Dynasties of Heartbreak 11-20: Schottenheimer Comes Up Quick

NFL Offseason – Nice coaches can undergo heartbreak too. Our heartbreak dynasty countdown continues with our penultimate ten, crammed to the brim with Corridor of Famers and near-misses. Marty Schottenheimer is right here, after all, however so are George Allen, Invoice Belichick, Joe Gibbs, Invoice Parcells, and Steve Owen. Even Vince Lombardi makes a short cameo as immediately’s 10 groups boast a training pedigree practically past reproach.

Additionally, Jeff Fisher is right here.

To have heartbreak, you additionally must be legitimately good, if maybe with some form of Achilles heel. By the point we’re up on this stratosphere, each staff listed would have been a worthy champion no less than a few times. We’re achieved with groups who have been fortunate to be in conditions the place they acquired their coronary heart damaged. Each final certainly one of these eras has no less than one staff that might be talked about within the higher half of NFL champions, if it weren’t for the pesky undeniable fact that none of them ever truly lifted the trophy.

None of those runs, nevertheless, are with out their faults. Some groups are lacking that Tremendous Bowl loss that might put them excessive. Others do not have an extended sufficient reign to essentially rack up the heartbreak factors. Some gained championships instantly earlier than or after, placing a damper on their potential heartbreak rating. There is a flaw in every of those gems meaning we’re speaking about them this week reasonably than subsequent, once we actually delve into essentially the most pain-ridden groups on the market. As unhealthy as these fan bases felt, it might at all times be worse.

Hyperlinks to the total collection:


No. 20: 1939-1946 New York Giants

Whole Heartbreak Factors: 644.7
Playoff Factors: 396.6
Win-Loss Factors: 147.6
DVOA Factors: 100.5
Championship Penalty: 330.1
File: 52-26-7 (.653)
Playoff File: 0-5 (4 Championship Sport losses; one divisional loss)
Common DVOA: 8.9%
Head Coach: Steve Owen
Key Gamers: WB Ward Cuff, BB Nello Falaschi, E Jim Poole, E Jim Lee Howell, E Neal Adams, T Frank Cope, G Len Younce, C Mel Hein

Steve Owen is an important determine within the historical past of the NFL. He is accountable for a number of improvements, new formations, new play designs, primary fundamentals of technique we take as a right immediately. He is among the giants of the early years of soccer as we all know it.

He additionally has a reasonably unlucky report. He is the one coach to lose six championship video games in his profession.

This Giants run comes off the again of their 1938 NFL Championship, gained with the A-formation, a scheme designed to unfold defenses of the time. These days, once we say “unfold the protection,” we’re speaking about going with 5 wideouts and stretching the opponent from sideline to sideline. Soccer was somewhat totally different within the Thirties. The A-formation makes use of an unbalanced line—4 linemen to the suitable of the middle, with only a deal with and an finish on the left. The backs then unbalanced to the opposite facet, with the middle with the ability to snap to the fullback, quarterback, or blocking again. This takes away some potential for energy dashing in trade for better flexibility—each the quarterback and fullback can throw the ball, and the chance for fakes and deception sort of balloons. Opposing defenses will not have the ability to inform immediately the place the ball had been snapped to, or which play to cowl. Add in all of the pre-snap shifting Owen would name, with the Giants shifting from single-wing to double-wing to A-formation at will, and opposing defenses have been simply totally unprepared.

Nobody else ran the dang factor. This was partly as a result of the Giants had Mel Hein at heart—the one lineman ever to win an MVP award—and also you want that degree of participant to deal with all of the other ways and instructions the ball will be snapped within the formation. The opposite purpose is that the T-formation was starting to run roughshod over the league, and that is the elemental flaw with this period of Giants staff: T is healthier than A. It was easier to run, it opened up the passing recreation way over the A-formation did, and was being run to perfection by George Halas and the Bears. The brand new formation took the league by storm, and it and its descendants dominated soccer for the following 70 years.

Owen fought again. He took the Giants to 5-3-3 protection full-time, away from the six- and seven-man traces that have been the norm of the period. He even experimented with the daring technique of getting 4 defensive backs in his so-called “umbrella” protection. Owen’s protection was stuffed with novelties which have since develop into normal—stunting linemen, blitzes from the linebackers and security, gamers transferring round to match up with movement within the backfield. In contrast to the A-formation, this was extensively copied, however the Giants did it higher than anybody. In 1944, they allowed their opponents to attain simply 7.5 factors per recreation, nonetheless the NFL report. And it isn’t simply due to old-timey soccer being offensively challenged. That is nonetheless an NFL-record 2.56 instances higher than the remainder of the league’s common of 19.2 factors allowed.

Owen additionally instituted a platoon system. Not devoted offensive and defensive gamers, as a result of free substitution did not come into place till 1943. As a substitute, Owen would usher in 10 new gamers at first of the second half, changing everybody however Hein to maintain his staff contemporary.

None of it was sufficient to take the Giants excessive. Halas and his Bears thrashed the Giants within the 1941 and 1946 championships, operating wild over Owen’s Giants by a mixed rating of 61-23. The Giants gave Curly Lambeau’s Packers and their Notre Dame Field a more in-depth run, shedding the 1939 and 1944 championship video games 27-0 and 14-7. It is secure to say that by now, there aren’t too many Giants followers nonetheless bemoaning WWII-era losses. However being the third-best staff in a two-team league, operating the second-best offense to perfection, is an extremely irritating place to search out your self in.

Owen continued tinkering, however waved the white flag in 1948, putting in the T-formation as a second possibility for his Giants. However he stored utilizing the A-formation as his main offense, to much less and fewer success, till he was lastly fired after the 1953 season. Someplace on the market, there’s an alternate universe the place they by no means legalized passing near the road of scrimmage, or they by no means invented the hand-to-hand snap, or they by no means made the ball smaller and simpler to throw, the place the A-formation turned dominant, and its descendants have been those that ended up conquering the NFL. After which it is the Giants, not the Bears or the Packers, which might be often known as essentially the most profitable franchise from the primordial days of the league.

No. 19: 2005-2013 New England Patriots

Whole Heartbreak Factors: 646.0
Playoff Factors: 261.4
Win-Loss Factors: 178.5
DVOA Factors: 206.1
Championship Penalty: 963.6
File: 110-34 (.764)
Playoff File: 9-8 (two Tremendous Bowl losses, three AFCCG losses, two divisional losses, one wild-card loss)
Common DVOA: 27.5%
Head Coach: Invoice Belichick
Key Gamers: QB Tom Brady, WR Wes Welker, WR Randy Moss, TE Rob Gronkowski, OT Matt Mild, G Logan Mankins, C Dan Koppen, DE Richard Seymour, DT Vince Wilfork, LB Jerod Mayo, S Brandon Meriweather

After we did the dynasty undertaking, one of many massive ultimate questions we needed to reply was how you can think about the Invoice Belichick and Tom Brady period in New England. Is it one large dynasty, stretching twenty years all through the twenty first century as an never-ending reign of terror? Or was it two smaller dynasties, every sharing the identical coach and quarterback however with considerably totally different supporting casts? Ultimately, we linked them into one prolonged run, however this entry is the counterexample. For practically a decade, the Patriots discovered themselves perennial bridesmaids. They have been an ideal staff that merely couldn’t recover from the ultimate hump.

