Major Turning Points For Every NFL Franchise

Every team dreams about the Lombardi trophy, it is the ultimate prize. No team can be satisfied with first place in the division if they get knocked out first round of the playoffs, would you agree? Of course the team moves on, there is always next year. But the owner has to think what is next for the team. They must assess and consult with their advisers, GM, assistants and sometimes coaches, on what is the best move for the team going forward.

The offseason can arguably be as entertaining as the regular season for us extreme NFL fans. After all that is when usually the most exciting and beneficial moves regarding the teams' futures occur . Every team has its own needs, some teams might have all the right pieces and trying to just help out with some extra weapons, or a team that is beginning a rebuilding process which can be quit long as we see through the years. But every fan is hoping the management makes the right decision, because everyone wants to be successful. On certain occasions those exact thoughts are the motivation behind the big moves in history.

Sometimes we like the moves sometimes we do not, but they all excite us when they happen. That is just how it goes. At the end of the day we can only cheer on for our team, and just know that it is the managements job and they are the ones who call the shots. But what we can do, and what I like to do, is look back and see what were some key moves and moments for teams during the history of the NFL. Regardless if it caused the franchise to become the laughing stock of the league or made it a great dynasty. Remember, Lombardi trophy at any cost.

32 Chicago Bears - Mike Ditka Hired as Coach

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

31 Cincinnati Bengals - Drafting Andy Dalton

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

30 Buffalo Bills - 4 Consecutive Super Bowl Loses


29 Denver Broncos - Signing Peyton Manning

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

28 Cleveland Browns - Return To The NFL


27 Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 26 Consecutive Lost Games


26 Arizona Cardinals - Drafting Larry Fitzgerald

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

25 San Diego Chargers - Drafting LT


24 Kansas City Chiefs - Trading for Joe Montana


Everyone in Kansas City was excited when they heard Joe Montana was coming to town. Montana did not disappoint. With fellow new comer Marcus Allen, the Chiefs created a dynamic offense and with an all ready solid defense in place it made Kansas City a Super Bowl contender. Montana and company managed to make it to the AFC Championship game only to be out outmatched by the Buffalo Bills. It is still the only AFC championship appearance since the Chiefs won Super Bowl IV.

23 Indianapolis Colts - Drafting Peyton Manning


22 Dallas Cowboys - Herschel Walker Trade


21 Miami Dolphins -  Losing Marino


20 Philadelphia Eagles - Hiring Andy Reid


19 Atlanta Falcons - Drafting Matt Ryan

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta had not had a reliable quarterback since Michael Vick, who was locked up in prison for his involvement in a dogfighting ring. So when they had the 3rd overall pick in the 2008 draft they could not resist. Matt Ryan went on to win Offensive Rookie of the Year while leading the team to an 11-5 record. Since he entered the league he has established a great connection with one of the greats in the league Julio Jones. Seems like the Falcons are a couple of pieces on defense away from being a Super Bowl contender.

18 New York Giants - Hiring Tom Coughlin

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

17 Jacksonville Jaguars - Firing Tom Coughlin

AP Photo/Scott Audette

Quite the segue, huh? Jacksonville fans will always ask themselves what could of been if Tom Coughlin was never let go? Coughlin guided the Jaguars to four consecutive playoff appearances, much better then the total of two in the last 12 years. No one can predict the future but I bet Coughlin did not let the firing bother him and went on to win two Super Bowls with the Giants. Tony Boselli, a former Jaguar said firing Coughlin was the franchise's biggest mistake:

"One of my regrets for the franchise is I think he could've been a Tom Landry, Chuck Noll type of guy in Jacksonville and stayed there forever," Boselli said, per the New York Daily News. "You talk to people in Jacksonville now, since he left he's still one of the most popular people in town. And I think for the longest time, people were like, 'Man, why did we fire Tom?' "

16 New York Jets - Belichick resigns, goes to New England


"I resign as head coach of the New York Jets."

That was a short statement Bill Belichick made to the media in New York just a day after being named the head coach in light of Bill Parcells' retirement. Seemed like no one but Belichick himself saw this coming. Parcells had arranged for team management to hire Belichick as his successor. Unfortunately for Jets fans, he was the head coach for a short while. He announced his resignation the day after. Belichick went on to get hired as the Patriots bench boss and the rest is history.

15 Detroit Lions - Barry Sanders Early Retirement


14 Green Bay Packers - Farve Followed By Rodgers

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

13 Carolina Panthers - Drafting Cam Newton

Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

12 New England Patriots - Tom Brady Era

Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

11 Oakland Raiders - Trading Jon Gruden


Jon Gruden helped build the Raiders team that went to Super Bowl XXXVII, only to be the one to thwart the Raiders' Super Bowl hopes after being traded to the Buccaneers the year before. Al Davisthought they got everything the could of Gruden so he decided to get rid of him while receiving some compensation. The team traded Gruden to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Sure enough when the Super Bowl came Gruden knew all the ins and outs to the Raiders as his team went on to win 48-21.

10 Los Angeles (St. Louis) Rams - Kurt Warner Becomes Starter


After spending a season on the bench, due to injury to the starting quarterback Trent Green, Kurt Warner finally got his chance to shine. Warner accompanied by star running back Marshall Faulk and wide receivers Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce , they lead the Rams to three consecutive playoff appearances including one Super Bowl victory and another appearance. Warner was released in the beginning of the 2004 season, since then the Rams have made the playoffs only once.

9 Baltimore Ravens - Drafting Ray Lewis


8 Washington Redskins - RGIII Trade

Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

7 New Orleans - Hurricane Katrina, Payton & Brees Comes to Town

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

6 Seattle Seahawks - 2 Great draft classes

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

5 Pittsburgh Steelers - Coaching Stability - Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher, Mike Tomlin

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The key to the Pittsburgh Steelers being so successful as a franchise is having so much stability. Chuck Noll coached the team for 22 years, followed by Bill Cowher, who coached the Steelers for over 15 years. Mike Tomlin is now approaching his 10th season in Pittsburgh. No team has enjoyed such stability at the coaching position like the Steelers have. Since 1970 the Steelers have been to the playoffs 28 times and winning the Lombardi trophy six times. it seems like the Steelers ownership knows a thing or two about hiring the right man to do the job, take notes Cleveland.

4 Houston Texans - Drafting J.J. Watt

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Texans were a team often flirting with the playoffs, just seemingly barely on the outside year after year. J.J. Watt is the heart and soul of the Texans defense and that is exactly what they team management intended when drafting him 11th overall. Quickly Watt became the most dominant defensive player in the league. Since entering the league, Watt never missed a start while accumulating 74.5 sacks and don't forget the three touchdowns he scored on offense. Since drafting Watt, the Texans have reached the playoffs three of his first five years. Watt is already a three-time defensive player of the year.

3 Tennessee Titans - Drafting Mariota

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

2 San Francisco 49ers - Eddy DeBartolo Ownership


1 Minnesota Vikings - Drafting Randy Moss


Drafting Randy Moss gave the Vikings a dynamic playmaker for years to come. He has helped the Vikings make it to the postseason four times falling just short of the Super Bowl, with two NFC Championship losses. He helped make the Vikings a scary offense that even the best of defenses had trouble defending against. He was essentially the missing piece that turned the Vikings into a viable contender for the 1998 season and several years after that.

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Major Turning Points For Every NFL Franchise