The longest losing streaks in NFL history

Profile Picture: Andrew Champagne

December 7th, 2021

If you’re sensitive to ugly bits of sports information, you’re going to want to brace yourself for this article. Today, we’ll be looking at the five longest losing streaks in the history of professional football. Let’s take a deep breath and dive in!

5. (TIE): 19 games
Oakland Raiders (1961-62) and Detroit Lions (2007-09)

Talk about a tale of two cities. The Oakland Raiders were as bad as they’ve ever been in the early-1960’s, but they hired Al Davis in 1963, and immediately improved to 10-4 and established themselves as a force in the American Football League.

Detroit, meanwhile... yikes. In calendar-time, this is the second-longest streak on this list. The Lions were actually 6-2 through eight games in 2007, but stumbled badly down the stretch and dropped their season finale at Green Bay before going winless in 2008. Detroit didn’t do much better in 2009, when the Lions went 2-14, but a Week 3 win over Washington did end the streak.

3. 20 games
Jacksonville Jaguars (2020-21)

The Jaguars won the first game of the 2020 season, and then proceeded to lose out the rest of the way. That performance led to the arrival of new coach Urban Meyer and new quarterback Trevor Lawrence, but they’ve been far from miracle-workers in their respective rookie seasons. It took until mid-October for the Jaguars to pull out a win, and they did so in a 23-20 squeaker at one of their London games.

2. 26 games
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1976-77)

This one carries a logical excuse with it. The Bucs were an expansion team in 1976, and that year’s expansion draft had very little talent in it. As a result, Tampa Bay was doomed to fail in its first season, and fail the Bucs did, going 0-14. They then started the 1977 season 0-12 before winning the last two games of that season. Just two years later, though, Tampa Bay would be in the playoffs as NFC Central champions.

1. 29 games
Chicago Cardinals (1942-45)

The second World War was less than a year old when the Cardinals dropped a 7-3 decision to the Cleveland Rams on Oct. 25, 1942. It would be nearly three full years before Chicago won another game. After going 0-10 in both 1943 and 1944, the Cardinals finally got back in the win column with a 16-7 victory over the Chicago Bears on Oct. 14, 1945.