If we did not dock heartbreak factors for championships, these Patriots can be in first place by a considerable margin. 5 losses within the final two video games of the season over 9 years is an exceptionally dense interval of shut calls and close to misses, with none of them being flukes. The 2003, 2004, 2014, and 2016 Tremendous Bowl wins do take plenty of the sting out of this, admittedly, however there’s plenty of sting to take out! The 5 years sandwiched between Tremendous Bowl losses to the Giants are far sufficient faraway from duck boat parades to qualify for heartbreak, even contemplating all the surrounding context.

Certainly, the 2007 Patriots can be the undisputed greatest staff of all time had they accomplished the 19-0 season, sure? Undefeated, with the most effective offense and second-highest DVOA in historical past, setting information for many factors and highest level differential ever seen to that time. Tom Brady was given the most effective receiving corps of his profession and responded with the best quarterback season in trendy historical past. His report of fifty passing touchdowns could have since been damaged, however his 2,674 passing DYAR stays essentially the most in a single season and his 54.1% passing DVOA is second behind solely 2004 Peyton Manning. It was the start of Brady as a GOAT candidate, the primary of eight seasons (and counting) the place he would break 1,500 DYAR as he continued his gradual transition from an excellent quarterback on a stacked roster to the most effective quarterback of the 2010s. Giving him Randy Moss and Wes Welker was patently unfair.

And all of it got here crashing down as a result of David Tyree pinned the ball to his helmet.

With a rating of 390 heartbreak factors, the 2007 season is essentially the most painful single yr in NFL historical past by this metric. Even whenever you knock off some factors from its proximity to the 2003 and 2004 wins, it nonetheless clocks in at 240 heartbreak factors all by itself. Seeing perfection slip away is crushing regardless of the circumstances. And that was simply certainly one of a number of Patriots playoff daggers suffered throughout this interregnum decade.

2007 could be the Patriots’ most painful season, however shedding to the Giants once more in 2011 is a powerful second place. In that one, the miracle catch was a Mario Manningham seize down the sideline in one thing that was no less than extra of a conventional soccer play. Being unable to prime Eli Manning twice in 5 years is a black mark, for certain, and mainly everything of Manning’s Corridor of Fame case. This period additionally options a number of AFC Championship Sport losses to Manning the Elder as 2006 Peyton led the Colts to an 18-point comeback to lastly knock off Brady and the Pats, whereas 2013 Peyton’s Broncos put up 507 yards of offense the following time New England needed to go on the street within the postseason.

Nevertheless it wasn’t simply the Mannings that would cease the Patriots. This stretch additionally noticed the 2010 loss to Mark Sanchez and the Jets, within the transient interval when it seemed like New York is perhaps able to take the throne of greatest staff within the AFC East from New England. Hey, it made sense on the time. You even have the 2012 AFC Championship Sport loss to Joe Flacco and the Ravens, with the Patriots turning the ball over on each certainly one of their fourth-quarter drives. And that is not even mentioning 2008, when the Patriots missed the playoffs regardless of going 11-5 with Matt Cassel spelling the injured Brady.

That is a ton of ache in a really brief time frame. Even essentially the most jaded Patriots hater has to search out some shred of sympathy in any case that, regardless of how crowded the Patriots’ trophy case has gotten.

Actually? No? Alright, then. We’ll simply transfer on.

No. 18: 2011-2014 San Francisco 49ers

Whole Heartbreak Factors: 648.6
Playoff Factors: 364.2
Win-Loss Factors: 148.1
DVOA Factors: 136.3
File: 44-19-1 (.695)
Playoff File: 5-3 (one Tremendous Bowl loss, two NFCCG losses)
Common DVOA: 17.9%
Head Coach: Jim Harbaugh
Key Gamers: RB Frank Gore, OT Joe Staley, G Mike Iupati, DE Justin Smith, LB NaVorro Bowman, LB Patrick Willis, S Dashon Goldson

The 2011 lockout was supposed to harm groups bringing in new coaches and programs. Sure, Jim Harbaugh introduced expectations and pleasure to San Francisco after a profitable tenure at Stanford, however and not using a regular offseason to get his staff on top of things, it certainly would take some time for his 49ers to show issues round. In spite of everything, if Harbaugh, Greg Roman, and Vic Fangio might simply roll up and switch the 49ers right into a aggressive staff from Day 1, why, that might indicate that Mike Nolan and Mike Singletary had no concept what they have been doing.

So anyway, the 49ers gained double-digit video games in Harbaugh’s first season, the primary time they’d achieved so since 2002. Alex Smith was rescued from the first-round bust dumpster fireplace, giving San Francisco their first top-20 offense since 2003. After which he was upgraded to Colin Kaepernick in Yr 2 as Kaepernick’s mobility gave the 49ers an thrilling new dimension. There was some retroactive reassessment of Kaepernick by some as a restricted participant who did not deserve a beginning job to start with, however we disagree. With Kaepernick operating out of the pistol and utilizing his sturdy arm to freeze defenders, the 49ers had a top-10 offense once more for the primary time in a decade. Lengthy stay the zone learn, certainly the way forward for all offensive soccer.

Kaepernick did ultimately come again to earth some, however that is OK. It was Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, and Justin and Aldon Smith who have been the actual focus of the staff on this period, with the 49ers’ first top-10 protection because the mid-Nineteen Nineties. With Fangio’s unit harassing quarterbacks and Kaepernick’s legs leaving opposing defenders littered across the area, the 49ers turned championship contenders mainly in a single day.

After which the 49ers misplaced three consecutive playoff video games in agonizing vogue.

In 2011, Kyle Williams wormed his approach into 49ers infamy. Within the NFC Championship Sport towards the Giants, Williams fumbled an end-around and fumbled punts in each the fourth quarter (muffed) and additional time (fumbled afer a 5-yard return) . Ten of New York’s ultimate 12 drives resulted in punts, however Williams’ fumbles led on to 10 factors within the Giants’ 20-17 additional time win. That was OK, although—simply rising pains on the best way to the Tremendous Bowl the following season, with Jim and John Harbaugh going head-to-head. With Kaepernick taking on from Smith at quarterback, the 49ers have been now absolutely operational, so issues ought to go simply tremendous.

The Ravens had a 28-6 lead early within the third quarter when the ability went out on the Superdome, stopping play for a half-hour. The delay appeared to place a spark again in San Francisco as Kaepernick and firm clawed their approach again to a 34-29 deficit. They’d the ball on the Baltimore 7-yard line with 2:39 left to play, however three straight incomplete passes from Kaepernick to Michael Crabtree (and never, say, a run from Frank Gore, who had a 100-yard day going?) ended the 49ers’ hopes there. Their subsequent season ended ultimately zone as properly, this time within the NFC Championship Sport towards the Legion of Growth Seahawks. This time it was Richard Sherman tipping the move away from Crabtree within the nook of the tip zone within the closing seconds of a one-score recreation, moments earlier than reducing a WWE-style promo on the sphere which does not add any heartbreak factors however feels prefer it needs to be price one thing.

