- Philadelphia Eagles: 2022
- Pittsburgh Steelers: 2021
- San Francisco 49ers: 2022
- Seattle Seahawks: 2022
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2022
- Tennessee Titans: 2021
- Washington Commanders: 2020
Longest All-Time NFL Playoff Droughts
Below is a list of the longest NFL playoff droughts of all time. Only the Jets have a current active streak long enough to make this list, leading all teams with the longest current playoff drought in the NFL.
- New Orleans Saints – 20 Years (1967-1987)
- Cleveland Browns – 17 Years (2003-2020)
- Buffalo Bills – 17 Years (2000-2017)
- Philadelphia Eagles – 17 Years (1961-1978)
- New York Giants – 17 Years (1964-1981)
- Arizona Cardinals – 15 Years (1983-1998)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 14 Years (1983-1997)
- St. Louis Cardinals – 14 Years (1960-1974)
- Cincinnati Bengals – 14 Years (1991-2005)
- Kansas City Chiefs – 14 Years (1972-1986)
- Chicago Bears – 13 Years (1964-1977)
- San Diego Chargers – 13 Years (1966-1979)
- Oakland Raiders – 13 Years (2003-2016)
- Pittsburgh Steelers – 12 Years (1960-1972)
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 12 Years (2008-2020)
- Atlanta Falcons – 12 Years (1966-1978)
- Los Angeles Rams – 12 Years (2005-2017)
- Detroit Lions – 11 Years (1971-1982 and 2000-2011)
- New York Jets – 11 Years (1970-1981 and 2011-Present)
- Denver Broncos 11 Years (1966-1977)
- Washington Redskins – 11 Years (1960-1971)
What’s the Longest Playoff Drought in NFL History?
While the Saints have the longest playoff drought in NFL history, professional football has seen longer. Washington, Arizona, and Pittsburgh had playoff droughts that lasted 25, 25, and 24 years, respectively, between the years of 1946 and 1973.
New Orleans snapped their 20-year playoff drought in the 1987 season when they went 12-3 and won the NFC West division. The celebrations were short-lived, however, as they had a quick exit in the Wild Card Round, losing at home 10-44 to the Minnesota Vikings.
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