Name the 1-15 teams in NFL history.
Well, there was the Dallas Cowboys in Troy Aikman’s rookie season. The Cleveland Browns did it a few years ago, but we only remember because they followed that up with an 0-16 season. Then ... well, who knows.
All you need to do is win one game and you’re off the hook. The 1-15 teams through history are forgettable. The 0-16 teams will live forever. The 2008 Detroit Lions and the 2017 Cleveland Browns did the trick, and we’ll include the 0-14 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They’re immortal, and not in a good way.
The 2019 Miami Dolphins have a shot at that infamy. They’re 0-6 and at times have looked historically awful. They’ll try again to get that one all-important win against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night, a game that can be live-streamed on the Yahoo Sports app.
(By the way, if you are a true trivia buff, those 1-15 teams are: 1980 Saints, 1989 Cowboys, 1990 Patriots, 1991 Colts, 1996 Jets, 2000 Chargers, 2001 Panthers, 2007 Dolphins, 2009 Rams, 2016 Browns.)
Dolphins are off to a historically bad start
The Dolphins have looked a little better the past couple games.
The bar wasn’t high. The first four games were as miserable as you’ll find through NFL history. Their minus-137 point differential was the worst of any team in the Super Bowl era. They didn’t hold their first lead of the season until Week 4. They looked absolutely horrendous in every facet of the game.
The Dolphins’ team grade at Pro Football Focus is 51.6, and No. 31 Cincinnati is far ahead at 61.1. The 0-16 2017 Browns had a PFF grade of 69.9. The 2008 Lions have the worst grade dating back to 2006, at 52.1. Only three teams in that time have finished under 60.
The Dolphins’ DVOA, Football Outsiders’ per-play metric, is minus-72.9 percent. The second-worst in the NFL is Cincinnati’s minus-38.3 percent. Miami has the second-worst DVOA through six games dating back to 1986, and Miami is the worst since 1986 in defensive DVOA.
Not only are the Dolphins bad, they’re miles worse than practically every other team in history by any measure you want to dig up.
That’s why a 1-point loss to the 1-6 Washington Redskins and a relatively competitive 10-point loss to the Buffalo Bills the past two weeks seemed like real progress.
Dolphins have shown a little improvement
The Dolphins scored late against the Redskins and went for a two-point conversion and the win. They called a strange running back screen that Kenyan Drake dropped. Drake would have been tackled anyway.
There are still a lot of games to go, but it’s reasonable to believe that game against the Redskins will be the Dolphins’ best shot at a win all season. The Dolphins were trying to tank — or whatever more subtle term you wish to use — and it worked too well. They’re an embarrassment. One of the conversations early this season has been how the NFL can stop other teams from tanking. The Dolphins are so bad, they might lead to rule changes.
All of it will be forgotten pretty quickly with one win. Just one. Nobody remembers a thing about the 1990 Patriots or the 2000 Chargers or any of the other teams on that list. The Dolphins will get a Steelers team that is 2-4 and has quarterback Mason Rudolph coming back from one of the scariest concussions we’ve ever seen. The Dolphins have looked a little better lately. A quarterback change back to Ryan Fitzpatrick has helped the offense.
Maybe this is the week the Dolphins get their win. It’s not even Halloween, but it’s not too soon to start wondering if and when it’ll come.
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