The NFL playoff final stage is set with the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers advancing to Super Bowl 50. Along the way several great franchises fell short including New England, Pittsburgh and Green Bay. Each had a chance and then had their moments crushed. How bad were these defeats? Were they among the worst? Here are the 10 worst NFL playoff meltdowns of all time.
To define the worst we have to look at a few points. First, the game had to be meaningful. If a team was “just happy to be there” then a close game at the end isn’t necessarily crushing. What if a team has a wonderful season only to flame out when it matters? What if your team is leading the whole game until the final minutes and loses, resulting in a true “gut punch” game? Yes, it matters and definitely factors into this list.
Honorable mention goes to the 1940 Redskins. They are not from the modern age of football, but still worth noting due the way they lost. In the NFC championship game they went up against the Chicago Bears, a team they defeated 7-3 just three weeks prior. They lost 73-0!
A lot of teams are here including the Dolphins, Giants, Packers and even the Patriots. Who isn’t included? The Browns, because they have suffered enough. Here are your top 10 worst playoff meltdowns of all time:
10 2002 New York Giants
9 1992 Houston Oilers
8 2011 Green Bay Packers
7 1999 Miami Dolphins
6 2010 New England Patriots
It’s a little hard to include the Patriots given all of their recent success, but hey, I guess that’s why it hurts a little more when it’s a bad loss. The brought the New York Jets to Foxboro to play the Patriots. The game changed after a bad fake punt gave way to the Jets converting a touchdown and being ahead 14-3 at the half. Each time the Patriots scored or made a move the Jets had an answer. This was the third postseason in a row where the Patriots lost and it appeared that maybe the dynasty was over. Probably wouldn’t have hurt as much if they had looked into their crystal balls.
5 2006 San Diego Chargers
4 2005 Indianapolis Colts
3 1986 Chicago Bears
2 1997 New York Giants
1 2014 Green Bay Packers
This one is still fresh for many. The 2015 NFC Championship game put the Packers on the road against the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks were home and favorites, but Green Bay had a great game plan and had a 19-7 lead with five minutes left to play. Poor clock management was the root of the loss, but also a lot of bad plays that if any one doesn’t happen, the Packers win the game. These included the Morgan Burnett slide, three run plays and a punt, Wilson touchdown, Seahawks onside kick recovered after it goes through Brandon Bostick’s hands, Marshawn Lynch touchdown, and then a two point conversion. This gave the Seahawks a three-point lead that got tied up by a last minute Aaron Rodgers drive. The Seahawks went on to win it in overtime. It wasn’t any one thing, it was all of them…
Sources: SportingNews.com, NFL.com
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