There are a number of bad teams in the NFL this year, teams that have only won two or three games. But they all look pretty good compared to the hapless Detroit Lions, who got clobbered by the New Orleans Saints today by a score of 42-7 to fall to a league-worst 0-15. If the Lions lose next week at Green Bay, a place where they have not won a game since 1991, they would become the first team in league history to finish a season at 0-16.
There have been winless teams in the NFL before, of course. The expansion 1960 Dallas Cowboys finished at 0-11-1, but they did at least manage a tie. The expansion 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been the yardstick for failure for the last three decades, finishing their first season at 0-14, and then losing the first 12 games of the 1977 season before winning the last two games that year to finish at 2-12. Note that both of those teams were expansion teams, however, so there is at least some excuse for their futility. The Lions have no such excuse. They're just a very, very bad football team. And since even most really bad teams manage to win at least one game in a season, they're a very unlucky team as well. Bad and unlucky is an unfortunate combination, and that's the 2008 Detroit Lions in a nutshell.
So can they manage to avoid the infamy of winlessness next week in Green Bay? Or will they become the new yardstick for failure? Stay tuned.