New York Jets and the Top 15 End of the Season Collapses in NFL History

Trae ThompsonSenior Analyst IDecember 27, 2010

New York Jets and the Top 15 End of the Season Collapses in NFL History

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    FOXBORO, MA - NOVEMBER 22:  Coach Rex Ryan of the New York Jets looks back at his quarterback Mark Sanchez #6 as they leave the field after losing to the New England Patriots 31-14 on November 22, 2009 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots won 31-14. (P
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    The New York Jets made the playoffs, but not in impressive fashion.

    New York (10-5) lost to the Chicago Bears 38-34 on Sunday, but clinched a playoff spot when Jacksonville lost to Washington 20-17 in overtime. Coach Rex Ryan wasn't exactly jubilant.

    "By the way, I think we're in the playoffs," he said. "Not the way I wanted it, but I'll take it."

    For a coach and team that had Super Bowl aspirations to begin the year, back-dooring your way into the playoffs isn't the way to gain respect in the NFL. Maybe they'll gain momentum like last year, but this team also has way too many questions.

    There have been close wins over Detroit, Cleveland and Houston (not top-tier teams) then shocking losses to New England and Miami. It looked like New York got back on track with last week's win over Pittsburgh, then came Sunday's game.

    Will New York fix its problems? If the Jets don't make a long playoff run, where would they qualify among past teams that have experienced late-season collapses? There have been plenty of teams like New York that had so much potential but faltered at the end.

    Here's a look at the top 15 worst collapses in NFL history:

15. 1999 Miami Dolphins

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    25 Nov 1999:  Head coach Jimmy Johnson  of the Miami Dolphins looks at the scoreboard during the game against the Dallas Cowboys  at the Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas. The Cowboys defeated the Dolphins 20-3. Mandatory Credit: Ronald Martinez  /Allsport
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Jimmy Johnson's team was 7-1 at the halfway point. Dan Marino was still playing, and the team had taken a chance on drafting running back Cecil Collins, the ultra-talented player who had been kicked out of LSU and wound up at McNeese State for run-ins with the law.

    Miami finished 9-7, and was thrashed by Jacksonville, 62-7 in the divisional round of the playoffs.

14. 1986 New York Jets

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    1986:  Defensive end Mark Gastineau #99 of the New York Jets walks on the field during a game in 1986.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    At one point, the Jets had the league's best record at 10-1.

    They finished the regular season with five straight losses, beat the Chiefs in a Wild Card game at home, but then lost to the Browns in overtime the following week.

13. 1996 Washington Redskins

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    28 Nov 1996: Head coach Norv Turner (right) talks with quarterbacks Gus Frerotte (left) and Heath Shuler (middle) of the Washington Redskins during a 21-10 loss to the Dallas Cowboys at Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas.
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    In 1996, it appeared Washington was finally going to break through under then coach Norv Turner, hitting the midpoint with a 7-1 record.

    But the 'Skins went 2-6 on the backstretch, including two overtime losses to Arizona and the 49ers. 

12. 1995 Oakland Raiders

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    OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 24:  Running back Harvey Williams #22 of the Oakland Raiders runs with the ball during the game against the Denver Broncos at the Oakland/Alameda County Coliseum on December 24, 1995 in Oakland, California.  The Denver Broncos won 3
    George Rose/Getty Images

    Oakland was the team to beat in the NFL with an 8-2 record, but then suffered consecutive losses to Dallas and San Diego.

    Kansas City then beat the Raiders to clinch the division title, but with a two-game cushion, there's no way you could miss the playoffs right? Wrong. Oakland lost three more times and finished the year with a six-game losing streak.

11. 2003 Minnesota Vikings

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    TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 28:  Quarterback Daunte Culpepper #11 of the Minnesota Vikings reacts on the field during the game against the Arizona Cardinals on December 28, 2003 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. The Cardinals won 18-17. (Photo by Jeff Gros
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Minnesota was first in the NFL in total yards (6,294) and touchdowns (32) and fourth in first downs (336). Daunte Culpepper was still zipping balls around, and Randy Moss was one of the league's top receivers, but that didn't lead to a Super Bowl.

    Minnesota was 6-2, but finished the year 3-5 and missed the playoffs under coach Mike Tice.

10. 1996 Kansas City Chiefs

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    15 Dec 1996:  Linebacker Tracy Simien of the Kansas City Chiefs sits on the sidelines during a game against the Indianapolis Colts at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  The Colts won the game 24-19. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Squire  /Allsport
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    The year before, Kanas City went 13-3, won the AFC West and lost to the Colts in the divisional round.

