We're all familiar with the dynasty teams in sports that dominate the headlines. Winning is the only thing that people remember and for some teams, winning just comes natural. For others, it's like Christmas when they pick up a victory. In the NFL and other professional sports, winning has become obsessive. From the Steelers in the 70s to the Patriots in the 21st century, a majority of legends and Hall of Famers stem from these dynasty squads. Even 40 years after the fact, I still see specials of those Steeler teams and their players talking and laughing as if it was just yesterday they experienced their winning ways.
Obviously, the goal for every NFL franchise each year is to win the Super Bowl. You will never see a player or coach smile harder than one who just won the big game. There are even reports that Patriots coach Bill Belichick has cracked a smile or two after winning it all but I cannot confirm this.
There are some teams though, that have never experienced the thrill of hoisting the Lombardi trophy. For other teams, it's been so long since they have that it's become irrelevant or forgotten. Others have come close but just haven't been able to get over that hump. Some teams are just flat out bad and have been for years. So bad in fact, that you start wondering if some college teams could take them down. Just one time I want to see a Nick Saban led Alabama squad go toe-to-toe with an NFL team.
There are a few select franchises that haven't been around as long as others so they do receive some leeway. However, there are others that have been around since the Super Bowl era began and have nothing to show for it. We include a collection of those teams in this countdown of the worst NFL franchises.
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15 New Orleans Saints
It's likely that New Orleans should be higher on this list but based on their performance in the past decade, I give them a little leeway. The Saints have always had a great fanbase but not always a great team (NBA fans please see Golden State Warriors). The Saints were established in 1967 but did not actually win their first playoff game until 2000. Imagine growing up a Saints fan during that time. Matters were made worse when Hurricane Katrina tore threw New Orleans in 2005, causing devastating damage to the Superdome. Still, the Saints were able to bounce back and in 2009, won the Super Bowl in their only appearance. Still, with Drew Brees not getting any younger and Sean Payton's future in New Orleans uncertain, you wonder if they're about to enter another down period.
14 Tennessee Titans
Formerly the Houston Oilers, the Titans franchise has been around since 1960. If you are reading that and thinking "Really?", yes, really. I had to do a double take myself as they have done next to nothing during their tenure in the National Football League.
Oh they made the playoffs, often, but they found ways to lose in dramatic fashion. In 1992, the Oilers lost to the Buffalo Bills 41-38 in overtime during the AFC Wild Card Game after leading 35-3. Again in 1999, their first season as the Titans, they reached their first Super Bowl but they literally fell short by a yard and lost to the Rams.
13 Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs appeared in two of the first four Super Bowls. After defeating the Vikings in Super Bowl IV, they haven't appeared since. The Chiefs have kind of been known to be that team that produces highly talented players but no quality wins. Even in 2012, a year where they finished 2-14 and tied for last place, they managed to send six players to the Pro Bowl. Huh???
New coach Andy Reid has the Chiefs going in the right direction, even with obvious bumps in the way. Still, it will take more than a couple playoff appearances to take the Chiefs back to relevant again.
12 San Diego Chargers
"Go Chargers, Go!", Arnold Schwarzenegger once said.
"No Arnold, No.", I say. The San Diego Chargers have zero Super Bowl victories to show for. They lost one of the most boring Super Bowls of all time against the 49ers in Super Bowl XXIX. The Chargers have had some decent seasons, making a few AFC Championship games but have done nothing with their opportunities when it counted most. They have now gone into turmoil and are currently one of the worst teams in the league today. For a team that's been around since before the AFL-NFL merger in 1970, that's not a resume to be proud of.
They were dissed even further in 2004 when Eli Manning dictated that he didn't want to be drafted by the Chargers, thus resulting in the Chargers him to the Giants on draft day. They did get a good quarterback for their franchise with Philip Rivers but you have to wonder if Eli, who has two Super Bowls with the Giants, could've done the same for them.
11 Philadelphia Eagles
I highly admire the loyalty of Philly fans in all sports. I think it's because they're not afraid to say it when their team is stinking up the place but in different words. It's been a hard knock life as an Eagles fan, with no Super Bowl wins for a franchise that dates back to 1933. All of their NFC East rivals have tasted the glory at some point but the Eagles have only sniffed it, losing both their appearances.
Each year there seems to be high expectations for the Eagles that they fail to live up to. In 2012, Vince Young called the Eagles a Dream Team after they signed major free agent acquisitions during the offseason. They didn't even qualify for the playoffs.
Swing and a miss Vince.
10 Cincinnati Bengals
You know that a team from Ohio has got to be on this list. Spoiler Alert: The other Ohio team is on this list as well later down the road.
In professional sports across the board, the state of Ohio lacks championships and the Bengals have been no help. Sure, they're pretty good now since they've made the playoffs four straight seasons but no wins. The Bengals have also lost both their Super Bowl appearances, coincidentally both to the 49ers. Bengals fans have to be irritated as the Bengals have become a great regular season team but keep coming away empty in the playoffs. This team is simply too talented to keep coming away with early round exits.
9 Jacksonville Jaguars
To be fair the Jaguars are the youngest team on this list, established just 20 years ago in 1995. In their second season they managed to make it all the way to the AFC Championship game after a huge upset on the road against the Denver Broncos in the divisional round. Still, they've done little since their inception and consistently look like they're in rebuilding mode. There has been talk about moving the team as well, seeing as Jacksonville is not a big market for any sports team. Fans seem to love them more in London then they do in their own hometown.
