Name the 1 to 15 teams in NFL history.
Well, there were the Dallas Cowboys in Troy Aikman’s rookie season. The Cleveland Browns did it a few years ago, but we only remember it because they followed that up with an 0-16 season. So… well, who knows.
All you have to do is win a game and you’re off the hook. The 1-15 teams throughout history are forgettable. Teams 0-16 will live forever. The 2008 Detroit Lions and 2017 Cleveland Browns did the trick, and we’ll include the 0-14 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They’re immortal, and not in a good way.
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The 2019 Miami Dolphins have a shot at that infamy. They are 0-6 and have looked historically awful at times. They’ll be looking for that all-important win again against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night, a game that can be streamed live on the Yahoo Sports app.
(By the way, if you’re a real trivia buff, those 1-15 teams are: 1980 Saints, 1989 Cowboys, 1990 Patriots, 1991 Colts, 1996 Jets, 2000 Chargers, 2001 Panthers, 2007 Dolphins, 2009 Rams, 2016 Browns. )
Dolphins off to historic bad start
The Dolphins have looked a bit better in the last two games.
The bar was not high. The first four games were as miserable as you’ll find in NFL history. Their minus 137 point differential was the worst of any Super Bowl-era team. They didn’t hold onto their first lead of the season until Week 4. They looked absolutely awful in every facet of the game.
The Dolphins’ team rating at Pro Football Focus is 51.6, and No. 31 Cincinnati is far ahead with 61.1. The 2017 Browns 0-16 had a PFF rating of 69.9. The 2008 Lions have the worst mark dating back to 2006, at 52.1. Only three teams during this period have finished under the 60 mark.
The Dolphins’ DVOA, the Football Outsiders’ per-game metric, is minus 72.9 percent. The second-worst in the NFL is Cincinnati’s minus-38.3 percent. Miami has the second-worst DVOA in six games dating back to 1986, and Miami is the worst since 1986 in defensive DVOA.
Not only are the Dolphins bad, they’re far worse than virtually every other team in history in every way.
That’s why a 1-point loss to the Washington Redskins 1-6 and a relatively competitive 10-point loss to the Buffalo Bills over the past two weeks seemed like real progress.
The dolphins showed a small improvement
The Dolphins scored late against the Redskins and went for a two-point conversion and the win. They called a strange running back display Kenyan Drake dropped. Drake would have been tackled anyway.
There are still plenty of games to go, but it’s reasonable to believe that this game against the Redskins will be the Dolphins’ best shot at a win all season. The Dolphins were trying to tank — or whatever more subtle term you want to use — and it worked too well. They are troublesome. One of the conversations at the start of this season was how the NFL can stop other teams from tanking. The Dolphins are so bad they could lead to rule changes.
All of that will be forgotten pretty quickly with just one victory. Just one. Nobody remembers anything about the 1990 Patriots or the 2000 Chargers or any of the other teams on this list. The Dolphins will have a Steelers team that is 2-4 and quarterback Mason Rudolph is coming back from one of the scariest concussions we’ve ever seen. The Dolphins have been looking a little better lately. A quarterback change to Ryan Fitzpatrick helped the offense.
This may be the week the Dolphins get their win. It’s not even Halloween, but it’s not too early to start wondering if and when it will happen.
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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Do you have any advice? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab