Grumpy’s NFL Football Trick or Treat Edition
In celebration of Halloween, this week’s Grumpy Gambler NFL column will be devoted to the win-loss records of each and every NFL team in games played on Halloween. Some teams have treated their fans to incredible performances on All Hallows’ Eve while others have tricked their fans with some God-awful showings over the years.
I’m going to break it all down for you by ranking each team by winning percentage and assign them all a Horror Movie Monster and a Halloween Candy based on their achievements or their failures. So here we go.
Since 1965 there have been 184 games played on Halloween. One team is undefeated, and two teams are winless, but those winless teams haven’t necessarily lost the most games on Halloween. In fact, it’s a venerable franchise that carries that frightening distinction. Want more information? Keep reading.
The record for the most games played on Halloween belongs to the St.Louis/Phoenix/Arizona Cardinals with 10. They are also the only team to have the honor of playing TWO Halloween games in back-to-back seasons, in 1965/66 and 1976/77. Unfortunately, after starting off 4-1 in Halloween games, they’ve been tricking their fans with candy corn and circus peanuts ever since.
Okay, at the top of the list is the only undefeated team in games played on Halloween. This team is the OG of Halloween, they are The Shape, the Michael Myers, the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, the #1 Halloween team in the NFL. They are your…Miami Dolphins?
Yes, that is correct! The Miami Dolphins are the only undefeated team in the history of the NFL in games played on Halloween. Due to this most honorable distinction, I will take the time to list each result.
1971 – Dolphins 20 – LA Rams 14
1976 – Dolphins 10 – NE Patriots 3
1993 – Dolphins 30 – KC Chiefs 10
1999 – Dolphins 16 – Oakland Raiders 9
2010 – Dolphins 22 – Cincinnati Bengals 14
2013 – Dolphins 22 – Cincinnati Bengals 20
I mean it’s not surprising when you think of the Hall of Famers that led these teams over the years. Griese, Marino, Tannehill, Henne. Tannehill? Henne? Well, when you’re on a roll in Halloween games, you’re on a roll.
Unfortunately, the Dolphins reward this Halloween is they get to travel to Buffalo to play the 4-2 Bills. But if Henne can do it why not Tua? Well as underdogs of +14 I fully expect the next time there’s a slate of NFL games on Halloween in 2027, the Miami Dolphins will have a Halloween record of 6-1.
Next on the list are your Baltimore/Indianapolis Colts coming in with a record of 6-1. The Colts are the Jason Voorhees, the M&M’s, the team that’s not quite the best, but they’re “pretty, pretty, pretty good.”
Over the years the Colts have beaten heavyweights like San Francisco, Pittsburgh, Denver, and Dallas. Shockingly their only Halloween loss came in 2004 with Peyton Manning as Quarterback. Manning’s stat line was 25-44 for 472 yards, 1 INT and 5 TD’s.
How the hell did they possibly lose? Ask Trent Green and Priest Holmes who went for 389 yards and 3 TD’s and 143 yards and 3 TD’s respectively to give the Chiefs a 45-35 win.
Next up is another team that might surprise you considering their dubious win loss history. But on Halloween the Detroit Lions have bared their claws to become the Freddy Krueger, the Kit Kat of the NFL at 5-1. Today they get the stumbling, bumbling Nick Sirianni led Philadelphia Eagles so they can certainly go to 6-1.
Next up is another team you might not expect, the Atlanta Falcons at 4-1. Nothing overly flashy about this team on Halloween, they just show up and do their job. They’re the Pinhead, the Hershey Bar of the NFL on Halloween.
The Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans come in next with a record of 3-1. They are the Candyman of the NFL, the Snickers bar. A team with the mystique of having different identities, but also one that has a lot of substance.
One of the most interesting Halloween games for the Titans was in 1999 when the team led by the late Steve McNair defeated Kurt Warner and the Rams 24-21. The Rams would turn the tables a few months later winning Super Bowl XXXIV 23-16 and costing me $1,500 in the process. But that’s another story for another day.
Next on the list are the Green Bay Packers and the Kansas City Chiefs. Super Bowl I anyone? Both teams come in at 4-1-1. Yes Virginia, there used to be ties in the NFL. Let’s call these teams the Leatherface, the 100 Grand. They’ve been around forever, and they have the class and the pedigree to be worth the label of this candy bar, which is let’s be honest, kind of full of itself.
The Pittsburgh Steers at 4-2 and the Jacksonville Jaguars at 2-1 take the next spot. They are the Hannibal Lecter, the Butterfinger, the teams that will think you to death and just when you believe you have them figured out there’s another flaky level to uncover.
Tied for the next spot are the San Francisco 49ers and the Washington Redskins at 4-3. These two venerable NFL teams are the Chucky, the Nestle Crunch, both iconic and menacing enough to be just above the 500 mark.
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Another team to be just above 500 are your Chicago Bears at 5-4. We’ll call Da Bears NFL’s Pennywise, the Mr. Goodbar. Sometimes they’re scary as shit and earn the respect of being called Mister and at other times they play like a bunch of clowns.
