10. 1990 PATRIOTS 1-15
Believe it or not, there was a time when the Patriots weren't contending for the Super Bowl every year. Yeah, it was before Tom Brady's time so he's off the hook. That was the height of the Marc Wilson-Tom Hodson-Steve Grogan era. After a Week 2 win over Indy evened their record at 1-1, the Pats went on to lose 14 straight. Even worse, the year was marred by an ugly incident in which a trio of players sexually harrassed Boston Globe reporter Lisa Olson after a home game. Simply put, the Pats were bad on and off the field.
9.2001 Panthers 1-15
It was like the football gods were conspiring against the Panthers in 2001. After winning their season opener against the Minnesota Vikings, they lost 15 in a row, setting a record that stood until 2008. But six of those losses were by three points or less, including two in overtime. The Panthers couldn't buy a break. Still, rookie quarterback Chris Weinke, a star out of Florida State, probably would have been better off staying in the Toronto Blue Jays minor-league system, where he spent six seasons.
8.1996 Jets 1-15
Walk into any New York bar frequented by Jets fans and mention the name Rich Kotite. Dare you. But don't blame me for the response. In two years as head coach of the Jets-Jets- Jets, Kotite won four games. Total. He made Jets supporters long for Pete Carroll. The Jets were incredibly bad in 2000, going 3-13 in Kotite's rookie season, but topped themselves the next year. Luckily, the Arizona Cardinals, everyone's whipping boys at the time, were on the schedule or the Jets might have beat the '08 Lions to the punch.
7.2000 Chargers 1-15
Mike Riley had a heck of a run, short as it was, as coach of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers but, sheesh, he was lousy when he went to the NFL. In his second season with the Chargers, they sank to a new franchise low, managing a single win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 13. Of course, if didn't help that Ryan Leaf, probably the biggest bust in league history, was under centre for half the year. After the ugliness of 2000, San Diego had seen enough of Leaf -- four wins in three years as a starter -- and cut their losses.
6.1989 Cowboys 1-15
The Monday Night Football schedulers must have had an inkling the Cowboys would stink -- for the first time in the broadcast's history, Dallas didn't make the grade. Future Hall of Famer Troy Aikman was the starting QB most of the season (he missed a few games with a broken wrist) but the only time the 'Boys got in the win column was in Week 9 against Washington. But the real win came mid-season when Dallas traded running back Herschel Walker to Minny for players and picks, including one that landed them Emmitt Smith.
5.1980 Saints 1-15
For the 1970s, most of the '80s and, quite frankly, some of the '90s, the Saints were the gold standard for ineptitude. In the 13 years prior to 1980, an 8-8 record was the high-water mark for a franchise that regularly won between two and five games a season. But this was a new low. Fans that did show up to games were often wearing paper bags (yep, that's where it started) over their heads and renamed the team the Aints. With Archie Manning, Peyton and Eli's dad, at quarterback, the Saints didn't win until their 15th game of the season.
4.2009 Rams 1-15
The Rams were looking for happier times after going 2-14 in 2008 but, instead, they found a way to get worse in '09. The Greatest Show of Turf, the NFL's must-see action-drama at the turn of the millenium, was cancelled due to poor ratings. Most of us would have been happy if the Rams had the plug pulled after the pilot. Instead, we watched in horror as the Rams put together seven-and eight-game losing streaks broken up only by a 17-10 win over a mediocre collegiate team. Sorry, it was the 2-14 Lions. Fortunately, nobody watched it.
3.1991 Colts 1-15
Win or no win, the Jeff George-led Colts made a strong case for No. 1. Indy set a record for fewest points scored in a 16-game season, topping out at just 143 (a shade under nine per game), and hit double digits on only five occasions. The Colts stumbled out of the gate -- and down the back stretch for that matter -- by losing their first nine games. A one-point win over the Jets in November prevented the Colts from a winless season. And to think the Colts traded up to take George first overall the year before. Yikes!
2.1976 Buccaneers 0-14
The first-year Bucs were downright awful, right down to their gaudy orange uniforms. But, as an expansion team, at least they had an excuse. It's not like they were stocked with all-stars and up-and-comers. Tampa Bay, with future college genius (his word) Steve Spurrier at quarterback, opened the season with back-to-back shutouts (they were blanked five times that season) before losing a close one to Buffalo. After that, with the exception of a three-point loss to Seattle, it was academic.
1.2008 Lions 0-16
Any time you go 0-fer in a season (the only time its happened in the NFL with a 16-game schedule), you're going to top everyone's list of uber-ugly. The only truly shocking fact was that coach Rod Marinelli lasted the entire season. President Matt Millen, the architect of the Lions' lousiness, got the axe after four just games. But if there was one small positive in a sea of negatives, it was that the brutality of 2008 allowed the Lions to draft quarterback Matt Stafford first overall in '09.