2011 Indianapolis Colts and the 10 Worst NFL Teams of All Time
The Colts were the last team anyone expected to hit such rocky roads.
This got me pondering where the Colts might rank the among the worst seasons in NFL history.
In doing this study, I found comfort in this one thing: Usually when a team hits rock bottom, there is a rebound that gives birth to new life for the city and the franchise.
All hope is not lost. There is always next year.
1. 2008 Detroit Lions (0-16)
2008 was a dismal year for the Detroit Lions and their loyal fans. This was the last year of Matt Millen's run as the club's general manager. This season also marked the end of the Rod Marinelli era, as he and his entire staff were fired the day after the season ended.
The best part of the failed season for Lions fans was the 2009 NFL draft. The Lions selected quarterback Matthew Stafford out of Georgia with the No. 1 pick.
The failed season also led to the hiring of current head coach Jim Schwartz, and the franchise has seen a dramatic turnaround since then.
2. 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-14)
The Buccaneers entered into the NFL in 1976, and the expansion team was atrocious. The team was made up almost completely of washed-up veterans. The league actually changed the rules to favor any future expansion team, hoping to avoid another travesty like this one.
Led by former USC head coach John McKay, the Buccaneers were as hapless and hopeless as watching a newborn colt try to run right out of the womb.
The bright spot for this team was that 1976 was that it was the first year of the team's only Hall of Fame player, Lee Roy Selmon. It was just their luck that Selmon was plagued by injury most of the season and couldn't contribute.
3. 2011 Indianapolis Colts (0-12)
It's been that kind of year for the 2011 Indianapolis Colts. What's funny to me about the Colts this year is that, in hindsight, people have said that they didn't think the team would be very good even if Peyton Manning had played.
Are you kidding me?
This is essentially the same team that Manning had led to seven straight seasons of over 12 wins.
The team is hopelessly inept without their general, and current head coach Jim Caldwell doesn't seem like he knows how to inspire his troops.
Though this is no bold statement, the Colts will finish the season with a record of 0-16. Until that time, however, they shall occupy a lower rank on this list.
After all, they might shock the world and actually win a game this year.
4. 1980 New Orleans Saints (1-15)
All you need to know is this: The 1980 New Orleans Saints were dubbed "the Aints" due to their atrocious play. The fans also started showing up wearing paper bags over their heads and calling themselves "the unknown fan."
Yeah, it was that bad.
The game that highlights their dismal season is their Week 14 loss to the upstart San Francisco 49ers and second-year quarterback Joe Montana. This game was the very first fourth-quarter, come-from-behind win for Montana.
5. 2009 St. Louis Rams (1-15)
2009 was a rough year for consummate professional Stephen Jackson of the St.Louis Rams. The team went through three quarterbacks that year and only managed to win one game.
It's hard to imagine the team would be in almost exactly the same position only two years later.
So far it looks like nothing good has come out of their failed 2009 season. Maybe next year will tell a different tale.
6. 2007 Miami Dolphins (1-15)
The 2007 season was one marked by off-the-field issues and on-the-field ineptitude. John Beck was the starting quarterback that year, and still Mike Shanahan thought he might have something this year...but I digress.
Joey Porter, veteran linebacker for the team, got into a squabble with Cincinnati Bengals offensive lineman Levi Jones while the two were frequenting the same casino in Las Vegas.
Then, three players for the Dolphins were arrested in 2007 within a half-month period of time, one of them being Pro Bowl wide receiver Chris Chambers.
The team did manage to salvage a pint-sized portion of their dignity by beating the hated Baltimore Ravens, thus avoiding the pariah associated with a winless record.
7.1991 Indianapolis Colts (1-15)
It's hard to associate Hall of Fame running back Eric Dickerson with failure, but his 1991 Indianapolis Colts team was one of the worst in the history of the NFL.
Quarterback Jeff George was horrible, throwing only 10 touchdowns while giving away 12 interceptions. It didn't help that he was sacked 56 times.
The Colts also have the distinction of setting two records during their 1991 campaign: least amount of points in a 16 game season (143) and least amount of touchdowns in a 16 game season.
8. 1989 Dallas Cowboys (1-15)
1989 was a rough year for the Dallas Cowboys, but it was a year that led to a dynasty. This was the first season for three pillars that would shape the team of the '90s: owner Jerry Jones, head coach Jimmy Johnson and quarterback Troy Aikmen.
The Cowboys would go on to make the playoffs two years later. Ultimately, the team that was created in the aftermath of the 1989 season would go on to win three Super Bowls.
9. 2000 San Diego Chargers (1-15)
The 2000 San Diego Chargers featured Ryan Leaf as their starting quarterback. Need I say more?
The offense was horrible, scoring 16.8 points a game, but the defense was even worse, giving up 27.5 points a game.
The best statistical proof I can give you for ranking the 2000 Chargers this high on the list of all-time worst teams is this: The team's leading rusher was Jermaine Fezande, who rushed for 368 yards.
That is a two-game total for the 2011 Denver Broncos, to put it in perspective.
10. 2001 Carolina Panthers (1-15)
The 2001 Carolina Panthers hold the place of honor as the best "worst" NFL team of all-time.
Despite finishing the year with a record of 1-15, the Panthers, led by head coach George Seifert, somehow managed to come away with a plus-1 turnover differential.
How in the world does an NFL team lose 15 out of 16 games and still win the turnover battle?
The gods of football played at trick on the Panthers franchise in 2001, but perhaps the arrival of Cam Newton is a peace offering to devout Carolina fans.