Are the Detroit Lions the Worst NFL Team Ever?

Football ManiaxsSenior Writer IDecember 29, 2008

By Derek Lofland

Now that the Lions did complete the first 0-16 season in NFL history, questions will surface about whether the Lions are the worst team in NFL history.

There have been plenty of bad teams in the NFL. The 1934 Cincinnati Reds went 0-8 in 1934. They were the worst defense in the league giving up 243 points. They also had the worst offense scoring only 10 points. The 1934 Reds were shutout in six of their eight games. Their closest game was a 9-0 loss to the Chicago Cardinals.

It’s going to be hard to top that type of futility.

If we are going to have a realistic conversation about this, we need to confine the debate to the modern era. Most of the bad teams in recent NFL history have been expansion teams. The 1960 Dallas Cowboys went 0-11-1. The 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers went 0-14.

The Detroit Lions have been around since the 1930 season. This is not a team that plopped onto the NFL landscape last year.

One area the Lions were historically bad was the defense.

They gave up 517 points. Only three teams have ever given up more than 500 points in a season. The NFL record for most points given up in a season was 533 points, surrendered by the 2-14 1981 Baltimore Colts.

The Lions finished last in the NFL in yards per game allowed, last in rush yards allowed, and 27th in pass yards allowed. The Lions allowed quarterbacks a rating of 110.9. The Arizona Cardinals were second to last at 96.9. The Lions gave up 25 touchdown passes and four interceptions.

Again, not just a bad pass offense, but it was also a bad rush defense.

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