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The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / The 4 Biggest Single Season Team Collapses in NFL History

The 4 Biggest Single Season Team Collapses in NFL History

Publish Date: 10/02/2021
Fact checked by: Simon Briffa
PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 15: Quarterback Joe Theismann #7 of the Washington Redskins drops back to pass against the Philadelphia Eagles during an NFL football game October 15, 1978 at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Theismann played for the Redskins from 1974-85. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

4) 1987 San Diego Chargers

For the 1987 NFL Season, the games were reduced from 16 to just 15 because of a player strike. But if there was a 16th game for the Chargers, they could’ve avoided a terrible collapse with them missing out. After losing their first game, they righted the ship and won 8 straight, and it looked like they would be a contender. But everything that could go wrong did go wrong. The biggest thing was that they lost their final six games. It was both the offense and defense’s fault as They allowed all of their opponents to score at least 20 points in each game. The offense wasn’t that good either because they didn’t score over 18 points in those six games. They were 8-7 to finish the season, and it wasn’t enough for them to make it to the playoffs. If they just had one more win, they could’ve been in. This was the end of the Chargers run of close to a decade of being a fun team to watch. After this season, the retirement of superstars Dan Fouts and Kellen Winslow put an end to the fun in San Diego. I will add in that the strike Chargers did go 3-0, which means the regular Chargers started the season 5-1, but either way, it was a colossal collapse.

3) 1993 Miami Dolphins

The 1993 season started out promising with a 4-1 beginning. But then, something happened. Dan Marino ended up with a season-ending injury with his Achilles tendon tear. But thankfully, their backups Scott Mitchell and Steve DeBerg played well during the first two games of the season, leading the Dolphins to an 8-2 start. They picked up another win on Thanksgiving against the eventual Super Bowl Champion Dallas Cowboys; who needs Dan Marion?. They were 9-2, and at this point, it would just be about impossible for them to miss the playoffs, right? Come to find they did need Marino by the last half of the season. They lost their next two games against the Giants and Steelers. And they ended up losing their final three as well. They didn’t just lose the last three games. They got embarrassed by giving up 47 against Buffalo, 45 to the Chargers, and 33 against the Patriots in overtime.

2) 1994 Philadelphia Eagles

Head coach Rich Kotite led the 1994 Eagles, and they looked outstanding for the first half of the season. After losing their first game to the Giants, they won 7 of their next eight games to record 7-2. They weren’t a powerhouse, but they were a formidable team that found ways to win, and they looked like a shoo-in for the playoffs. Then it all came crumbling down around them. The offense was its biggest strength, with stars Randall Cunningham, Herschel Walker, and Fred Barnett. But for some reason, they fell apart. The defense couldn’t get going at all as they allowed 26 or more points a total of 4 times; remember this team that in 1991 had one of the greatest defenses in NFL history. In 5 of their final seven games, the offense scored under 20 points. They lost all of their last seven games to finish with a record of 7-9, which got Rich Kotite fired.

1) 1978 Washington Redskins

After the 1977 season as the Redskins Head Coach, George Allen was done, and the  Redskins hired Jack Pardee to be the new Head Coach. Pardee had been a big part of Allen’s success with the “over the hill gang.” It looked like a tremendous hire as the Skins were 6-0 to begin the season. But then things went off the rails as they lost their next 3 out of 5 games against the Eagles, Giants, and Colts. Now they were 8-3; it seemed like just a blip on the radar at the time. Nope. Instead, what happened was quite unbelievable. The Redskins lost their next two games to the St. Louis Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys. Next, they were shut out by the Dolphins with a score of 16-0. You might be thinking, “There’s no way they could lose their last two, right?”. Wrong! They first lost to the Falcons 20-17, and in the final game of the season, they lost to the Chicago Bears 14-10. They started 6-0 at the beginning and then went 2-8 in the rest of the season. In 1979 the Redskins collapsed on the last game of the season, blowing a 34-14 fourth-quarter lead in Dallas to miss the playoffs again. Pardee was gone by 1980 and replaced by Joe Gibbs.

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