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From worst to first? It's been done before

  • September 8, 2012 - 5:06 PM

SPEAKING OF WORST TO FIRST

• In every season but two since 1978, the NFL has had at least one team reach the playoffs a year after losing 10 or more games. That's a 31-for-33 stretch from 1979 through 2011. And, actually, it's more like 31-for-32 since teams played only nine games during the 1982 strike season. The 1995 season was the only other time it didn't happen.

• Over the past 15 seasons, 45 teams have reached the playoffs after losing 10 or more times the previous season.

• Since 1995, teams with double-digit loss totals have reached nine conference championship games and three Super Bowls only a year later. The Rams won Super Bowl XXXIV a year after going 4-12. The Patriots won Super Bowl XXXVI a year after going 5-11.

• Five of last year's 12 playoff participants -- Bengals, Lions, Texans, Broncos and 49ers -- lost 10 or more games in 2010. The Bengals and Broncos went from worst to first in their divisions.

• Speaking of worst-to-first teams, there has been at least one of them in every season since the NFL realigned into eight divisions in 2002. The NFC South had one every season from 2003 to 2007. Heck, the Buccaneers went from worst to first in 2005, first to worst in 2006 and worst to first in 2007.

•  In 1980, the Bengals and 49ers both went 6-10. In 1981, they played each other in Super Bowl XVI.

MARK CRAIG

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