8 Arizona Cardinals
Arizona is a lot like the Bengals, in that they're pretty good now but have done a whole lot of nothing for many years. The team last won an NFL Championship in 1947, long before the Super Bowl era. In fact, the Cardinals actually date all the way back to the 19th century when they were established in Chicago. And people feel sorry for the Cubs for not winning a pennant all these years...
In fact, in 2012, the Cardinals were the first team to reach 700 losses since their establishment. Not the kind of records you're trying to chase. After they won their championship in 1947, it took them over 50 years to win another playoff game. It even felt weird watching them play the Steelers in Super Bowl XLIII because I was just so used to them being so bad. It was a great game but the Steelers would win it in the final seconds and the Cardinals have not returned since.
7 Minnesota Vikings
If there's ever a team you really want to shake your head at, it's the Minnesota Vikings. Some teams just seem to be scared of success and Minnesota falls in that category. The Vikings started in the NFL in 1961 and have reached four Super Bowls in their history. They won none of them. Their best opportunity to win it all came in 1998 when they finished the regular season an impressive 15-1 and clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs. In the NFC Championship game, kicker Gary Anderson missed a normally easy field goal with less than 2 minutes to go. He had not missed a field goal or extra point all season to that point. They would go on to lose to the Falcons in overtime.
6 Atlanta Falcons
Speaking of the Falcons, that Super Bowl appearance in 1998 would be their one and only. That Super Bowl was another sleeper, as they would get handled heavily by the defending champion Broncos. We were introduced to the popular victory dance by the Falcons that year, "The Dirty Bird", made popular by running back Jamal Anderson. Since then, they just look dirty. It often happens that the Falcons get off to fast starts to the season allowing the hype train to get on board. As is always the case though, reality kicks in and the Falcons come back down to mediocrity where they've been their entire existence.
5 Buffalo Bills
Probably the only team I want to shake my head at more than the Vikings are the Bills. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Buffalo was a powerhouse in the AFC. They won four consecutive AFC Championships to go to four straight Super Bowls. However, they managed to lose all four. There's a great chance that neither of those records will ever be broken. Buffalo was unable to capitalize on their dominance during the tenure and now rank as one of the lowliest franchises in the league.
They are the only team left to not qualify for the playoffs at least once in the 21st century. Their last appearance came in 1999 when they lost a very controversial game to the Tennessee Titans late on a kickoff return for a touchdown. The game would be another stepping stone into the NFL implementing instant replay for good.
4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Outside of a few select seasons, one in which they won their one and only Super Bowl, the Bucs have been bad.
I mean BADDDDD!!!
The Bucs were established in 1976 and lost their first 26 games as an expansion team. Some people would blame the uniforms. I would not argue with them as the term hideous would be considered an upgrade. They changed uniforms in the late 1990s and their play seemed to really benefit. They would go on to win the Super Bowl in 2002 with Jon "Chucky" Gruden. The Bucs would continue their relevance for a few years but eventually reverted back to their losing ways. They finished dead last in 2014 and selected quarterback Jameis Winston with the first overall pick in hopes to bring them back to winning form.
3 New York Jets
While attending a Jets-Dolphins game a few years back in South Florida, a Jets fan sitting in my section announced Dan Marino Blvd. as "No Ring Blvd." I turned to him to tell him that the Jets hadn't won a Super Bowl since before we landed on the moon. Drop the mic. End Scene.
Factual statements will always leave a heavy burn. It's true, the Jets have not won nor appeared in another Super Bowl since upsetting the Colts in Super Bowl III with Joe Namath as quarterback. Bill Belichick was the head coach of the Jets for all of a day. He resigned after Bill Parcells stepped down, using a napkin as part of his resignation. So Classy. The Jets would go on to look like contenders some years but could never get past the AFC Championship game.
2 Detroit Lions
The history of Detroit sports starts with the Red Wings in hockey. It continues with the success of the Pistons in basketball and even the Tigers in baseball. Football, however, not so much. The only thing the Lions have come close to a Super Bowl is the tradition each year of hosting a Thanksgiving Day game. Their last NFL Championship came in 1957, the second longest drought behind the Arizona Cardinals.
The Lions have never reached the Super Bowl and are the only current NFC team to not play in the big game. What's worse is that the Lions haven't even sniffed the Super Bowl. In 2008, they became the only team to have an 0-16 season. The only other team in history to go winless in a season were the Bucs in their expansion year, going 0-14.
1 Cleveland Browns
And then there were the Browns. I said earlier that there was another Ohio team in the realm. History doesn't get any worse than it does for the Brownies. The Browns have been around forever and even had a lot of success to start. However, they are another team that has never appeared in a Super Bowl. Like the Lions, they've been around for all of them. That's a really hard pill to swallow for Browns fans. It's even harder knowing that the Baltimore Ravens Super Bowl victory in 2000 probably should've been celebrated by the Browns.
In 1995, owner Art Modell motioned to move the team to Baltimore. The city of Cleveland was able to keep the name and logo by legal settlement but the personnel moved on. The coaching staff at the time of dismantlement, headed by Bill Belichick, was that of a Hall of Fame staff. Belichick would move on to the Jets and then eventually the Patriots, where he's won four Super Bowls thus far. Watching the Ravens celebrate with a lot of players still left from that Browns squad still stings fans today. The Browns resumed their team and operations in 1999 but have made the playoffs just once since then.
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