NFL franchise all-time power rankings: Which organization comes out on top?

With more than 100 years of history as an organized football league, the NFL has grown into a powerhouse in sports. However, there are some franchises with more staying power than others. Which one is the top all-time franchise?

San Francisco 49ers v Dallas Cowboys
San Francisco 49ers v Dallas Cowboys / Joseph Patronite/GettyImages
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3. San Francisco 49ers

We’ve hit the great NFL royalty. The San Francisco 49ers are an incredibly successful franchise in the Super Bowl era. The pre-Super Bowl era was pretty bad, as they missed the playoffs all but two times from their inception in 1946 to the merger in 1970. That first year after the merger was incredibly successful. John Brodie won league MVP and the 49ers made it to the NFC Championship where they lost to the Cowboys. 

The success continued as stars started to join the 49ers ranks. They took Joe Montana and Dwight Clark in 1979. Then, they got Ronnie Lott in 1981. The 49ers went on a run in 1982, winning the franchise’s first Super Bowl over the Cincinnati Bengals. 

The successful drafting helped the 49ers replenish constantly. They got Roger Craig in 1983 and then found this great receiver from Mississippi Valley State. Jerry Rice is unequivocally the greatest receiver of all time. There is no debate. He was amazing at every aspect of the game and changed the trajectory of the 49ers. They were a champion already, posting two titles before his arrival, but he brought the 49ers to a different level of prominence. 

The 49ers would go on to solidify this as a dynasty, winning the 1988 and 1989 Super Bowls. The fourth win came with a vengeance, beating on John Elway and the Broncos 55-10. At this point, the 49ers were sitting on this future star in Steve Young, and a very awkward passing of the torch happened with Montana moving on to the Chiefs and Young taking over. Young won the league MVP in 1992, but there was of course pressure to win the big one. 

It took until the 1994 season for the 49ers to finally overcome the pressure and win that fifth Super Bowl, this time with Young under center. That gave the 49ers five Super Bowls, then the most of all time. They remained successful throughout the 90s, and they had some success in the new millennium (including appearing in the most recent Super Bowl). We’ll see if this Kyle Shanahan team can get its own monkey off its back and win a Super Bowl soon.