Three straight years, three one-score losses in main playoff video games. You’ll suppose, no less than, that the 49ers have been arrange properly going for the longer term, however Harbaugh and normal supervisor Trent Baalke have been engaged in, at first, a quiet, behind-the-scenes feud after which, secondly, a loud in-front-of-the-scenes feud. 49ers proprietor Jed York needed to take sides between them and picked Baalke, sending Harbaugh packing after 2014. That, uh. That did not work. That wasn’t good. The 49ers could properly have collapsed anyway—Willis and Justin Smith retired; Aldon Smith’s authorized troubles began; Kaepernick was harm, regressed, and began a cultural firestorm which hasn’t died all the way down to at the present time. However in hindsight, their odds of competing have been a lot larger with Harbaugh than with Baalke. Pity the NFL franchise that trusts Trent Baalke to show issues round.

No. 17: 1996-2003 Houston/Tennessee Oilers/Titans

Whole Heartbreak Factors: 649.1
Playoff Factors: 290.9
Win-Loss Factors: 198.8
DVOA Factors: 159.4
File: 80-48 (.625)
Playoff File: 5-4 (one Tremendous Bowl loss, one AFCCG loss, two divisional losses)
Common DVOA: 10.2%
Head Coach: Jeff Fisher
Key Gamers: QB Steve McNair, RB Eddie George, WR Derrick Mason, TE Frank Wycheck, OT Brad Hopkins, C Bruce Matthews, DE Jevon Kearse, CB Samari Rolle, S Blaine Bishop

Jeff Fisher is the butt of plenty of jokes for his 7-9 bullshit, however he acquired the leeway for all of these mediocre seasons due to an actual run of success in Tennessee. Fisher’s first 7-9 and 8-8 groups have been great teaching jobs, taking on a Houston staff that had been gutted by possession and taking part in in entrance of hostile crowds indignant that they have been shedding the staff to Tennessee. They have been taking part in in entrance of empty stadiums preempted on radio for Houston Rockets preseason video games. Successful seven or eight video games within the face of that bullshit is a trigger for celebration, and a reminder that you do not get right into a place to tie the report for losses as a head coach with out some critical accolades in your pocket.

However this staff is not on the listing due to their final yr in Houston. Nor are they right here for his or her time because the vagabond Tennessee Oilers, a franchise identification that simply feels mistaken and incomplete to speak about. The Tennessee Oilers have been primarily based in Nashville however commuted to Memphis for video games, basically giving them 16 street video games a yr as they hadn’t set down roots but. They did not even draw as many followers because the USFL’s Memphis Showboats had a decade earlier. Once more, getting these groups to 8-8 represents an excellent teaching job by Fisher.

So maybe we should not be shocked that they discovered success after they lastly settled in Nashville and adjusted their identification to match the world by which they really performed. Younger stars comparable to Steve McNair, Eddie George, and Derrick Mason had been working by means of the franchise’s rising pains, blossoming in their very own proper when the staff settled down, they usually have been quickly joined by a protection that includes Jevon Kearse and Samari Rolle. 4 of the primary 5 seasons for the Titans ended up with double-digit wins; the Oilers had by no means had a stretch that profitable.

The Oilers, nevertheless, had gained AFL titles. The Titans did not.

The Music Metropolis Miracle propelled the newly named Titans to Tremendous Bowl XXXIV. That recreation usually will get shrunk down in reminiscence to simply the ultimate play, with Mike Jones wrapped round Kevin Dyson’s legs, dragging him down inches wanting what would have been the game-tying landing. That is truthful as any time you find yourself inches from successful a Tremendous Bowl you are going to rating very extremely on countdowns like these. However the recreation as a complete was one of many higher ones, with Kurt Warner, Isaac Bruce, and Torry Holt’s passing assault being matched point-for-point by McNair and George on the bottom. Tennessee had rallied again from a 16-0 second-half deficit to tie the sport with simply 2:12 left, establishing Bruce’s lengthy landing on the very subsequent play and, in flip, permitting The Sort out to be made. It will have been remembered as one of many biggest comebacks in NFL historical past had the Titans pulled it off. Shutting down the Biggest Present on Turf for the final quarter as they fought again for the win? The stuff of legends. If Jones was a fraction of a second afterward his deal with, we would have … properly, we’d have had additional time. It was a game-tying landing that acquired stopped, not a game-successful landing, which is why 1999 would not rank fairly as extremely on the heartbreak rankings as, say, 28-3 or Large Proper or a number of the different named Tremendous Bowl losses. It is up there, clearly, and it is why the Titans have hit the highest 20. But when it had been for the win, Tennessee would have had a stronger argument to slide into the underside of the highest 10.

It additionally would have helped if Tennessee might have gotten to a different Tremendous Bowl after shedding to the Rams. They nonetheless had success, thoughts you, however by no means acquired one other chew on the apple. They misplaced to the Ravens within the 2000 divisional spherical thanks to 2 non-offensive fourth-quarter scores—Anthony Mitchell’s 90-yard blocked area aim landing and Ray Lewis’ 50-yard pick-six. In 2002, they fell within the AFC Championship Sport to Wealthy Gannon and the Raiders, who picked their move protection aside all day lengthy. And in 2003, shivering by means of 4-degree temperatures within the divisional spherical in Foxborough, they turned certainly one of an extended listing of victims of Adam Vinatieri game-winning area targets, shedding 17-14 when their ultimate try to maneuver the ball slipped by means of Drew Bennett’s fingers.

And that was it for the Titans. Their younger expertise acquired costly and lots of needed to be moved in 2004 to slot in underneath the wage cap—goodbye Mason, Rolle, and Kevin Carter. That triggered a mini-rebuild and severed this run from the Vince Younger-led run within the late 2000s. Neither Fisher nor the Titans have seen the Tremendous Bowl since.

No. 16: 2004-2010 San Diego Chargers

Whole Heartbreak Factors: 656.1
Playoff Factors: 207.6
Win-Loss Factors: 227.5
DVOA Factors: 221.0
File: 76-36 (.679)
Playoff File: 2-5 (one AFCCG loss, three divisional losses, one wild-card loss)
Common DVOA: 18.3%
Head Coaches: Marty Schottenheimer, Norv Turner
Key Gamers: QB Philip Rivers, RB LaDainian Tomlinson, TE Antonio Gates, OT Marcus McNeill, G Kris Dielman, C Nick Hardwick, DT Jamal Williams, LB Shawne Merriman

Hey, we coated these guys again within the dynasty listing! They hit No. 45 again then as we referred to as this the most effective run ever to have by no means gained the convention. That does not fairly maintain up right here as there are a couple of extra groups left to come back who by no means reached the Tremendous Bowl. However these groups remaining constructed up their heartbreak factors over a technology, with a median of 15 seasons to rack up factors. The Chargers acquired right here in solely seven years, and not using a Tremendous Bowl loss to pad their stats. They’re the primary staff to hit 200 heartbreak factors in all three classes. They’re, on the very least, the most effective concentrated heartbreak by a staff to by no means even attain a Tremendous Bowl, with essentially the most non-Tremendous Bowl ache you may squeeze into a short while body. Sprinters, not marathoners.

