Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Biggest letdown seasons of past 25 years
Sean McCormick of Football Outsiders studied the past 25 years to come up with a list of the NFL's 10 most disappointing teams for ESPN Insider.
Two AFC East clubs and a Bill Belichick team made the cut.
The 1995 Cleveland Browns were 10th. Belichick took Cleveland to the playoffs the year before and got off to a 3-1 start before owner Art Modell's shocking decision to move the team to Baltimore. Cleveland meekly limped to a 5-11 exit.
Ninth were the 1996 New York Jets. They'd gone an unpromising 3-13 the year before, but McCormick rattles off a list of expensive veteran acquisitions that were supposed to turn around Rick Kotite's squad: quarterback Neil O'Donnell, left tackle Jumbo Elliott and right tackle David Williams. The Jets also drafted receiver Keyshawn Johnson first overall. They went 1-15.
The 1995 Miami Dolphins came in fifth. That was Don Shula's swan song. They'd gone 10-6 the previous season, winning the AFC East with a healthy Dan Marino. They added tight end Eric Green, defensive end Trace Armstrong and cornerback Terrell Buckley. They got off to a 4-0 start but fizzled as a wild-card playoff team and a quick exit.