Worst NFL playoff groups in historical past: 2020 NFC East champion set to hitch record


In what has been a loopy 2020 season up to now, there may be one factor that appears imminent with 5 weeks remaining within the common season: a staff with a non-winning report will host a playoff recreation. The present front-runner to earn that doubtful distinction is the Giants, whose 4-7 report has them at first place within the NFC East. Washington, one other 4-7 outfit, is true on their heels, whereas Philadelphia (3-7-1) and Dallas (3-8) usually are not too far behind. 

Whereas the winner of the East will certainly be an underdog towards whoever their first-round opponent might be, earlier playoff groups with a shedding report have had their share of success. Actually, half of the 12 groups which have made the playoffs with an 8-8 or worse report (excluding the expanded playoff area throughout the strike-shortened 1982 season) managed to win a playoff recreation earlier than being ousted from the postseason. 

Here is a take a look at the NFL‘s earlier non-winning groups that managed to make the playoffs, a listing that may absolutely welcome a thirteenth staff come January. 

A 5-11 staff in 1984, the Browns received the AFC Central with an 8-8 report in 1985, Marty Schottenheimer’s first season in Cleveland. Led by its two 1,000-yard working backs, Earnest Byner and Kevin Mack, Cleveland received three of its closing 5 video games to clinch a playoff berth. Going through the defending AFC champion Dolphins in first spherical spherical, the Browns really jumped out to a 21-3 lead after two landing runs by Byner and a landing catch by Corridor of Fame tight finish Ozzie Newsome. Cleveland couldn’t preserve their lead, nevertheless, because the Dan Marino-led Dolphins scored the sport’s closing 21 factors to prevail, 24-21. The ’85 season was the start of a profitable run for the Browns, who would seem in three AFC title video games over the subsequent 4 seasons. 

Led by their gifted linebacker trio of Sam Mills, Vaughan Jonson and Pat Swilling, the Saints completed second within the NFC West with an 8-8 report. And whereas their protection allowed only one Bears landing within the first spherical of the playoffs, the Saints’ offense managed simply two area targets in a 16-6 loss. 

The loss to the Bears was the primary of three consecutive playoff losses in as many seasons for the Saints, who must wait till the 2000 season earlier than successful their first-ever playoff recreation. The Saints would shut the last decade by successful their their first Tremendous Bowl title. 

1991 Jets (8-8)

The ’91 Jets symbolize the franchise’s solely staff that certified for the playoffs from 1987-97. Led by Professional Bowl quarterback Ken O’Brien (the customarily ignored member of the fabled quarterback draft class of 1983) and receivers Rob Moore and Al Toon, the Jets made the playoffs regardless of shedding three out of their final 4 video games. However after shedding a heartbreaking recreation to the Patriots in Week 16, the Jets managed to eke out an time beyond regulation win over the Dolphins in Week 17 to clinch a playoff spot. And whereas their protection performed properly sufficient to win, the three O’Brien picks doomed the Jets of their 17-10 playoff loss to Warren Moon and the Oilers. 

Two years after successful their third Tremendous Bowl in 4 years, the Cowboys fired Barry Switzer after Dallas stumbled to a 6-10 report in 1997, the franchise’s worst mark since Jerry Jones bought the staff in 1989. And whereas new Cowboys coach Chan Gailey led the Cowboys again to the playoffs in 1998, the season ended with a humbling playoff loss to Jake Plummer and the Cardinals

The ’99 Cowboys suffered an enormous blow when future Corridor of Fame receiver Michael Irvin suffered a career-ending harm 4 video games into the season. Including insult to harm was the truth that Randy Moss, the receiver many thought Dallas would draft to succeed Irvin within the ’98 draft, caught a 58-yard landing in Minnesota’s 27-10 playoff win over Dallas. The Cowboys wouldn’t make the playoffs once more till 2003, Invoice Parcells’ first season in Dallas. The Cowboys would go 14 years between playoff wins earlier than Tony Romo, Jason Witten and firm ended the drought in 2009. 