We do get a go to from our outdated good friend Marty Schottenheimer right here, however we’ll ask him to take a seat and look ahead to a couple of minutes as we’ll get again to him quickly sufficient. He and Drew Brees are accountable for somewhat little bit of this run, proper on the very starting—a 2004 additional time wild-card loss to the Jets being San Diego’s first postseason look in 9 seasons. That is all properly and good, however this run actually belongs to Norv Turner and his offensive triplets of Philip Rivers, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Antonio Gates.

The Chargers completed within the prime 10 in offensive DVOA in six of those seven seasons. Rivers was good, however not fairly the participant he’d ultimately mature into being. These have been LdT’s years to shine. Tomlinson’s 581 DYAR in 2006—the yr he set the report with 28 dashing touchdowns—stays the Chargers franchise report, and he practically beat it the yr after. San Diego’s 27.2% dashing DVOA in 2006 is the Tenth-highest on report, and solely falls to fifteenth whenever you embody estimated DVOA from 1950 to 1980. They actually did not have a protection to go along with it, however who wants one? Solely the Patriots scored greater than the Chargers did over this timeframe—not Peyton Manning’s Colts, nor Brees’ Saints, nor the Favre/Rodgers Packers. Offensive success like that deserves reward.

Ah, however the Patriots have been the rub there. In a decade and not using a dynasty, the Chargers could properly have made a Tremendous Bowl or three, however the Patriots at all times appeared to face in the best way. The Chargers went 14-2 in Schottenheimer’s final yr in 2006, with league MVP Tomlinson operating over anybody and everybody in his path. No worries, mentioned the Patriots—we’ll simply drive 4 turnovers within the divisional spherical to knock you out. The Chargers misplaced 24-21 in agonizing vogue. With a 21-13 lead midway by means of the fourth quarter, Marlon McCree intercepted Tom Brady to finish the scoring risk … however Troy Brown stripped McCree on the return, giving the ball again to New England and permitting them to tie and later win the sport.

That was it for Schottenheimer, turning into the primary coach ever to be fired after 14 wins, however Turner did not do a lot better. The Chargers acquired to face the Patriots once more within the 2007 AFC Championship Sport, however could not discover the tip zone, shedding 21-12. In 2008 and 2009, they did not even get an opportunity to knock off the Pats, with the Steelers and Jets eliminating listless Chargers groups.

All these seasons rating larger than 2010, however you may’t discuss heartbreak with out discussing the 2010 Chargers. With a 14.7% DVOA and the most effective offense and protection within the league when it comes to yards allowed, you’d count on the 2010 Chargers to be on the prime of the league, or no less than a really clear playoff staff. As a substitute, the fifth-worst particular groups in DVOA historical past value the Chargers recreation after recreation, serving to them stumble to a 9-7 end and miss the playoffs totally. They allowed a 94-yard punt return landing to Dexter McCluster and the Chiefs in a recreation they misplaced by seven. They allowed a 101-yard kickoff return to Leon Washington and the Seahawks in a recreation they misplaced by seven. The Raiders blocked a pair of punts. Kris Brown missed a game-tying area aim towards the Patriots. The listing goes on and on—no good staff within the historical past of the league has been extra let down by their particular groups than the 2010 Chargers. That does not earn them any additional factors on the heartbreak rankings, so if you wish to subjectively bump all of them to deal with all the varied Chargerness of the state of affairs, be my visitor.

With Tomlinson gone, the Chargers’ feud with town of San Diego growing, and the funding in cracked mirrors and black cats not paying off for the franchise, the Chargers did not win double-digit video games once more till 2018.

No. 15: 1990-2005 Miami Dolphins

Whole Heartbreak Factors: 659.6
Playoff Factors: 184.6
Win-Loss Factors: 242.5
DVOA Factors: 232.6
File: 149-107 (.582)
Playoff File: 6-9 (one AFCCG loss, 5 divisional losses, three wild-card losses)
Common DVOA: 7.9%
Head Coaches: Don Shula, Jimmy Johnson, Dave Wannstedt, Jim Bates, Nick Saban
Key Gamers: QB Dan Marino, QB Jay Fiedler, WR O.J. McDuffie, WR Chris Chambers, WR Irving Fryar, OT Richmond Webb, G Keith Sims, C Tim Ruddy, DE Jason Taylor, DE Jeff Cross, DT Tim Bowens, LB Zach Thomas, LB Bryan Cox, CB Sam Madison, CB Patrick Surtain, S Brock Marion, S Louis Oliver

Are you able to scent compiler? I certain can!

That is our first generationally heartbreaking staff on the countdown—not only one staff with one group of gamers, however a franchise that simply appears to be unable to get out of its personal approach. It is one factor for a staff to be actually good for 5 years, solely to by no means cap issues off with a title. It is one other factor totally to be good for yr after yr, decade after decade, by no means fairly in a position to scale the mountain on the finish.

The system steadily offers diminishing returns as you add an increasing number of seasons to your listing in an try to keep away from a staff qualifying simply because they misplaced a bunch of wild-card video games. You will not discover Marvin Lewis’ Bengals anyplace close to the countdown, for example. However these Dolphins stored dancing round, doing simply sufficient to earn factors with out ever having a very devastating season. Eleven of their 16 seasons right here earn fewer than 100 heartbreak factors and 9 earn fewer than 50. It was actually no enjoyable being a Dolphins fan throughout this period, nevertheless it’s not just like the Eighties groups which have been going to and shedding Tremendous Bowls. The Nineteen Nineties Dan Marino Dolphins might be counted on for eight to 11 wins a yr, often a playoff berth, and a fast journey residence. That, plus a couple of vestigial profitable years with Jay Fiedler and Dave Wannstedt, will get you a spot within the prime 15. It isn’t the sharp, agonizing heartbreak of being a fan of the Chargers or Titans, neither is it the long-suffering agony that comes with being a fan of the Payments or Vikings. Being a Dolphins fan on this period was a lingering coronary heart situation, one which’s at all times idle within the background making issues usually uncomfortable, however solely sometimes inflicting pains unhealthy sufficient to seek the advice of your doctor.

