Thursday, July 26, 2007

The New York Jets: Losing to Losers

Nothing's tougher for an NFL team than going undefeated. After nearly a century of NFL play the 1972 Miami Dolphins still stand alone as the only perfect team ever. But strangely, losing all your games is almost as difficult as going undefeated. Since the merger only the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers have managed to blow an entire season’s worth of games. You've got to go all the way back to the WWII era to find other perfect losers. Somehow, someway, even the absolute worst football teams find a way to eke out that one win enabling them to avoid the eternal shame that would come with losing every single game. And “eke” is the correct word to use. Since the merger, eleven teams have posted one-win seasons and of those eleven stirring victories, eight were decided by a seven points or less. The largest margin of victory in those eleven games was thirteen points.

Here are the teams that fell just short of awful perfection:

1971: Buffalo Bills
1972: Houston Oilers
1973: Houston Oilers
1980: New Orleans Saints
1982: Hoston Oilers
1989: Dallas Cowboys
1990: New England Patriots
1991: Indianapolis Colts
1996: New York Jets
2000: San Diego Chargers
2001: Carolina Panthers

Only the Oilers managed to post multiple one-win seasons, including back-to-back ones! But what of the teams that managed to lose to these losers? On the roll call of teams that failed to defeat the above-listed Awful Eleven only two franchises appear more than once. The Colts lost to both the 1973 Oilers and the 1990 Patriots. But the biggest Loser to Losers are of course the New York Jets. Three times were the Jets asked to defeat a winless team and three times did the Jets deny that request. They lost to the 1972 Oilers, the 1980 Saints, and the 1991 Colts.

Note with awe that the Jets not only uniquely managed to pull off this feat three separate times, but each ignominious defeat took place in a different decade. The Jets embarrassed themselves in the 1970’s, the 1980’s AND the 1990’s. Unfortunately, the Jets’ “streak” appears to be in serious jeopardy. Just two years remain in this current decade and New York has yet to fall to a winless team in the 2000’s (the Oughts?). No NFL team has even ended a season with just one-win since the 2001 Carolina Panthers. Time is running out for the Jets to put their record out of reach for probably all-time. This MUST happen (Did I mention I hate the Jets?). Will the football gods cooperate?

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