1999 Lions (8-8)

The ’99 Lions will be the most attention-grabbing non-winning playoff staff. Throughout coaching camp, Barry Sanders, a member of the NFL working again Mount Rushmore, shocked everybody after saying his retirement simply days earlier than the beginning of coaching camp. Regardless of Sanders’ absence, the Lions, who went 5-11 with Sanders the earlier season, went 8-8 within the common season. Whereas the Lions did exceed expectations, it should not essentially be thought-about a hit story, as Detroit misplaced its final 5 video games (together with a 27-13 playoff loss to Washington) after an 8-4 begin. 

Detroit’s shock playoff season was largely because of the play of defensive finish Robert Porcher (15 sacks), receivers Germane Crowell (1,338 yards, seven touchdowns) and Johnnie Morton (1,129 yards, 5 touchdowns) and quarterback Charlie Batch, who went 6-4 because the Lions’ starter. 

A perennial playoff staff within the ’90s, the Vikings made the playoffs simply as soon as from 2001-07. Minnesota’s lone playoff season throughout that span was in 2004, when the 8-8 Vikings made the playoffs a 12 months after being omitted of the postseason regardless of posting a 9-7 report. 

The ’04 Vikings had been the primary non-winning playoff staff to win a postseason recreation after defeating the Packers in Inexperienced Bay. That recreation is essentially remembered for Randy Moss’ controversial landing celebration close to the top of the Vikings’ 31-17 win. Moss would play his closing recreation as a Viking (we’re not together with his cup of espresso with Minnesota in 2010) the next week in Minnesota’s 27-14 loss to the eventual NFC champion Eagles

2004 Rams (8-8)

This was the true finish of the “Biggest Present on Turf” period in St. Louis. Two years after their surprising upset loss to the Patriots in Tremendous Bowl XXXVI, the Rams suffered one other heartbreaking playoff loss in 2003 after Steve Smith ended St. Louis’ season with a 69-yard landing in time beyond regulation. 

St. Louis appeared to hold that loss into the ’04 season, because the Rams misplaced eight of their first 14 video games. The Rams, led by working backs Marshall Faulk and Steven Jackson and receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt, had been in a position to salvage their season after defeating the Eagles and Jets (in time beyond regulation) to shut out the common season. Within the first spherical of the playoffs, two late scores propelled the Rams to an upset win over the Seahawks, who a 12 months later would symbolize the NFC within the Tremendous Bowl. The Rams had been no match for Michael Vick and the Flacons within the divisional spherical, nevertheless, because the Falcons rushed for 327 yards in a 47-17 win. The Rams wouldn’t return to the playoffs till 2017, Sean McVay’s first season as coach. 

A 12 months after going 11-5 below second-year quarterback Eli Manning, the Giants roared out to a 6-2 begin to the 2006 season. New York, largely resulting from a protection that completed twenty eighth within the NFL in passing and thirty second in pink zone effectivity, went 2-6 throughout the second half of the season. The Giants’ season mercifully ended with a 23-20 loss to Jeff Garcia and the Eagles within the wild-card spherical. The loss was the ultimate recreation for Giants working again Tiki Barber, who hung up his cleats after dashing for 1,662 yards on the age of 31. 

Whereas the Giants misplaced Barber, they made a number of key adjustments with the offseason hiring of coordinators Kevin Gilbride and Steve Spagnuolo. Each coaches performed a task within the Giants’ 10-6 common season in 2007 that concluded with an entertaining 38-35 loss to the 16-0 Patriots. The Giants, following an unbelievable playoff run, would upset New England in Tremendous Bowl XLII, 17-14. 

