Skip To Content

Waiting To Win The Super Bowl

Measure the success of your favorite NFL team by counting the number of Americans who have never seen it win a Super Bowl.

In the 50 years the Super Bowl has been played, some franchises have found their way to the championship game again and again, while others have kept their fans waiting for decades.

The Patriots have won four of the last 15 Super Bowls, but how long has it been for the Bears? The Raiders? The Jets?

Sure, you could just look up how many years have passed, but does that really quantify the pain of all the fans who have never seen a victory?

That’s why we built the Waiting To Win The Super Bowl tracker -- a tool that shows how many Americans have been born -- and died -- since each team last won The Big Game. (The colored area is how many Americans have never a team win in any given year.)

Placeholder for main chart

How does this work?

Let’s look at the Bears, who have gone 31 years without a Super Bowl victory.

When the Bears last won in 1986, the Census Bureau estimates the population of the United States at around 240 million people. With a current population of around 321 million, that means more than 1 in 3 Americans have lived their entire lives without a Bears’ championship.

That also means about 40 million Americans have died since the Bears last won the Super Bowl.

While Bears’ fans have certainly waited a long time, there are four other teams with longer streaks of futility: the Oakland Raiders (33 years), Miami Dolphins (43), Kansas City Chiefs (47) and the New York Jets (48).

Of course, even those are better off than the 14 NFL franchises — nearly half of all teams — that have never even won a Super Bowl.

Maybe the next 50 years will be more kind to them.

How did we get these figures?

The tracker is based on yearly population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. For each year we found the most recent season a team had won the Super Bowl, and added up all residents born in that year or later.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Pro-Football Reference
Football icon by Edward Boatman from the Noun Project