The Worst NFL Teams to Ever Make Playoffs Football Teams (American)
Ultimate List
8,458 votes 86,126 views more info

The Worst NFL Teams to Ever Make Playoffs

List Criteria: Vote for teams based on how poor their teams were

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.

What are the worst teams to make the playoffs? There are some really bad teams on this list, so there are plenty options to vote for so choose wisely.
  • 5 ReRanks
    • Age
    • Region
  • See list ranked by
The List
Comment
Embed
Options
rerank list
  1. 1
    Up 319
    Down 132

    1982 Cleveland Browns 4-5

    open
  2. 2
    Up 331
    Down 134

    1982 Detroit Lions 4-5

    open
  3. 3
    Up 345
    Down 135

    1991 New York Jets 8-8

    open
  4. 4
    Up 384
    Down 176

    1999 Detroit Lions 8-8

    open
  5. 5
    Up 429
    Down 205

    1999 Dallas Cowboys 8-8

    open
  6. 6
    Up 315
    Down 125

    1969 Houston Oilers 6-6-2

    open
  7. 7
    Up 317
    Down 208

    added by snarfer 2010 Kansas City Chiefs 10-6

    open
  8. 8
    Up 224
    Down 152

    1985 Cleveland Browns 8-8

    open
  9. 9
    Up 256
    Down 155

    2004 Minnesota Vikings 8-8

    open
  10. 10
    Up 857
    Down 508

    2010 Seattle Seahawks 7-9

    open
  11. 11
    Up 282
    Down 144

    2004 St. Louis Rams 8-8

    open
  12. 12
    Up 155
    Down 124

    added by DarrenDaPenguinDunham 1992 San Diego Chargers Started the season 0-4, won the division and the wild-card game, but got blown out by 31-0 by the same Miami team that could only score 10 points at home against ...

    open
  13. 13
    Up 252
    Down 176

    2008 San Diego Chargers 8-8

    open
  14. 14
    Up 93
    Down 69

    added by Pallknowing1 2011 Denver Broncos

    open
  15. 15
    Up 229
    Down 138

    1990 New Orleans Saints 8-8

    open
  16. 16
    Up 266
    Down 203

    2006 New York Giants 8-8

    open
  17. 17
    Up 109
    Down 105

    added by JeannaArfsten 1977 Chicago Bears

    open
  18. 18
    Up 39
    Down 14

    added by Jamison12 2009 New York Jets

    open
  19. 19
    Up 13
    Down 8

    added by cincycheetahs 2011 Cincinnati Bengals

    open
20 +

Something missing? Add it!

think you can do better?

Rerank This List

got a blog or website?

embed this list

viewers of this list also saw...

more popular lists