The Miami Dolphins made the wrong kind of history Sunday afternoon, when they became the first team since the 1973 New Orleans Saints to be outscored by a combined 92 points in their first two games of the season. It’s an eye-popping total and has led many to wonder if we may be witnessing the worst team in the history of the NFL.
Before we rush to anoint the Fins the worst of the worst, let’s examine five other historically awful cellar dwellers, whose feeble feats live on in infamy.
5. 2016 Cleveland Browns (1-15)
If the Dolphins are serious about tanking, they might want to take a page from the playbook of the 2016 Browns, who bid adieu to five established Pro Bowlers and three former first-round picks before the season even began. Adding injury to insult, starting quarterback Robert Griffin III fractured a bone in his left shoulder in the season opener and watched most of the season from the sideline. The Browns finished 2016 ranked 30th or worse in points scored and points surrendered and were dead last in passing TDs. Add it all up and it’s easy to see why Cleveland did not rock in 2016.
4. 2009 St. Louis Rams (1-15)
Ever wonder why St. Louis no longer has an NFL franchise? The 2009 Rams are a big reason why. “Led” by quarterback/tackling dummy Marc Bulger, the Rams completed only 12 touchdown passes all season and averaged fewer than 11 points per game despite having one of the league’s breeziest schedules.
St. Louis finished the year with the NFL’s third-worst attendance, as discerning fans wisely steered clear of the Edward Jones Dome.
3. 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-14)
They say you never forget your first, but we’re reasonably certain Tampa Bay fans would like to forget all about their team’s first season in the NFL. Loaded with washed-up veterans and unproven rookies, the expansion Buccaneers were blanked five times and didn’t score a touchdown until their fourth game of the season. The only saving grace for the Bucs was that the NFL mercifully only played a 14-game season back in 1976.
2. 2017 Cleveland Browns (0-16)
What do you do for a follow-up act after a 1-15 season? If you’re the 2017 Browns, you go for broke and lose every single game on your schedule.
— Glenn Moore (@GlennMooreCLE) December 24, 2017
The Browns weren’t just awful in America that season. They were also miserable in London, where they fell 33-16 to the Minnesota Vikings. If you’re curious why the British have yet to fully embrace American football, that game is Exhibit A.
1. 2008 Detroit Lions (0-16)
There are lovable losers and then there are the 2008 Lions, who griped and whined their way to the NFL’s first 0-16 season. Along the way, center Dominic Railoa flipped fans the bird, head coach Rod Marinelli unleashed holy hell on reporters and Detroit’s popgun offense consistently found new and inventive ways of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
— The Checkdown (@thecheckdown) December 7, 2017
The lowlight in a season full of them came in Week 6 against the Vikings, when QB Dan Orlovsky did a lap around his own end zone while running for his life. Yup, it was that kind of season.