These Dolphins apparently made it their mission to gather a number of the worst playoff performances in NFL historical past, particularly as soon as Jimmy Johnson took over from Don Shula in 1996. The playoff level scale right here steadily declines as video games develop into bigger and bigger blowouts, underneath the idea that shedding a recreation on the final play hurts greater than being blown out of the water totally. Three of the Dolphins’ 9 playoff losses on this decade and half get the very naked minimal of attainable factors: the 38-3 divisional loss to the Broncos in 1998, the 62-7 divisional loss to the Jaguars in 1999, and the 27-0 divisional loss to the Raiders in 2000. These video games have been by no means shut or aggressive; they have been over by the point you bought snug in your seat. Add in wild-card defeats by scores of 37-22 (1995 Payments), 17-3 (1997 Patriots), and 20-3 (2001 Ravens), and also you’re creating an extended legacy of super-depressing January soccer.

You do have to present the Dolphins credit score for at all times attending to the playoffs. There have been loads of groups who would have cherished the chance to get crushed in January. However it’s such subpar efficiency within the video games that mattered essentially the most that retains the Dolphins from cracking the highest 10, and makes it questionable whether or not they need to be this excessive in any respect.

Shula’s early Nineteen Nineties groups, nevertheless, do deserve greater than only a cursory dismissal as one-and-done January consultants. Whereas late-career Marino was nonetheless excellent, early-Nineteen Nineties Marino was nonetheless on the tail finish of his prime, topping 1,200 DYAR in every of his 4 wholesome seasons within the first half of the last decade. The Dolphins had unhealthy damage luck in odd-numbered years—Marino and backup Scott Mitchell have been each harm in 1993, and defensive accidents held them again in 1991. However when sufficient of the roster was wholesome, Marino alone was sufficient to place the Dolphins into the championship dialog.

In 1990 and 1992, the Buffalo Payments put an finish to that—first in a shootout within the 1990 divisional spherical, after which by a crushing defensive efficiency forcing 5 turnovers within the 1992 AFC Championship Sport. And in 1994, when the Dolphins constructed a 21-6 lead at halftime within the divisional spherical, just for the Chargers to attain 16 unanswered factors within the second half, one for each play Miami managed to run within the third and fourth quarters. These are extra the sorts of outcomes we’re in search of once we’re speaking about heartbreak groups, so thanks to the early-Nineteen Nineties Dolphins for offering it.

No. 14: 1969-1981 Washington Redskins

Whole Heartbreak Factors: 693.8
Playoff Factors: 184.6
Win-Loss Factors: 242.5
DVOA Factors: 232.6
Championship Penalty: 69.8
File: 112-75-3 (.597)
Playoff File: 2-5 (one Tremendous Bowl loss, 4 divisional losses)
Common DVOA: 7.7%
Head Coaches: Vince Lombardi, Invoice Austin, George Allen, Jack Pardee, Joe Gibbs
Key Gamers: QB Billy Kilmer, QB Joe Theismann, RB Larry Brown, WR Charley Taylor, C Len Hauss, DE Ron McDole, DT Diron Talbert, LB Chris Hanburger, LB Harold McLinton, LB Brad Dusek, CB Pat Fischer, CB Mike Bass, CB Joe Lavender, CB Lemar Parrish, S Ken Houston

Say howdy to the Over the Hill Gang, fairly presumably the oldest groups to have ever taken the sphere within the trendy period. We solely have snap-weighted age going again into the mid-2000s, however no staff ever topped 28.7 years in our database. The typical Washington starter in 1971 was 31 years outdated, they usually solely acquired older from there—that being how time works and all the pieces.

When George Allen took over Washington in 1971, he determined he did not wish to trouble with a bunch of younger rookies. He needed skilled gamers who he did not need to whip into form. Gamers who knew how you can play at an NFL degree proper from the off. And so when it got here to the draft, Allen … properly, he simply did not. He did not draft anybody.

Washington used simply certainly one of their first 5 picks within the 1971 draft. As a substitute, they Allen dealt for—deep breath right here—Diron Talbert, Billy Kilmer, John Wilbur, Jack Pardee, Myron Pottios, Tom Roussel, Boyd Dowler, Mike Taylor, Maxie Baughan, Tom Brown, and Jeff Jordan. These males went on to start out 318 mixed video games for Washington over the following decade, making up the core of Allen’s protection in addition to beginning quarterback Kilmer. Washington made simply two picks within the prime 100 of any draft in Allen’s tenure, repeatedly sending picks away to usher in veterans. I am certain Les Snead has a framed portrait of Allen someplace within the Rams’ draft room.

And talking of the Rams, that was Allen’s prior gig earlier than taking on Washington, and plenty of his early trades concerned importing as many gamers as he might from Los Angeles. Your entire beginning linebacker corps of Baughan, Pottios, and Pardee all have been with Allen with the Rams, with a lot extra dotted across the roster. The Rams had ranked within the prime 5 in estimated defensive DVOA from 1966 to 1970, so why not simply carry all of them with him to Washington? It labored, too. Estimated DVOA has Washington with a top-five protection in 4 of Allen’s six seasons in cost. The passing offense was additionally sturdy, with three top-five finishes underneath Allen. Billy Kilmer-to-Charley Taylor was one of many higher passing mixtures of the early Seventies. Taylor’s 215 receptions from 1972 to 1975 are greater than 20 greater than the closest competitor, and when he retired in 1977, he was the league’s all-time main receiver and essentially the most prolific pass-catcher earlier than the 1978 guidelines adjustments.

The Seventies have been when giants roamed the earth within the NFL, with dynasties and mini-dynasties creating essentially the most unbalanced league in trendy instances. The Over the Hill Gang crashed into a couple of of them. We have now already met the early Seventies 49ers, they usually got here again from a 10-3 halftime deficit to beat Washington within the 1971 divisional spherical. We will meet the Seventies Rams, who defeated Washington in a brutal defensive battle within the 1974 divisional spherical, one by which the groups mixed for less than 444 complete yards and the decisive rating got here on a fourth-quarter Isiah Robertson pick-six. And naturally we’ll get to fulfill the Seventies Vikings quickly sufficient; they knocked Washington out of the playoffs in each 1973 and 1976. These are plenty of different heartbreak legends taking out their frustrations on Washington. It was a scrap combat simply to get the chance to play, say, the Cowboys, Steelers, or Raiders in a vital recreation.

Or the Dolphins, for that matter. Washington did break by means of the gauntlet in 1972 to achieve Tremendous Bowl VII. Operating again Larry Brown was named league MVP. Kilmer led the league in landing passes. Washington’s protection hadn’t allowed a landing all postseason. They have been favored within the Tremendous Bowl over a Dolphins staff that had a quarterback controversy; a Dolphins staff that had survived on a tender common season schedule; a Dolphins staff that had barely squeaked by means of the postseason.

And a Dolphins staff that was 13-0 on the time, did we neglect to say that? That appears sort of essential looking back. Manny Fernandez and the remainder of the No Identify Protection blew up the older Washington offensive line, holding Brown to simply 3.3 yards per carry. They picked Kilmer off thrice and stored the offense off the board totally. The one Washington factors got here on Garo Yepremian’s try to move a blocked area aim. The 14-7 ultimate rating would not come near exhibiting Miami’s domination.

