|1878 VFA premiership season|
The 1878 Victorian Football Association season was the second season of the Australian rules football competition. The premiership was won by the Geelong Football Club, after it defeated Melbourne in a playoff match on 5 October. It was the club's first VFA premiership, and the first in a sequence of three consecutive premierships won from 1878 to 1880. Geelong was unbeaten during the year.
The number of senior metropolitan clubs in the Association increased from five to seven in 1878, with Essendon and West Melbourne being newly promoted to senior ranks for 1878, having been leading junior teams in 1877.
Additionally, several provincial teams, including premiers Geelong, competed as senior clubs affiliated with the Association.
Among the metropolitan clubs, Melbourne had the best record, finishing with eleven wins and five draws from its twenty-three matches, ahead of Carlton, whose record was seventeen wins and one draw from twenty-four matches.
Despite Carlton having a numerically superior record, at the time, Melbourne and Carlton were considered to be by far the strongest of the metropolitan clubs, with Melbourne's position as the top club based almost entirely on head-to-head matches between the two clubs, of which Melbourne won all four.
Among the provincial clubs, Geelong was by far the strongest, having gone through the season undefeated with fifteen wins and one draw from sixteen matches. However, Geelong had played only three games against metropolitan clubs (wins against West Melbourne, Carlton and Hotham), while its provincial opponents were not considered as strong as the metropolitan competition: this gave rise to a dispute as to whether or not Geelong's record was strong enough to claim the premiership.
To resolve this dispute, Melbourne and Geelong scheduled a premiership play-off match - the first in Association history - for 5 October, the week after the season was to have finished, at the MCG. Geelong won the play-off match by four goals to win the premiership.
|1878 VFA premiership playoff match|
|5 October 1878 (3:30 pm)||Melbourne||def. by||Geelong||Melbourne Cricket Ground (Crowd: 7,000–8,000)|||
|Umpires: Graham (Essendon)|
|C. Baker||Goals||Booth 3, Christie, Douglass|
The below table details the playing records of the seven senior metropolitan clubs and Geelong in all matches during the 1878 season. Two sets of results are given:
The clubs are listed in the order in which they were ranked in the Australasian newspaper. The VFA had no formal process by which the clubs were ranked, so the below order should be considered indicative only, particularly since the fixturing of matches was not standardised; however, the top three placings were later acknowledged in publications including the Football Record and are considered official. The senior records include the premiership playoff match. 
|Senior Results||Total Results|
|Key: P = Played, W = Won, L = Lost, D = Drawn, GF = Goals For, GA = Goals Against, (P) = Premiers||Source:|