In the history of the NFL, going back to the onset of the Super Bowl era 50 years ago and up to the beginning of the 2015 season, there had been 31 starts to a season where a team began the year 7-0.
Last week the Cincinnati Bengals joined this exclusive group with their 16-10 comeback victory at Pittsburgh. They were joined by the Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, and New England Patriots as the latest teams to reach this rare 7-0 milestone. There are now 35 all time of 7-0 starts.
Before the 2015 season, the last 7-0 start was in the 2013 season. That year, the Kansas City Chiefs reeled off nine straight victories before a late season collapse with a 2-6 finish which ultimately saw them exit the playoffs in the Wild Card round.
Going into Week 9, the 2015 NFL season has set an unprecedented record with four teams boasting 7-0 starts. It is the first time more than two teams have ever began a season with such an impressive winning streak.
With the Bengals’ win on Thursday night, they have jumped to a franchise best 8-0 start to the 2015 NFL season. If the Broncos, Panthers, or Patriots win this week, they will join the Bengals at 8-0. Only three previous seasons have seen multiple teams began the year 8-0 (1948, 1990, and 2009).
The best start in NFL history is the 18-0 start by the New England Patriots who made it all the way to the Super Bowl before losing to the New York Giants in the 2007 season.
The second best start in NFL history is the 1972 Miami Dolphins who began, and ended, the year 17-0 as the only team in NFL history to win every game (in the Super Bowl era).
So how does the Bengals' current 8-0 record rank?
|1||New England Patriots||18-0||2007||18-1||Lost in Super Bowl|
|2||Miami Dolphins||17-0||1972||17-0||Super Bowl Champions|
|3||Indianapolis Colts||14-0||2009||16-3||Lost in Super Bowl|
|4||Green Bay Packers||13-0||2011||15-2||Lost in Divisional Round|
|4||New Orleans Saints||13-0||2009||16-3||Super Bowl Champions|
|4||Indianapolis Colts||13-0||2005||14-3||Lost in Divisional Round|
|4||Denver Broncos||13-0||1998||17-2||Super Bowl Champions|
|8||Chicago Bears||12-0||1985||18-1||Super Bowl Champions|
|9||Washington Redskins||11-0||1991||17-2||Super Bowl Champions|
|9||Miami Dolphins||11-0||1984||16-3||Lost in Super Bowl|
|9||St. Louis (Los Angeles) Rams||11-0||1969||11-4||Lost in Conf. Championship|
|12||Tennessee Titans||10-0||2008||13-4||Lost in Divisional Round|
|12||New York Giants||10-0||1990||16-3||Super Bowl Champions|
|12||San Francisco 49ers||10-0||1990||15-3||Lost in NFC Championship|
|12||Minnesota Vikings||10-0||1975||12-3||Lost in Divisional Round|
|16||Kansas City Chiefs||9-0||2013||11-6||Lost in Wild Card Round|
|16||Indianapolis Colts||9-0||2006||16-4||Super Bowl Champions|
|16||Kansas City Chiefs||9-0||2003||13-4||Lost in Divisional Round|
|16||Minnesota Vikings||9-0||1973||14-3||Lost in Super Bowl|
|20||Atlanta Falcons||8-0||2012||14-4||Lost NFC Conf Championship|
|20||Dallas Cowboys||8-0||1977||15-2||Super Bowl Champions|
|21||New England Patriots||7-0||2015||tbd||tbd|
|21||Indianapolis Colts||7-0||2007||13-4||Lost in Divisional Round|
|21||Chicago Bears||7-0||2006||15-4||Lost in Super Bowl|
|21||Philadelphia Eagles||7-0||2004||15-4||Lost in Super Bowl|
|21||Minnesota Vikings||7-0||2000||12-6||Lost in AFC Championship|
|21||Minnesota Vikings||7-0||1998||16-2||Lost in AFC Championship|
|21||New Orleans Saints||7-0||1991||11-6||Lost in Wild Card Round|
|21||St. Louis (Los Angeles) Rams||7-0||1985||12-6||Lost in Conf. Championship|
|21||Pittsburgh Steelers||7-0||1978||17-2||Super Bowl Champions|
|21||St. Louis (Los Angeles) Rams||7-0||1978||13-5||Lost in Conf. Championship|
|21||Arizona (St. Louis) Cardinals||7-0||1974||10-5||Lost in Divisional Round|
The Bengals are currently tied for the twentieth best start in NFL history at 8-0.
The league boasts dozens of teams and is in its 50 season in the Super Bowl era. That means out of about 1,000 season starts for NFL teams, the Bengals start is the 20th best ever.
If they can win against the Houston Texans on Monday night in Week 10, they will jump into a tie for the thirteenth best start all time at 9-0.
A few notes of interest regarding 7-0 starts:
- There are 14 additional starts to a season of 7-0, but those took place before the Super Bowl era, and were not included.
- The Green Bay Packers hold the distinction of the most 7-0 season starts, with five, although four of those occurred before the Super Bowl era. In the last 50 seasons, the Indianapolis Colts and Minnesota Vikings are tied for the most 7-0 season starts, with four each.
- 10 franchises have never begun a season with seven consecutive wins in the Super Bowl era. They include the Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
- The Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions, and San Diego Chargers have never begun a season 7-0 in the Super Bowl era, but have recorded such a season before the advent of the Super Bowl.
Not only is the Bengals’ 8-0 start one for the NFL record books, but it marks the best start for the Cincinnati Bengals’ franchise. The Bengals’ 8-0 start tops their previous best start to a season of 6-0 (accomplished twice), and has brought them their top ELO rating in franchise history.