Exactly, Browns fan. Why are they so bad? Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the 2017 Cleveland Browns have joined the 2008 Detroit Lions in NFL infamy by losing all 16 regular season games, which of the two teams was worse?

Some are calling this season’s Browns the worst team in NFL history. It certainly seems that way. But head coach Hue Jackson is not losing his job over this dismal campaign just completed. However, you would think given the parity in the league that he would have found a way to win at least one game. Even more embarrassing is that over the last 32 regular season games, Jackson has coached his team to just one victory. That came on Christmas Eve of the 2016 season.

Therefore, the Browns have not won a regular season game in over a year. By the time the 2018 season kicks off, the Browns will have spent over a year and a half waiting to win. But Detroit and Cleveland are not alone. Those two teams only accomplished the unthinkable while playing 16 regular season games. There are 10 other teams that spent an entire season without winning a regular season game. Let’s get to them.

Baltimore Colts (1982): The Colts lost all eight games of a strike-shortened season that included a tie. That said, they can’t be included in one of the worst teams ever.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1976): Given that this was Tampa’s first year in the league, they had nothing to go on. Therefore, they had nothing to prove. The following season, the Bucs did manage to win two games. They would win five in 1978 before making the playoffs in 1979 with 10 wins. That brought them to the doorstep of the Super Bowl, but they would lose in the NFC Championship Game to the Rams.

“America’s Team,” the Dallas Cowboys were not always perennial winners. In 1960, their first year in the league, the ‘Boys got off to a horrible start just like the Bucs. Dallas lost 11 of their 12 regular season games played but had a tie as well. In 1989, the Cowboys won just one game and lost 15.

In 1944, the borough of Brooklyn in New York City had a football team called the Tigers. They played 11 games that season and lost them all. To avoid sharing Brooklyn’s baseball team nickname, the Tigers had changed their name from the “Dodgers” in 1944. They subsequently went out and lost all their games.

1944 not only had the Brooklyn Tigers finishing 0-10. Because of WWII and a player shortage, the Chicago Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers joined forces so they could field a team. But that squad would lose every game, finishing 0-10. The year before, the Chicago Cardinals on their own lost every game of the 10 regular-season contests played.

So in 2008, the Detroit Lions went 0-16. But they had tasted a win-less season once before that. In 1942, the Lions hit a low by dropping 11 straight games. They would set the wheels in motion for the NFL to have a win-less team in three straight seasons as indicated above. The Lions are the only team on this list to repeat as losers of every regular season game played in a single season.

Three more teams spent an entire season without winning a game. However, those last three were many moons ago when the NFL schedule only had teams playing eight or nine games. Those three are the Cincinnati Reds (1934, 0-8), Columbus Tigers (1925, 0-9), and the Columbus Panhandles (1922, 08).

So we return to the original discussion. Who is the worst team in history between the 2008 Detroit Lions and 2017 Cleveland Browns? One fact to consider would be how each team fared before and after their ill-fated win-less campaigns. Consider the following:

Prior to going 0-16 in 2008, the Detroit Lions were coming off a 7-9 season. The following year, they did manage to win two games. And in 2011, they would finish 10-6.

As for Cleveland? This year was an 0-16 fiasco, and in 2016 they won just once. The year before that saw only three wins in the 16 played. And while they won seven and lost nine in 2014, the season before that the Browns managed only four victories.

In 2015, Cleveland lost their last three regular season games. They then began the 2016 season with 14 straight losses; therefore, they lost 17 consecutive regular-season games. If you count the last game of last season, which was a loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers, then the Browns have lost 17 in a row AGAIN. Talk about full circle. Their current streak began with the Black and Gold and has continued with the Steelers in the final week of this season.

The 2007 Detroit Lions were just below an average team with seven wins and nine losses. Their season finale in ’07 was a loss to the Green Bay Packers. That year, Detroit actually won three in a row and stood at 6-2 at the midway mark. But then they dropped six in a row and seven of their last eight to finish with that 7-9 record. Perhaps it was foretelling of things to come. Counting that final loss to the Pack, Detroit would also lose 17 regular season games in a row.

