NFL's worst betting seasons of the Super Bowl Era

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The NFL season is still pretty far away. We know the 2020 schedule, and opening lines have been released for Week 1, Monday Night Football games and some other key matchups.

As we wait for the real action to begin, we decided to take a look at some of the worst betting seasons in NFL history. Our NFL Nation reporters give their perspective on the worst individual seasons against the spread, using research from ESPN Stats & Information.


This expansion team was classic “Yucks” (short for “Yuckaneers”) football, going 0-14 in its inaugural season and becoming the first team in modern NFL history to go winless in a season. The Bucs failed to score any points in five games and finished last in the league in points scored (125 for the season) and touchdowns (14).

Although the Bucs drafted a future Pro Football Hall of Famer in Lee Roy Selmon, the rest of the team had little talent. NFL free agency didn’t start until 1993, and back then, NFL rules allowed existing teams to protect all but five players on their active rosters, which means that to form the team, Tampa Bay was relegated to selecting from a pool of aging, injured players. — Jenna Laine


1980 Steelers (3-13, .188)

If 1972 marked the start of Pittsburgh’s dynasty, the 1980 season signaled the end of it. After winning Super Bowl XIV against the L.A. Rams in January, the Steelers started to lose effectiveness the next season and ended their streak of eight consecutive playoff appearances with a 9-7 regular-season finish. The defense, once the cornerstone of the championship seasons, went from second in yards allowed to 15th and surrendered 313 points (also 15th). The Steelers came out on the losing end of several close games, dropping seven games by an average of 7.5 points, including three by two or fewer points. After the season, running back Rocky Bleier retired, kicking off a slew of retirements of key players over the next couple of seasons and a slide into mediocrity that marked the 1980s. — Brooke Pryor


1981 Patriots (3-13, .188)

When the Patriots were visiting the Baltimore Colts in the season finale on an eight-game losing streak, some called it the “Stupor Bowl” because the loser would earn the top pick in the next year’s draft. The Patriots lost to finish the season 2-14. Eight of the team’s losses were by seven or fewer points. Matt Cavanaugh and Steve Grogan split the quarterback duties. Tony Collins was the leading rusher (873 yards on 204 carries with seven TDs). Don Hasselbeck (46 catches) and Stanley Morgan (44) were leading receivers on a club that had one Pro Bowler (guard John Hannah). — Mike Reiss


2007 Ravens (3-13, .188)

It was an imperfect storm in terms of projecting Baltimore in 2007. The Ravens were coming off their most successful season, a 13-3 record and a No. 2 seed in the playoffs. But injuries caused the season to unravel quickly and led to the firing of coach Brian Billick. How bad was it? The Ravens went through three quarterbacks: an aging Steve McNair, an underperforming Kyle Boller and a rookie fifth-round pick in Troy Smith. Baltimore covered only three times, which included a near-upset of the undefeated Patriots in which the Ravens were 19-point underdogs. The season hit bottom in Week 15, when the favored Ravens lost in overtime to the 0-13 Dolphins. That still ranks as one of the most embarrassing losses in franchise history. — Jamison Hensley


2011 Rams (3-13, .188)

Third season’s a charm? That certainly wasn’t the case for coach Steve Spagnuolo, who watched as his team sputtered to a 2-14 finish behind a dismal offense that ranked worst in the NFL and averaged only 12.1 points per game. The defense didn’t fare much better, as it was pushed around for an average of 25.4 points per game, which ranked 26th in the league.

There was notable talent on the roster, including running back Steven Jackson and defensive linemen Chris Long and Robert Quinn, but the Rams could not overcome a plethora of injuries and subpar coaching. Spagnuolo was fired after the season.


2012 Eagles (3-13, .188)



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