NFL Week 11 Theme Picks: The Worst Teams of All Time
Green Bay Packers Fans Revel in Detroit Lions Misery
People who live in and around Washington D.C. know what bad sports teams look like. The Washington Redskins have only made three playoff appearances since 1993. Until 2012, the Washington Nationals were one of the worst teams in baseball. The Washington Wizards of the NBA have yet to win a game this season as they fell to 0-7 Wednesday night.
This leads to our theme for week 11 of the NFL season which is losing teams. Every franchise in the league has had a team so bad that no one wants to remember them. Well, today we are going to pick the best of the worst since 1970. This is a good place to start, because it is when the AFL/NFL merger took place. It is also when I started watching football. I have no idea how bad teams were before 1970, because I didn't see them play. This means that we will be covering 42 years worth of football.
Everyone remembers the great teams. NFL Films glorifies them in their highlights annually. A true historian knows the bad teams as well. Some people do remember the Green Bay Packers before quarterback Brett Favre. Some of us know how bad a few of the New England Patriots teams were before Bill Belichick became their head coach in 2000. These teams are as much a part of the league's history as the 1995 Packers and all of New England's Super Bowl champions.
So, today we will go game by game and give you history lessens on mediocrity. These teams had to play out the string no matter how bad they were. A gambler does not have to do this. If you see yourself in any of these teams put the phone down, because the bookie has your name in his contacts list. You are his pigeon. Better yet, don't pick up the phone at all and invest your money in something more solid.
Last week I went 4-8 which is terrible. However, I didn't lose any money so slept well. Such is the life of the man who does not gamble. As always, home teams will be in capital letters.
WASHINGTON REDSKINS -3.5 vs Philadelphia Eagles
With seven head coaches in the last 20 years (eight if you count Terry Robiskie) the Redskins have had plenty of bad football teams. Choosing the worst is not easy, but the 1994 team went 3-13 in Norv Turner's first season. The year before, they were 4-12 under Richie Petitbon. The '93 team was worse, because they only scored 230 points and had a -115 point differential. I watched them lose 3-0 at home to the New York Jets. No one loses 3-0 in the NFL on a dry field.
The 1998 Eagles went 3-13. This was not their worst team. The 1972 Eagles went 2-11-1. In a 14 game schedule they gave up 352 points which is eight more than the '98 team. Their arch rivals the New York Giants beat them 62-10 at Yankee Stadium.
Green Bay Packers -3 vs DETROIT LIONS
Believe it or not the Packers worst record was 4-12 in 2005 with Favre as their quarterback. However, the 1977 team was worse. They finished 4-10. Two of those victories came against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the Bucs 26 game losing streak.
Everyone knows who the Lions worse team is. 0-16 speaks for itself. That's what Detroit finished in 2008. The clip of quarterback Dan Orlovsky running out of the end zone for a safety against the Minnesota Vikings is a football follies staple.
ATLANTA FALCONS -9.5 vs Arizona Cardinals
The Falcons have had some bad teams. In 1984 and 1985 they went 4-12. The '85 team may have been the worst in that they had a point differential of -170. They lost to Philadelphia when Eagles quarterback Ron Jaworski threw a touchdown pass to Mike Quick in overtime. The play only covered 99 yards.
What years haven't the Cardinals been bad? In 2003 they went 4-12. The 2000 team was even worse at 3-13. After starting 2-3, Arizona went 1-11 the rest of the way.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers -1.5 vs CAROLINA PANTHERS
When NFL Films did a top 10 worst teams they picked the 2008 Lions as number one. The worst team since 1970 is the 1976 Buccaneers. They had absolutely nothing. They lost to another expansion team in the Seattle Seahawks. Detroit didn't even do that. The Bucs would go on to lose 26 straight games and were bad in every one of them.
The 2001 Panthers won their fist game of the season then lost 15 straight. Carolina was so bad that they made a coach who had won two Super Bowls, George Seifert, look incompetent.
DALLAS COWBOYS -8 vs Cleveland Browns
Because they are the Cowboys, everyone knows that they went 1-15 in 1989. This came after a 3-13 season in 1988. There is no way to exaggerate how bad the '89 Cowboys were.
The second incarnation of the Browns has had a rough go of it while their old team does well in Baltimore. If you split the timeline the 1990 Browns are the worse as they finished 3-13. Head coach Bud Carson was booed out of town during a 42-0 loss to the Buffalo Bills. The expansion Browns of 1999 get the call in the A.M. era. This means After Art Modell. Between the two, the '99 team was worse.
ST. LOUIS RAMS -3.5 vs New York Jets
The 2009 Rams are the reason why Sam Bradford is now at quarterback. By going 1-15 they earned the right to draft him. In 2008 St. Louis went 2-14. It is almost impossible to win fewer games than two, but somehow the 2009 Rams did.
