May 262013

Failure is more memorable than mediocrity. It’s easy to remember that the Detroit Lions went 0-16 in 2008, but how many fans remember the 8-8 seasons by the Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, New Orleans Saints, San Diego Chargers, and Washington Redskins that season?

Listed below are all the teams that won the dubious honor of being the league’s last-place finisher.

NFL’s Worst Team Season by Season

Note: Includes AAFC and AFL seasons. Click here for a list of team abbreviations. The worst team(s) was determined by winning percentage. The NFL didn’t start counting ties into winning percentage until 1972. I calculated ties into a team’s winning percentage for all seasons.

Columns can be sorted by clicking on the titles in the header. You can search for a specific team or season using the search box to the right.

TeamLgeSeasonW-L-TW Pct.Wins: Opponent (Opp. Final W-L-T)
Muncie FlyersNFL19200-10.000None
Louisville BrecksNFL19210-20.000None
Muncie FlyersNFL19210-20.000None
New York Brickley GiantsNFL19210-20.000None
Tonawanda KardexNFL19210-10.000None
Columbus TigersNFL19220-80.000None
Evansville Crimson GiantsNFL19220-30.000None
Louisville BrecksNFL19230-30.000None
Rochester JeffersonsNFL19230-40.000None
Minneapolis MarinesNFL19240-60.000None
Rochester JeffersonsNFL19240-70.000None
Columbus TigersNFL19250-90.000None
Duluth KelleysNFL19250-30.000None
Milwaukee BadgersNFL19250-60.000None
Hammond ProsNFL19260-40.000None
Louisville ColonelsNFL19260-40.000None
Buffalo BisonsNFL19270-50.000None
Dayton TrianglesNFL19280-70.000None
Dayton TrianglesNFL19290-60.000None
Newark TornadoesNFL19301-10-10.125FRA (4-13-1)
Brooklyn DodgersNFL19312-120.143SIS (4-6-1), FRA (1-6-1)
Brooklyn DodgersNFL19323-90.250BOB (4-4-2), CHC (2-6-2), SIS (2-7-3)
Arizona Cardinals (Chicago)NFL19331-9-10.136CIR (3-6-1)
Cincinnati RedsNFL19340-80.000None
Philadelphia EaglesNFL19352-90.182PIP (4-8), BOR (2-8-1)
Philadelphia EaglesNFL19361-110.083NYG (5-6-1)
St. Louis Rams (Cleveland)NFL19371-100.091PHI (2-8-1)
Arizona Cardinals (Chicago)NFL19382-90.182CLR (2) (4-7)
Pittsburgh Steelers (Pirates)NFL19382-90.182NYG (8-2-1), BKD (4-4-3)
Arizona Cardinals (Chicago)NFL19391-100.091PIP (1-9-1)
Philadelphia EaglesNFL19401-100.091PIT (2-7-2)
Pittsburgh SteelersNFL19411-9-10.136BKD (7-4)
Detroit LionsNFL19420-110.000None
Arizona Cardinals (Chicago)NFL19430-100.000None
Brooklyn TigersNFL19440-100.000None
Card-Pitt "Carpets" ¹NFL19440-100.000None
Arizona Cardinals (Chicago)NFL19451-90.100CHI (3-7)
Miami SeahawksAAFC19463-110.214BUB (2) (3-10-1), BKN (3-10-1)
Detroit LionsNFL19461-100.091PIT (5-5-1)
Chicago RocketsAAFC19471-130.071BAO (2-11-1)
Detroit LionsNFL19473-90.250BOY (4-7-1), WAS (4-8), NYG (2-8-2)
New York GiantsNFL19472-8-20.250CHC (9-3), WAS (4-8)