The following season for the Detroit Lions, after they finished 0-16 in 2008, would see them lose their first two regular season games — making it 19 in a row. The Cleveland Browns can match that in 2018 when the season begins. The Lions finally snapped the streak with a 19-14 victory over Washington in Week 3 of the 2009 campaign. But they would then drop the next six before adding their only other win of the season — ironically enough, against the Cleveland Browns.

With six losses to end their 2009 season, the Detroit Lions lost the first four of 2010 to create another losing streak of 10 straight. They finished that season 6-10 and since, have had four winning seasons in the last seven while winning 11 games in 2014.

Considering how competitive the two win-less teams were, in 2008 the Detroit Lions scored 268 points on offense. But they gave up nearly double that with 517 points surrendered. Cleveland’s 2017 defense was a bit better, allowing 410 points to be scored on them. But their offense was not so efficient, registering only 234 for the season.

The Cleveland Browns' season that just finished saw them battle in some close games. The Steelers beat them in the opener by only three, and then by just four in the last game of the season. The Browns also lost to the Colts by only three; the Jets by three; the Titans by three; the Chargers by just nine, and Green Bay by six.

On the other hand, the Detroit Lions only had a handful of close games in 2008. They lost to the Vikings in the first meeting by only two and in the rematch by four. Detroit lost to Houston by seven; Washington by eight; and Chicago by four.

Blowouts? Cleveland’s largest margin in losing came at the hands of the Bengals — who defeated them 31-7. There were other losses by 14, 16 and 17 points. Detroit got whacked in 2008 by margins of 37, 35, 27, 24, 23 and 18 points by opponents. On average, Detroit lost by an average of 32-17 in 2008. Meanwhile this past season, Cleveland’s average margin of losing was 26-15.

So who was the worst team, possibly in the entire history of the NFL? The 2017 Cleveland Browns? Or, the 2008 Detroit Lions?

Make your choice below.

And for more from Harv Aronson, check out his website here.

QUIZ: Name the coach with the worst record from every NFL franchise

How many NFL coaches with the worst winning percentage in every franchise's history can you name in six minutes?

Good luck!

CLUE: TEAM / SEASONS WITH TEAM / WIN %

Note: To qualify, coaches had to coach for at least 16 games after 1970 NFL-AFL merger. An asterisk (*) indicates that the person coached the team in a different city from where they are located now. 

Score:
0/32
Time:
6:00
ARZ / 00-03 / .298
Dave McGinnis
ATL / 66-68 / .133
Norb Hecker
BAL / 96-98 / .344
Ted Marchibroda
BUF / 76-77 / .130
Jim Ringo
CAR / 99-01 / .333
George Seifert
CHI / 72-74 / .368
Abe Gibron
CIN / 00-02 / .267
Dick LeBeau
CLE / 16- / .031
Hue Jackson
DAL / 00-02 / .313
Dave Campo
DEN / 17- / .313
Vance Joseph
DET / 01-02 / .156
Marty Mornhinweg
GB / 88-91 / .375
Lindy Infante
HOU / 02-05 / .281
Dom Capers
IND / 85-86 / .172
Rod Dowhower
JAX / 12 / .125
Mike Mularkey
KC / 11-12 / .211
Romeo Crennel
LAC* / 97-98 / .273
Kevin Gilbride
LAR* / 09-11 / .208
Steve Spagnuolo
MIA / 07 / .063
Cam Cameron
MIN / 84 / .188
Les Steckel
NE / 90 / .063
Rod Rust
NO / 70-72 / .219
J.D. Roberts
NYG / 74-76 / .200
Bill Arnsparger
NYJ / 95-96 / .125
Rich Kotite
OAK / 12-14 / .222
Dennis Allen
PHI / 69-71 / .360
Jerry Williams
PIT / 69-91 / .566
Chuck Noll
SEA / 92-94 / .292
Tom Flores
SF / 16 / .125
Chip Kelly
TB / 85-86 / .125
Leeman Bennett
TEN* / 72-73 / .053
Bill Peterson
WAS / 93 / .250
Richie Petitbon
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This article first appeared on The Sports Post and was syndicated with permission.

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