From 2004-09, the Chargers posted 5 successful seasons whereas averaging over 11 wins per season. The one season that noticed the Chargers fail to put up a successful report throughout that span was in 2008, when the Chargers received their closing 4 common season video games after a 4-8 begin. Darren Sproles‘ 22-yard landing run in time beyond regulation gave the Chargers a win over the visiting Colts within the wild-card spherical. Regardless of Philip Rivers‘ 308 passing yards and three touchdowns, the Chargers had been unable to maintain tempo with the eventual Tremendous Bowl champion Steelers within the divisional spherical, as Pittsburgh ran for 3 scores whereas holding the Chargers to simply 15 dashing yards in a 35-24 win. 

The ’08 season was the ultimate one in San Diego for working again LaDainian Tomlinson, who completed his Corridor of Fame profession with the Jets. 

2010 Seahawks (7-9)

The 2010 Seahawks could be summed up with one play: Beast Quake. With the 7-9 Seahawks holding a four-point lead late of their wild-card recreation towards the defending champion Saints, Marshawn Lynch’s jaw-dropping 67-yard run capped off Seattle’s first playoff win throughout the Pete Carroll period. The sport additionally served as the ultimate playoff win for quarterback Matt Hasselbeck, who led Seattle to its first Tremendous Bowl 5 years earlier. 

Whereas 7-9 was ok to win the division in 2010, the identical report resulted in a 3rd place end for the Seahawks in 2011. In 2012, a rookie quarterback named Russell Wilson led Seattle to the divisional spherical of the playoffs. In 2013, Carroll, Wilson, Lynch and Seattle’s “Legion of Growth” protection hoisted the franchise’s first Lombardi Trophy. 

When most followers consider the 2010s Broncos, Peyton Manning’s record-setting 2013 season and the defensive-fueled 2015 championship run are the primary two issues that come to thoughts. However the 2010s Broncos are additionally homeowners of one of the bazaar seasons in current reminiscence. After Kyle Orton managed to win simply one among his 5 begins, Denver coach John Fox determined it was “Tebow Time,” as he turned to second-year quarterback Tim Tebow to show round Denver’s season. 

Tebow helped lead the Broncos to 6 straight wins that included a number of unbelievable come-from-behind efforts. A kind of wins got here towards Rex Ryan’s Jets in 2011, as Tebow’s 20-yard landing run with one minute left gave Denver a 17-13 win. However after main Denver to an 8-5 report, Tebow’s subpar passing performed a big function within the Broncos shedding their closing three common season video games. Denver was not anticipated to do a lot towards the defending AFC champion Steelers within the wild-card spherical. 

After forcing the Steelers to accept two early area targets, two area targets of their very own and two touchdowns by Tebow gave the Broncos a 20-6 halftime lead. However after Pittsburgh rallied again to drive time beyond regulation, Tebow abruptly ended the sport when he related with Demaryius Thomas for an 80-yard landing. The win not solely added to Tebow mania, it signaled the top of a selected period for the Steelers, who would endure consecutive 8-8 seasons earlier than returning to the postseason in 2014. And whereas the Broncos’ magical 2011 season got here to an emphatic finish per week later in New England, Broncos president John Elway, realizing his franchise was a quarterback away from contending for a title, satisfied Peyton Manning to come back to Denver throughout the offseason. It took 4 years, however Manning ultimately helped Elway win his third ring. 

Just like the ’04 Rams, the Panthers struggled to shake off a disappointing playoff loss from the prior season. However after a 3-8-1 begin, Carolina received its closing 4 common season video games to hitch the 2010 Seahawks as the one groups in NFL historical past to win their division with a shedding report. Carolina turned the fifth non-winning playoff staff to win within the postseason after ousting the Cardinals within the wild- card spherical, 27-16. The Panthers hung powerful throughout the first three quarters in Seattle earlier than permitting three unanswered fourth quarter touchdowns of their 31-17 loss within the divisional spherical. 

Cam Newton, who handled accidents all through the 2014 season, loved a profession 12 months in 2015, incomes league MVP honors whereas main the Panthers to a 15-1 report and an look in Tremendous Bowl 50. 

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