The Super Bowl is the pinnacle of American football, if not the highest mountain to reach of any sport played in the United States of America. Elsewhere on this site you can read about which of the two National Football League conferences has the best record at the Super Bowl, as well as which teams have managed to win it on consecutive occasions. Here we’re looking at the most successful team ever in the sport’s history.
For some teams, playing in the Super Bowl has essentially become second-nature, such is the extent to which they’ve appeared in the Super Bowl match on multiple occasions. For others, the very idea of even making it to the Super Bowl, let alone winning it, seems like an impossible dream. Becoming champions of the National Football League is the culmination of a lifetime for many, with the success of their team being paramount.
Quick Answer: Which Team Has Won the Most Super Bowls?
The New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers share the record for most Super Bowl wins with 6 each. The Patriots were champions in 2002, 2004, 2005, 2015, 2017 and 2019. The Steelers were champions in 1975, 1976, 1979, 1980, 2006 and 2009.
Super Bowl Winning Teams
Let’s start by answering the main question of this article: which team has won the Super Bowl the most? We know from our piece about which of the two conferences has enjoyed the most winners that, as of 2021, more winning teams have come from the National Football Conference than the American Football Conference. Is it also the case that the most successful ever team comes from the NFC? Here’s a look at all the teams that have won the Super Bowl at least once:
List of Super Bowl Champions – 1967 to 2021
|New England Patriots||6||AFC|
|San Francisco 49ers||5||NFC|
|Green Bay Packers||4||NFC|
|New York Giants||4||NFC|
|Washington Football Team||3||NFC|
|Los Angeles / Oakland / Las Vegas Raiders||3||AFC|
|Baltimore / Indianapolis Colts||2||AFC|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||2||NFC|
|Kansa City Chiefs||2||AFC|
|New York Jets||1||AFC|
|New Orleans Saints||1||NFC|
|Los Angeles / St. Louis Rams||1||NFC|
There are a few teams that have won the Super Bowl a number of times, then. The National Football Conference is the dominant of the two conferences in that sense, boasting four of the top six sides that have won it at least four times, but the two outright most successful teams at the time of writing are both from the American Football Conference in the form of the New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The New England Patriots
Based in the Greater Boston area, the New England Patriots play their games in the East division of the American Football Conference. Based in the Gillette Stadium in the Foxborough area of Massachusetts, the club was formed as the Boston Patriots in 1959. They were one of the charter members of the American Football League before the merger between the AFL and the National Football League in 1970.
The New England Patriots are, in many ways, a team that signifies the sheer ability of coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady. The side had enjoyed little success prior to the turn of the millennium, winning the Super Bowl for the first time in 2002 before going on to win it a further five times during the Brady-Belichick era. Little wonder, then, that the pair of them are considered to be the sport’s greatest ever in their respective roles.
New England Patriots’ Super Bowl Victories
|Year (Season)||Super Bowl||Opponent||Score||Location|
|2019 (2018)||LIII||Los Angeles Rams||13-3||Atlanta|
|2017 (2016)||LI||Atlanta Falcons||34-28||Houston|
|2015 (2014)||XLIX||Seattle Seahawks||28-24||Glendale|
|2005 (2004)||XXXIX||Philadelphia Eagles||24-21||Jacksonville|
|2004 (2003)||XXXVIII||Carolina Panthers||32-29||Houston|
|2002 (2001)||XXXVI||St’ Louis Rams||20-17||New Orleans|
The only team that has stopped the New England Patriots from running away with the Super Bowl records is the Pittsburgh Steelers, having also won the match six times. Founded in 1933, only six NFL franchises are older than the steelers, who play in the North division of the American Football Conference. Prior to the AFL and NFL’s merger, the Steelers were considered to be ‘also rans’, having never won the league championship.
In the wake of the merger, however, that tag got well and truly shifted and the Steelers are one of the most successful NFL franchises of all time. Unlike the Patriots, who essentially owe their success to two people in the form of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, the Steelers have spread their Super Bowl wins out, with the first coming in 1975 and the most recent in 2009, which perhaps explains the club’s wide-spread fanbase.
