The worst teams to ever make the NFL Playoffs are not just okay teams, they are simply bad teams that somehow managed to qualify for the National Football League postseason following a really crappy season. We're not talking about the borderline 9-7 teams that somehow squeak into the playoffs, we're talking a handful of teams that had losing seasons and still managed to win their division and earn that automatic playoff spot.
The process for selecting teams for the NFL Playoffs is pretty simple. The winners in each of the six divisions automatically qualify along with two wild card teams from each of the two conferences based on their regular season win-loss record. Usually this means the best teams in the league compete for the chance to play in the Super Bowl
but as these teams prove, that logic is not always flawless.
With the exception of the shortened 1982 NFL season in which both the Detroit Lions and the Cleveland Browns entered the playoffs with 4-5 records, never has a team with a losing record in a 16-game season qualified for the playoffs until the 2010 season. The Seattle
Seahawks managed to win the beyond weak NFC West with a losing 7-9 record and earn the automatic bid into the postseason. Meanwhile, a 10-6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the competitive NFC South sat home and watched with their 10-6 record getting them nowhere. Seattle was pretty bad during the year, allowing 407 points compared to scoring 310, but managed to shock everyone in the first round of the 2010 NFL Playoffs by upsetting the defending-champion New Orleans Saints.
Only slightly better than teams with a losing record that qualified for the NFL Playoffs are teams that went an even .500 on the year and still reached the postseason. Since the NFL went to a 16-game schedule in 1978 through 2010, 10 teams have qualified for the playoffs with an even 8-8 record. Many argued that allowing these sub-par teams into the playoffs was a travesty, especially in cases where other teams with much better records sat home, such as the case of the Tom Brady-less New England Patriots
who went 11-5 in 2008 and spent their winter
on vacation, not competing to play in the Super Bowl. Hmm, sounds like they may have a point.