With the New Orleans Saints making it to the Super Bowl for the first time in their 43 year history, we take a look at the remaining NFL teams that haven’t made it to the biggest game in American sports.
One of the two worst ball clubs in the NFL during the last decade was actually one of the best teams during the NFL’s pre-SB years, winning four AAFC titles before joining the NFL along with three other teams after the AAFC fell apart. In the NFL the Browns continued their dominance under coach and Ohio legend Paul Brown and later on legendary running back Jim Brown.
But then the NFL and the AFL merged, and the Browns never made it to the finals again – They had a very weak 70’s, making the playoffs only twice. The 80’s were successful times for the Browns with Marty Schottenheimer as head coach and Bernie Kosar at QB, making the playoffs five consecutive times (1985-1989) including three conference championship games, losing all three of them to the Broncos (the 3rd loss under in 1989 came with Bud Carson as head coach). The 90’s were pretty slim (one playoff appearance) and then became a horrible nightmare as the team was to be moved to Baltimore. After a huge legal battle, the Browns stayed in Cleveland but went inactive for three seasons, until their re-birth in 1999. Since then, they have made the playoffs only once, in 2002, and only two winning seasons.
Ahhh.. the Lions, probably the worst team in the history of the post-merger NFL (the Arizona Cardinals are tough competitors, but they made it to the Super Bowl). The Lions, like the Browns, were a powerhouse in the 1950’s, winning 3 NFL titles between 1952-1957. Since then? One appearance in 1970, two in the 1980’s (1982-1983), a pretty nice 90’s run with the great Barry Sanders, making the playoffs six times.
Since then? nothing… one winning season in 2000 and a whole lot of losing ever since, including that horrible 2008 season, finishing with no wins and 16 losses. And not a word about Matt Millen.
What started out as an attempt to get a hockey team to Houston became the Houston Texans in 2002 after the Oilers left, becoming the Tennessee Titans in 1997. It would be unfair to judge the Texans’ inability to make it to the Super Bowl in comparison to the the Browns and Lions due to their short time in the league, but still, after 8 seasons in the NFL, the Texans have yet to reach the playoffs.
Things are looking better in the last few years, finishing .500 or better, with a 9-7 season in 2009, the first winning season in franchise history. Life is hard with the Colts in your division.
Another AFC South and relatively young team (Inaugural season in 1995), but unlike the Texans they had immediate success in the NFL, making it to the playoffs in only their second season in the league, with Tom Coughlin as head coach, making the playoffs for four straight seasons between 1996-1999, including two conference championship appearances.
Jack Del Rio, their current head coach and the second in franchise history was on the right track earlier last decade, making the playoffs twice, but the last couple of years have been very disappointing for the Jags, winning a total of 12 games.