An NFL Ty-Dee Bowl

SWC75

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The NFL draft began in 1936. What if, to avoid tanking, the NFL had always had a special post season game between the two worst teams in the league with the winner getting the #1 draft choice? What teams would have been in those games over the years? Which franchises would have bene there the most often? (I’ll bet that game would get great ratings – would you like to see the Jets vs. the Jags for the #1 pick?) I’ll use winning, (losing) percentage with point differential and direct confrontations as a tie-breakers.
Source: Pro Football & NFL History | Pro-Football-Reference.com

1936 Eagles 1-11 (51-206) vs. Cardinals 3-8-1 (74-143)
(The Brooklyn Dodgers were 3-8-1, 92-161 but beat the Cardinals 9-0)
1937 Rams 1-10 (75-207) vs. Eagles 2-8-1 (86-177)
1938 Steelers 2-9 (79-169) vs. Cardinals 2-9 (111-168)
(The Steelers called themselves the ‘Pirates’ until 1940)
1939 Cardinals 1-10 (84-254) vs. Steelers 1-9-1 (114-216)
1940 Eagles 1-10 (111-211) vs. Steelers 2-7-2 (60-178)
1941 Steelers 1-9-1 (103-276) vs. Rams 2-9 (116-244)
1942 Lions 0-11 (38-263) vs. Eagles 2-9 (134-239)
1943 Cardinals 0-10 (95-238) vs. Dodgers 2-8 (65-234)
1944 Cardinals/Steelers 0-10 (108-328) vs. Dodgers 0-10 (69-166)
(Some franchises combined their teams during the war: it did no good here. Brooklyn had an NDL team that played in Ebbets Field from 1930-45, then moved to the new All-America Conference where they played until that league went out of business in 1949. They were called the Dodgers except for 1944 when they were called the Tigers for one season and 1945 when they merged with the Boston Yanks, see below and were known simply as the ‘Yanks’ – no jokes please.)
1945 Cardinals 1-9 (98-228) vs. Steelers 2-8 (79-220)
(The Cardinals won their last NFL championship just two years later.)
1946 Lions 1-10 (142-310) vs. Yanks 2-8-1 (189-273)
(The owner of the Yanks wanted his team to play in Yankee stadium but they wound up playing in Fenway Park as the Boston Yanks for five years. Then he was allowed to move to the Polo Grounds but named his team the New York Bulldogs for 1949. They then moved to Yankee Stadium in 1950 and became the Yanks again. Then they moved to Dallas to become the Texans and then to Baltimore to become the Colts. I’ll list them under “participation” with the Colts teams.)
1947 Giants 2-8-2 (190-309) vs. Lions 3-9 (231-305)
1948 Lions 2-10 (200-407) vs. Yanks 3-9 (174-372)
1949 Bulldogs 1-10-1 (153-368) vs. Packers 2-10 (114-329)
1950 Colts 1-11 (213-462) vs. Packers 3-9 (244-406)
(These are not the Colts who are now in Indianapolis. They are a Baltimore Colts team that played in the AAFC, jumped to the NFL with the Browns and the 49ers and went out of business, to be replaced in 1953 by the current Colts franchise, which came from Dallas – see above. But I’ll add this Colts last place finish to the others anyway).
1951 Yanks 1-9-2 (241-382) vs. Packers 3-9 (254-375)
1952 Texans 1-11 (182-427) vs. Cardinals 4-8 (172-221)
1953 Cardinals 1-10-1 (190-337) vs. Packers 2-9-1 (200-338)
1954 Cardinals 2-10 (183-347) vs. Redskins 3-9 (207-432)
1955 Lions 3-9 (230-275) vs. Steelers 4-8 (195-285)
1956 Eagles 3-8-1 (143-215) vs. Packers 4-8 (264-342)
1957 Cardinals 3-9 (200-299) vs. Packers 3-9 (218-311)
1958 Packers 1-10-1 (193-482) vs. Cardinals 2-9-1 (261-356)
1959 Cardinals 2-10 (234-324) vs. Rams 2-10 (242-315)
1960 Cowboys 0-11 (177-369) vs. Redskins 1-9-2 (178-309)
1961 Redskins 1-12-1 (174-392) vs. Vikings 3-11 (285-407)
1962 Rams 1-12-1 (220-334) vs. Vikings 2-11-1 (254-410)
1963 49ers 2-12 (198-391) vs. Eagles 2-10-2 (242-381)
1964 Giants 2-10-2 (241-399) vs. 49ers 4-10 (236-330)
1965 Steelers 2-12 (202-397) vs. Rams 4-10 (269-328)
1966 Giants 1-12-1 (263-501) vs. Falcons 3-11 (204-437)
(The NFL and AFL drafts were combined after this season but these two teams had worse records than anyone in the AFL. The Giants, once famous for their defense, gave more points per game than any NFL in history this year.)
1967 Falcons 1-12-1 (175-422) vs. Broncos 3-11 (256-409)
1968 Bills 1-12-1 (199-367) vs. Falcons 2-12 (170-389)
1969 Steelers 1-13 (218-404) vs. Bears 1-13 (210-339)
(The Bears, an original NFL team in 1920, never had a last-place team until 1969. That was only their 9th losing season in that time.)
1970 Patriots 2-12 (149-361) vs. Saints 2-11-1 (172-347)
1971 Bills 1-13 (184-394) vs. Giants 4-10 (228-362)
1972 Oilers 1-13 (164-380) vs. Eagles 2-11-1 (145-352)
1973 Oilers 1-13 (199-447) vs. Chargers 2-11-1 (188-386)
(These two franchises played for the first two AFL championships in 1980-81. Now they were both in last place. ☹)
1974 Colts 2-12 (190-329) vs. Giants 2-12 (195-299)
(And these two had played for the NFL championship in 1958 and 1959. ☹)
1975 Saints 2-12 (165-360) vs. Chargers 2-12 (189-345)
1976 Buccaneers 0-14 (125-412) vs. Seahawks 2-12 (229-429)
(The two expansion teams. They actually did play that year and I guess you know who won, 13-10.)
1977 Chiefs 2-12 (225-349) vs. Buccaneers 2-12 (103-223)
1978 49ers 2-14 (219-350) vs. Chiefs 4-12 (243-327)
1979 49ers 2-14 (308-416) vs. Lions 2-14 (219-365)
1980 Saints 1-15 (291-487) vs. Giants 4-12 (249-425)
(This was the year Saints fans invented the “bag on our heads” thing)
1981 Colts 2-14 (259-533) vs. Patriots 2-14 (322-370)
1982 Colts 0-8-1 (113-236) vs. Oilers 1-8 (136-245)
1983 Oilers 2-14 (288-460) vs. Buccaneers 2-14 (241-380)
1984 Bills 2-14 (250-454) vs. Vikings 3-13 (276-484)
1985 Bills 2-14 (200-381) vs. Buccaneers 2-14 (294-448)
1986 Buccaneers 2-14 (239-473) vs. Colts 3-13 (229-400)
1987 Falcons 3-12 (205-436) vs. Lions 4-11 (269-384)
(The Chiefs were 4-11, 273-388 but made the mistake of beating the Lions, 27-20.)
1988 Cowboys 3-13 (265-381) vs. Lions 4-12 (220-313)
1989 Cowboys 1-15 (204-393) vs. Falcons 3-13 (279-437)
1990 Patriots 1-15 (181-446) vs. Browns 3-13 (228-462)
(The Browns finally made this game after 40 years in the NFL.)
1991 Colts 1-15 (143-381) vs. Buccaneers 3-13 (199-365)
1992 Seahawks 2-14 (140-312) vs. Patriots 2-14 (205-363)
1993 Bengals 3-13 (187-319) vs. Colts 4-12 (189-378)
(The Bengals have never been able to sustain success but it took them a quarter century to make this game)
1994 Oilers 2-14 (226-352) vs. Bengals 3-13 (276-406)
(The Bengals didn’t have to wait long for their second appearance)
1995 Jets 3-13 (233-384) vs. Cardinals 4-12 (275-422)
(The Cardinals had been in half of the first 24 NFL Ty-Dee Bowls but this was their first in 36 years. The Jets had been around since 1960 and eligible for this game beginning in 1966 but never been in it.)
1996 Jets 1-15 (279-454) vs. Falcons 3-13 (309-461)
(The Jets didn’t have to wait too long for appearance #2, either.)
1997 Colts 3-13 (313-401) vs. Chargers 4-12 (266-425)
1998 Bengals 3-13 (268-452) vs. Eagles 3-13 (161-344)
1999 Browns 2-14 (217-437) vs. Saints 3-13 (260-434)
2000 Chargers 1-15 (269-440) vs. Browns 3-13 (161-419)
2001 Panthers 1-15 (253-410) vs. Lions 2-14 (270-424)
2002 Bengals 2-14 (279-456) vs. Lions 3-13 (306-451)
2003 Cardinals 4-12 (225-452) vs. Giants 4-12 (243-387)
(Everybody in the NFL won at least 4 games!)
2004 49ers 2-14 (259-452) vs. Browns 4-12 (276-390)
(How the mighty have fallen #1. In the 1980’s and 1990’s the Niners where was the Patriots became in the next two decades.)
2005 Texans 2-14 (260-431) vs. Saints 3-13 (235-398)
2006 Raiders 2-14 (168-332) vs. Lions 3-13 (305-398)
(How the mighty have fallen #2. This is the Raider’s first appearance after 40 years of being eligible.)
2007 Dolphins 1-15 (267-437) vs. Rams 3-13 (263-438)
(How the mighty have fallen #3. The Dolphins were an elite franchise in the 20th century, not so much in the 21st. They waited even longer than the Raiders to make this game but Rams hadn’t been in it since 1962.)
2008 Lions 0-16 (268-517) vs. Chiefs 2-14 (291-440)
(Perfection! How many people are alive who remember when the Lions won 3 NFL titles in the 1950’s? Only the Cardinals have waited longer to win one.)
2009 Rams 1-15 (175-436) vs. Lions 2-14 (262-494)
(Weren’t the Rams supposed to be the new dynasty when the decade began?)
2010 Panthers 2-14 (196-408) vs. Bills 4-12 (283-425)
2011 Rams 2-14 (193-407) vs. Colts 2-14 (243-430)
2012 Chiefs 2-14 (211-425) vs. Jaguars 2-14 (255-444)
2013 Texans 2-14 (276-428) vs. Redskins 3-13 (334-478)
2014 Titans 2-14 (254-438) vs. Buccaneers 2-14 (277-410)
2015 Browns 3-13 (278-432) vs. Titans 3-13 (299-423)
2016 Browns 1-15 (264-452) vs. 49ers 2-14 (309-480)
2017 Browns 0-16 (234-410) vs. Giants 3-13 (246-388)
(The Browns ‘reverse dynasty’ lost their last 5 games of 2014 and started 2018 2-6-1 for a scintillating 6-55-1 run for the once proud franchise.)
2018 Cardinals 3-13 (225-425) vs. Raiders 4-12 (290-467)
2019 Bengals 2-14 (279-420) vs. Lions 3-12-1 (341-423)
2020 Jets 1-13 (206-413) vs. Jaguars 1-13 (275-423)


