Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

17 May 2011

ESPN: 10 Most Disappointing Teams

When there's no NFL news to talk about, what are a bunch of football writers to do? Write up some lists, of course. We aren't immune. Here's the beginning of a series for ESPN on "Top 10 Most Disappointing," starting with the 10 most disappointing teams of the last 25 years.

Posted by: Sean McCormick on 17 May 2011

20 comments, Last at 19 May 2011, 12:28pm by Sean McCormick

Comments

1
by andrew :: Tue, 05/17/2011 - 2:54pm

I can only see #10 and the title of #9, so can only speculate on the rest.

I'd put last year's Cowboys and Vikings up there though....

2
by Aaron Brooks' Good Twin (not verified) :: Tue, 05/17/2011 - 3:06pm

Top 10 Most Disappointing Links, maybe

3
by Hank Hardy Unruh (not verified) :: Tue, 05/17/2011 - 3:10pm

The 2003 Raiders were one of my favorite franchises to play in Madden. It was interesting to try to develop a new core of talent while staying competitive. Plus, it was a fulfilling exercise, because there is no way your franchise could turn out as badly as the Raiders actually did.

4
by Travis :: Tue, 05/17/2011 - 4:03pm

The 1996 Jets were far less disappointing than the 1999 version, which brought back all the key members of the AFC runner-up (and DVOA overall #2) from the previous season. Elway had retired, so the Jets went into 1999 as the AFC co-favorite (along with the Jaguars). Then Testaverde got hurt in Week 1, Rick Mirer took over at quarterback, and by Week 7 the season was effectively over.

7
by Sean McCormick :: Tue, 05/17/2011 - 6:12pm

The '99 Jets were disappointing in that they were ready to be a Super Bowl team had Vinny not gotten hurt, but they actually played very well considering the circumstances. Quarterback injuries derail seasons as a matter of course, so while the season was disappointing, it didn't require much in the way of explanation.

According to DVOA, the biggest dropoff in effectiveness by any Jets team was the 2005 version. The 2004 team that went 10-6 and beat San Diego in the playoffs graded out very well with DVOA, and the succession of quarterback injuries early in the season positively cratered the offense. (Of course, a severely declining offensive line had something to do with all those injuries.)

5
by D :: Tue, 05/17/2011 - 4:45pm

I don't have Insider, but the fist team that comes to my mind is the 2005 Eagles. That team looked like it would roll to the Super Bowl.

8
by Sean McCormick :: Tue, 05/17/2011 - 6:13pm

Narrowly missed the cut, as did the '07 Ravens, who were the #1 DVOA team in 2006 and went 5-11 the next year.

17
by TomKelso :: Wed, 05/18/2011 - 5:17pm

As much as it annoys the hell out of me to hear analysts talking about the mental side of the game, the 2007 Ravens did seem like they were hungover after the debacle of the home playoff loss to Indianapolis. To lose a game with that much buildup, with that much emotional investment, and to have played defense so well that Peyton Manning looked adequate at best -- no TD's, barely 6 yards per attempt, under 60 percent completion rate and two picks -- and still LOSE!

Billick lost the fanbase with that game, and it seemed a lot of the players tuned him out the following season -- playing as an undisciplined, over-aggressive sloppy mess. How they came the closest to being the team to knock off the Pats was a microcosm of the whole damned year -- sloppy penalties and time-out screw-ups costing them a game that should have been a season savior.

But disappointing? Did anyone rally expect that much out of them that year? This site was calling McNair Captain Checkdown even in 2006 -- and that was his good year in Baltimore.

19
by BJR :: Thu, 05/19/2011 - 5:17am

The Ravens didn't have much offence in 2006, but what they did have either left or got injured in 2007. McNair played hurt and was a shambles, and Kyle Boller started a number of games when the fans and coaches had given up on him and he was a dead man walking. Jamal Lewis left at the end of 2006 and it was the end of the road for Jonathan Ogden - he returned for 2007 but was basically a corpse.

If I recall correctly the defensive secondary was decimated by injury in 2007. This is borne out in DVOA which saw their pass defence rank plummet to 22nd in the league that season.

And yes, they basically gave up after about week 10.

