Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Here's the Top 5 All-Time Bad NFL Football Teams. Will the '09 Browns make the cut? God I hope so.
1. 1976 Buccaneers (0-14)
The Bucs' debut season was football's equivalent of the 1962 Mets -- but without the wit of Casey Stengel to make things a bit more entertaining. The Bucs were shut out five times and averaged fewer than nine points per game. Their defense was almost as futile, and the Bucs' margin of defeat was 20 points per game. Tampa Bay's quarterback, Steve Spurrier, threw only seven touchdown passes all season. His longest completion was 38 yards. The Bucs carried their losing momentum into the 1977 season, losing another 12, to begin their franchise history 26 games in the red.
"The coach (John McKay) stopped talking to us after the third game," defensive lineman Pat Toomay told the Columbus Dispatch in 2001. "During the week, he wanted nothing to do with us. I can't blame him, really. We had so many guys get injured that nobody knew who was hurt and who wasn't. By the end of the season we were getting guys out of the Canadian league and off the streets."
2. 1990 Patriots (1-15)
The Pats had the worst offense and the second-worst defense in the NFL in 1990. How bad was the Pats offense? The most points they scored in a game was 24, in the first game of the season (a 27-24 loss to the Dolphins at home). In five games, they scored a touchdown or less. Their only win came by two points. Not a single win at home.
"The Patriots have out-Murphyed the entire league put together," wrote Boston Globe columnist Bob Ryan near the end of the season. "If something bad in the game of football can happen, it will not only happen to the Patriots, it will happen in a new and different way. The way things are going, they would be no better than even money in an intrasquad scrimmage. Each week we ask, 'How can things get worse?' and each week they do."
3. 1973 Oilers (1-13)
It's not easy to figure out which season was worse for the Oilers, 1972 or 1973. Two years running, Houston racked up identical 1-13 records. But we'll give the '73 squad a slight edge. They gave up 447 points, the most in the NFL, and scored only 199. Things were so bad in Houston that the most exciting development was the invention of the first flak jacket for football, to protect QB Dan Pastorini's ribs. (He set an NFL record for being sacked the most times in 1971, broke it in 1972, and broke it again in 1973.)
4. 1971 Bills (1-13)
The 1971 Buffalo lineup was remarkably balanced -- the Bills fielded the worst offense and the worst defense in the NFL. How bad was the offense? The Bills were shut out four times, with QBs Dennis Shaw and James Harris combining for 12 TD passes and 32 interceptions. O.J. Simpson, in his third NFL season, gained less than 750 yards. Meanwhile, the defense's best performance came in game three, when they held the Vikings to "only" 19 points.
5. 1981 Colts (2-14)
Head coach Mike McCormack actually thought, before the season began, that his Colts might make the 1981 playoffs. Baltimore began and ended the season with one-game winning streaks, beating the awful Patriots (who also went 2-14 in 1981) by one point in the first game and by two points in the season finale.
The 14 games in between proved problematic, though, especially for the defense, which was probably the worst in modern NFL history. The Colts gave up a record 533 points, never allowing fewer than 23 in a game. Unfortunately, the offense, ranked 26th in the league, was nearly as bad. After the final whistle, McCormack said, "We had a helluva start and a helluva finish." The next day he was fired.
So there you have it. No Bengal teams to be found. Who knew?