Before the 2007 NFL season began, I authored a blog entry discussing the interesting fact that since the 1970 merger, eleven teams had produced one-win seasons and, of the eleven wins of those eleven teams, three had come at the expense of the New York Jets while only one other team had at least two such losses. Even more fascinating, the Jets’ three defeats had each come in an entirely different decade: one in the 1970’s, one in the 1980’s, and one in the 1990’s, meaning the Jets currently owned a three-decade streak of Losing to Losers (unless you’re one of those odd people who insist that 1980 is the last year of the 1970’s rather than the first year of the 1980’s; then this strange “streak” does not exist for you). I bemoaned the fact that this current decade was nearing its end before the Jets could extend their streak into a fourth consecutive decade. Since the writing of that post, two things have happened necessitating this follow-up:
1) First, I engaged in further research, going back to 1960, and I discovered that in fact the Jets’ streak has lasted over four decades! The 1960’s saw a surprising nine teams produce horrible one-win seasons. Adding those nine teams to the prevous list of the post-Sixties Awful Eleven leaves us this list of twenty one-loss teams with, more importantly for the purpose of this post, in parenthesis those teams that managed to fall in defeat to the Terrible Twenty:
1960: Washington Redskins (Dallas Cowboys)
1961: Washington Redskins (Dallas Cowboys)
1962: Oakland Raiders (Boston Patriots)
1962: Los Angeles Rams (San Francisco 49’ers)
1966: New York Giants (Washington Redskins)
1967: Atlanta Falcons (Minnesota Vikings)
1968: Buffalo Bills (New York Jets)
1969: Chicago Bears (Pittsburgh Steelers)
1969: Pittsburgh Steelers (Detroit Lions)
1971: Buffalo Bills (New England Patriots)
1972: Houston Oilers (New York Jets)
1973: Houston Oilers (Baltimore Colts)
1980: New Orleans Saints (New York Jets)
1982: Houston Oilers (Seattle Seahawks)
1989: Dallas Cowboys (Washington Redskins)
1990: New England Patriots (Indianapolis Colts)
1991: Indianapolis Colts (New York Jets)
1996: New York Jets (Arizona Cardinals)
2000: San Diego Chargers (Kansas City Chiefs)
2001: Carolina Panthers (Minnesota Vikings)
Five franchises, the Cowboys, Patriots, Redskins, Vikings, and Colts have fallen twice to one-win teams. But the New York Jets easily stand alone when it comes to Losing to Losers. Including the decade of the Sixties, now it’s four separate times the Jets have been the sole victim of a one-win team. And it’s so much better once we tally up the years the Jets have been vanquished by the lowest of the low: 1968, 1972, 1980, and 1991. With awe we see each ignominious defeat taking place in a different decade; the Jets embarrassed themselves in the 1960’s, 1970’s, the 1980’s AND the 1990’s. Unfortunately, it’s been 16 years since the Jets’ last ultimate loss and with this current decade nearing its end the Jets’ amazing streak had appeared to be in serious jeopardy at the time of my previous blog post on this subject.
2) Suddenly opportunity in the form of the 0-11 Miami Dolphins has dropped into the New York Jets’ lap. Should the Jets find a way to lose to the Dolphins this weekend and the Dolphins then go on to lose their remaining games, the Jets will have lost to a one-win team for an unprecedented fifth consecutive decade, a record guaranteed to last for over half a century at least! As a Dolphins fan I am a little torn about this scenario. I will be rooting for Miami to beat the Jets just as enthusiastically as I do every time my favorite team squares off against those losers in Kelly green. Perhaps even more so this time as I desperately do not wish to see the Dolphins become the first 0-16 team in NFL history. So that part is easy. But should Miami knock of the J-E-T-S this weekend that only completes the first part of the equation. The Dolphins would then have to lose their final four games and become a 1-15 team in order for the Jets’ Losing to Losers streak to continue for a fifth straight decade. Could I really root for Miami to drop four straight? Of course not! But you know if it happens it happens.
First things first. Can the New York Jets rise to the challenge and pull out a critical loss on the road to ensuring their place in history? It all starts this weekend.
1) In addition to the 20 one-win teams, the modern era has seen three winless teams. The 1976 Bucs of course, the 0-11-1 Dallas Cowboys of 1960 who tied the New York Giants, and the 0-8-1 Baltimore Colts of 1982 who tied the Green Bay Packers.
2) The 1968 Jets and Bills were actually AFL teams at the time.