NFL: Cursed Franchises

Craig HortonCorrespondent IMarch 15, 2012

NFL: Cursed Franchises

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    Some teams in professional sports seem to be cursed.

    Whether you believe in curses or not, you can't deny that some teams are either always bad, or just keep making disastrous moves.

    Even though some on this list have had recent success, the list is based upon the whole body of work of a franchise throughout their history.

    With that in mind, here is a look at the NFL teams that appear to be cursed.

10. New Orleans Saints

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    Even though the Saints have had recent success, even winning the Super Bowl in 2009, their overall history has been mostly dismal.

    Consider the Saints first 20 seasons. No playoffs, only two .500 seasons, not one year above .500.

    The 1980 Saints were 1-15, losing their first 14 before a one-point win against the Jets. So humiliated were their fans, that they began to wear paper sacks over their heads at games. The team was lovingly called the "Aints."

    That season they blew the biggest regular season lead in NFL history. Leading 35-7 against San Francisco, they ended up losing in overtime 38-35.

    Their latest curse?

    Record-setting quarterback Drew Brees has yet to win a road playoff game with the Saints.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Any team that loses the first 26 games they played has got to be cursed.

    That's an NFL record that still stands after 35 years. In their 0-14 first season in 1976, the Buccaneers were shutout five times. They scored 20 points only once, and were beaten by double-digits 10 times.

    In recent years they have had the wisdom to fire Tony Dungy and Jon Gruden.

    Their horrible 10-game losing streak to end the 2011 season proves that they are still cursed.

8. Washington Redskins

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    The Washington Redskins had some great teams under Joe Gibbs from 1981-1992. His teams won three Super Bowls, and Gibbs was deservedly inducted into the Hall-of-Fame.

    Take away those years though, and you have to go all the way back to 1942 to find a Championship team.

    Upon Gibbs' departure, perhaps no team ever fell so far and so fast as the Redskins.

    Since 1992, the Redskins have won only one division title, though Gibbs did return and lead them to Wild Card spots in 2005 and 2007.

    Recently the curse has been on the front office.

    Two first-round quarterbacks, Patrick Ramsey and Jason Campbell, failed. Albert Haynesworth was one of the worst free agent signings ever, and the Donovan McNabb trade was a complete disaster.

    Now, they traded a boatload of draft picks to the Rams for the second pick in the 2012 draft. Most likely that move was to obtain Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III.

    Will he break the curse?

7. Carolina Panthers

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    The Panthers haven't accumulated the decades of futility that others on this list have, as they have only been around since 1995.

    Even so, there are some reasons to call them cursed.

    For one thing, they play in the NFC South. All NFC South teams are cursed, as none of them have an overall record above .500.

    Another thing is that they have never compiled back-to-back winning seasons or playoff appearances.

    That, however, is something Cam Newton might change.

6. Cincinnati Bengals

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    The Bengals are sometimes called the "Bungles."

    Though they have appeared in two Super Bowls—losing both—their existence has been mostly drab.

    The Bengals last playoff win was the 1988 AFC Championship Game. Every other NFL team has won at least one postseason game since then.

    They have made the playoffs only four times since, never consecutively.

    They were a playoff team in 2011.

    Can they break the curse in 2012?

5. Atlanta Falcons

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    The Falcons have the distinction of making maybe the worst trade in NFL history. In their infinite wisdom, they trade Brett Favre to Green Bay prior to the 1992 season.

    Then they spent the next 16 years looking for a franchise quarterback, before drafting Matt Ryan in 2008.

    At that time, the Falcons had never posted back-to-back winning seasons or playoff appearances.

    Ryan has changed all that. The Falcons have had four straight winning seasons. They made consecutive playoffs in 2010 and 2011.

    There are two curses left.

    No Super Bowl wins, or even a playoff win for Ryan.

4. Cleveland Browns

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    If only the current edition of the Cleveland Browns was considered, the Browns might be higher on this list.

    However, the Browns were once a proud franchise that won four NFL Championships between 1950 and 1964.

    They had arguably the greatest player in NFL history—Jim Brown.

    Brown retired in 1965, and the Browns have not won a Championship since. They are one of only four teams that has not played in a Super Bowl.

    In the 1980's they were the victims of "The Drive" and "The Fumble."

    In 1996, owner Art Modell moved the team to Baltimore and changed their name to "Ravens."

    In a unique deal, the City of Cleveland retained the name "Browns." They re-entered the NFL, essentially as an expansion team, in 1999.

    Since then they have a dismal regular season record of 68-140. Their only playoff appearance was in 2002, when they lost to the hated Pittsburgh Steelers.

    Adding insult to injury, the team the old Browns became—the Ravens—won Super Bowl XXXV.

3. San Diego Chargers

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    The San Diego Chargers haven't been consistently bad, but they haven't been consistently good either.

    The place where they are cursed at is the quarterback position.

    While most of their quarterbacks have been above average, there is one huge exception—Ryan Leaf.

    Ryan Leaf was one of the biggest draft busts ever. He was picked second behind Peyton Manning in the 1998 draft. Prior to that draft there was much debate regarding which player would be better. It's obvious now that the Colts made the right choice.

    The Chargers had maybe the best quarterback that never played in a Super Bowl, Dan Fouts. Current starter Philip Rivers may be the best of his generation to never appear in the Super Bowl.

    The real curse on the Chargers though, is that two quarterbacks they let go, Eli Manning and Drew Brees, have won three Super Bowls combined.

2. Detroit Lions

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    The Lions are among four teams that have never been to the Super Bowl. They have not won an NFL Championship since 1957.

    Since that 1957 season, they have won exactly one playoff game.

    In the 1990s they had perhaps the greatest running back of his day—Barry Sanders. Sanders walked away from the game in his prime. Had he played a few more years, he might have retired as the NFL's all-time leading rusher.

    The Lions may have had the worst 10-year stretch of any team in NFL history from 2001-2010. Over the decade they were 39-121, with no playoff appearances. Included was the only 0-16 season ever in 2008.

    However, all those bad seasons gave them the opportunity to draft  the current group of stars they hope can break the curse.

1. Arizona Cardinals

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    It may come as a surprise to many, but the Cardinals are the oldest of all the current NFL teams. They originated as a neighborhood team, the Morgan Athletic Club, in 1898. Along with the Bears, they are the only team still remaining from the NFL's first season in 1920.

    In all those years they have won only two Championships.

    From 1920 until 1932, the NFL had no playoff or Championship Game. The team that finished in first place was considered the Champion. Under that format, the Cardinals won a disputed title in 1925, and won the NFL Championship Game in 1947, beating the Eagles 28-21.

    The Cardinals have a few dubious records.

    They have lost more regular season games—689—than any other team. Thirty-eight men have been the head coach, some more than once. No coach has ever lasted more than six seasons.

    Their 65-year Championship drought is longest in the NFL, and second only to the Chicago Cubs among the four major sports. 

    For all this misery, the Cardinals surely are cursed.