Chicago RocketsAAFC19481-130.071BAO (7-7)
Detroit LionsNFL19482-100.167PIT (4-8), GBY (3-9)
Baltimore Colts IAAFC19491-110.083BUL (5-5-2)
New York BulldogsNFL19491-10-10.125NYG (6-6)
Baltimore Colts INFL19501-110.083GBY (3-9)
New York YanksNFL19511-9-20.167GBY (3-9)
Dallas TexansNFL19521-110.083CHI (5-7)
Arizona Cardinals (Chicago)NFL19531-10-10.125CHI (3-8-1)
Arizona Cardinals (Chicago)NFL19542-100.167PIT (5-7), WAS (3-9)
Detroit LionsNFL19553-90.250GBY (6-6), BAC (5-6-1), PIT (4-8)
Philadelphia EaglesNFL19563-8-10.292WAS (6-6), PIT (2) (5-7)
Arizona Cardinals (Chicago)NFL19573-90.250SFO (8-4), WAS (5-6-1), PHI (4-8)
Green Bay PackersNFL19573-90.250BAC (7-5), PIT (6-6), CHI (5-7)
Green Bay PackersNFL19581-10-10.125PHI (2-9-1)
Arizona Cardinals (Chicago)NFL19592-100.167PIT (6-5-1), WAS (3-9)
St. Louis Rams (Los Angeles)NFL19592-100.167CHI (8-4), GBY (7-5)
Denver BroncosAFL19604-9-10.321OAK (6-8), BUF (5-8-1), BOS (2) (5-9)
Dallas CowboysNFL19600-11-10.042None
Oakland RaidersAFL19612-120.143BUF (6-8), DEN (3-11)
Washington RedskinsNFL19611-12-10.107DAL (4-9-1)
Oakland RaidersAFL19621-130.071BOS (9-4-1)
St. Louis Rams (Los Angeles)NFL19621-12-10.107SFO (6-8)
Denver BroncosAFL19632-11-10.179SDO (11-3), BOS (7-6-1)
San Francisco 49ersNFL19632-120.143CHI (11-1-2), DAL (4-10)
Denver BroncosAFL19642-11-10.179KCY (7-7), NYJ (5-8-1)
New York GiantsNFL19642-10-20.214SLC (9-3-2), WAS (6-8)
Denver BroncosAFL19654-100.286NYJ (5-8-1), BOS (4-8-2), HOO (2) (4-10)
Tennessee Titans (Houston Oilers)AFL19654-100.286BUF (10-3-1), KCY (7-5-2), NYJ (5-8-1), BOS (4-8-2)
Pittsburgh SteelersNFL19652-120.143DAL (7-7), PHI (5-9)
Miami DolphinsAFL19663-110.214DEN (4-10), HOO (2) (3-11)
Tennessee Titans (Houston Oilers)AFL19663-110.214OAK (8-5-1), NYJ (6-6-2), DEN (4-10)
New York GiantsNFL19661-12-10.107WAS (7-7)
Denver BroncosAFL19673-110.214NYJ (8-5-1), BUF (4-10), BOS (3-10-1)
Atlanta FalconsNFL19671-12-10.107MIN (3-8-3)
Buffalo BillsAFL19681-12-10.107NYJ (11-3)
Atlanta FalconsNFL19682-120.143CHI (7-7), NYG (7-7)
Philadelphia EaglesNFL19682-120.143DET (4-8-2), NOR (4-9-1)
Miami DolphinsAFL19693-10-10.250DEN (5-8-1), BOS (4-10), BUF (4-10)
Chicago BearsNFL19691-130.071PIT (1-13)
Pittsburgh SteelersNFL19691-130.071DET (9-4-1)
New England Patriots (Boston)NFL19702-120.143MIA (10-4), BUF (3-10-1)
Buffalo BillsNFL19711-130.071NWE (6-8)
Tennessee Titans (Houston Oilers)NFL19721-130.071NYJ (7-7)
Tennessee Titans (Houston Oilers)NFL19731-130.071BAC (4-10)
Indianapolis Colts (Baltimore)NFL19742-120.143NYJ (7-7), ATL (3-11)
New York GiantsNFL19742-120.143DAL (8-6), KCY (5-9)
New Orleans SaintsNFL19752-120.143ATL (4-10), GBY (4-10)
San Diego ChargersNFL19752-120.143KCY (5-9), NYJ (3-11)
Tampa Bay BuccaneersNFL19760-140.000None
