The 2023-2024 NFL season was full of exciting surprises including a handful of teams that significantly exceeded expectations despite the wave of obstacles they had to conquer throughout the regular season and postseason. Although several of these teams fell short of their Super Bowl hopes in the postseason, each team proved they have promising futures up ahead.
5 NFL teams that exceeded all expectations in the 2023 season:
1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 9-8
In a year that many analysts favored the New Orleans Saints or Atlanta Falcons to win the NFC South, head coach Todd Bowles and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers advanced to the NFL playoffs while earning the division title. Not only did Tampa Bay clinch the playoffs, but they were able to pull off a massive upset at home against the Philadelphia Eagles in the Wildcard round and were one drive away from taking the Detroit Lions to overtime in the Divisional round.
Despite the Buccaneers' quarterback position being a large question mark heading into the regular season, quarterback Baker Mayfield, who was signed to a $4M contract, wildly exceeded expectations throughout the season throwing 28 touchdown passes and over 4,000 yards. While the NFC south is technically weaker competition compared to other divisions, winning should not be taken for granted in the NFL. The Buccaneers still managed to win a playoff game when many thought they would finish last in their division leading up to the season.