Allen was fired when Washington missed the playoffs in 1977. That additionally occurs to be the final time on this run that Washington recorded any heartbreak factors, though it technically continues for 4 years afterwards. The Jack Pardee period was underwhelming sufficient that Washington would not rating there, whereas any ache that Joe Gibbs delivered to the desk was cleared out when Washington acquired revenge on Miami in Tremendous Bowl XVII. However by then, the Over the Hill Gang was distant.

No. 13: 1997-2011 New York Jets

Whole Heartbreak Factors: 709.4
Playoff Factors: 278.6
Win-Loss Factors: 185.6
DVOA Factors: 245.2
File: 128-112 (.533)
Playoff File: 7-7 (three AFCCG losses, two divisional losses, two wild-card losses)
Common DVOA: 7.2%
Head Coaches: Invoice Parcells, Al Groh, Herm Edwards, Eric Mangini, Rex Ryan
Key Gamers: QB Chad Pennington, RB Curtis Martin, WR Laveraneus Coles, WR Wayne Chrebet, WR Keyshawn Johnson, OT Jason Fabini, OT D’Brickashaw Ferguson, G Brandon Moore, G Alan Faneca, C Kevin Mawae, C Nick Mangold, DE Shaun Ellis, DE John Abraham, LB Mo Lewis, LB Bryan Thomas, LB David Harris, LB Marvin Jones, CB Darrelle Revis, CB Aaron Glenn

Just like the Patriots entry from final day trip, we’re sort of welding collectively two totally different eras right here. In contrast to that entry, nevertheless, it isn’t a single snowplow that is bringing issues collectively this time, and no less than one of many halves is powerful sufficient that it might qualify for the rankings all on its lonesome.

The stronger of the 2 halves is the half that was purchasing for its personal groceries and taking part in to win the sport. The Jets had bounced between mediocre and embarrassing mainly because the Tremendous Bowl III win. They’d some minor success within the Eighties with the Sack Change, nevertheless it did not actually find yourself constructing to something. That is why proprietor Leon Hess was determined to pry Invoice Parcells out of his cope with the Patriots. After a number of failed makes an attempt to end-around Parcells’ contract with New England, together with briefly hiring defensive assistant Invoice Belichick to be coach with Parcells as “guide,” they ultimately ponied up their first-round draft decide to land the Huge Tuna.

Parcells instantly paid dividends, turning a 1-15 staff right into a 9-7 playoff contender in a single day with out a lot in the best way of a roster overhaul. They missed the playoffs on the final day of the season in a weird recreation towards the Lions, by which beginning quarterback Neil O’Donnell, backup quarterback Ray Lucas, and operating again Leon Johnson all threw interceptions in between Barry Sanders highlight-reel runs. Parcells did not have talent place gamers he might belief, so in 1998 he signed Vinny Testaverde as a free agent and shipped extra draft picks to the Patriots to pry Curtis Martin free. The end result was the most effective Jets staff in DVOA historical past, second in general DVOA and top-five on either side of the ball. New York rode all of it the best way to the AFC Championship Sport, the place they bumped into the Denver Broncos and MVP Terrell Davis. Davis ran everywhere in the Jets’ protection whereas the offense was busy turning the ball over six instances. It’s the solely time Parcells ever misplaced a convention championship recreation.

However 1999 was going to be higher. The Jets had jumped from one win to 9 to 12 and a championship recreation, so there was nowhere to go however up! Or instantly down because the case could also be, as Testaverde ruptured his Achilles tendon within the residence opener. Parcells did a herculean job main the injured staff to 8-8, nevertheless it drained him totally. He retired for the second time, vowing he would by no means coach once more. That left Belichick in command of the staff … for in the future, earlier than he resigned to take the Patriots job. Sure, there is a world the place Jets coach Invoice Belichick was united with 1997 first general draft decide Peyton Manning if you wish to really feel actually unhealthy about issues.

As a substitute, after a one-year Al Groh false begin, we segue into the Herm Edwards period, which might be higher than you remembered. Within the 4 seasons when Edwards had both Testaverde or Chad Pennington accessible, Edwards’ Jets averaged a 13.9% DVOA and made the playoffs thrice.

They misplaced in a shootout in Oakland in 2001, partly as a result of Edwards opted to not strive an onside kick trailing by seven with 1:57 left in regulation. The Raiders knocked them out once more in 2002, forcing turnovers on 4 consecutive second-half drives to show a 10-10 halftime rating right into a 30-10 rout. After which, after an damage to Pennington derailed the 2003 season, they misplaced within the 2004 divisional spherical when Doug Brien missed two separate game-winning area aim makes an attempt, each underneath 50 yards, within the ultimate two minutes of regulation towards the Steelers.

However the relationship between Edwards and administration deteriorated over the following yr, and the Jets ended up buying and selling him to the Chiefs after the 2005 season. For these conserving observe, that is now three separate coaches going to or from New York with draft-pick compensation concerned. There have solely been 4 such trades since 1960, Jon Gruden to the Bucs being the opposite one. What an odd footnote to finish this run on.

And it would have been the tip had Eric Mangini not taken the 2006 Jets to the wild-card spherical in what we will all agree, looking back, was a significant fluke. Between 2002 and 2008, the Jets alternate between years that rating and years that do not, largely as a result of Pennington was injured in 2003. And 2005. And for a lot of 2007, too, although that was extra being consistently banged up than outright knocked out of the season. However as a result of Pennington stored coming again and taking part in properly, the Jets by no means put up the 2 horrible seasons in a row that might have ended the run, that means we crash headlong by means of the Brett Favre yr into the beginning of Rex Ryan’s tenure.

You keep in mind Rex’s time with the Jets, proper? Again-to-back AFC Championship Video games underneath budding famous person quarterback Mark Sanchez. The Ryan period actually wasn’t boring, for certain, and Ryan had followers on their ft for his first two seasons—one thing I am certain he notably appreciated. The 2 convention title losses will not be sufficient, by themselves, to let the Ryan period qualify for this listing, however tacking two extra big-game appearances to the Parcells/Edwards years propels the Jets practically into the highest 10.

And, after all, the Jets have not seen the playoffs since. Sanchez’s profession tanked to the purpose the place he was in a official quarterback controversy with Tim Tebow. He wasn’t the reply at quarterback. Nor was Ryan Fitzpatrick, nor Josh McCown nor Sam Darnold nor Geno Smith nor Christian Hackenberg. And Ryan ended up fired, and but nonetheless had a greater report with the staff than any of his three replacements since. There’s some optimism for the longer term with Robert Saleh and Zach Wilson, however whenever you’re on a league-worst streak of 11 seasons with out the playoffs, optimism tends to curdle.

