Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

24 Aug 2017

ESPN: Worst Teams/Offenses Since 1987

In honor of the New York Jets' tank-o-rama, ESPN asked me to put together this list of the worst teams of the past 30 years by DVOA. Since our projections say the Jets will have an average or maybe even above-average defense, I also put together a list of the worst offenses and the horrible quarterbacks who made that happen. Those are the teams the Jets will truly be challenging: the 2016 Rams, the 1992 Seahawks, and the 2002 Texans.

This article is free, not ESPN Insider, so please enjoy.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 24 Aug 2017

16 comments, Last at 29 Aug 2017, 11:03pm by D


by mehllageman56 :: Thu, 08/24/2017 - 9:26pm

Thanks for posting this Aaron, and also putting their putridness in perspective. Forgive me if I boycott their season, and watch this movie Gorath every Sunday instead: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iJKf2FHz95A

Of course, if they signed this guy Maguma as a running back, they'd be unbeatable: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7z12RWdKMN4

Ok, he's a giant walrus, not very plausible. Still might be a better plan than theirs.

by Travis :: Fri, 08/25/2017 - 3:52pm

There's nothing in the rulebook that says a giant walrus can't play football.

by mehllageman56 :: Sat, 08/26/2017 - 12:48pm

Getting him into the stadium might be a problem. Plus, he only wants the temperature to return to normal, i.e., Antarctic cold. So the Bills might sign him first.

by jtr :: Mon, 08/28/2017 - 1:11pm

There has to be a rule prohibiting someone from both playing for the Jets and coaching the Chiefs at the same time though, right?

by mehllageman56 :: Tue, 08/29/2017 - 2:37pm

Ha. But if he was Maguma, there's no way KC would bog down in the playoffs. No one could get to the end zone through all that blubber.

by JMM :: Thu, 08/24/2017 - 10:49pm

In the discussion on Houston, the score versus Pittsburgh was listed as 24-3. The score was in fact 24-6.

by Aaron Brooks Go... :: Fri, 08/25/2017 - 8:13am

Boy, there's a lot of xFC West teams in that list.

by D :: Tue, 08/29/2017 - 11:03pm

Half the top 10 is NFC West from '03-'09.

It's crazy to think just how horrible that division was for so long. (FWIW, the '04 NFC West has to be the worst division in history. It had a collective net DVOA of -95% or -23.75% on average.)

by Led :: Fri, 08/25/2017 - 10:37am

The FO projections jive with my subjective take: pretty good defense and historically bad offense. The "good" news, from a tanking perspective, is that it's possible to lose 14-15 games with a team like that even if the total DVOA is not historically bad. I think the pre-Brees/Rivers Chargers lost 15 with a top 10 defense (RIP Junior), and the Bears also had one of those years.

EDIT: Yep, the 2000 Chargers lost 15 games, were 29th in offensive DVOA and 9th in defensive DVOA. They started 3 different QBs: Ryan Leaf (9 starts), 37 year old Jim Harbaugh (5 starts), and the immortal Moses Moreno (2 starts). Old Man Comeback was not good but good enough in 5 starts to keep the offense out of historically bad territory. He's clearly better than anybody the Jets have.

I was wrong about the Bears. I was thinking of the 1992 Seahawks, who are #2 on Aaron's list of all time bad offenses. They lost 14 games with the 3rd best defense by DVOA (RIP Cortez -- Jesus, this is sad). I'd actually take the Jets QBs over the poo poo platter of Gelbaugh, Stouffer, and McGwire.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 08/25/2017 - 11:09am

great stuff (by that I mean the research you put into your post, I definitely don't mean that depressing list of quarterbacks).

by pm :: Fri, 08/25/2017 - 10:14am

When does 1986 DVOA come out? I assume you also have the DVOA's for all the other years in the 80's so I'm looking forward to seeing that.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 08/25/2017 - 11:06am

I'm looking forward to ''86, too, just to see how the Giants defense stacks up to the all-time greats. Speaking of New York teams, I'm also curious about the '86 Jets. They overachieved their Pythagorean win expectation, but they started out 10-1, and came within one roughing the passer penalty of making it to the AFC Championship Game. Were they a good team that hit a rough patch at the end of the season? Or a mediocre team that fell back to earth?

by Tom Gower :: Fri, 08/25/2017 - 11:46am

Spoiler preview: the Bears were the top defense by DVOA in 1986 (regular season), and it wasn't close.

by JoeyHarringtonsPiano :: Fri, 08/25/2017 - 12:12pm

Fascinating! Can't wait to see the numbers.

by mehllageman56 :: Fri, 08/25/2017 - 12:46pm

Having watched them on tv and live that year, they were a talented playoff caliber team that had a relatively easy early schedule, and a brutal last five games, that got destroyed by injuries everywhere. They lost the entire secondary in the second week loss to New England, right before the 51-45 game against Miami. Russell Carter came back for the playoffs, but they were missing Klecko for that double overtime loss against Cleveland. O'Brien was beat up by season's end as well. If they had stayed healthy, they would have been a threat to play the Giants in the Super Bowl (I doubt Joe Walton beats Parcells in a Super Bowl, though).

by Aaron Schatz :: Fri, 08/25/2017 - 11:49am

It keeps getting put off by other responsibilities... the book, my move to the new house, getting ready for the upcoming season. I still plan on getting 1986 published before the 2017 season begins.

We have most of the play-by-play for 1983-1985 and a lot of 1982, but I won't be able to start breaking those seasons down until after 2017 is over.