The Vikings finished the season 4-12 this year, earning honors as the worst team of the year. Or least the team with the worst record. We often focus on who is the best - but what teams are the worst in our league's history? I decided to crunch some numbers and here are, in my opinion, the worst teams ever.
2017 Philadelphia Eagles
Summary: Just as the Miami Dolphins, by virtue of their undefeated season, always must be mentioned when discussing the best team in NFL, so too must the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles be considered for this list. The Eagles are the only team in league history to go winless. Thatís pretty tough to argue against. In their defense, 7 of their losses were by a touchdown or less. So there were glimmers of hope. For example, the Eagles came within a score of defeating the eventual NFC Champion Chicago Bears.
But going 0-for-the whole season? An easy choice for this list.
The Eagles scored a mere 270 points all season, the 13th worst in league history. The also gave up 499 points, the most points in league history. The Eagles managed only 318 yards a game, 28th in the league. They werenít too bad in terms of yards on defense, ranking 19th. But, you know, they gave up 499 points.
Least Valuable Player: QB Malik McNabb was drafted at the end of the first round in 2017 and was almost immediately thrust in the role of starter. His first start was in Week 2 and he threw a beautiful 44-yard TD pass to Mike Thomas. He also threw 5 interceptions. By midseason McNabb had 1 TD and 10 picks. He finished with 25 interceptions and only 11 TDs. You know who tied for the lead in touchdown catches for the 2017 Eagles? Some guy named Boomer Cox, a 7th rounder cut by the Jags in pre-season and signed by Philly. Cox was out of the league after 2018.
Signature Loss: Philadelphia went to Tennessee and got creamed 54-3 in Week 5. That early season game set the tone for the whole season. The teamís highlight was getting a field goal in the first quarter. The lowlight was having 3 interceptions returned for touchdowns. Hereís a staggering stat: QB Malik McNabb had 109 yards passing on the day. Titans CB Ladarius Webb had 106 yards of interception return. Oops!
The Next Season: The 2018 Eagles definitely improved (then again, how could they not?!). Philly went 6-10 as McNabb improved and rookie HB Jeremy Hill started showing promise. Philly hasnít yet made it back to a winning record, but did manage back to back 8-8 seasons.
2015 Cincinnati Bengals
Summary: There have certainly been worse teams (though not many) in terms of win-loss record than the 2015 Bengals. But Cincy that season had the distinction of having the largest point differential in GZL history. The 2015 squad scored only 232 points all season (third worst all time) and gave up 473 (6th worst all time). That -241 point differential is staggering, and the worst ever. Even when the Bengals won, it wasnít pretty. Want an example? How about that classic 9-7 win over the Ravens in week 4? Cincinnati kicked 3 FGs and somehow managed a win. Even better: they went 3 for 5 on FGs. Actually, the Bengals did pretty well on offense in that game, recording 28 first downs! But how do you score 9 points with 28 first downs?! The Ravens should be ashamed. The Bengals leading rusher had 559 yards and 3 TDs. Only 1 WR had more than 2 TDs. The defense got 8 interceptions all year. This was NOT a good team. Oh, and did I mention they got shut out THREE times!?
Least Valuable Player: Itís hard not to go with another QB, but if the shoe fitsÖ.QB Ryan Tannehill wasnít officially a rookie. He just played like it. The 8th pick overall in 2014 threw just 106 passes his rookie season, but was the week 1 starter in 2015. 16 games and 30 picks later, the Bengals were 3-13. His 30 interceptions is tied for 2nd most all-time. When he threw 6 interceptions in week 8 it tied the league record. In 12 of his games his passer rating was below 66. Wow Ė thatís bad.
Signature Loss: This is actually hard to pick. As mentioned above, the Bengals got shut out 3 times. They got dusted 34-0 by the Giants. Then later gave up 41 points while getting a goose egg against the Raiders. Appropriately they finished the season with a shutout, though a more respectable 13-0 loss to Cleveland. So those games are all options. But so is the game they lost to Washington in week 13, 59-14. Thatís a HUGE loss! But itís not even their worst! Iím going to go with their 72-24 loss to San Diego. Sure they managed 24 points, but dang Ė 72 points?! It was 48-10 by halftime. Thatís the game that Tannenhill had 3 of his 6 interceptions returned for TDs.
The Next Season: Hereís a happy ending Ė the 2016 Bengals had a winning record, going 8-7-1 and just missed the playoffs. Tannenhill had a much better season and WR DeAndre Hopkins had a breakout season.
2011 Tennessee Titans
Summary: Only the Eagles list above had a worse record in league history. Tennesseeís 1 win season was a long slog with few highlights. Their only win game in week 8, a 16-14 snoozefest against the 6-10 Colts. Before and after that came a 6-game and 9-game losing streak. The Titans scored an anemic 241 that season, 7th worst all time. The defense didnít help much, watching as opposing offenses ran up 474 points, 5th worst all time. For those keeping track thatís a point differential of -233, second worst ever. Amazingly, the Titans managed their futility with Chris Johnson rushing for nearly 1,700 yards with a 5.2 average. In retrospect, that guy was a beast on this horrible squad. At one point the Titans went 6 straight weeks scoring 19 points or less.
Least Valuable Player: An argument could be made for OT David Stewart, who had 59 pancakes but allowed 14 sacks. But truth be told, Stewartís QB was Vince Young, a scrambler, and many of those were likely Youngís fault. Another candidate is CB Cortland Finnegan who had 1 pick, 15 deflections and gave up 45 catches. Thatís pretty bad. But Iím going to nominate the pair of Kickers Graham Gano and Kris Brown. Brown started the season and was dreadful, going 7 of 12 on FGs thru week 7. Oh and he somehow only went 6 of 10 on extra points, which is crazy for a professional kicker. So in week 8 the Titans signed GanoÖwho promptly went 7 of 12 on FGs for the season. And also 11 of 13 on extra points. Which is progress I suppose.
Signature Loss: This one is easy. The Titans went into Oakland in week 12 having won 1 game all season. They then suffered a humiliating 51-0 loss. Vince Young got sacked 4 times, Oaklandís Darren McFadden and Michael Bush BOTH had 100 yard rushing days as the Raiders ran up almost 500 yards of total offense to the 213 that Tennessee managed. Just a straight up ass-whipping.
The Next Season: What a difference a year makes. Titans GM Tim Nissen came in and turned the whole team around, going 10-6 and started 9 straight winning seasons.