If your idea of one of the top 10 worst teams in NFL history is the current Cleveland Browns (0-11), then you know nothing of the dark, misty netherworld of the pre-Super Bowl times. It’s time you learned the awful truth.
It was an age shrouded in mystery and leather, of oddly designed jerseys, weird rules and players named “Heinie Miller”. It was a time when multiple teams could go winless in the same season, and your team could play nothing but road games because, darn the luck, your home field burned down during the offseason.
Sure, the 2008 Detroit Lions were 0-16. But if those Lions, or, say, the 1976 Tampa Bay Bucs (0-14), went back in time to play the 1924 Rochester Jeffersons, it would be nothing less than murder. The Jeffersons, a real NFL team in ’24, scored seven points all season. Over their last four seasons in the NFL they had a 21-game losing streak.
And they’re not even the worst we found.
No, the NFL did not begin with the first Super Bowl, as many assume. There was pro football prior to 1967 — much of it bruising, muddy and inspiring, and some of it, well, worse than you can ever imagine. And that was especially true in the 1920s, when small, local football clubs signed up to play with the big boys in the new NFL. It was because of the money and the glory, but mostly the money.
So come with us now as we examine the real list of the worst teams in NFL history. The 2000 San Diego Chargers? Pffftttt! They were gods compared to the teams below. Buckle up.