Monday, December 29, 2008

Proof That There IS Life After 1-15 (Or 0-16)

On Sunday, the Detroit Lions became the first team in NFL history to finish 0-16 and the ninth to finish with a record of 1-15 or worse. It's the latest embarrassing moment for a franchise that hasn't sniffed the playoffs in the 21st century and has lost at least ten games in seven of the last eight seasons.

Fear not, Lions fans, for there is hope. Of the previous eight teams to finish 1-15, all have reached the playoffs at some point in the future, most of them within 2-4 years. The longest was the New Orleans Saints, who went 1-15 in 1980 and didn't reach the postseason until 1987; the shortest was the Miami Dolphins, who went 1-15 in 2007 before rebounding to win the AFC East this season.

Now here's an interesting fact...

...the 1990 New England Patriots went 1-15; four years later, they were playoff-bound. The coach who turned the sad-sack, loser organization into a winner? Bill Parcells.

...the 1996 New York Jets went 1-15; the following year, they won nine games under a new coach, and the year after that, reached the playoffs. The new coach? Bill Parcells.

...the 2007 Miami Dolphins went 1-15; late in the season, the team hired a new Executive Vice President of Football Operations who promptly overhauled the coaching staff and roster and put together a squad that won eleven games and made the playoffs the following year. The new Eexecutive VP? Bill Parcells.

Thanks to a clause in his contract, Parcells could have the opportunity to leave the Dolphins after the season and join the team of his choosing. The man already has a Hall of Fame resume as a coach; taking the reins in Detroit and reviving one of the sorriest franchises in NFL history would seal his reputation as the greatest team builder ever.

2008 Detroit Lions
Next Playoff Appearance: ???

2007 Miami Dolphins
Next Playoff Appearance: 2008

2001 Carolina Panthers
Next Playoff Appearance: 2003

2000 San Diego Chargers
Next Playoff Appearance: 2004

1996 New York Jets
Next Playoff Appearance: 1998

1991 Indianapolis Colts
Next Playoff Appearance: 1995

1990 New England Patriots
Next Playoff Appearance: 1994

1989 Dallas Cowboys
Next Playoff Appearance: 1991

1980 New Orleans Saints
Next Playoff Appearance: 1987