Perfect Weeks In NFL History

In college football, the USC Trojans have a custom known as the Perfect Day. This custom is quite simple: a perfect day for USC and its fans is when their team wins, and their archrivals in UCLA and Notre Dame both lose. That feeling of joy can port over to any team in any sport, and certainly the NFL is no exception. Any supporter of an NFL team will feel good when they see that team gain a game on all their division rivals within just one week. This article will take a look at the perfect weeks that have occurred since the merger, when a team wins and all of their division rivals lose.

The central page for perfect weeks can be found here.

Let’s start this off with what most are probably the most interested in:

Total post-merger perfect wins by team

Top 16
Rams 50
Steelers 47
49ers 42
Vikings 39
Titans 37
Saints 36
Patriots 33
Bengals 33
Colts 33
Broncos 30
Cowboys 29
Falcons 29
Packers 29
Eagles 28
Seahawks 27
Browns 27
Bottom 16
Chiefs 26
Bears 25
Chargers 23
Buccaneers 23
Commanders 22
Dolphins 21
Bills 21
Jaguars 20
Lions 19
Panthers 19
Raiders 17
Ravens 17
Texans 14
Cardinals 14
Jets 12
Giants 11

The raw number of weeks is of course what’s most important in the essence of this statistic: these are the number of times fans have basked in both the glory of their victory and the schadenfreude of their rivals’ defeats.

However, some may start to register some objections to the raw numbers on a couple grounds. There’s the common issue of some teams (Texans, Ravens) simply not existing as long as most. But also, it’s much harder to earn perfect weeks when the more teams there are in a division, and some teams played in larger divisions longer than others. The teams in both original East divisions had to suffer five team division for 32 seasons, while the teams in the original NFC West only had that fate for 7 seasons.

We’ll get to some tables to observe adjusting for these discrepancies momentarily. But given the history of changing division sizes in the NFL, it’s worth taking a look at overall trends of perfect weeks over time:

Leaguewide perfect weeks per season

There should be few surprises here: perfect weeks were much harder to come by before the 2002 division realignment, when all teams were equalized into four team divisions. It is particularly jarring to see the three year period when the AFC Central was jammed with six teams (and of course none of the six earned a perfect week over that span), only to see the perfect weeks skyrocket with the universal four term division norm established.

What is notable is that the last season, 2022, set a record for the number of perfect weeks at 34. And these perfect weeks weren’t dominated by top teams–19 different teams earned at least one perfect week, and only the 9-8 Jaguars really stand out with 5 perfect weeks–all but one of them earned after their Week 8 loss to the Broncos in London as they went on a torrid 7-2 finish to barely seize the AFC South.

Given the disproportionate changes in divisions since the mergers, let’s now take a look at two different views of perfect weeks.

Perfect week percentage

Top 16
Rams 5.93%
Steelers 5.58%
49ers 4.98%
Vikings 4.63%
Titans 4.39%
Jaguars 4.28%
Saints 4.27%
Panthers 4.07%
Texans 3.94%
Bengals 3.92%
Colts 3.91%
Patriots 3.91%
Ravens 3.77%
Broncos 3.56%
Seahawks 3.56%
Packers 3.44%
Bottom 16
Falcons 3.44%
Cowboys 3.44%
Browns 3.4%
Eagles 3.32%
Chiefs 3.08%
Buccaneers 3.03%
Bears 2.97%
Chargers 2.73%
Commanders 2.61%
Bills 2.49%
Dolphins 2.49%
Lions 2.25%
Raiders 2.02%
Cardinals 1.66%
Jets 1.42%
Giants 1.3%

perfect weeks

Top 16
Vikings 54.167
Rams 53.704
Steelers 52.222
Colts 50.111
Patriots 50.111
49ers 45.111
Cowboys 44.037
Eagles 42.519
Broncos 42.222
Titans 41.111
Packers 40.278
Seahawks 39.375
Saints 38.667
Bengals 36.667
Chiefs 36.593
Bears 34.722
Bottom 16
Buccaneers 33.542
Commanders 33.407
Chargers 32.37
Bills 31.889
Dolphins 31.889
Falcons 31.148
Browns 28.588
Lions 26.389
Jaguars 24.138
Raiders 23.926
Cardinals 21.259
Panthers 20.966
Ravens 20.036
Jets 18.222
Giants 16.704
Texans 11.455

The perfect week percentage is the portion of perfect weeks earned over all weeks each team has played since the merger. This metric gives some greater credit to younger teams like the Texans, Ravens, Jaguars, and Panthers that now move up from near rock bottom in absolute perfect weeks to well into the top half–although this credit may need to be tempered due to those teams overwhelmingly playing their seasons in the post 2002 realignment format.

