Friday, January 13, 2012

NFL: 7, 8, and 9 loss teams in the playoffs

Since we've got a 7-loss team and an 8-loss team advancing to the Divisional round this year, I thought I'd take a look at how high-loss teams have historically (since 1970) done in the playoffs.

9-Loss Teams

Of course, there's been just one: the 2010 Seahawks, with an upset win in the Wildcard round, and then a loss in the Divisional round.

8-Loss Teams

There's been 10 8-loss teams:

1985Browns 0-1
1990Saints 0-1
1991Jets 0-1
1999Cowboys 0-1
1999Lions 0-1
2004Vikings 1-1
2004Rams 1-1
2006Giants 0-1
2011Broncos tbd

The Broncos are just the 4th 8-loss team to win a playoff game. If they win on Sunday Saturday, they will be the first 8-loss team to win in the Divisional round.

9-Loss Teams

There's been 58 7-loss teams that have advanced to the playoffs. The Giants results are pending. Of the rest, 27 lost in the Wildcard round, 22 lost in the Division round. That leaves 8 that won in the divisional round:

1979Rams Cowboys
1983Seahawks DolphinsMarino's rookie season
1984Steelers Broncos Elway's 2nd season
1987Vikings 49ers Strike season
1995Colts Chiefs Marty Schottenheimer
1996Jaguars Broncos
2008CardinalsPanthersJake Delhomme
2009Jets Chargers

A number of these games feature what I would regard as extenuating circumstances:

  • Two games were lost by teams with quarterbacks in their first or second year.

  • In 1987 with "replacement players", the Vikings went 0-3, the 49ers went 3-0. If you throw out those 3 weeks, the Vikings and 49ers records are much closer.

  • Marty Schottenheimer is the poster boy for strong regular seasons, followed by 1-and-done playoff appearances.

  • Jake Delhomme's performance in the Cardinals @ Panthers playoff game is one of the biggest quarterback meltdowns I've ever seen in the playoffs.

Of these 8 teams, only 2 (the 1979 Rams and the 2008 Cardinals) advanced to the Super Bowl. Both lost, coincidentally both to the Steelers.