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Football - American
National Football League (NFL)
NFL Playoffs

What NFL team had the worst regular season record yet still made the playoffs?


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January 05, 2011 12:57AM

The worst record for a playoff team that played a full, 16 game regular season is 7-9, belonging to the 2010 Seattle Seahawks. There have also been nine 8-8 playoff teams as of the end of 2010:

1. 2008 Chargers

2. 2006 Giants

3. 2004 Rams

4. 2004 Vikings

5. 1999 Cowboys

6. 1999 Lions

7. 1991 Jets

8. 1990 Saints

9. 1985 Browns

Using the league alignment and scheduling instituted by the NFL in 2002, it is possible for all four teams in a division to be 3-13; one of them will have to be the winner. In this scenario, each team loses 4 inter-conference games and 6 intra-conference games for 10 total losses. Additionally, each team in the division splits with each other divisional opponent for 3 more losses.

It is also possible to win the division with a 0-10-6 record. Each team must tie in all games with divisional opponents, then lose the rest of their games. One team will win a tie breaker and win the division. It is very unlikely, but theoretically possible. Imagine that, a team makes the playoffs with no wins!

5-11 is the worst possible wild card record, though it is even more far-fetched than the 3-13 scenario. Other than the 4 Division winners, the other 12 teams would all split intra-conference games (3-3) -- though some would go 2-4 as well, they would not be able to win the wildcard -- and divisional games, except against the divisional champion (2-4), and then lose all their inter-conference games (0-4).