Participation:
Bears 1969 (1)
Bengals 1993, 1994, 1998, 2002, 2019 (5)
Bills 1968, 1971, 1984, 1985, 2010 (5)
Broncos 1967 (1)
Browns 1990, 1999, 2000, 2004, 2015, 2016, 2017 (7)
Buccaneers 1976, 1977, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1991, 2014 (7)
Cardinals 1936, 1938, 1939, 1943, 1944, 1945, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1995, 2003, 2018 (15)
Chargers 1973, 1975, 1997, 2000 (4)
Chiefs 1977, 1978, 2008, 2012 (4)
Colts 1946, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1974, 1981, 1982, 1986, 1991, 1993, 1997,
2011 (14)
Cowboys 1960, 1988, 1989 (3)
Dodgers 1943, 1944 (2)
Dolphins 2007 (1)
Eagles 1936, 1937, 1940, 1942, 1956, 1963, 1972, 1998 (8)
Falcons 1966, 1967, 1968, 1987, 1989, 1996 (6)
49ers 1963, 1964, 1978, 1979, 2004, 2016 (6)
Giants 1947, 1964, 1966, 1971, 1974, 1980, 2003, 2017 (8)
Jaguars 2012, 2020 (2)
Jets 1995, 1996, 2020 (3)
Lions 1942, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1955, 1979, 1987, 1988, 2001, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2009,
2019 (14)
Oilers/Titans 1972, 1973, 1982, 1983, 1994, 2014, 2015 (7)
Packers 1949, 1950, 1951, 1953, 1956, 1957, 1958 (7)
Panthers 2001, 2010 (2)
Patriots 1970, 1981, 1990, 1992 (4)
Raiders 2006, 2018 (2)
Rams 1937, 1941, 1959, 1962, 2007, 2009, 2011 (7)
Redskins 1954, 1960, 1961, 2013 (4)
Saints 1970, 1975, 1980, 1999, 2005 (5)
Seahawks 1976, 1992 (2)
Steelers 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1944, 1945, 1955, 1969 (8)
Texans 2005, 2013 (2)
Vikings 1961, 1962, 1984 (3)

Comment: The Cardinals, who haven’t won the NFL championship since 1947, (the second longest draught in North American major league sports), would have bene in the NFL Ty Dee bowl more than any other franchise, just beating out the Lions, who haven’t with the title since 1957, the second longest streak in the sport, (every pre-expansion/pre-AFL team has won the NFL championship since then with the Browns the only one that hasn’t won a Super Bowl. The Colts tie the Lions if you add in the Boston Yanks, the New York Bulldogs, the AAFC Colts and the Dallas Texans.

Every current franchise has made the Ty Dee Bowl. Technically, the Baltimore Ravens haven’t been there but they used to be the Cleveland Browns and as such were there in 1990. And the Baltimore Colts were there in 1950, 1974, 1981 and 1982, so Baltimore fans would know the feeling. The NFL officially considers the Ravens a new franchise that came into existence in 1996 but was not an expansion team and that the current Cleveland Browns are the continuation of the franchise that was in Cleveland under that name from 1946-95.

Without question the outstanding record of avoiding the Ty- Dee Bowl are the Bears who have been in the league the whole time, (and since 1920) and just been there once. The Dolphins and the Broncos, (who had been the AFL’s doormat), have been there once each in 55 seasons.
 

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