Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Cowardly About the Lions - Bucs Must Beware the Oh

By JC De La Torre

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers take their show on the road Sunday to Detroit, where they face the Bizarro-Patriots, the Detroit Lions. The Lions are 0-10 and making a run to become the first team since the 1976 expansion Tampa Bay Buccaneers to go winless for an entire non-strike shortened NFL season (the Indianapolis Colts finished 1982 strike year 0-8-1). While playoff favorite Tampa Bay should dominate the Lions, history suggests that the Bucs should be worried about facing a winless team this deep into the season. Not including the 82 strike season, since the Expansion Bucs achieved the Oh, thirteen NFL teams have started 0-10 or worse, five of those teams found victory in their 11th game. Guess which game is the 11th for the winless Lions?

Here are the worst starts since the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers -

The 1977 Tampa Bay Buccaneers continued the NFL's longest losing streak for 12 more games (26 straight losses total, still a record today), before finally getting the franchise's first victory in New Orleans in Week 13, beating the Saints 33-14.

The 1980 New Orleans Saints came the closest in the quest for Oh, going 0-14 before finally beating the New York Jets 21-20.

The 1983 Houston Oilers lost their first 10 games before finally breaking through against the Detroit Lions 27-17

The Oilers loved the quest for Oh so much in 83, they decided to try for it again in 1984, starting once again 0-10 before beating the Kansas City Chiefs 17-16.

1984 was apparently a banner year for bad as the Buffalo Bills started 0-11 before upsetting the Dallas Cowboys 14-3.

The 1986 Indianapolis Colts went 13 weeks without a win, before finally beating Atlanta 28-23. The Colts went on to win their final 3 games to finish 3-13.

The 1991 Indianapolis Colts would try once more, going into Week 11 before finding victory against the New York Jets 28-27 .

The 1993 Cincinnati Bengals under David Shula started 0-10, before finally beating the Los Angeles Raiders 16-10.

The 1997 Indianapolis Colts took another stab at "Oh-mortality" starting off the 97 campaign 0-10. The Colts shocked the eventual NFC Champion Green Bay Packers 41-38.

The 2000 San Diego Chargers went 0-11 before finally getting their first win against the Kansas City Chiefs 17-16.

The 2001 Detroit Lions started 0-12 before beating the Minnesota Vikings 27-24.

The 2007 Miami Dolphins went 0-13 until finding victory for the 1st time, getting the Baltimore Ravens in overtime - 22-16.

The eggheads at say, "When the NFL was formed in 1920, winless seasons were not uncommon. In fact, for the first ten years, from 1920-29, there was always at least one team which went winless. Between 1930 and World War II, only the 1934 Cincinnati Reds went winless. The Reds were 0-8-0 when they folded with three games remaining in the season. A new team, called the St. Louis Gunners, was formed. The Gunners had been an independent team operating in the area and they went 1-2 in the remaining three games.

World War II saw a fewer players available for NFL action and, as a result, some teams suffered more than others. The 1942 Detroit Lions went 0-11; the 1943 Chicago Cardinals went 0-10 and the combined Card-Pitt team of 1944 went 0-10.

Since World War II, only the expansion Dallas Cowboys of 1960 (0-11-1), the expansion Tampa Bay Bucs of 1976 (0-14), and the 1982 Baltimore Colts (0-8-1 in a strike-shortened season) have gone winless. "

Winless Teams in the NFL history are -
1934 Cincinnati Reds (0-8)
1942 Detroit Lions (0-11)
1943 Chicago Cardinals (0-10)
1944 "Carpets" (Chicago Cards-Pittsburgh Steelers merged team) (0-10)
1960 Dallas Cowboys (0-11-1)
1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-14)
1982 Colts (0-8-1) (strike-shortened season)
source: AllExperts

The Buccaneers have never lost to a team that was 0-10 or worse, but they definitely do not want to join that dubious list. Four of the Lions last six games were decided by a touchdown or less and we all saw what the Bucs did in Kansas City. The Buccaneers have the propensity to play down to their opponents.After the Bucs, the Lions host Tennessee on Thanksgiving in the NFL's first ever 11-0 vs. 0-11 matchup. Then Detroit hosts Minnesota before going to Indianapolis, coming home for the Saints, then ending the year in Green Bay.

Tampa Bay may be the Lions last real shot at victory in 2008. The Bucs must end those thoughts quickly with a good start in Detroit.

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