No. 12: 1989-1999 Kansas Metropolis Chiefs

Whole Heartbreak Factors: 715.6
Playoff Factors: 186.8
Win-Loss Factors: 252.8
DVOA Factors: 276.0
File: 110-65-1 (.628)
Playoff File: 3-7 (one AFCCG loss, three divisional losses, three wild-card losses)
Common DVOA: 14.4%
Head Coaches: Marty Schottenheimer, Gunter Cunningham
Key Gamers: QB Joe Montana, OT John Alt, G Dave Szott, G Will Shields, C Tim Grunhard, DE Neil Smith, NT Dan Saleaumua, LB Derrick Thomas, LB Tracy Simien, CB Dale Carter, CB James Hasty, CB Albert Lewis, S Kevin Ross

The third and ultimate of Marty Schottenheimer’s groups simply fails to make the highest 10. Becoming for Marty, I suppose—even right here, he cannot fairly appear to make it to the tip.

It is fascinating to match Schottenheimer’s tenures in Cleveland and Kansas Metropolis, acknowledging that his San Diego legacy is no less than half Norv Turner. When it comes to playoff failure, the Chiefs do not come near matching the Browns’ legacy of The Drive and The Fumble. Cleveland earns 295.2 heartbreak factors simply from playoff losses, whereas these Chiefs do not even move the 200-point barrier. They solely reached one AFC Championship Sport and did not lose it in a vogue that earned a nickname.

However Schottenheimer’s Browns weren’t all that good within the common season, no less than comparatively—they gained lower than 60% of their video games. Scottenheimer’s Chiefs have been regular-season dynamos, with their 102 wins within the Nineteen Nineties being third behind solely the 49ers and Payments. Their common DVOA of 15.2%? Additionally third-best within the league behind the 49ers and Cowboys. At the least so far as our statistics present, it was the Chiefs, not the Payments, who have been the staff of the Nineteen Nineties within the AFC.

After all, Buffalo went to 4 Tremendous Bowls and haven’t but been featured on this listing. The Chiefs went to zero. Martyball strikes as soon as once more.

After I consider the Nineteen Nineties Chiefs, I consider a swarming protection. Neil Smith and Derrick Thomas combining to terrorize quarterbacks, combining for 212.5 sacks of their time collectively in Kansas Metropolis. I consider a bruising offensive line, the regulation agency of Grunhard, Szott, and Shields paving approach for Christian Okoye or Marcus Allen. That is the Martyball approach: stifle your opponents defensively, management the ball on the bottom, win video games.

I additionally consider the San Francisco 49ers, as a result of the unusual pipeline from SFO to MCI was in full drive on this period. Schottenheimer inherited ex-49ers quarterback Steve DeBerg when he took for the job and, after one season messing round with ex-Seahawks quarterback Dave Krieg, proceeded to commerce for Joe Montana and Steve Bono and picked up Elvis Grbac in free company, 49ers all. I suppose ex-49ers quarterback coach Paul Hackett wanted somebody to run his offense, however this was taking issues to an excessive. The Chiefs did not get a single begin from a quarterback they drafted between Doug Hudson in 1987 and Brodie Croyle in 2006, and Schottenheimer was the actual begin of that. Do not knock it if it really works, thoughts you—the Nineteen Nineties Chiefs completed within the prime 10 in passing DVOA in six out of 10 seasons, even when they most well-liked to make use of it as a changeup to the dashing assault.

That is all properly and good within the common season. It by no means labored fairly so sizzling within the playoffs. Underneath DeBerg, the Chiefs have been overwhelmed 17-16 by a late Dan Marino drive and a painful offensive holding name within the 1990 wild-card spherical, then destroyed in a 37-14 stomping towards the Payments in 1991. With Krieg underneath heart, the Chiefs have been blanked 17-0 by the Chargers within the 1992 wild-card spherical, by no means transferring the ball past the Chargers’ 34-yard line.

Montana introduced with him extra success—Joe Montana being higher than Steve DeBerg and Dave Krieg is one other a kind of deep insights you’ve got come to count on from Soccer Outsiders. In 1993, we have been a recreation wanting what would have been arguably the most important Tremendous Bowl of all time, with Montana battling his former 49ers in Tremendous Bowl XXVIII. Neither staff lived as much as their finish of the deal, nevertheless. Montana was knocked out of the AFC Championship Sport with a concussion as Thurman Thomas and the Payments ran throughout Kansas Metropolis. The following yr, Montana ended up shedding a shootout towards Dan Marino and the Dolphins within the wild-card spherical in what would develop into his final recreation as an expert.

And that was as shut because the Chiefs acquired. They have been the No. 1 seed in each 1995 and 1997, solely to lose within the divisional spherical each instances. 1997 was particularly painful and comes out because the highest-scoring yr of this run. They have been 13-3 with a 29.4% DVOA, second highest within the league. In opposition to the Broncos, they’d extra yards, extra first downs, extra time of possession, and the next single-game DVOA. And but they misplaced, 14-10, destroyed by missed alternatives—a holding name wiping out a Pete Stoyanovich area aim, Tony Gonzalez failing to remain in bounds for a possible landing, a faux area aim try that fooled no person. A bit of higher luck and perhaps the Chiefs come out on prime of this one—however then, they most likely would have simply misplaced to the Steelers within the AFC Championship Sport. That is Martyball for you.

This Chiefs staff is lacking that signature heartbreaking playoff loss that might have pushed them into the highest 10—one thing agonizing and painstaking that may play time and again on spotlight reels and in your thoughts whenever you’re attempting to sleep at evening. Give these guys a Fumble or a Drive, they usually’re proper up there with the perfect of the most effective. However as soon as once more, Schottenheimer comes up simply brief.

No. 11: 2003-2021 Dallas Cowboys

Whole Heartbreak Factors: 782.6
Playoff Factors: 202.4
Win-Loss Factors: 293.1
DVOA Factors: 287.1
File: 171-134 (.561)
Playoff File: 3-8 (5 divisional losses, three wild-card losses)
Common DVOA: 6.7%
Head Coaches: Invoice Parcells, Wade Phillips, Jason Garrett, Mike McCarthy
Key Gamers: QB Tony Romo, QB Dak Prescott, RB Ezekiel Elliott, RB DeMarco Murray, WR Dez Bryant, WR Miles Austin, WR Amari Cooper, TE Jason Witten, OT Tyron Smith, OT Flozell Adams, OT Doug Free, G Zack Martin, G Andre Gurode, G Leonard Davis, G Larry Allen, C Travis Frederick, DE DeMarcus Lawrence, DT Jay Ratliff, DT La’Roi Glover, LB DeMarcus Ware, LB Sean Lee, LB Bradie James, CB Terence Newman, S Roy Williams

Our ultimate staff immediately can also be our ultimate energetic heartbreak dynasty. And it has been energetic for fairly a while. There are a handful of present painful runs that date again to the early to mid-2010s—the Ravens and Seahawks simply after their Tremendous Bowl wins, or the current success of the Steelers or Payments. However the Cowboys struggles return virtually all the best way to the 2002 realignment. We’re approaching twenty years of high quality Cowboys soccer with nothing to indicate for it.

