Examining The NFL’s Winless Teams

Through week five of the 2008 NFL season there are still four teams that have yet to win a game. The Bengals, Lions, Rams, and Texans are all winless at this time of the year. There have been many teams that have gone farther than week five before winning their first game. How many teams have gone the whole season without winning a game though?

Looking at the record book since 1960, here is a list of all the teams that have gone an entire season winless in pro football:

1982 Baltimore Colts 0-8-1
Frank Kush’s first season as a head coach in the NFL couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start. The 1982 season was shortened by a player’s strike and the Colts had to navigate it with players like Mike Pagel, Art Sclichter, and David Humm at quarterback and Randy McMillan, Curtis Dickey, Zachary Dixon, and Cleveland Franklin at running back. The low point of the season came in week three and four when the Colts suffered back-to-back shutout losses at the hands of the New York Jets (37-0_ and then the Buffalo Bills (20-0). The highpoint of their season came in week seven when they played the Green Bay Packers to a 20-20 tie game.

1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 0-14
1976 was the first season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and though they would be moved the following season to their longtime home in the NFC Central division, they would spend their first year in the AFC West. Of their fourteen games that season, only three would be decided by seven points or less. The team started the year out with back-to-back shutout losses to the Houston Oilers (20-0) and the San Diego Chargers (23-0), and would go on to be shutout three more times that year; to the Cincinnati Bengals (21-0), New York Jets (34-0), and the Pittsburgh Steelers (42-0). The primary starting quarterback for the Buccaneers this season had been a Heisman Trophy winner during his college days and would go on to great fame later as a college football head coach, he was Steve Spurrier.

1960 Dallas Cowboys 0-11-1
The Dallas Cowboys joined the NFL in 1960 and proceeded to go the entire season without a victory. They did however gain a moderate level of success in the second to last game of the year when they played the New York Giants to a 31-31 tie game. This was longtime head coach Tom Landry’s first season as the top man of an NFL team and thankfully he would keep the job since he played a large role in the Cowboys development into one of the more successful teams in NFL history. The Cowboys had brought in Eddie LeBaron to be the team’s initial starting quarterback, on the roster at that time as well was “Dandy” Don Meredith who would eventually take over as the starting quarterback a couple of years later.

With only three NFL teams going winless since 1960, the odds that the Bengals, Rams, Lions, or Texans will go all season without winning a game are pretty low. Two of the three teams that have gone winless since 1960 did so in their first year in the league, while the third accomplished this tainted feat during a strike shortened season. There will probably be a season in the future where we will once again see a winless team, but the parity that exists in today’s NFL means that it most likely won’t be happening anytime soon.

Who do you think will be the last team to gain their first victory this year? Click on the “comment” link below and let us know.

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