The 10 Worst NFL Franchises Over The Past 10 Years

By Tom Pollin
December 31, 2013 12:04 am
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It's easy to recognize the best teams in the NFL. They regularly appear in the postseason and the elite have a Vince Lombardi Trophy or two on display.

Surprisingly, the league's worst teams are fairly easy to identify too. They're constantly starting over with new general managers, coaches and players. Then, three to five years later the cycle begins again.

The following ten teams have spent so much time digging in at the starting line building their teams that they've forgotton to run the race. 

 

10) Dallas Cowboys

Record 86-74; 5 Seasons Over .500, 3 at .500; 3 Playoff Appearances, Record 1-3Touchdown Eagles

Take a look at the Cowboys' record over the past ten seasons. They've had five winning seasons and three seasons where they won just as many as they lost. Eight years of relative success over the past decade and only three playoff appearances and just one win to show for it. That's failure in the way only Jerry Jones can accomplish it.

If Jones ran his oil and gas interests the way he's run his football team over the past decade he wouldn't be able to afford a ticket at his own stadium to watch a Cowboys game.

Dallas has finished 8-8 in all three seasons of Jason Garrett's coaching tenure. That's perfect mediocrity. It shows that through all their troubles, the Cowboys can still excel at something.

9) Kansas City Chiefs

Record 66-93; 4 Seasons Over .500; 3 Playoff Appearances, Record 0-2 (2013 TBD)

The Chiefs seem to enjoy flirting with respectability every few seasons only to go on a bender and collapse face down back into the league's gutter. 

In 2006 they made the playoffs and lost their Wild Card Round game to the Indianapolis Colts. Four seasons later they made another appearance in the Wild Card round and also lost. Now they are making another attempt, again against the Colts.

They challenge now for the Chiefs is to continue the success that they've rediscovered this season. This time they're coached by Andy Reid, who achieved sustained success in his first head coaching position with the Eagles.

Odds are good that the Chiefs will avoid their usual fall after their latest trip to the playoffs and may even return again next season.

8) Jacksonville Jaguars

Record 71-89; 3 Seasons Over .500; 2 Seasons at .500; 2 Playoff Appearances, Record 1-2Chad Henne

The Jaguars may be one game better than the Texans over the past ten years and have an overall record superior to the Chiefs but their current streak six season streak of suck-ritude is more impressive than what either of those teams have been able to accomplish.

The Jaguars are so bad (how bad are they?) that they brought in a bad quarterback with a sub-.500 record to back up Blaine Gabbert, one of the worst starting quarterbacks in the NFL over the three seasons of his career; so much for the tenth overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

To add insult to insult, the Jaguars four wins in five games streak played them out of a position to draft the quarterback of their choice in 2014. Still, they should still be in position to select a capable quarterback to get the ball to Justin Blackmon next season, provided Blackmon has returned from his indefinite suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy by then.

7) Washington Redskins

Record 66-94; 3 Seasons Over .500, 1 at .500; 3 Playoff Appearances, Record 1-3

Except for 2013, when the Redskins rode a seven game win streak to earn the right to get trampled by the Seattle Seahawks in the Wild Card Round, they've been so bad that if Joe Gibbs and Joe Theismann were both dead, they'd be spinning in their graves.

The Redskins' play over the past few seasons has inspired their fans to a point where, starting with a 91,000 capacity stadium in 2010, they reduced the number of seats to 83,000 for the 2011 season and dropped another 4,000 seats prior to their 2012 kickoff.

If owner Dan Snyder keeps maximizing his team's value he'll be able to squeeze the Redskins into Nationals Park and share it with the baseball team. 

6) Miami Dolphins

Record 66-94; 2 Seasons Over .500, 1 at .500; 1 Playoff Appearance, 0-1

The Miami Dolphins had two head coaches in their first 30 years of existence. In that time the franchise made 16 postseason appearances and played in five Super Bowls, winning two.

In the ensuing 18 years they've had eight head coaches, six postseason appearances and have never won their way past the Divisional Round.

Their latest collapse has fans around the NFL wondering if head coach number nine is on the way. The Dolphins only had to beat the Jets in Week 17 to lock-up a playoff spot. Their failure locked them up with the Jets for second place in the AFC East.

5) Buffalo Bills

Record 63-96; 1 Season Over .500, 0 Playoff Appearances

The Bills have had two golden eras during the franchise's existence. Neither of those make the past 10 years easier to take for Bills fans.

The Bills have been able to achieve this past decade of "foul play" in a couple of different ways. They've won early in the year and lost late, they lost early and won late, or most often by establishing a standard of awfulness for the entire season. The one consistency over this time for Buffalo is they've annually had one of the worst passing attacks in the NFL.

In the 2013 NFL Draft the Browns selected E.J. Manuel as the quarterback they believe will reverse that trend. Whether he will develop to the standards of Jim Kelly or Ryan Fitzpatrick remains to be seen.

