If we were looking at which state had the most NFL teams before the 2020 season, the answer would have been California.
However, this is the first season that the Raiders have not called California home since they started playing in the AFL back in 1960. They moved to Las Vegas before this season started.
Since the Raiders (formerly of Oakland and Los Angeles) decided to move their operation to Nevada, California is now tied with Florida for the state with the most NFL teams.
Despite losing the silver and black, California still has the San Francisco 49ers, Los Angeles Rams, and Los Angeles Chargers. Meanwhile, Florida is home to the Jacksonville Jaguars, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Miami Dolphins.
California's NFL teams
The 49ers are the most storied NFL franchise in California, having won five Super Bowls from 1981 through 1994. The core of many of those those great San Francisco teams was comprised of Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana, all-time great wide receiver Jerry Rice, and legendary head coach Bill Walsh, who was the pioneer of the "West Coast offense." In the Niners' 1994 Super Bowl season, QB Steve Young was at the helm of the offense, and George Seifert was the coach who led them to glory. The 49ers beat the Chargers in the Super Bowl that year.
The Los Angeles Rams have called California home for most of their franchise’s existence. From 1946 to 1994, and then again from 2016 through the present, the Rams have been based in Southern California, and have had some notable teams within that period.
In the 1980’s, the L.A. Rams featured one of the best NFL running backs of all time in Eric Dickerson, who tore defenses apart and set the league’s single season rushing record in 1984. In 2018, the Rams made the Super Bowl having recently returned to Los Angeles, behind head coach Sean McVay and his offensive creativity.
The Chargers have recently jumped around the southern part of the state, but have been a fixture of California football since 1960 when they played in the AFL. They spent their first season in the AFL in Los Angeles, but then were based in San Diego for the next 55 years. Then in 2017, the team moved back to Los Angeles, where they have been ever since. While the team has not quite gotten over the hump and won the Super Bowl, they’ve had some notable quarterbacks in their history, such as Dan Fouts, Stan Humphries, Drew Brees and Philip Rivers.
Florida's NFL teams
Not to be forgotten, however, are the Florida teams that give NFL fans plenty to root for each week.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers came into the NFL in 1976, but got off to as slow a start as any team could possibly have. They lost every single one of their games in their inaugural season, going 0-14. Things did pick up after that, but it wasn’t until the late 1990’s and early 2000’s that the Bucs established an identity on defense with Tony Dungy as their head coach. Those squads featured menacing DT Warren Sapp, physical LB Derrick Brooks, and hard hitting S John Lynch. They won the Super Bowl in 2002 with John Gruden as their head coach, and have Super Bowl aspirations again this season after acquiring future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady.
The Jacksonville Jaguars came into the NFL in 1995, but they had quite the opposite experience of the Buccaneers in their first few seasons. They made the playoffs four out of their first five seasons, and lost in the AFC Championship Game twice in that span. Those teams were led by future Super Bowl winning coach Tom Coughlin, and anchored by QB Mark Brunell, WR Jimmy Smith, and T Tony Boselli.
The Jaguars ended up making the AFC title game again in 2017, and had a lead in the fourth quarter against the New England Patriots in that contest. That season, Jacksonville featured a ferocious defense, anchored by CB Jalen Ramsey, CB A.J. Bouye, and LB Myles Jack, among many other standout players.
The Miami Dolphins are the third team in Florida, and have had the most success out of any of the Sunshine State squads. The Dolphins record the only undefeated season in NFL history, not losing a game on their way to winning the Super Bowl in 1972.
Miami remained a perennial force in the AFC throughout the 1980’s and most of the 1990’s, thanks to one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history, Dan Marino. Marino had a historic second season in the NFL, becoming the first player in NFL history to throw for 5,000 yards in a season.
New York could at one time have rivaled California and Florida in terms of most NFL teams, but the Jets and Giants stopped playing their home games in the state decades ago. The only NFL team in New York to play their home games in the state are the Buffalo Bills.