Photo by Matt Starkey/Cleveland Browns
With coronavirus halting games for the time being, the biggest news from the world of sports has been NFL free agency.
A number of teams have made significant moves this offseason in an effort to move from the basement to contenders. For some teams, the basement has become home.
Below are the five longest active playoff droughts in the NFL:
T-4. Arizona Cardinals (2015)
After a 3-13 campaign in 2018, the Arizona Cardinals saw an improvement to 5-10-1 with a first-year head coach in Kliff Kingsbury and a rookie quarterback in Kyler Murray. Arizona however, hasn’t made the playoffs since 2015. Under Bruce Arians that season, the Cardinals went 13-3 and reached the NFC Championship before being blasted by the Carolina Panthers.
T-4. Cincinnati Bengals (2015)
The Cincinnati Bengals made the playoffs in five straight seasons from 2011 to 2015. Since then however, they have not been back. With the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, Cincinnati hopes to find the quarterback to change its fortunes. The Bengals have not won a playoff game since 1990.
T-4. Denver Broncos (2015)
In Super Bowl L, the Denver Broncos’ historically great defense led by Von Miller shut down Cam Newton and the 15-1 Carolina Panthers to capture the franchise’s third world championship. Unfortunately for Denver, it hasn’t been back to the postseason since. After a 9-7 season in 2016, the Broncos have averaged just six wins over the last three seasons.
T-4. Washington Redskins (2015)
After winning between seven and nine games in four straight seasons, the Washington Redskins finished an NFC-worst 3-13 in 2019. The last playoff appearance for Washington came in 2015. That year, the Redskins won the NFC East with 9-7 record. They haven’t won a playoff game since 2005.
3. New York Jets (2010)
This coming season will mark the 10-year anniversary since the New York Jets’ last playoff appearance. That year, the Jets won road playoff games over the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots to reach the AFC Championship for a second year in a row. The Jets however, weren’t able to overcome an early 24-point deficit in a 24-19 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Since then, New York has just one winning season. That was a 10-6 campaign in 2015. The Jets lost to the Buffalo Bills in the regular season finale, which gave the final playoff spot to Pittsburgh.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2007)
Newly-signed Tom Brady will try to help the Tampa Bay Buccaneers end the longest playoff drought in the NFC. The last playoff appearance for the Buccaneers came in 2007 and ended with a 24-14 loss to the eventual world champion New York Giants. The Buccaneers have had three winning seasons since, but have not been able to slide into the postseason. The last postseason win for Tampa Bay was the 48-21 victory over the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII.
1. Cleveland Browns (2002)
With expectations as high as they had been in decades, the Cleveland Browns finished just 6-10 in 2019. It marked the Browns’ 12th straight losing season. Cleveland has the NFL’s longest playoff drought, dating back to 2002 when they let a 12-point lead with just over three minutes left slip away in a 36-33 Wild Card loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The only winning season for Cleveland since was a 10-6 campaign in 2007. That year, the Browns lost the tiebreaker for the division title to the Steelers and for the final playoff spot to the Tennessee Titans. The franchise left for Baltimore in 1996 before being revived in 1999. Cleveland’s last playoff win came under Bill Belichick in 1994. Coincidentally, it was over the New England Patriots.