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The worst playoff team in history

Posted by Doug on May 26, 2006

This is a companion post to yesterday's best non-playoff team in history.

The worst playoff team in history is, as some of you guessed, the 1998 Arizona Cardinals. They played the weakest schedule in the league and were still outscored by 53 points. They only played one team with a winning record (Dallas. They did play them twice, losing both times.) According to the simple power ranking scheme, the Cardinals were the 26th-best team (out of 30) in the league in 1998. Here are their nine wins:


  • Week 3 - they beat the 3-13 Eagles
  • Week 4 - they beat the 4-12 Rams
  • Week 6 - they beat the 4-12 Bears
  • Week 9 - they beat the 5-11 Lions
  • Week 10 - they beat the 6-10 Redskins
  • Week 12 - Redskins again
  • Week 15 - Eagles again
  • Week 16 - they beat the 6-10 Saints
  • Week 17 - they beat the 5-11 Chargers

Cardinal fans might point out that, by definition, you can't be the worst playoff team in history if you actually won a playoff game. And this team somehow did manage to do that, beating Dallas in Dallas before losing in Minnesota. I don't care. This team was so bad that they take the title anyway.

I'll close with a list of all playoff teams since the merger that the simple rating system says were below average. For obvious reasons, there are a lot of 1982 teams here. For reasons that are not obvious (to me, anyway), the vikings appear eight times on the list.


TM YR Rating
================
ari 1998 -7.4
ram 2004 -6.0
atl 1978 -4.6
cle 1982 -3.7
pit 1989 -3.7
chi 1977 -3.6
atl 1982 -3.6
sea 2004 -2.9
tam 1979 -2.8
den 1983 -2.8
stl 1982 -2.7
nwe 1982 -2.7
hou 1989 -2.5
min 1987 -2.5
nyj 1991 -2.4
atl 2004 -2.2
chi 1994 -1.9
phi 1995 -1.7
min 2004 -1.7
ind 1996 -1.6
min 1977 -1.6
jax 1996 -1.5
nyj 1986 -1.4
ind 1995 -1.3
mia 1970 -1.3
nor 1990 -1.3
cle 1985 -1.3
cin 1990 -1.1
tam 2005 -1.0
car 2003 -0.9
buf 1995 -0.9
sea 1988 -0.7
rai 1993 -0.7
ram 1979 -0.6
dal 2003 -0.5
hou 1978 -0.4
det 1993 -0.3
min 1980 -0.3
min 1978 -0.2
min 1996 -0.1
min 1993 -0.1
min 1997 -0.1
pit 1983 -0.1
chi 1979 -0.0

This entry was posted on Friday, May 26th, 2006 at 4:05 am and is filed under General, History. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.