20
by Sean McCormick :: Thu, 05/19/2011 - 12:28pm

Well, they did get up for the Patriots. A little too up, if you believe the officials at the end of that game.

6
by Independent George :: Tue, 05/17/2011 - 5:04pm

There's always the '68 Eagles, who won 2 of their last 3 games, thereby losing the opportunity to draft O.J. Simpson at #1, and then managed to overlook Joe Greene with the #3 pick.

9
by Michael LaRocca (not verified) :: Tue, 05/17/2011 - 9:12pm

They probably don't list Seifert's 1-15 Panthers because nobody expected much of my team by then. I really loved the 0-14 Bucs, though. Yep, I have the good fortune to claim both of them as my home team.

10
by Jerry :: Tue, 05/17/2011 - 10:48pm

How did you avoid Detroit?

11
by Adam (not verified) :: Tue, 05/17/2011 - 11:57pm

2002 Miami Dolphins were tied for the #1 seed in the AFC in week 15, then lost their next two and missed the playoffs for the first time since 1996. With the NFL's Rushing Champion and one of the top defenses.

12
by Kibbles :: Wed, 05/18/2011 - 5:08am

That was just a weird year all around. Three of the top 7 teams (#3 Miami, #6 Denver, #7 New England) all wound up sitting out the playoffs because they finished in a 4-way tie for the AFC 6th seed with #15 Cleveland and lost out on tiebreakers. IIRC, Cleveland only made it to 9-7 that season because they won two games with time-expiring Tim Couch Hail Mary TD passes. Like I said, weird year.

13
by James-London :: Wed, 05/18/2011 - 6:06am

QB injury again. No one was ever going to confuse Jay Fiedler with Marino, but he was a solid enough starter on that team. He was fragile though, and that lead to the "Ray Lucas Experience". IIRC Miami were 2-4 during that exciting (mid-season)adventure.

What a criminal waste of a 'D' that was. Taylor, Thomas, Madison & Surtain all in their pomp, plus Ogunleye, Chester & Bowens on the D line. Throw in Ricky Williams and the best of Randy McMichael and failure to make the playoffs can still make me angry. 10-6 the following year and no playoffs because of a loss to the Texans, and it was 5 years of circling the drain to follow.

Phil Simms is a Cretin.

14
by C-Weezy (not verified) :: Wed, 05/18/2011 - 10:19am

Hello everybody, I've become a big fan of this site the past few football seasons and this is my first time commenting.

I'm an Eagles fan, so my comment on the 2005 team is: It's a disappointment, but the trouble signs were there since the spring. The Terrell Owens shenanigans, Todd Pinkston's achillies in training camp, cutting Corey Simon, other weird injuries and things going on, every supernatural force in the universe did not want this team to succeed. However, to me the Chiefs game from that year was a good memory.

Would the 2000 Jacksonville Jaguars be considered a letdown? They were coming off a year in which they beat everyone except for one team, and then they fell way back down. Is this a disappointment, or was this forseen? (An example of a team that had it's window closed on them)

How about the 2003 Buccaneers? It was a veteran team, but after winning the Super Bowl, and another year with the Gruden offense, one would have thought they would be really good again.

15
by Sean McCormick :: Wed, 05/18/2011 - 11:00am

All three teams are worth mentioning, for sure. There was an attempt to keep Super Bowl losers to a minimum, as they would have otherwise clogged up the list. If you lost the Super Bowl and your quarterback broke his ankle the following season, you weren't going to make it, even though there were obviously a lot of other warning signs flying around. Kurt Warner hurt himself, too, but he was so outrageously, inexplicably awful prior to the injury that the injury itself was sort of beside the point.

The '03 Bucs are an interesting case. I remember that for much of the season, their DVOA was really high, but they kept on losing games in odds ways. Eventually, it seemed like they would get it straightened out, but instead they sort of gave up on the year and their DVOA went downhill to better match their record.

16
by orlando private school (not verified) :: Wed, 05/18/2011 - 1:50pm

You nailed the list right on the head.

18
by piglet (not verified) :: Wed, 05/18/2011 - 8:23pm

I know superbowl losers were kept to a minimum but what about the 2009 steelers. defending champs, started out 6-2 then went on a 5 game losing streak which included 3 of the worst teams in the league