    In 1996, Kansas City started off 5-3, but then went 4-4, losing its final three games of the season under coach Marty Schottenheimer.

    Hang in there, Chiefs fans. This isn't your only entry on this list.

9. 1996 Denver Broncos

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    15 Dec 1996: Quarterback John Elway of the Denver Broncos moves the ball during a game against the Oakland Raiders at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado. The Broncos won the game, 24-19.
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Another heartbreaking chapter in John Elway's legendary career. This Broncos team had 5,791 total yards that season. Terrell Davis was also in the backfield.

    Denver was 7-1 at the halfway point but finished the regular season with two losses in its final three games. The Broncos were still 13-3, but exited the playoffs early with a shocking 30-27 loss to Jacksonville.

8. 1988 New Orleans Saints

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    SAN FRANCISCO - DECEMBER 11:  Tackle Daren Gilbert #77 of the New Orleans Saints in action against the San Francisco 49ers during the game at Candlestick Park on December 11, 1988 in San Francisco, California.  The 49ers won 30-17.  (Photo by George Rose/
    George Rose/Getty Images

    With a 9-3 record and a two-game lead in the Wild Card race, the Saints crumbled under the pressure with losses to the Giants, Minnesota and San Francisco. They finished 10-6 and out of the playoffs.

7. 1978 Washington Redskins

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    With a 16-13 overtime win in Week 11 against the Giants, Washington was 8-3.

    That would be the Redskins' final win of the season, which was shocking considering the Redskins began the year 6-0.

6. 1993 Miami Dolphins

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    31 Oct 1993: Miami Dolphins quarterback Scott Mitchell manages a pass under heavy pressure during last week''s game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Mitchell is filling in for injured Miami QB Dan Marino, who will be out for the rest of the season.
    Scott Halleran/Getty Images

    Miami had defeated Dallas on the infamous Leon Lett play on Thanksgiving Day to improve to 9-2, but lost its last five games and missed the playoffs.

5. 2010 New York Giants

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    GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 26:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants throws against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on December 26, 2010 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    The Giants were 6-2 at the midway point and looked to be an extremely balanced team. But then came the stunning "lights out" loss to Dallas, and Philadelphia won its first meeting with the Giants this season, 27-17.

    New York bounced back with three straight wins, but then DeSean Jackson delivered a knockout punch with his punt return on the final play of the game last week, giving Philadelphia a 38-31 victory.

    New York's playoff chances have now nearly evaporated with Sunday's 45-17 loss at Green Bay.

    This team just seemed a lot better than 9-6.

4. 2008 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    TAMPA, FL - DECEMBER 28: Wide receiver Antonio Bryant #89 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tumbles after a midfield catch against the Oakland Raiders at Raymond James Stadium on December 28, 2008 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Tampa was 9-3 and tied atop the NFC South with Carolina, but lost to both the Panthers and Atlanta.

    Even with a loss to San Diego, the Bucs still had a shot at the postseason but lost to Oakland.

3. 2003 Kansas City Chiefs

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - DECEMBER 28:  Quarterback Trent Green #10 of the Kansas City Chiefs runs the football during the game against the Chicago Bears on December 28, 2003 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri.  The Chiefs defeated the Bears 31-3. (Pho
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Trent Green and Priest Holmes led the NFL's best offense that season.

    Kansas City was 8-0, and finished the season 13-3, but lost to Indianapolis in the AFC Divisional round, 38-31. Just another one of the many years Chiefs fans were left wondering, "What if?"

2. 2002 New Orleans Saints

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    NEW ORLEANS - DECEMBER 1:  Quarterback Aaron Brooks #2 of the New Orleans Saints passes against the Tampa Bay Buccanneers during the first half of the game on December 1, 2002 at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The Saints defeated the
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Deuce McAllister was at running back and Joe Horn was one of the league's best receivers, but quarterback Aaron Brooks drew a ton of venom from Saints fans that year.

    After starting 6-2, New Orleans finished 9-7 and missed the playoffs.

1. 2008 Dallas Cowboys

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    PHILADELPHIA - DECEMBER 28:  Donovan McNabb #5 of the Philadelphia Eagles throws a pass against the Dallas Cowboys on December 28, 2008 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    On paper, this team was built for the Super Bowl. Dallas was 5-3 at the midway point, but went 4-4 after that, including a 33-24 loss to Baltimore and a shocking 44-6 loss at Philadelphia that kept the Cowboys out of the playoffs.

    Many Cowboys fans will tell you it's the most overrated, frustrating team in the Jerry Jones era.