Adjusted perfect weeks estimates what perfect wins would be expected if each team always had played in a four team division by applying a coefficient to each team’s absolute perfect weeks. This metric uses a more complex calculation. First, a sum is taken of the number of teams in a division each team was in over its seasons of existence. For example, the four teams in the original and current AFC West played in a four team division from 1970 to 1975 (6 seasons), a five team division from 1976 to 2001 (26 seasons) , and four again since 2002 (21 seasons). 6*4 [24] + 26*5 [130] + 21*4 [84] sums up to 238. Then, this number is divided by the number of seasons these teams have played since the merger (54) to come up with 4.407. Finally, 3 is subtracted from this number to provide the final coefficient of 1.407. The Texans have the lowest coefficient applied at 1 (and thus no change, as they have always been in a four team division), while the ten teams in the original East divisions have the highest at 1.519.


Here’s a handful of attributes that stood out for me when I looked at several teams’ history of perfect weeks.

The Rams lead the league in perfect weeks at 50, and they do so by feasting off a four team division when they were utterly dominant in the 1970s. Half of their perfect weeks came in that decade alone, when they compiled a record of 104-49-4 and won eight straight division titles bleeding into 1980. The Steelers, another dominant 1970s team in a four team division, are 2nd with 47 perfect weeks, but as they spread out their dominance across multiple more decades than the Rams, in turn their 1970s haul was more modest at 10 despite winning four Super Bowls in that span. Holding the bronze, the 49ers at 42 are, as expected, the 1980s and early 1990s version of dominance, chalking up 16 perfect weeks until the Panthers joined the NFC West in 1995.

However, it’s the Vikings that punched the most above its weight with its perfect weeks. The Bucs were shoved into their division to ensure that the frigid NFC Central would get a warm weather team in its division. The Vikings shrugged off that extra competition and logged a league leading 12 perfect wins in a five team division. Their division rival in the Bears follow them in such perfect weeks with 11, but near half of those were concentrated upon when Mike Ditka was head coach, and other than one more perfect week in 1994, they did not earn another one until the 2002 realignment. Among the ten original teams in East divisions, the Dolphins got the most perfect weeks in a five team division at 10, evenly distributed between their own dominance in the 1970s, and the Dan Marino era in the 1980s and 1990s.

A pair of former AFC East rivals in the Patriots and Colts show up very well in perfect weeks, each earning 33 thus far. However, these numbers are overwhelmingly the result of Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck arriving in Indianapolis, and Tom Brady arriving in Foxborough. Before 1998, the Colts earned only 7 perfect weeks, and the Patriots were even more starved with only a measly 4. And since Luck and Brady have left their teams, the droughts have returned: the Colts have only earned 3 perfect weeks, the last coming in Week 4 in 2021, while the Patriots have failed to earn a perfect week since Brady left, the last coming in Week 8 of 2019, the fourth longest active drought.

While on the topic of active perfect week droughts, the Cardinals hold the longest such drought, dating all the way back to Week 5 of 2015. But they are also the team that held the second longest complete absence of a perfect week among teams that existed at the merger, languishing all the way to Week 10 of 1987 before they finally got one–and it was the only one they got before the 2002 realignment. Which such team took the longest? That would be the Eagles, who had to wait one season longer before they finally got their time on Week 12 of 1988. Both teams had to deal with five team divisions from the start of the merger. Two other teams that had to start with five team divisions since their existence were the Bucs and Seahawks, and their lack of perfect weeks before the 2002 realignment shows, with each only earning 4 before then.

The Broncos are another team that expectedly does well in this metric with 30 perfect weeks. However, when they did well in this metric is more surprising: they got off to a hot start with 8 perfect weeks before they went to their first Super Bowl in 1977. However, from that season until Mike Shanahan’s first in Denver in 1995, encompassing most of John Elway’s career, they failed to earn a single perfect week. This 19 season drought should be among one of the longest in the post-merger era. They make up for this by chalking up 19 perfect weeks since the 2002 realignment. Conversely in the AFC West, the Raiders vastly disappoint in perfect weeks with 17, the fourth lowest among merger existing teams. They got fewer perfect weeks in the 1970s than the Broncos did with only 5, let alone other dominant 1970s teams like the Rams, Steelers, and Vikings. Another team that lagged considerably pre-2002 was the Cowboys, with only 6 perfect wins–but unlike the Raiders they have more than made up for their longstanding five team division difficulties since 2002, earning 23 perfect weeks since then.

The Falcons and Saints have been fierce rivals regardless of the division they’ve been in, but both also took great advantage of being in a four team division for the longest to chalk up many perfect weeks. Despite Atlanta having a .405 regular season win percentage from 1970 to 1994, and New Orleans a .412 percentage, the Falcons earned 14 perfect weeks over that span, and the Saints 11. Neither team earned a perfect week once the Panthers arrived in their division until they were realigned into the NFC South, and they are the only merger existing teams to fail to earn a perfect week in a five team division.

And on the opposite end, the quest for perfect weeks has not been kind to teams in the New York metropolitan area: the Jets and Giants reside in the cellar of perfect wins with 12 and 11. Having the maximum number of seasons in five team divisions was not fair to them, but they also have not taken advantage of being freed of that disadvantage after the 2002 merger: the Giants have had only 5 perfect weeks since then, and the Jets 6, who also hold one of the longest active droughts, having to go back to Week 14 of 2019 to earn a perfect week. At least that’s more recent than the Patriots’ last perfect week!