For Jets fans, the names Lou Holtz and Rich Kotite immediately come to mind when losing teams are mentioned. In 1976 Holtz coached a Jets team that went 3-11. Kotite did even worse as his 1996 team went 1-15. It is so hard to choose between these two teams, but the 1977 Jets were the worst of many bad teams during that era and get the nod.
p.s. I always get Jets games wrong.
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS -9 vs Indianapolis Colts
Belichick has made many fans outside of New England forget how bad the Patriots have been at times. In 1981 they went 2-14. The 1992 team went 2-14. However, 1990 was the worst as they finished 1-15. New England scored more than 14 points only three times that season.
Everyone remembers how bad the Colts were before Peyton Manning arrived in 1998 and last season. I remember how bad they were in Baltimore. The 1981 team went 2-14. They won their first and last games of that season. Both victories came against the 2-14 Patriots. However it is hard to top 1-15 which was what he Indianapolis Colts did in 1991. That team was held to less than 10 points 11 times.
HOUSTON TEXANS -15 vs Jacksonville Jaguars
Expansion teams are known for having bad records and these two are no exception. The Texans finished 2-14 in 2005. That ended the Dom Capers era.
The Jaguars may very well be playing their worst football ever right now. They are 1-8 and on the way to topping their debut season of 1995 when they went 4-12.
Cincinnati Bengals -3.5 vs KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Between the Browns and Bengals has any state ever suffered more bad football than Ohio? It is the only state with two or more teams that hasn't won a Super Bowl. Bengal fans have been fortunate enough to see their team go to two. Besides that it has been rough sailing. There are so many bad Cincinnati teams to choose from, but we must pick one. The 2002 team wins (or loses) as they went 2-14. On a franchise that has produced four 3-13 squads when you win two then you've got to be pretty bad.
The Chiefs were the model franchise of the old AFL. In 1971 they had a great team with four hall of famers on defense. Those days are long gone. In fact they went rather quickly as the 1977 Chiefs went 2-12. This was the same record as the expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The expansion Seattle Seahawks moved into the AFC West that season and won five games including one over Kansas City. Now that is bad.
New Orleans Saints -4.5 vs OAKLAND RAIDERS
NFL Films did not do the 1980 Saints justice. They should have been at least number three on their top 10 list. This is the team which spawned the Bag Heads. The 1-15 Saints were so bad that fans began to wear paper bags over their heads in shame. Only New Orleans fans would think of something like that.
There was a time when the thought of a Raiders team being bad was ludicrous. Then they moved to Los Angeles. Then they moved back to Oakland. Now they are one of the laughingstocks of pro football. 1997 may not have been rock bottom, but it was bad with a 4-12 record that could have been a lot worse.
DENVER BRONCOS -8 vs San Diego Chargers
The Broncos were the worst team in AFL history and the only one never to reach the playoffs in its 10 year history. They were bad in the 1970's too. However, the 2010 Broncos were the worst at 4-12. They were so bad that quarterback Kyle Orton was benched three games for Tim Tebow.
The Chargers have had some awful teams. It is hard to pick between the 1975 team that finished 2-12 and the 2000 team which ended up 1-15. The 2000 Chargers get the nod, because they won fewer games with more chances.
Baltimore Ravens -3.5 vs PITTSBURGH STEELERS
The Ravens have actually been pretty good since arriving in Baltimore. Since 1999 they have only had three losing seasons. The only season that Baltimore fans really had to watch bad football was in their inaugural year of 1996 when they went 4-12 with Vinny Testaverde at quarterback.
I am not quite old enough to remember the 1-13 Steelers of 1969. I do remember the 6-10 team of 1986 and they were bad. Pittsburgh is the only team that I can recall which has not had fewer than six wins in a season since 1970 when they were 5-9.
Pick: Of course, I do not pick Steelers games.
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS -5 vs Chicago Bears
It is hard to believe that hall of fame head coach Bill Walsh went 2-14 in his first season with the 49ers in 1979. However, the 1978 team was even worse. They went 2-14 and head coach Pete McCulley was fired ten weeks into the season. It was his first and last NFL head coaching job. The 1978 49ers were 0-8 on the road.
Before pop culture found the Bears in 1985, they were awful in the 1970's. The worst team of that group was the 1973 unit which went 3-11. How they won three no one knows. Chicago lost six straight to finish the season and won only one home game. It was middle linebacker Dick Butkus' last season and not a very good way for him to go out.
At 4-8 last week I may be on my way to joining these units. It won't be my first losing season. You can ask the kids of bookies whose college educations I've helped fund.