Pittsburgh Steelers’ Super Bowl Victories
|Year (Season)||Super Bowl||Opponent||Score||Location|
|2009 (2008)||XLIII||Arizona Cardinals||27-23||Tampa|
|2006 (2005)||XL||Seattle Seahawks||21-10||Detroit|
|1980 (1979)||XIV||Los Angeles Rams||31-19||Pasadena|
|1979 (1978)||XIII||Dallas Cowboys||35-31||Miami|
|1976 (1975)||X||Dallas Cowboys||21-17||Miami|
|1975 (1974)||IX||Minnesota Vikings||16-6||New Orleans|
Teams That Have Never Won The Super Bowl
The immensely competitive nature of the Super Bowl means that there are a number of teams across the American Football Conference and the National Football Conference that have never been victorious in the end of season championship match. On top of that, there are some that have never even appeared in the Super Bowl, meaning that their chances of ever winning it have been zero throughout their existence.
Here’s a look at the teams that have never won the Super Bowl, including how many times they’ve appeared in it and the conference that they were representing at the time:
List of NFL Teams That Have Never Won the Super Bowl
|Team||Super Bowl Appearances||Conference|
|Los Angeles Chargers||1||AFC|
Is it worse to have never appeared in the Super Bowl or to have appeared in it but never won? That’s the question that fans of clubs such as the Houston Texans and the Minnesota Vikings must ask themselves on a regular basis. For the Vikings and the Buffalo Bills, appearing in the Super Bowl but losing four times is a record that neither club will be particularly proud of and will hope they don’t add to it in the future.
For the Cleveland Browns, things are a little bit more complicated. The Browns actually won the National Football League championship four times in 1950, 1954, 1955 and 1964, as well as appearing in the NFL Champion Game an additional seven times in 1951, 1952, 1953, 1957, 1965, 1969 and 1969, but that was all before the NFL merged with the AFL and so before the Super Bowl became the game that we understand it to be nowadays.
There’s a similar story for the Detroit Lions, who won the NFL Championship Game in 1935, 1952, 1953 and 1957 but have never made it to the season’s final game during the Super Bowl era. The Jacksonville Jaguars and Houston Texans are both expansion teams, with the latter being the only side that has never made to the Conference Championship Round at the time of writing.
The Minnesota Vikings can consider themselves to be unfortunate, given that they won the NFL Championship in 1969, which was the final year before the merger and therefore have technically never won the Super Bowl, despite appearing in it four times. There’s a similar tale to be told for the Buffalo Bills, who won the last two American Football League championships before the first Super Bowl was played.
There’s another interesting story to be told in the case of the Seattle Seahawks and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They both began playing in 1976 and were put into difference conferences for scheduling reasons. The Seahawks went into the NFC and the Buccaneers into the AFC, with the pair swapping in the 1977 season. The Seahawks returned to the NFC in 2002, meaning that both sides have played in the Super Bowl but neither have done so representing the American Football Conference at the time.
Franchises and Relocations
The National Football League is a competition that is always changing and growing. This is perhaps best demonstrated in the history of the Cleveland Browns, who are officially viewed as one continuous franchise despite numerous alterations to the club’s makeup over the years. Having formed in 1946 as a member of the All-American Football Conference, they joined the National Football League in 1950.
The Browns then suspended operations after 1995, resuming play in 1999. What makes it even more confusing is that the Baltimore Ravens were established in 1996 as an NFL expansion team, with numerous members of staff from the Cleveland Browns used in the operation. The history of the Browns remained in Cleveland, however, meaning that when the team was re-formed three years later it did so as a team with zero Super Bowl wins or appearances to its name.
A similar thing happened with the team that is known as the Las Vegas Raiders nowadays but was initially founded in 1960 as the Oakland Raiders. The team then moved to Los Angeles in 1982, becoming the Los Angeles Raiders until it returned to Oakland for the start of the 1995 campaign. In 2017, NFL team owners voted that the team could relocate to Las Vegas, becoming the Las Vegas Raiders.
Despite being in a completely different part of the country and with a new name, the Las Vegas Raiders maintained the Super Bowl history of the team that it had been before. As a result, the Las Vegas Raiders have technically won three Super Bowls in 1976, 1980 and 1983, with two of them being as the Oakland Raiders and one as the Los Angeles Raiders. There’s obviously an extend to which this is something that some people think is up for debate at the very least and arguably entirely unfair when it comes to Super Bowl record keeping.