Football The Worst NFL Teams to Ever Make Playoffs  

The Round Mound
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List Rules 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, some might have even had the worst record in NFL history, and there are plenty options to vote for so choose wisely.

1
521 244
1982 Cleveland Browns is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Worst NFL Teams to Ever Make Playoffs
1982 Cleveland Browns 4-5

2
513 254
1982 Detroit Lions is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Worst NFL Teams to Ever Make Playoffs
1982 Detroit Lions 4-5

3
1,118 582
2010 Seattle Seahawks is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Worst NFL Teams to Ever Make Playoffs
2010 Seattle Seahawks 7-9

4
426 184
1969 Houston Oilers is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Worst NFL Teams to Ever Make Playoffs
1969 Houston Oilers 6-6-2

5
438 215
1991 New York Jets is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Worst NFL Teams to Ever Make Playoffs
1991 New York Jets 8-8

6
473 245
1999 Detroit Lions is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Worst NFL Teams to Ever Make Playoffs
1999 Detroit Lions 8-8

7
519 274
1999 Dallas Cowboys is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Worst NFL Teams to Ever Make Playoffs
1999 Dallas Cowboys 8-8

8
365 197
2004 St. Louis Rams is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Worst NFL Teams to Ever Make Playoffs
2004 St. Louis Rams 8-8

9
298 174
1990 New Orleans Saints is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Worst NFL Teams to Ever Make Playoffs
1990 New Orleans Saints 8-8

10
294 191
1985 Cleveland Browns is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Worst NFL Teams to Ever Make Playoffs
1985 Cleveland Browns 8-8

11
318 218
2004 Minnesota Vikings is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Worst NFL Teams to Ever Make Playoffs
2004 Minnesota Vikings 8-8

12
320 220
2008 San Diego Chargers is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Worst NFL Teams to Ever Make Playoffs
2008 San Diego Chargers 8-8

13
175 125
2011 Denver Broncos is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Worst NFL Teams to Ever Make Playoffs
Pallknowing1 added 2011 Denver Broncos

14
329 240
2006 New York Giants is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Worst NFL Teams to Ever Make Playoffs
2006 New York Giants 8-8

15
374 314
2010 Kansas City Chiefs is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Worst NFL Teams to Ever Make Playoffs
snarfer added 2010 Kansas City Chiefs 10-6

16
82 40
2014 Carolina Panthers is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Worst NFL Teams to Ever Make Playoffs
KT32889MD added 2014 Carolina Panthers

17
199 175
1992 San Diego Chargers is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Worst NFL Teams to Ever Make Playoffs
DarrenDaPenguinDunham added 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 Buffalo...yes, that Buffalo, that got blown out 52-17 in the Super ...

18
97 60
2009 New York Jets is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Worst NFL Teams to Ever Make Playoffs
Jamison12 added 2009 New York Jets

19
152 137
1977 Chicago Bears is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Worst NFL Teams to Ever Make Playoffs
JeannaArfsten added 1977 Chicago Bears

20
60 44
2011 Cincinnati Bengals is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Worst NFL Teams to Ever Make Playoffs
cincycheetahs added 2011 Cincinnati Bengals

21
40 28
2008 Miami Dolphins is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Worst NFL Teams to Ever Make Playoffs
KT32889MD added 2008 Miami Dolphins

22
38 26
1970 Cincinnati Bengals is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Worst NFL Teams to Ever Make Playoffs
KT32889MD added 1970 Cincinnati Bengals

23
32 26
1998 Arizona Cardinals is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Worst NFL Teams to Ever Make Playoffs
KT32889MD added 1998 Arizona Cardinals

24
38 29
2012 Minnesota Vikings is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Worst NFL Teams to Ever Make Playoffs
KT32889MD added 2012 Minnesota Vikings

25
38 35
1989 Steelers is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Worst NFL Teams to Ever Make Playoffs
KT32889MD added 1989 Steelers

26
15 8
Arizona Cardinals is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Worst NFL Teams to Ever Make Playoffs
bobthebeast added Arizona Cardinals National Football Conference

27
10 5
Detroit Lions is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Worst NFL Teams to Ever Make Playoffs
ben385 added Detroit Lions National Football Conference - 2016 9-7

28
4 0
Buffalo Bills is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Worst NFL Teams to Ever Make Playoffs
gongnorton added 2018 Buffalo Bills American Football Conference