The NFL has seen many great championship teams in its tenure. Of the great franchises out there, the most elite are the Steelers, Cowboys, and 49ers (based on Super Bowl wins). Unfortunately, the NFL has also seen some absolutely terrible teams over the years. Namely, the 1976 Buccaneers and the 2008 Detroit Lions. Both went win-less in two of the most pathetic single season performances ever. Of these two deplorable showings, which will go down in history as the worst? Many have already named one or the other, usually based on what era the individual is from. But before we make a decision today, lets dive into each season and re hash why the two saw goose eggs in the win column week after week.
2008 Detroit Lions
What do you get when you have the NFL's best wide receiver with no QB to throw him the ball? The 2008 Lions. While Calvin Johnson was a stud, it seemed he was, as Emmitt Smith would put it "a diamond surrounded by trash." Sure, no one really expects a team to go 0-16, but with Dan Orlovsky running the offense, no one is confident on a stellar season either. I mean any pro athlete who does this should be banned from the NFL indefinitely:
In my best Mike Ditka voice: "Com'on Man!"
As if the offensive woes weren't enough, the Lions' defense gave up 517 points (32.3 per game). Though they were absolutely terrible, I, for one, still watched every game. Why pay for the circus when you can catch the Ringling Brothers for free every Sunday? The 2008 Lions will forever be remembered as a laughing stock and an embarrassment to the entire state of Michigan. However, if there is one silver lining in this season its that the Lions took advantage of the number one overall pick and drafted a legit QB in Matthew Stafford to get the ball to Megatron.
The 1976 Buccaneers came into the NFL as an expansion team that season. Unlike the way expansion teams today like the Texans were built, the '76 Bucs were assembled in a manor resembling "the Replacements." Literally picking up guys off the street, its no wonder the team went 0-14 in their NFL debut season. Florida Gator great, and now legendary NCAA head coach Steve Spurrier was the Bucs' starting QB and was the subject to weekly beatings behind his less than suspect line. The defense gave up 412 points (29.4 per game) which is less than the Lions' 32 ppg allowed. They had a glimpse (if you can call it that) of hope in week 9 where they went up on the Denver Broncos early in the third quarter 13-10 only to be completely blown out 48-13.
Its clear that, while both teams were laughing stocks of the league, the Lions 0-16 season is much more of a joke. Seeing as the Bucs' short comings were due, mostly, to being a new team, the NFL having no salary cap, and having to pick up cashiers at grocery stores to fill their roster. While the Lions failure was due to poor coaching, management, a cap space. Put these together and the 2008 Lions should 100% go down as the worst team in NFL history, from top to bottom. Just one more thing the city of Detroit can hang its head about, as if they don't have enough already.