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Beating the Odds-NFL Teams that made to Playoffs After Starting 0-3

Beating the Odds-NFL Teams that made to Playoffs After Starting 0-3

In NFL, a team starting with 0-3 is often headed for the draft.

Usually, no one picks a team that’s starting this low in the tournament even if they were a favorite at one point in time.

But as history has shown, the game is full of events where the NFL odds have been beaten beyond the wildest dreams.

There have been teams that started 0-3 but went on to compete in the playoffs.

If we look back into NFL history, then out of 173 teams that started 0-3 since 1980, only five (meager 2.8%) of them made it to the playoffs. Hence, the history has been made by NFL teams more than once but the odds are stacked against the recent teams. Ever since the formation of 12-team playoff format in 1990, the feat has been achieved only thrice and since the introduction of current division alignment in 2002, no 0-3 NFL teams were able to rally postseason.

Let’s revisit the history and look at teams that made it to the playoffs even after starting 0-3 in NFL.

Jets in 1981

Richard Todd who is known for stuffing the reporters into a locker was also the man who helped the Jets to rally into the playoffs after starting 0-3 in 1981.

In this edition of NFL, the Gang Green lost the first three of its games by 28 points or more before breaking into the playoffs with an 8-1-1 run. The Jets went on to win seven of their eight final games and finished 10-5-1 to replace Denver (10-6) as the second wild-card entry. The season was not only tumultuous for the Jets but particularly for Richard Todd against whom criminal charges were pressed for shoving the New York Post reporter Steve Serby into a locker. Fortunately for him, the charges were dropped later that year. The season ended for the Jets with a 31-27 loss against the Bills at home.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1982

One thing that every bettor knows is that Football odds can fall flat at any time when situations are just right. In what might be the oddest NFL season ever, Buccaneers lost their first two games of the season but didn’t drop to 0-3 until two months later.

But then Doug Williams and the Buccaneers resurfaced by dropping the ball early in 1982 when the team won five of the last six games to qualify for the playoffs with a record 5-4 run. Unfortunately, the Bus led by the future Super Bowl MVP Doug Williams had to head back home when the Dallas eliminated them during the wild-card round in a 30-17 loss.

The Chargers in 1992

Would you take the NFL odds to win AFC West for a team that started 0-4?

Probably not.

That’s exactly how the 1992 Chargers started pathetically at 0-4 but when on to make it to the playoffs and then win the AFC West. Before coach Bobby Ross rallied the Chargers to win the last 11 of their final 12 games, the team was blasted off by the Oilers in a 27-0 defeat during week 4 at the Astrodome. For the team, the offense was led by the first-time full-season starter QB Stan Humphries, receiver Anthony Miller and the running backs Marion Butts and Ronnie Harmon. In the playoffs, the Charger crushed the AFC West rivals Chiefs in a 17-0 run in the wild-card round.

Detroit Lions in 1995

Arguably, one of the most colorful head coaches in NFL was Wayne Fontes when he was at the helm for the Lions during the 90s.

This particular season made the 1990s Detroit Lions the epitome of talent with the likes of star receivers Brett Perriman and Harman Moore and the Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders. In the 1995 season, the Lions overcame the shameful 0-3 start and went to a 3-6 record just after nine games. Head Coach Wayne led his team to seven consecutive wins at the end of the regular season.

Still, the dream run for the team came to a screeching halt at Philadelphia when offensive tackle Lomas Brown unintentionally guaranteed a win for the opposition. The win for Philadelphia was so evident that a reporter quoted, “There is no question in my mind that we’re going to win this game. It’s just a matter of how much are we going to win it by and how long is it going to take.”

Buffalo Bills in 1998

If you remember the 1998 season it was an early flop for the Bills before Doug Flutie took over as their QB and took the team to the postseason. In doing so he revived his NFL career after spending some time in Canada.

This season Buffalo Bills have a gruesome start losing the first three games by a total of 9 points. The break came for the team in week 4 when coach Wade Phillips benched quarterback Rob Johnson to make way for Doug Flutie, the diminutive QB who send nearly a decade for Canada. Playing at San Francisco, Flutie led the Bills to win six of their next seven games. The team finished the season on a 3-1 kick to qualify for the second wild-card.

In the wild-card round, the Bills folded against the Dolphins by 24-17. There was an additional controversy when the Dolphins coach Jimmy Johnson crushed a box of Flutie Flakes. Later Johnson apologized to Flutie saying no disrespect was intended.

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