Kansas City ChiefsNFL19772-120.143SDO (7-7), GBY (4-10)
Tampa Bay BuccaneersNFL19772-120.143SLC (7-7), NOR (3-11)
San Francisco 49ersNFL19782-140.125TBY (5-11), CIN (4-12)
Detroit LionsNFL19792-140.125CHI (10-6), ATL (6-10)
San Francisco 49ersNFL19792-140.125TBY (10-6), ATL (6-10)
New Orleans SaintsNFL19801-150.063NYJ (4-12)
Indianapolis Colts (Baltimore)NFL19812-140.125NWE (2) (2-14)
New England PatriotsNFL19812-140.125KCY (9-7), HOO (7-9)
Indianapolis Colts (Baltimore)NFL19820-8-10.056None
Tampa Bay BuccaneersNFL19832-140.125MIN (8-8), HOO (2-14)
Tennessee Titans (Houston Oilers)NFL19832-140.125CLE (9-7), DET (9-7)
Buffalo BillsNFL19842-140.125DAL (9-7), IND (4-12)
Buffalo BillsNFL19852-140.125HOO (5-11), IND (5-11)
Tampa Bay BuccaneersNFL19852-140.125DET (7-9), SLC (5-11)
Tampa Bay BuccaneersNFL19862-140.125DET (5-11), BUF (4-12)
Atlanta FalconsNFL19873-120.200WAS (11-4), DAL (7-8), LAM (6-9)
Dallas CowboysNFL19883-130.188PHX (7-9), WAS (7-9), ATL (5-11)
Dallas CowboysNFL19891-150.063WAS (10-6)
New England PatriotsNFL19901-150.063IND (7-9)
Indianapolis ColtsNFL19911-150.063NYJ (8-8)
New England PatriotsNFL19922-140.125IND (9-7), NYJ (4-12)
Seattle SeahawksNFL19922-140.125DEN (8-8), NWE (2-14)
Cincinnati BengalsNFL19933-130.188LAI (10-6), ATL (6-10), LAM (5-11)
Tennessee Titans (Houston Oilers)NFL19942-140.125NYJ (6-10), CIN (3-13)
New York JetsNFL19953-130.188MIA (9-7), SEA (8-8), JAC (4-12)
New York JetsNFL19961-150.063ARZ (7-9)
Indianapolis ColtsNFL19973-130.188GBY (13-3), MIA (9-7), NYJ (9-7)
Cincinnati BengalsNFL19983-130.188PIT (2) (7-9), DET (5-11)
Indianapolis ColtsNFL19983-130.188NYJ (12-4), SDO (5-11), CIN (3-13)
Philadelphia EaglesNFL19983-130.188WAS (6-10), DET (5-11), STL (4-12)
Cleveland BrownsNFL19992-140.125PIT (6-10), NOR (3-13)
San Diego ChargersNFL20001-150.063KCY (7-9)
Carolina PanthersNFL20011-150.063MIN (5-11)
Cincinnati BengalsNFL20022-140.125NOR (9-7), HOU (4-12)
Arizona CardinalsNFL20034-120.250GBY (10-6), MIN (9-7), CIN (8-8), SFO (7-9)
New York GiantsNFL20034-120.250STL (12-4), MIN (9-7), NYJ (6-10), WAS (5-11)
Oakland RaidersNFL20034-120.250BAL (10-6), MIN (9-7), CIN (8-8), SDO (4-12)
San Diego ChargersNFL20034-120.250MIN (9-7), CLE (5-11), DET (5-11), OAK (4-12)
San Francisco 49ersNFL20042-140.125ARZ (2) (6-10)
Houston TexansNFL20052-140.125CLE (6-10), ARZ (5-11)
Oakland RaidersNFL20062-140.125PIT (8-8), ARZ (5-11)
Miami DolphinsNFL20071-150.063BAL (5-11)
Detroit LionsNFL20080-160.000None
St. Louis RamsNFL20091-150.063DET (2-14)
Carolina PanthersNFL20102-140.125SFO (6-10), ARZ (5-11)
Indianapolis ColtsNFL20112-140.125HOU (10-6), TEN (9-7)
St. Louis RamsNFL20112-140.125NOR (13-3), CLE (4-12)
Jacksonville JaguarsNFL20122-140.125IND (11-5), TEN (6-10)
Kansas City ChiefsNFL20122-140.125NOR (7-9), CAR (7-9)

