Former Bengals QB Carson Palmer called this a disaster of a season. He wasn’t wrong because it was the worst in franchise history. They finished the year with 2-14 records after a series of toothless performances. The Bengals suffered a major loss before Opening Day because of A.J. Green’s injury. This was a big blow but it was no excuse for their horrible 0-11 start (via Cincinnati Enquirer).
Furthermore, Andy Dalton was suffering a stark decline. ‘The Red Rifle’ lost his place to Ryan Finley before the trade deadline. In the end, they brought him back in because of his veteran nous. However, this was a lost year for the Bengals and ultimately they tanked. But it may go down as one of the most important years in their history. Cincinnati selected Joe Burrow with the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
The Browns were appalling in 2016 and 2017. However, at least they had a single win in Hue Jackson’s first season. This came in the final game of the schedule against the San Diego Chargers. Robert Griffin III started the season for the Browns. But his poor form saw Jackson replace him with backup QB Cody Kessler. Hilariously, he tried six quarterbacks but they were all appalling (via FOX Sports).
Somehow, they even posted a lower scoring margin than the winless team the following year. This was a roster with no direction and they lacked an elite starting QB. Johnny Manziel left before the season started and haunted them for three years. This era made fans cry in despair but they still showed loyalty. It was more than the team deserved because they were miserable to watch.
The Panthers were easily the worst team in the 2010 season. They were a team in transition after Jake Delhomme’s departure two years earlier. This left them with Matt Moore and Jimmy Clausen as their remaining options. But neither man was up to the task and they achieved a grim -212 point differential (via The Athletic). They won two games but these were rare respites as they tanked.
Watching Moore throw was enough to make grown men cry. However, there was an upside for the team. Their on-field ineptitude earned them the No. 1 draft pick for the following year. They promptly brought Cam Newton to the franchise and kicked off a successful period. NFL franchises rise and fall with key decisions like first overall picks. But they made the right one this time.
Steve Spagnuolo’s career took 10 years to recover after this travesty of a season. He made diehard Rams fans cry during his short tenure as St. Louis head coach. Their strength of schedule wasn’t too challenging but they made it difficult. The Rams conceded a ludicrous 27.25 points per game (via USA Today). It was as though their defense didn’t exist because they handed results to their opponents.
Their single win came against the Detroit Lions in Week 8. But otherwise, they were shambolic. The team flitted between quarterbacks throughout the year. However, none of them made a serious difference. Fan attendances plummeted after multiple poor results and TV networks even pulled their games. This season had serious consequences on the franchise’s legacy in Missouri.
It’s difficult to remember the Patriots before Tom Brady. In 1990, he was just 13 years old and Steve Grogan was their starting quarterback. However, he was past the peak of his powers and the Patriots weren’t very good at all. Rod Rust took charge of the team and led them to victory on opening day over the Miami Dolphins. But it all spiraled out of control as the team went downhill.
In the end, they finished with a horrendous 1-15 record. It’s shocking to imagine the Patriots in this condition now because they’re such a well-oiled machine. They lost 15 games in a row and posted the worst points differential of the nineties. This was a poor effort and other teams humiliated them. There was no good excuse for how bad they were (via Washington Post).
Many older NFL fans consider the ’76 Bucs to be the worst team in NFL history. They were also the second winless franchise ever with an appalling 0-14 record. Luckily, there aren’t many living fans from that era around. It’s likely their terrible performances made a lot of grown men cry. These games weren’t close either because Tampa lost by an average margin of 20.5 points (via Bleacher Report).
However, the only redeeming factor was that they were an expansion team. Nobody expected them to set the world on fire. But their winless run ran on for 26 games. It’s safe to say that the franchise owners didn’t plan that when they joined the NFL. Surprisingly, they showed a lot of patience with coach John McKay. Tampa stayed loyal to him and he brought them a couple of divisional titles.
Elite athletes always talk about making history. But becoming the first team to go 0-16 isn’t exactly what fans expect. The Lions have endured some horrendous moments over the past couple of decades. However, this was the worst moment in their history. The Browns emulated their feat in 2017, Detroit was the first. Rival fans will always have this in their back pockets to use against them.
An overcooked Daunte Culpepper offered nothing. Rod Marinelli also gave his back-ups a chance to no avail. In the end, they achieved a -249 point differential. Their defense was one of the worst the NFL has ever seen. Calvin Johnson was the single bright light in this shocking year and still managed a 1300-yard season. But 2008 made many Lions fans cry with rage and despair (via The Ringer).
Nothing makes fans cry like losing. However, the Browns took this to the extreme in 2017. They had an appalling winless season where everything went wrong. This was also a blatant attempt to tank but this infuriated the loyal Cleveland support. It’s not easy to sit in a stadium in Ohio during the winter. Their fans still came to games but they deserved more from the team and front office.
Unfortunately, they were never going to get anywhere with DeShone Kizer as their starter. This was the same Kizer who spent the following season as the Packers’ backup. Finally, he found himself out of the league by 2021. He led the NFL in interceptions this year with a miserable 22. Hue Jackson wasn’t great but was perhaps doomed to fail because the roster was so inept. In the end, they became the first team to finish winless since 2008 (via Chicago Tribune).
On paper, the Jets weren’t the worst team in 2020. No, that honor belonged to the Jaguars. However, Adam Gase’s final season as head coach was a car crash from beginning to end. Bizarrely, they won two games over playoff teams but they were otherwise shocking. Sam Darnold was also horrible as starting QB (via New York Post). He threw more interceptions than touchdown passes in every game before Week 13.
Another reason why this season was a total failure was that they couldn’t even lose games properly. Everybody wanted Trevor Lawrence in the draft and the Jets had the advantage. All they had to do was keep losing. This was the one thing that they were good at so it seemed like a forgone conclusion. But a pair of shocking back-to-back wins sealed Lawrence’s move to Florida. The Jets sure know how to make their fans cry.
The Jags didn’t have the worst season from a statistical perspective. However, head coach Urban Meyer made their fans cry with rage. It felt like new dawn after Trevor Lawrence fell into their laps. But they failed to capitalize and drama followed the team everywhere. Finally, Shahid Khan fired Meyer in Week 13 after he lost patience. It was no surprise because his tenure was a disaster (via Sportscasting).
First, he created headlines by hiring a racist fitness coach. Chris Doyle departed the Jags after a day. Then, there was the Tim Tebow spectacle. Meanwhile, Meyer enraged senior players by treating them like college athletes. He also infuriated his staff by regularly insulting them. The highlight moment was when Meyer shared an intimate dance with a young woman in a bar. Of course, she wasn’t his wife.