Heading into the 2015 NFL season, there are eight teams without any postseason action in over half a decade: Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams and the Tennessee Titans. Five of them have been out of the picture for a decade or more.
Miami Dolphins – 6 Seasons
Will they make it back in 2015? Could happen, but probably not as division champions. The New England Patriots aren’t going anywhere, not right now.
And the last six seasons? The Dolphins have been average, more or less. They’ve never won less than six games during their dry spell, including two consecutive 8-8 seasons. Their current head coach, Joe Philbin, is 23-25 since 2012.
Tennessee Titans – 6 Seasons
Will they make it back in 2015? Hard to see it happening. Bouncing back from two-win seasons is difficult. There’s also a rookie quarterback, not much of a running game and too many holes pretty much everywhere.
And since their last postseason visit? Until last year, things were average or slightly below. Ken Whisenhunt’s first year was a rock bottom kind of campaign, which a team can only go upwards from. However, for him personally, it’s been a long time since he’s coached a team to a winning season (Arizona, 2009).
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 7 Seasons
Will the make it back in 2015? The NFC South is a division that’s been quite wild and unexpected. They have a rookie quarterback in Jameis Winston and a talented receiving unit. Not sure it’s enough.
And since 2007? The Bucs have had two winning seasons since, including going 10-6 in 2010 yet still missing the playoffs, but they’ve also had four seasons of four wins or less. Too much turnover at quarterback and on the sidelines. They still haven’t won a postseason game since winning the Super Bowl against the Raiders following the 2002 season.
Jacksonville Jaguars – 7 Seasons
Coming back in 2015? No. But they’re counting on Blake Bortles to be better, and they should be, although in the AFC South it’s the Indianapolis Colts and everyone else, and it’s not even close.
What’s been going on since 2007? Not much. A lot of losing. After going 11-5 in 2007 and winning a playoff game, the Jaguars have won more than five games only twice, and are 14-50 over the last four seasons.
St. Louis Rams – 10 Seasons
Will they be back in 2015? It’s an extremely tough division, so probably not. But if Nick Foles manages to stay healthy, they might be better than most project for them.
Since 2004? From 2007 to 2011, they had three seasons of three wins or less, including going 1-15 in 2009. Jeff Fisher helped improve things, but it’s been mostly waiting and eventually giving up on Sam Bradford to be healthy for consecutive seasons, a number one draft pick that hasn’t lived up to the hype.
Cleveland Browns – 12 Seasons
Will they make it back in 2015? With Josh McCown or Johnny Manziel as quarterbacks? Probably not. But they managed to fool everyone last season for about 10 weeks despite Brian Hoyer playing behind center, so who knows.
And since 2002? Lets put it this way. The Browns finished 7-9 last season, losing five games in a row to close out the season. It’s still the team’s best season since 2007 (10-6) and their second best overall during the dry spell.
Oakland Raiders – 12 Seasons
Will they make it back in 2015? Unless Derek Carr has been holding back on us and all he needed was Amari Cooper to join, then it’s probably going to be a while longer until the Raiders are back in the postseason. They’ll be in Los Angeles by then.
And since 2002? The Raiders lost in the Super Bowl, and since then, have been attached to the bottom of the league, more or less, with two 8-8 seasons and the rest being five wins or less. Last season they lost their first 10 games before a 3-3 finish.
Buffalo Bills – 15 Seasons
Back to the playoffs in 2015? When Kyle Orton leaves you and the quarterback situation a few months later is actually worse, it doesn’t matter how scary your pass rush is, it’s not going to happen.
And since 1999? A lot of talk about Toronto. A lot of 7-9 and 6-10 seasons that produce hope before the usual letdown the following season. They had a 9-7 season in 2014, tied for their best during this drought. Maybe this time it means they’re going somewhere, although there is a new coach, again.
If you’re not tired of reading about teams failing to make the playoffs, here’s a list of the current sad cases in Major League Baseball.