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Ready for a sub-.500 playoff team?

Originally Published: September 24, 2010
By Bill Simmons | ESPN.com

When I was falling in love with football in the mid-'70s, my beloved Patriots played in the AFC East. There were 28 teams and six divisions by 1976, which meant one division in each league had just four teams instead of five. Teams earned a playoff spot by winning their division or grabbing the one wild-card slot, which eliminated the '77 Pats: they finished 9-5, one game behind division rivals Miami and Baltimore. Meanwhile, the AFC Central shook out like this:

Pittsburgh, ...

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