NFL

2018 NFL Playoffs: Teams looking to overcome past postseason failures

The 2018 NFL Playoffs are littered with franchises that have underwhelmed when it’s mattered most. Are any of them ready to turn things around?

The field for the 2018 NFL Playoffs is a Who’s Who of franchises that have not had much success, historically, in the postseason.

Other than the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots, the other 10 teams have collectively gone 3-18 (.143 winning percentage) in Super Bowls with just 13 championships (AFL or NFL) in 536 combined seasons entering 2017.

First we have the Steelers and Patriots:

The Haves

Team

SB Wins

SB LossesAFL/NFL Champs

Seasons

Pittsburgh Steelers

6

26

84

New England Patriots

5

45

57

Total

11

611

141

 

And the other 10 teams in the postseason.

The Have-Nots

Team

SB Wins

SB LossesAFL/NFL Champs

Seasons

Los Angeles Rams

1

23

80

Philadelphia Eagles

0

23

84

Kansas City Chiefs

1

12

57

Tennessee Titans

0

12

57

Buffalo Bills

0

42

57

New Orleans Saints

1

01

50

Minnesota Vikings

0

40

56

Carolina Panthers

0

20

22

Atlanta Falcons

0

20

51

Jacksonville Jaguars

0

00

22

Total

3

1813

536

 

Overall, many of this year’s playoff teams have not fared very well at all on football’s biggest stage. Famously, the Buffalo Bills lost four consecutive Super Bowls in the 1990s and Kansas City Chief’s head coach, Andy Reid, seemingly has been on the wrong side of every disaster since the Hindenburg caught fire.

Of the six franchises to have gone winless in multiple Super Bowls, five of them qualified for this year’s postseason (the Cincinnati Bengals will, once again, have to wait ‘til next year). And as football enters its Divisional Round, three of those teams are still alive, as are three others that have struggled to succeed.

2018’s Remaining Have-Nots

The Minnesota Vikings are still seeking their first championship in what is their 57th NFL season. That represents the longest title drought to start a franchise’s existence in league history, though, ironically, Minnesota has qualified for the postseason more often than all but two teams — the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers — since their inception.

The New Orleans Saints won Super Bowl XLIV in 2009, but have struggled to even reach the playoffs over the years. Of the seven franchises with six or fewer division titles, only the New York Jets have been around longer. The Saints are in just their 11th postseason in their 51 years in the league. At 21.6 percent, that is a lower rate than all but three NFL franchises (the Detroit Lions, Arizona Cardinals and Houston Texans).

Despite never reaching the Super Bowl, the Jacksonville Jaguars are a relatively impressive 6-6 all-time in the postseason. After surprisingly reaching the playoffs four times in their initial five seasons, however, the Jags have since qualified only three times in the subsequent 18 years and have not played in a conference championship game during that stretch.

The Atlanta Falcons, of course, are coming off a monumental collapse in last year’s Super Bowl, in which they blew a 28-3 second-half lead. For the majority of the fourth quarter, they were at least 99 percent to win, according to Pro-Football Reference. In their only other championship game experience, they trailed John Elway’s Denver Broncos by more than two scores for 40 minutes and were never really in the game.

The last time the Tennessee Titans won a title, they played in the AFL as the Houston Oilers and their future Hall of Fame quarterback, Warren Moon, was five years old. Like Atlanta last year, Tennessee once very nearly conquered their postseason demons; in an effort to tie the game, wide receiver, Kevin Dyson, was tackled a yard short of the end zone to end Super Bowl XXXIV.

And the Philadelphia Eagles, who, despite having secured home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, will be forced to make their Super Bowl run with a backup quarterback. They have not won it all since 1960, which actually doesn’t seem so bad when you consider the city once endured a 97-year championship drought in baseball and has just one title in any of the four major sports since the summer of 1983.

If there’s a bit of hope for these championship-starved franchises, however, it’s that things can turn around very quickly. During their first 39 seasons, the Steelers’ only won 38 percent of their games and were above .500 just seven times. And the Pats topped their division just three times in their first 36 years. Today, those two are among the sport’s elite franchises, having won seven of the league’s most recent 16 titles.

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