NFL

30 Brutal NFL Playoff Defeats That Sullied Careers

Darren - January 15, 2021
NFL

30 Brutal NFL Playoff Defeats That Sullied Careers

Darren - January 15, 2021
Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

5. Dan Marino

Miami’s greatest-ever quarterback never won a Super Bowl but he broke all kinds of football records. His final game arrived in 2000 but fans didn’t expect this to be the last one. The Dolphins played the Jacksonville Jaguars in the divisional playoff round and expected to defeat their Florida rivals. However, that didn’t go to plan at all. Instead, Marino left the NFL with a whimper after one of the most crushing defeats in postseason history.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars annihilated the Dolphins in a 62-7 massacre. Marino achieved just 97 passing yards because the Jags refused to allow him into the game. Meanwhile, he had two interceptions and a fumble as he endured the roughest afternoon of his life. Jacksonville sacked him hard throughout the game and majorly sullied his final appearance. There was to be no Super Bowl send-off for one of the sport’s most legendary signal-callers.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

4. Pete Carroll

Revisionism has seen more people understand why Carroll didn’t make the call to run the ball with star running back Marshawn Lynch. But few postseason incidents have sullied reputations more than his final call at Super Bowl XLIX. The Seahawks were a yard away from winning their second successive Super Bowl when Carroll ordered Russell Wilson to attempt a pass play instead of offloading to the marauder that was Marshawn Lynch.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

After the game, Carroll explained that statistically, Lynch was very ineffective from similar positions all season. However, fans and millions of viewers around the world didn’t see it that way at the time. All they saw was Malcolm Butler plucking the ball out of the air. It was extremely controversial at the time and Carroll endured insane criticism. Credit has to go to the veteran coach for enduring it getting past it.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

3. Scott Norwood

Wide right. Poor Norwood will never shake those infamous words, even though it wasn’t entirely his fault. Sure, he missed the fateful kick that sullied the rest of his life, nevermind his career. The Bills played the Giants at Super Bowl XXV in 1991 and gave Norwood the opportunity to be a hero. However, Norwood discovered that real life isn’t the movies and duly kicked his 47-yard effort wide of the post.

Mandatory Credit: Sports Illustrated

Millions of eyes seared into Norwood before he buckled under the pressure and gave the Giants the win. Of course, Marc Levy and Jim Kelly made mistakes during the game that didn’t help the Bills but they left Norwood exposed with a brute of a kick. Engrained in NFL folklore, the Bills failed to shake off the legacy of ‘Wide-Right’ for an entire generation. But that’s what the game is about.

Mandatory Credit: Sky Sports

2. Dan Quinn

Snyder’s Falcons suffered the unfortunate record of dropping the biggest lead in Super Bowl history. Their meltdown against the New England Patriots remains notorious because it was a horrible collapse. Fatigue overcame the Falcons who couldn’t do anything to stop the Patriots on their trudge to victory. Meanwhile, it sulled the career of head coach Dan Quinn, who failed to change the momentum of the game.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Arguably, Kyle Shanahan was just as responsible because of his aggressive plays during the game, but then he went and took the 49ers’ head coach job. This meant that Quinn was alone in the spotlight to pick up the pieces and shake off the shadow of the Falcons’ nightmare. Atlanta subsequently deteriorated over the next couple of seasons until they finally put Quinn out of his misery.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

1. Ben Roethlisberger

The Cleveland Browns destroyed the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2021 to win their first playoff game win in 25 years. The Browns were without their head coach Kevin Stefanski, their best offensive lineman, and also two starting cornerbacks. However, offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt had no problem building up the biggest first-quarter lead in postseason history (28-0). Meanwhile, the Steelers were atrocious and this game badly sullied their otherwise good season.

Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports

Their entire team should take the blame for this one, but there’s no denying that ‘Big Ben’ was terrible. The two-time Super Bowl winner wore an expression of frustration and confusion throughout the entire game as the Browns ran riot. Pittsburgh did bounce back but ultimately Cleveland was much too good for them on the day. The long-term result could be the end of Roethlisberger’s NFL career.

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