Now that the Buffalo Bills have ended their playoff drought (Since 1999), the Seattle Mariners hold the torch ahead of all other pro sports teams in North America. But in the NFL? There are new kings of postseason misery. Who? Not the 49ers, Bears, Jets or Buccaneers. Yes, you guessed it, the Cleveland Browns. Here are the stories of the league’s most playoff starved franchises:
San Francisco 49ers – 4 Seasons
At 6-10, the San Francisco 49ers had their best season since the firing/resigning of Jim Harbaugh following the 2014 season. Most of these wins seem to have something to do with Jimmy Garoppolo, who’ll be the hottest free agent in the NFL very soon, helping the Niners close out the season with 5 consecutive wins.
But what came before him? They went 9-39 in the 48 games before he arrived, which includes the final 5 games of the Harbaugh era, as Jed York dismantled the team, and on the way made the 49ers one of the least likable teams for players and their own fans in this league. Rock bottom was probably last season, as the Chip Kelly experiment ended awfully, going 2-14, with both wins coming against the Rams.
Chicago Bears – 7
Since winning the NFC and losing in the Super Bowl to the Indianapolis Colts, the Chicago Bears have made the playoffs just once, reaching the 2010 NFC championship game and losing at home to the Green Bay Packers, who were en route to a Super Bowl title.
The Bears went through 2 coaches after firing Lovie Smith, but both didn’t work out. Marc Trestman didn’t show his CFL offensive genius south of the border, and John Fox couldn’t rekindle his more successful years from Carolina and Denver. In the last 4 seasons, the Bears have gone 19-45. Jay Cutler is no longer with the team, maybe the epitome of a disappointing period, but things aren’t necessarily going to be better with Mitch Trubisky, and whoever gets to coach him.
New York Jets – 7
Like the Bears, the Jets had a good 2010 season, making a second consecutive conference championship game. But since then? Rex Ryan outstayed his welcome, along with Mark Sanchez and almost everyone else involved in this team. Things looked better when Todd Bowles took charge, but after a 10-6 season ended without a postseason berth due to Ryan Fitzpatrick ruining everything the season led up to in the final game, the Jets are only 10-22, and not necessarily in a good position to do much better in 2018.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 10
The Buccaneers might be the worst franchise in NFL history, but they do have a Super Bowl. However, since winning it, very little has happened, and nothing has actually happened besides a lot of losing and crushing disappointment since Jon Gruden left. Raheem Morris, Greg Schiano, Lovie Smith and Dirk Koetter have been the faces on the sideline who have managed a combined 2 winning seasons since 2009 (Gruden was 9-7 in ’08, no playoffs). Josh Freeman and Jameis Winston (the current #1 QB) have been the two franchise quarterback to let everyone down just when it looked like they were putting together something special.
Cleveland Browns – 15 Seasons
Since the resurrection of the Browns, it’s been pure misery for the team’s fans. The Browns were one of the best NFL teams in the pre-merger days, and before the team got hijacked to Baltimore, they made the playoffs 8 times from 1980 through 1994. But since 1999, their first season back from the dead, they’ve gone 88-216, including zero wins in 2017 (first winless season since the Lions in 2008) and just four overall wins since a promising 2014 year when they went 7-9. Since making the playoffs in 2002, the Browns have had just one (!!!) winning season, going 10-6 in 2007, sandwiched between more typical 4-12 seasons.