4) St. Louis Rams

Record 51-108-1; 0 Seasons Over .500, 2 at .500; 1 Playoff Appearance, 1-1Sam Bradford

Up to the past 10 years the Rams' offense was nicknamed "The Greatest Show on Turf." The team tanked right at the time that show closed and they've been battling with success ever since, usually unsuccessfully.

What has contributed to the teams problems the past few years is, when given the choice staying the course with a former first overall draft choice quarterback who had compiled a 15-26-1 record over three seasons or selecting RGIII No. 2 overall in the 2012 NFL Draft to rebuild around, they stayed the course with the loser.

The Rams made one positive move when they hired Jeff Fisher as head coach. Their next step needs to be, keep this latest second overall draft pack, go back to the well again and get the franchise quarterback building-block correct. They'll be living in the basement of the NFC West until they do.

3) Cleveland Browns

Record 51-109; 1 Season Over .500, 0 Playoff Appearances

It sucks Cuyahoga River water to be a Cleveland Browns fan over the past decade. It has to be knife in the gut painful to see the former Browns franchise appear in the playoffs nine times and win two Super Bowls.

Cleveland has gone through more franchise quarterbacks over the past 10 years than the Raiders have coaches. Cleveland fans have had a better chance at winning the lottery than their team has had in getting a quarterback decision correct.

On the bright side for the Browns, it's possible this time that the light at the end of the tunnel isn't really a train heading straight towards them. This team has a lot of young talent on both sides of the ball. With Rob Chudzinski now fired after the Browns' latest fiasco of a season it remains to be seen if Cleveland can find a coach who can teach that talent how to win games in the NFL.

2) Oakland Raiders

Record 49-111; 0 Seasons Over .500, 2 at .500; 0 Playoff Appearances

At one time the Raiders set a standard for excellence in the NFL. That standard may have been built on the backs of has beens, rejects and trouble-makers but they combined to form some damn good football teams.

Oakland made it to the Super Bowl after the 2002 season. In 2003 they were crushed flatter than Wile E Coyote under a boulder. They finished the year 5-11. Since then, the closest the Raiders have come to the playoffs is when they buy tickets and cross the bay to watch the 49ers in action. 

The team of Lamonica, Stabler, Plunkett and Gannon has become the team of Culpepper, Russell, Pryor and McGloin. Al Davis' old battle cry of "Just win, baby!" has become "Please win, maybe?"

As for the Raiders' chances of putting themselves back together to dominate the NFL again, those are as good as Wile E's chances of finally catching the Roadrunner.

1) Detroit LionsMatthew Stafford

Record 50-110; 1 Season Over .500; 1 Playoff Appearance, 0-1

Only the Detroit Lions could win the title of Worst Franchise over the Past 10 Years without having the worst won-loss record over that time. Achieving an 0-16 season record in that span will guarantee that outcome.

The Lions have hired successful coaches from other NFL teams, highly touted college coaches and promising assistants and lost with all of them. They regularly draft in the upper half of the first round and continue to lose. You have to believe that if the Lions were allowed to draft an all-star team to play their season they would still manage to finish out of the playoffs.

This season Detroit took control of the NFC North with a 6-3 record and held the tiebreakers needed to cruise past the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears and earn their first division title since 1993. They won one game the rest of the season to finish out of the playoffs...again.

With Jim Schwartz now out as the Lions' head coach they'll put another in place, take their 2014 upper first round draft choice and try once again to climb to the NFL's penthouse, where the league's elite reside.

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By Tom Pollin
Senior Writer
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Previous Comments (1)

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2 months ago
What a moron. I sure hope this website does not pay you for this knowledge-less garbage. I'm a Rams fan and am perfectly fine with a 4th worst franchise record this past decade. We deserve it. We've been horrendous. But no where near as horrendous as your reasoning. You obviously have no clue whatsoever of what you speak, when you claim that the reasoning for our shortfall is due to not drafting RGIII. That trade is the only reason most consider us playoff contenders this year. For one, yes Bradford is fragile. But before going down, he was on pace for 4,000 yds 30TD's through 7 weeks. 2. Without trading away the rights to RGIII, we would have no Janoris Jenkis, no Alec Ogletree, no Tavon Austin, no Greg Robinson, and the list goes on. We've now had 3 drafts in a row graded B+ or better since then BECAUSE of that. We are completely re-built, but you think RGIII would have been the better option? What has he done for WAS in his 2 years? Oh that's right... Led them to the 2nd worst record in the NFL last year. With a running game and Pro Bowl receiver, and a solid TE. He can't hack it WITH help. What would he have done in STL, where there was an aging SJAX, and NO receivers whatsoever? Some needs to fire this bafoon. It is the most horrendous article I've seen all offseason...

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