There’s a four-way tie for this next spot, the last one before dropping below the 500 mark. Here we have the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers at 4-4, the Philadelphia Eagles at 3-3, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 2-2 and the Houston Texans at 1-1. These teams are the Xenomorph from Alien, the Junior Mint of the NFL on Halloween. Terrifying enough to make you mess your drawers, but also a refreshing alternative to some of the other teams in the league. I mean “who’s gonna turn down a Junior Mint? It’s chocolate, it’s peppermint, it’s delicious.”
Speaking of terrifying, we now come to our first batch of teams with losing records on Halloween. The Arizona Cardinals at 4-6, Dallas Cowboys 3-4, and the New Orleans Saints and New York Jets with 2-3 records.
This varied group is the Norman Bates, the Take 5 Bar of Halloween. They’re old as hell and schizophrenic. Moving around the country like a bunch of Nomads and containing a lot of different ingredients to make them just delicious enough, but it’s still a little bit of a crazy recipe.
As we head further towards the bottom of the barrel, we have the Minnesota Vikings at 3-5. Let’s give the Purple People Eaters another P letter monster and candy and call them the Predator, the PayDay of the NFL on Halloween.
Interestingly enough in 1999 the Vikings, behind QB Jeff George (he played for the Vikings?) beat the Denver Broncos and Brian Griese 23-20. Just 11 months earlier on January 31, 1999, the Vikings would have played the Broncos in Super Bowl XXXIII, but well uh Gary Anderson had that kick against Atlanta. Yeah, that kick. Sorry Vikings.
Another handful of NFL teams come in with a 33.33-win percentage on Halloween, with the Bills, Rams, Patriots and Giants all at 2-4.
This is the point of our breakdown where I simply can’t assign a good monster or a good candy, because let’s face it these teams haven’t earned them. But because they’re not the worst, I’ll give them a break and call them The Leprechaun, but in fairness this is not the original Leprechaun, but Leprechaun in the Hood status. For candy let’s call them the Wax Coke Bottles of Halloween.
Next up is one of the most loved and most hated franchises in NFL history, the Oakland/Los Angeles/ Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders at 1-3-1. They are a storied franchise with multiple Super Bowl wins, but on Halloween they’re just not their iconic selves, so for horror movie monster I’ll call them The Gingerdead Man, a smart alecky, crazy serial killer, but a total knock off of Chucky. For candy let’s go with Good & Plenty, something that looks like another tasty version of Mike & Ike’s, but when you take a bite, they taste like crap.
At 1-3 we have the Cleveland Browns and the Seattle Seahawks, two of the more disappointing franchises in NFL history. Just when you think they’re going to succeed, they do something stupid and fail so hysterically all you can do is laugh and if you’re a fan, cry. For that reason, they are the Dr. Gigggles and the Dum Dums of Halloween.
Coming in next is a team you’d expect to be at the bottom of the list, those Cincinnati Bengals at 1-5. The team lovingly referred to as the Bungles are on their way back to their winning ways of former lore, but on Halloween they flat out stink. Their one and only Halloween win came in 1976, a 21-6 win over the Cleveland Browns thanks to two TD runs by the aptly named Boobie Clark. Seriously sometimes this shit writes itself.
With Joe Burrow and the Bengals installed as -11 favorites on the road against the Jets today they may be well on their way to improving their Halloween record to 2-5.
Another one-win Halloween team are the Denver Broncos at 1–7. This was a bit of a shocker considering all the good teams Denver has had over the years. Unfortunately, since Halloween 1965 the Broncos have the distinction of being carved up by the likes of Joe Namath, Eric Dickerson, and Cris Carter. Even when QB Jake Plummer threw for a team record 499 yards and 4 TD’s, they lost to Michael Vick and the Atlanta Falcons 41-28. Not surprisingly the one team Denver did beat on Halloween was the Seattle Seahawks.
For sake of argument, we’ll call the Broncos the Bunnyman (look it up) and the Candy Corn/Circus Peanuts of the NFL.
We’ve finally arrived at the worst of the worst, the bottom of the barrel, the 0-3 Baltimore Ravens and the 0-3 Carolina Panthers.
Technically this isn’t 100% fair because the Panthers didn’t become a team until 1995. But hey that didn’t stop Jacksonville from winning two games on Halloween. So, pipe down Carolina fans.
As for the Ravens they are really the Cleveland Browns, but as part of Art Modell’s settlement with Cleveland and the NFL, the team’s history, colors, and records in Cleveland stayed there, so too bad Ravens, you’re winless on Halloween.
So, for the Panthers and Ravens it’s only fitting that they be labelled the Peter Pan and the anything that isn’t candy of the NFL on Halloween. Because is there anything less scary than Peter Pan and is there anything worse than getting something other than candy, like apples, pretzels, pennies, or toothbrushes on Halloween? The answer is no. The people who give these out should be put in jail.
And there you have it, the Halloween Horror Movie Monster and Halloween Candy Giveaway for each and every NFL team!
What this means for today’s slate of NFL games from a wagering standpoint, I have no idea. But it was fun, wasn’t it?
Before I go, I’ll leave you with my pick for the week. I’ll take the Los Angeles Chargers -4 vs the New England Patriots.
If you’d like to check out the game, total and props lines head over to The Props Network NFL Page.
Enjoy week 8. Have a Happy and safe Halloween. I hope you are fortunate and get more treats than tricks.