¹ The Card-Pitt “Carpets” were a merged team between the Chicago Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers in 1944.


The Arizona Cardinals have finished 11 seasons in last place; more than any other franchise.

Most Seasons as the NFL’s Worst Team

Note: Includes seasons as an AAFC or AFL team.

The Card-Pitt “Carpets” last-place finish in 1944, was counted in both the Cardinals and Steelers tally.

Franchise# of Times as the Worst TeamLast Time the Worst Team
Arizona Cardinals11 times2003
Detroit Lions7 times2008
Indianapolis Colts7 times2011
Philadelphia Eagles6 times1998
Tennessee Titans6 times1994
Denver Broncos5 times1967
New York Giants5 times2003
Pittsburgh Steelers5 times1969
St. Louis Rams5 times2011
Tampa Bay Buccaneers5 times1986
Buffalo Bills4 times1985
New England Patriots4 times1992
Oakland Raiders4 times2006
San Francisco 49ers4 times2004
Atlanta Falcons3 times1987
Cincinnati Bengals3 times2002
Dallas Cowboys3 times1989
Miami Dolphins3 times2007
San Diego Chargers3 times2003
Brooklyn Dodgers/TigersDefunct3 times1944
Louisville Brecks/ColonelsDefunct3 times1926
Carolina Panthers2 times2010
Green Bay Packers2 times1958
New Orleans Saints2 times1980
New York Jets2 times1996
Baltimore Colts I (AAFC/NFL)Defunct2 times1950
Chicago Rockets/Hornets (AAFC)Defunct2 times1948
Columbus Panhandles/TigersDefunct2 times1925
Dayton TrianglesDefunct2 times1929
Kansas City Chiefs2 times2012
Muncie FlyersDefunct2 times1921
New York Bulldogs/YanksDefunct2 times1951
Rochester JeffersonsDefunct2 times1924
Chicago Bears1 time1969
Cleveland Browns1 time1999
Houston Texans1 time2005
Seattle Seahawks1 time1992
Washington Redskins1 time1961
Buffalo AA/Bisons/RangersDefunct1 time1927
Cincinnati RedsDefunct1 time1934
Dallas TexansDefunct1 time1952
Duluth Kelleys/EskimosDefunct1 time1925
Evansville Crimson GiantsDefunct1 time1922
Hammond ProsDefunct1 time1926
Jacksonville Jaguars1 time2012
Miami Seahawks (AAFC)Defunct1 time1946
Milwaukee BadgersDefunct1 time1925
Minneapolis Marines/Red JacketsDefunct1 time1924
New York Brickley GiantsDefunct1 time1921
Orange/Newark TornadoesDefunct1 time1930
Tonawanda KardexDefunct1 time1921
Baltimore Ravens0 times
Minnesota Vikings0 times


Additional Info

  • Most Consecutive Seasons as the Worst Team: Three seasons. From 1946 to 1948, the Detroit Lions were the NFL’s worst team. From 1963 to 1965, the Denver Broncos were the AFL’s worst team. You could also count the Chicago Cardinals from 1943 to 1945, however, note that they were a part of a merged team with the Pittsburgh Steelers known as Card-Pitt in 1944.
  • Worst to First: It has never happened in one season, although three teams have gone from worst to first in two seasons. In 1947, the Chicago Cardinals won the NFL title after being the NFL’s worst team in 1945. In 1955, the Detroit Lions were the NFL’s worst team, but they rebounded with a championship in 1957. Lastly, the San Francisco 49ers went from the league’s worst team in 1979, to a Super Bowl championship in 1981.
  • Worst Defeating First: There have been seven games where the season’s worst team has beaten the league’s champion. And it has only happened twice in the Super Bowl era. Note: W-L-T column represents the team’s record going into the game.
Season Won W-L-T   Lost W-L-T Score
1987 Atlanta Falcons 0-1   Washington Redskins 1-0 21-20
1968 (AFL) Buffalo Bills 0-3   New York Jets 2-0 37-35
1965 (AFL) Houston Oilers 3-3 at Buffalo Bills 6-1 19-17
1963 San Francisco 49ers 0-5   Chicago Bears 5-0 20-14
1963 (AFL) Denver Broncos 1-2   San Diego Chargers 3-0 50-34
1947 New York Giants 0-7-2   Chicago Cardinals 7-2 35-31
1938 Pittsburgh Pirates 1-3 at New York Giants 1-1 13-10


Most worst seasons facts…

  • Since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970, the Indianapolis/Baltimore Colts have finished in the league’s basement seven times. It’s the most times a team has finished with the NFL’s worst winning percentage since 1970, followed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (five times). The Houston Oilers (now the Tennessee Titans) and the New England Patriots have had four last-place finishes since 1970.
  • The Louisville Colonels/Brecks only played four seasons (1921-1923, 1926), but finished with the NFL’s worst winning percentage three times. They only had one NFL win in their entire existence.


Least worst seasons facts…

  • The Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos, and Minnesota Vikings have never been the NFL’s worst team. Although the Broncos were the AFL’s worst team five times.
  • A founding member of the NFL in 1920, the Chicago Bears have amazingly finished in the league’s basement only once (1969). The Green Bay Packers who were founded in 1921, have only been the worst team twice (1957-1958).


Season records were retrieved from


  2 Responses to “NFL: Worst Team(s) Season by Season”

  1. Updated Last Season’s NFL And College Football Worst Teams Ever.Thanks,Gary.

  2. I’ll be doing some updates here real soon. This article is definitely on the update list.

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