It’s time for the the 2008 Lions to start purchasing some champagne. It’s still early, but this NFL season has produced some contenders to challenge for the ultimate ineptitude.
It’s been six years since the worst team in history proved they were the worst team in history. They’ve waited for a companion since. Until the NFL moves to an 18 game schedule and some poor team loses every one of them the 2008 Lions can only be joined matched in the loss column. But should a team join them, a plethora of other stats can help us determine which one was truly worse.
Last year we established a criteria for determining how a team could be worse than the Lions should it go 0-16. That same criteria applies today.
To be considered worse than the 2008 Lions a team must:
- Go 0-16
- Have worse scoring ratio (points scored / (points scored + opponent points scored)) than the Lions’ o.341. This measures the amount to which a team was blown out, while adjusting for changes in the league through the years like increased scoring due to rule changes and pass-happy offenses.
- Have an offense that falls further below the league’s median rate of yards gained per game than the 2008 Lions. That year, the Lions’ 268.3 yards per game were 63 below the league median. (We’re using below median for the same reason we’re using scoring ratio: to adjust for changes in the league through six years.)
- Have a defense that falls further above the league median in yards allowed per game than the 2008 Lions. That year, the Lions allowed 404.4 per game, 74.25 more than the league median.
- Have a worse all-encapsulating moment than this.
Through four weeks, only the Jaguars and Raiders remain winless and both made a strong push towards historic levels of bad.
Jaguars: 58 points for, 152 points against. Scoring ratio: 0.276
Raiders: 51 points for, 103 points against. Scoring ratio: 0.331.
League median is 352.15 yards per game.
The Jaguars produce 279.3 yards per game (31st in the league), 72.85 below the league median.
The Raiders produce 270 yards per game (32nd in the league), 82.15 below the league median.
League media is 353.55 yards allowed per game.
The Jaguars allow 451.3 yards per game (32nd in the league), 97.75 more than the league median.
The Raiders allow 365.3 yards per game (20th in the league), 11.75 more than the league median.
The Jaguars don’t have one single moment — unless their entire game against the Eagles counts. In the season opener, the Jaguars jumped out a 17-0 halftime lead. Then ended up losing 34-17. It’s only the second time in history that a team with at least a 17-point lead at halftime has ended up losing the game by 17 points or more.
The Raiders’ moment is also prolonged sequence, and it just happened. They were murdered by the mediocre Dolphins in front of an international audience in London. Not long after the game there were rumors that the organization had fired Dennis Allen before he got on the plane. They were false. What was true is even worse.
The firing came later. By voicemail. And when Allen called back to talk, they didn’t pick up.
Whose the worst?
The Raiders are the more bumbling team. Their firing of the coach sounds exactly like the mid-2000s Lions. But their defense is too good. It’s probably going to win a game for them.
The Jaguars, on the other hand, are ahead (behind?) of the incompetent pace the 2008 Lions set. They’re 17 points lower than the Lions in scoring ratio, almost 10 yards per game further away from the median offense than the Lions were and 14 yards per game further away from the median defense than the Lions were.
With Blake Bortles taking over at quarterback, Jacksonville’s offense could pull even or even surpass the 2008 Lions’, but that defense isn’t getting better. It might finish as the worst defense in NFL history.
The Jaguars’ only weakness is the lack of one true moment to define their horrid season. Fortunately, there’s still plenty of time for that.
Get that champagne on ice.