There are few things sports fans like debating and discussing more than which teams are the best of all time. Part of what people love about sports is greatness. That’s why we keep hearing about the ’72 Dolphins and the ’85 Bears and the Niners of the ’90s and the Patriots of the ’00s. The great teams are the ones that stretch across history, that will live on forever.
Not every franchise gets to be great, though. Some teams are condemned to not just mediocrity, not just run-of-the-mill badness, but infamy. By the nature of things, there are teams that have to be the worst of all time. That’s just a cruel fact of life.
As we gear up for another NFL season, we decided to chronicle some of those teams that are amongst the worst to ever take the field. We are not here to lampoon these teams for their incompetence. No, we are here to try and chronicle how things went so horribly wrong.
There have been NFL teams that have only one a single game a season before, but the the 2000 San Diego Chargers are a special case for one simple reason: Ryan Leaf, a man who is forever held up as a cautionary tale for all teams.
In 1997, the Chargers went 4-12. One of those wins came against the Indianapolis Colts, who therefore finished 3-13. That meant the Colts got the first overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft, while the Chargers got the third overall pick, which they then traded to Arizona to select second overall. There was a quarterback debate at the top of that draft involved Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf. It was pretty clear that these two were going to go with the first two picks. It was just a matter of who went first.