This franchise, which hasn't won an NFL title since they were the Chicago Cardinals in 1947, moved to Arizona in 1988. Since then, they have had only three playoff appearances. In fact, they have just three winning records in their 24 seasons in Arizona. They have appeared in a Super Bowl, losing a close contest to the Steelers here in Tampa after the 2008 season. That's about the only real highlight over the past 60-some years.
The regular-season success the Falcons have had over the past several seasons hasn't translated to the postseason. Quarterback Matt Ryan still hasn't won a playoff game. The Falcons have lost three straight postseason games by a combined scored of 102-47. This franchise has only one Super Bowl appearance in its history, and it was a rather forgettable 34-19 loss to the Broncos after the 1998 season.
Bills fans are a proud bunch, and they will point to just how rare it is to make it to four straight Super Bowls. That's what the Bills did back in the 1990s, and they remain the only team to do it. But, come on, wouldn't you rather win one Super Bowl and miss the playoffs entirely in the other three seasons than lose four straight? And it was how the Bills lost those Super Bowls: three blowouts and an absolute gut-wrenching loss to the Giants when Scott Norwood missed a last-play field goal at Tampa Stadium. Recent history has been awful: no playoff appearances since 1999 — the longest drought in the NFL. And it doesn't look like it will end this season.
Certainly on the short list of the worst-run franchises in all of sports over the past 30 years because of its owner, Mike Brown. The Bengals had strong teams off and on in the 1970s and 1980s. But they've had just three postseason appearances over the past 21 seasons and haven't won a playoff game since 1990 — the longest drought in the NFL.
Poor Cleveland. The Browns' history in the Super Bowl era ranges from pathetic (no Super Bowl appearances) to heartbreaking (those awful losses to John Elway's Broncos in the playoffs in the 1980s) to devastating (the team moved to Baltimore in 1995). Football has "returned'' to Cleveland in name only. The Browns have had only one playoff appearance in the past 14 seasons and haven't won a playoff game since Bill Belichick was coach in 1994. That won't change this season, either. Unless you're old enough to go back to the Jim Brown days, football in Cleveland has been a bummer.
The Lions never have been to a Super Bowl. They've made the playoffs only once in the past 12 seasons. They are 1-10 in the playoffs in the Super Bowl era, and that lone win was back in 1991. They are the only franchise in NFL history to have an 0-16 season. And, lately, even Thanksgiving, the day we all think of the Lions, has been a nightmare: Detroit has lost nine in a row on Turkey Day.
Bitterness about this franchise goes back to the 1960s and 1970s when the Vikings lost four Super Bowls. This historic franchise hasn't even appeared in a Super Bowl since then and has never won the Big Game. In recent seasons, playoff failures have been especially difficult to swallow for Minnesotans. It includes the Brett Favre Vikings losing in overtime in the NFC Championship Game to the eventual Super Bowl-winning Saints three seasons ago. It includes an embarrassing 41-0 loss the Giants in the 2000 NFC title game. And it includes a shocking OT loss in the 1998 NFC Championship Game after the reliable Gary Anderson missed an easy field goal.
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The Texans and Jaguars have never appeared in a Super Bowl, although both haven't been around that many seasons and the Texas could be a Super Bowl team this season. Other teams that haven't won a Super Bowl include the Eagles, Chargers, Titans, Panthers and Seahawks .
The Chiefs haven't won a playoff game in 19 seasons. And, one more mention: the Jets. They haven't appeared in a Super Bowl since Joe Namath's guarantee. Believe it or not, that was 44 seasons ago.
tom jones' two cents
Today, the Atlanta Falcons come to town to take on the Bucs. And, when you think about it, the Falcons are in a pretty good spot. They're 9-1 and headed to the playoffs for a third straight season. They've already assured themselves of a winning record for the fifth consecutive season, the longest streak in franchise history. • But, when you really think about it, you wouldn't want to be a fan of this franchise, not over its history. There are plenty of reasons. • In the Super Bowl era there have been great franchises: the Cowboys, Steelers, Packers, Patriots and 49ers. But other franchises have been hard on fans, because of futility or heartbreak or both. That list includes the Falcons. Here's my pick of the top seven teams — let's call them the "Sorry Seven'' — that I wouldn't want to be a fan of.