It isn’t simply that Dallas hasn’t gained a Tremendous Bowl, although that hurts for a franchise with such an extended custom of success. It isn’t even simply that Dallas hasn’t gotten to a Tremendous Bowl. The Cowboys, regardless of having gained 176 video games since realignment, have not even reached the NFC Championship Sport. Overlook titles, they have not even been a recreation away from a championship alternative because the mid-Nineteen Nineties. Each staff that has gained extra video games than the Cowboys since realignment has gained a Tremendous Bowl. Each different staff within the prime 20 in wins since realignment has reached the convention championships. The Cowboys be a part of the Texans, Dolphins, Browns, Lions, and Commanders as the one groups previously twenty years to not attain the convention finals. These are groups for the Anti-Dynasty listing, horrible groups that may’t string two seasons collectively. The Cowboys are slumming with franchises far beneath their pedigree.

This can be a double-edged sword for the heartbreak rankings. As a result of they by no means advance too far into the postseason, the Cowboys don’t get the chance for large playoff factors from Tremendous Bowl losses and the like. That is what retains them out of the highest 10. However as a result of they’ve by no means gotten to the tip of the yr, they’ve additionally by no means been in peril of getting their run ended by victory. Get right into a Tremendous Bowl and there is at all times an opportunity you would possibly win it. The Cowboys have cunningly averted the specter of their heartbreak dynasty coming to an finish by simply ensuring they bow out early. We commend them for his or her dedication to ache.

Just like the Jets earlier than them, this run begins with Invoice Parcells as his vow to by no means coach within the NFL once more lasted simply 4 years. And identical to he did in New York, Parcells instantly flipped his new staff again to playoff competition, taking a roster that had gone 5-11 in three straight years and instantly making the playoffs, though they fell to Carolina within the wild-card spherical . In contrast to New York, Parcells’ Cowboys groups didn’t then step to Tremendous Bowl contender as accidents and the rising pains of switching to Parcells’ 4-3 protection brought about somewhat little bit of bumbling round. Dallas additionally did not have a quarterback, with Quincy Carter, Vinny Testaverde, and Drew Bledsoe not likely being solutions of any type. Dallas determined to roll the cube with an undrafted backup named Tony Romo.

Romo rewrote the Cowboys report books, turning into the franchise’s all-time chief in passing yards and touchdowns—and when your franchise leaderboard consists of Roger Staubach and Troy Aikman, that is spectacular no matter period changes. He was within the prime 10 in DVOA in all however one certified season. Romo was additionally, dare we use the phrase, one of many extra clutch quarterbacks within the league when taking part in. He had a quarterback score of 100.2 within the fourth quarter or additional time, larger than any quarterback in his period with no less than 500 such move makes an attempt.

And but, for a good portion of Cowboys followers, Romo’s profession will likely be remembered for the lowlights. His fumble troubles in 2006, main as much as the botched area aim snap within the wild-card loss towards the Seahawks, for example, within the final recreation of Parcells’ profession. Or his interception to R.W. McQuarters towards the Giants within the waning seconds of the 2007 divisional-round recreation, clinching New York’s upset of the top-ranked Cowboys. Or his six sacks, three fumbles, and interception within the blowout loss to the Vikings within the 2009 divisional spherical. This could by no means have occurred with a actual quarterback like Staubach or Aikman, the grumbling mentioned. They would not be hanging out in Mexico with Jessica Simpson.

It is a repeat of the remedy Danny White acquired throughout the Eighties, solely Romo was a a lot better quarterback than White was. The Cowboys do not get a status for developing brief if Romo is not round to maintain them in competition to start with. And issues did not get higher after three straight 8-8 seasons in Jason Garrett’s first years as head coach, seasons when the Cowboys nonetheless had a top-10 passing offense and sufficient complete DVOA to attach the Wade Phillips to the more moderen run of success. They have been eradicated from the playoffs on the final day of the season in 2011, 2012, and 2013, a December Curse in full impact.

Is lacking the playoffs time and again roughly painful than feeling robbed of playoff success? Cowboys followers are in an ideal place to reply that, as a result of they lastly rebounded to make the playoffs in 2014, getting a divisional matchup towards the Packers in Inexperienced Bay. Trailing late within the recreation, Romo hit Dez Bryant on a deep shot on fourth-and-3 that introduced Dallas inside inches of the tip zone … however upon evaluation, it was dominated incomplete as Bryant didn’t keep management as he went to the bottom. Did Dez catch it? I would say so, although I feel it’s important to no less than admit it is unclear … until you are a Cowboys fan, by which case it is the best injustice of the previous decade.

And that is develop into form of the expertise of being a Cowboys fan in twenty first century, at the same time as Romo has begat Dak Prescott and Garrett had begat Mike McCarthy and Zeke and Dez changed Murray and Owens. They’re simply Ship of Theseusing themselves with out ever climbing out of early-round purgatory. Now not are the Cowboys near-missing the postseason totally; they’re getting bounced in awkward methods in January. It is Mason Crosby hitting two 50-plus-yard area targets in lower than two minutes in 2016. It is C.J. Anderson and Todd Gurley every operating for 100 yards in 2018. It is the clock operating to zeroes towards the 49ers in 2021 after a weird name of a quarterback draw with no timeouts remaining.

The Cowboys have actually stepped up their manufacturing of heartbreak-worthy moments previously few years, maybe seeing that the highest 10 on this listing in in sight. We’ll preserve monitoring it as they discover new and thrilling methods to blow it within the McCarthy period.

The Rankings So Far

The Cowboys will not be solely on the prime of energetic heartbreak dynasties, however in addition they maintain the highest place up to now, with the ultimate 10 groups but to be revealed. They’re additionally atop two of our three subcategories, due largely to such an extended reign of early exits. They’ve each essentially the most win-loss factors and DVOA factors of any staff exterior of the highest 10 as they’re the present gold normal for normal season success and playoff disappointment.

However as a result of Dallas hasn’t even reached a convention title recreation, there are a selection of groups who can boast extra playoff ache than the Cowboys can. The chief within the clubhouse is technically Steve Owen’s 1939-1946 Giants, as a result of we’re treating old-time NFL Championship Video games the identical as Tremendous Bowls. In the event you agree with that, there’s little or no query the Giants needs to be No. 1; any staff that loses 4 Tremendous Bowls in a decade goes to rank very extremely. Nevertheless it’s additionally truthful to notice that the Giants have been shedding championships in a league with 10 groups, in an period when the battle restricted the NFL’s entry to proficient gamers. In the event you do not suppose pre-free-substitution soccer needs to be placed on the identical pedestal as the trendy league, then the Harbaugh 49ers find yourself with essentially the most playoff ache up to now. A Tremendous Bowl loss and two convention title losses, all very shut collectively, is a heck of so much for anyone staff to undergo by means of.

Sure, the Patriots suffered extra within the second, however they’re approaching a 1,000-point penalty for normal dynasticness. They lose extra factors in penalties than all however the prime six groups earn in complete. Even right here, Invoice Belichick must discover a solution to exhibit, I suppose.


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