GENUINE Super Bowl candidates are thin on the ground this season, the Tennessee Titans and New York Giants currently standing head and shoulders above their rivals.
But when it comes to the title of “worst team in football,” there are plenty of contenders.
No fewer than seven teams stand at 2-7 or worse. Three of them – the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers and St. Louis Rams – play in the same division (NFC West).
After watching the Rams concede 40 points inside the first 30 minutes to the Jets on Sunday, it’s hard to imagine there’s a team more incompetent in the NFL.
However, fans of the Oakland Raiders (2-7), Kansas City Chiefs (1-8), Cincinnati Bengals (1-8) and Detroit Lions (0-9) may well think otherwise.
With apologies to the residents of Oakland and Cincinnati, you’re not even close.
The Chiefs may not actually be the worst team, but when it comes to coughing up a lead in the closing stages, nobody does it better.
As one leading pundit said on radio a few weeks ago, former Jets head coach Herm Edwards is a past master at playing not to lose.
Detroit on course to finish year 0-16
Last Sunday in San Diego, Edwards played to win…and still ended up losing.
The Chiefs failed in their attempt at a two-point conversion, going down 20-19. It was the third week running that Kansas had snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
They had led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 24-3, only to lose to a field goal in overtime. The week before that, they were 24-21 up on the Jets before conceding a late touchdown.
But at least the Chiefs have managed to win one game this year (against the Denver Broncos). The Lions have lost all nine.
The closest they’ve come is 12-10 against the Minnesota Vikings and 27-23 at the Chicago Bears.
Of course, Lions fans have become used to failure. Their team has stunk for the past decade. 1999 was the last year they reached the playoffs and the 2007 season proved yet another false dawn, the Lions going 6-2 in the first half only to end up 7-9.
Bad ownership, bad management, bad draft picks; they’re all to blame. But now that Matt Millen has finally been axed from his post in charge of football operations, there is at least a ray of light at the end of the tunnel. Only trouble is it’s a mighty long tunnel.
The Lions next five opponents all have a winning percentage of over .500 and their last two – the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers – are still in playoff contention at 4-5.
The New England Patriots were a perfect 16-0 last season. It’s not hard to envisage dreadful Detroit going 0-16 and ending with the worst season record in NFL history.