The era of the Sunday Ticket has made it possible for many more people to miss out on the awful moments in the NFL during the 2000s. Sadly, technology is still lagging and too many fans were stuck watching some awful football during the decade.
There were plenty of games to review for the worst of the decade (the entire Lions 2008 season, about 50 Bills games, most NFC West games for the last five years), and I've narrowed it down to 10.
Luckily, I avoided watching some of these games for research; however, the few I did see will haunt me for years. Maybe this should have been a Halloween article.
10. Eagles 10, Rams 3 (2002)
This game makes the list mostly because it was a national game, a championship game rematch, and was sloppy and a mess offensively. Both teams combined for nine fumbles, and Kurt Warner threw two interceptions in the contest that best symbolized the end of "The Greatest Show on Turf." Give credit to the Eagles' aggressive defense in this game, however, as it was a huge game that was a huge bust with zero scoring in the second half.
9. Green Bay 10, Buffalo 0 (2002)
Drew Bledsoe must have taken the season off early, as he fumbled four times and threw two picks, yet the Packers could only score 10 points because they played pretty badly as well. To give you a sense of the Bills' sad play this day, they had 17 first downs and 185 yards. That is pretty tough to do and was very tough to watch.
8. Carolina 10, Atlanta 3 (2006)
Somehow the Michael Vick-Chris Weinke quarterback battle didn't pan out. A sign of a bad game is when the coach knows his man under center is so bad that he only gets to attempt seven passes. Chris Weinke went 4-of-7 passing and Carolina ran the ball 52 times in what at least was a quick bad game. Vick only completed nine passes, and neither team had 200 yards total offense. There was no scoring in the second half and no interest, either.
7. San Francisco 9, Minnesota 3 (2006)
To refresh your memory, the Niners had allowed 89 points in their two previous games. For Minnesota to score only three points and gain 238 yards took a special effort of terrible football. Making Minnesota's effort even worse was the fact that the Niners had a total of 133 yards of offense. No touchdowns of course and the longest play of the game was 22 yards. Teams should not win games with eight first downs.
6. Detroit 9, Dallas 7 (2002)
When Joey Harrington and Chad Hutchinson battled, the world was silent. Mostly because they were asleep. Detroit had only 148 yards in the game and somehow still won. Detroit's offensive players included James Stewart, Bill Schroeder, Az Hakim, Scotty Anderson, John Owens, Cory Schlesinger, and Mikhael Ricks. Luckily, they also had Jason Hanson, who kicked three 40-plus-yard field goals.
5. Tampa Bay 12, Carolina 9 (2002)
It should be pointed out this is the 2002 game, since both teams somehow played a 12-9 game the next year. At least that game had a touchdown and over 600 yards combined offense. The 2002 version had 386 yards combined and six turnovers. What else would you expect when Rob Johnson and Randy Fasani met?
This year's Rams-Lions game has to be the lowest rated game of the decade, but this has to be a close second. Fasani went 5-of-18 for 46 yards and three interceptions and never started another NFL game again. Martin Gramatica did add excitement by kicking three fourth-quarter field goals, including the winning 47-yarder. Most everyone had tuned out by then.
4. Atlanta 6, Arizona 3 (2004)
They actually combined for over 500 yards, which is amazing when considering the score was 6-3. Such a low score with ball movement makes this game special, where it may have had moments of excitement but was so horribly played. Both teams had four turnovers and combined for nine fumbles.
Had it been a massive snow storm, the number of fumbles might be understandable, but this was in Atlanta. No touchdowns, the field goals weren't even exciting, yet the Falcons were 3-0 after this game. Some wins should count for less than one in the "W" column.
3. Pittsburgh 3, Miami 0 (2007)
This was a Monday Night Football game, but ESPN should have shown poker instead. Miami was 0-10 going into the game, the field was an absolute mess like it always is at Heinz, and rain poured on the awful field all day. The game started 25 minutes late because of lightning, but unfortunately the lightning ended and the game began.
Combined, the teams gained 375 yards and the only score took place with 17 seconds to go on a 24-yard field goal. The field was sloppy, the game was sloppy, and the play luckily did not extend into overtime.
2. Cleveland 6, Buffalo 3 (2009)
This may have been the game that killed my Bills fandom forever. I hated football and despised myself after this mess. Trent Edwards was bad, and Derek Anderson was horrendous.
Anderson completed 2-of-17 passes, and Cleveland somehow won nonetheless. The Bills had nine false-start penalties, at home, which has to be a record for pathetic play.
It was so sad that I knew how the game would end. Roscoe Parrish would make a dumb play on a punt and fumble and Cleveland would recover and win with a field goal.
Of course that happened and Billy Cundiff kicked an 18-yarder for the victory. The Bills may have lost on the scoreboard, but the real losers were the idiots who watched for three hours.
1. Cincinnati 13, Philadelphia 13 (2008)
The worst game of the decade had no winners, though the tie actually did help out the Eagles in the long run.
Any game that lasted four hours and resembled a car wreck scene stands out from the rest. I've never seen both teams punt with less than two minutes to go in overtime.
Nobody wanted to win the game, and the Eagles thought they could win it in double-OT, which doesn't exist in the regular season, even though the rules are explained during the OT coin toss in every game that takes extra time.
I think both teams wanted to get to a shootout or some football equivalent, since there were also three punts after the two-minute warning in the fourth quarter. The quality of play in this game was unspeakably bad and easily stands out as the worst game of the decade, which is saying a lot.