The following is a list of all the NFL teams that went winless for an entire season. I’ve listed all the teams that played in and lost at least eight games in a season.
In many cases, the winless teams had pretty good excuses as to why they went winless. That includes things like wars, strikes, and being an expansion team. Some of these teams, though, were just awful, and a few folded or merged after their winless seasons.
There are 11 teams in NFL history that went winless playing in at least eight games. In comparison, there are nine NFL teams that went undefeated during the regular season, including teams that had ties.
NFL Teams That Went Winless for a Season
- 2008 Detroit Lions – 0-16
The 2008 Detroit Lions were the most futile NFL team of all time. The 2008 Lions went 0-16, setting the NFL record for most losses in a season. GM Matt Millen, who is probably the worst GM in professional sports history, was fired after the fourth loss in the 2008 season. The Detroit Lions record with Matt Millen as their GM was 31-84 (.270).
Unfortunately, Matt Millen is not much better as a football analyst, but he keeps getting announcing jobs. Millen talks like he’s a football expert, and he had a great playing career, but his GM record is more representative of his abilities as an announcer. Matt Millen does hold the NFL record for most Super Bowl wins with different teams.
- 1982 Baltimore Colts – 0-8-1
The 1982 Baltimore Colts went 0-8-1 during the strike-shortened 1982 season. I don’t count any stats that happened during the 1982 strike season against anyone, because the whole replacement players thing was a joke. Some teams prepared ahead of time lining up replacement players, while other teams had to call in guys off the street just to fill out rosters.
- 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 0-14
The expansion 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers went 0-14 in their inaugural season. The Buccaneers also lost their first 12 games in 1977, so the franchise started out going 0-26. Just two years later though, in the 1979 season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers made it to the NFC championship game.
- 1960 Dallas Cowboys – 0-11-1
Another expansion team, the Dallas Cowboys, went 0-11-1 in their inaugural season in 1960. Despite the bad start, the Dallas Cowboys have gone on to win five Super Bowls.
Tom Landry was the coach for the winless 1960 season, and he went on to win 250 regular season NFL games and two Super Bowls and be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
- 1944 Brooklyn Tigers – 0-10
During WW II, the 1944 Brooklyn Tigers went 0-10 during the season. The team merged with the Boston Yanks for the 1945 season.
- 1944 Cards-Steelers – 0-10
Due to a player shortage because of WW II, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Chicago Cardinals merged their teams for the 1944 season. The merger was not a success, as the Cards-Steelers went 0-10. The two teams again separated after the season.
- 1943 Chicago Cardinals – 0-10
The 1943 Chicago Cardinals managed to go 0-10 all by themselves.
- 1942 Detroit Lions – 0-11
The 1942 Detroit Lions went 0-11 on the season. If we don’t count the merged Chicago Cardinals team of 1944, then the Detroit Lions are the only current NFL franchise to have two winless seasons.
- 1934 Cincinnati Reds – 0-8
The 1934 Cincinnati Reds went 0-8 over the first eight games of the 1934 season, and then the franchise was suspended, and eventually folded after the season, by the NFL for failure to pay league dues. The Cincinnati Reds had just joined the NFL in 1933.
The 1934 Cincinnati Reds are probably the worst NFL team of all time. In addition to losing all eight of their games, they only managed to score 10 total points in eight games. The Reds were outscored in their eight losses by a combined total of 243 to 10.
- 1925 Columbus Tigers – 0-9
The 1925 Columbus Tigers went 0-9 on the season.
- 1922 Columbus Panhandles – 0-8
The 1922 Columbus Panhandles went 0-8 during the season. The Columbus franchise then re-branded itself as the Columbus Tigers, who went winless in 1925, becoming the first NFL team to have two winless seasons. The Columbus franchise folded after the 1926 season.