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Worst to First: The NFL’s Greatest Single Season Turnarounds

We all know anything can happen in the NFL. Great teams can lose, terrible teams can win. Each Sunday brings us a new story. It has been this way since the league started. Every year one team ends up

We all know anything can happen in the NFL. Great teams can lose, terrible teams can win. Each Sunday brings us a new story. It has been this way since the league started. Every year one team ends up drastically improving their record from the season before. It even happened this past season to the Kansas City Chiefs and the season before to the Indianapolis Colts.

The NFL’s history is filled with Cinderella stories. It's truly one of the things that makes professional football so interesting. This has becomes even more the case since the inception of the salary cap. Because organizations are only allowed to spend so much money to build their roster, players constantly have to move from team to team. This allows a terrible team to bring in new talent and become a competitive force almost instantaneously.

This upcoming NFL season is sure to bring us much of this same excitement. Teams like the Houston Texans and Atlanta Falcons are loaded with talent and could easily turn it around and have great year. This list should show you not just how often these turnarounds have occurred, but also how amazing they can be. It will remind you that it is not so uncommon for a team to go from worst one season to first the next.

11 2013 Kansas City Chiefs (2-14 to 11-5)

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports Images

10 2004 San Diego Chargers (4-12 to 12-4)

9 2008 Miami Dolphins (1-15 to 11-5)

8 1999 Indianapolis Colts (3-13 to 13-3)

7 2004 Pittsburgh Steelers (6-10 to 15-1)

6 1929 New York Giants (4-7-2 to 13-1-1)

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4 1988 Cincinnati Bengals (4-12 to 12-4)

3 2001 New England Patriots (5-11 to 11-5)

2 1981 San Francisco 49ers (6-10 to 13-3)

1 1999 St. Louis Rams (4-12 to 13-3)

The 1999 St. Louis Rams are without a doubt the most improved team over a single season. Prior to becoming one of the most feared offenses in NFL history, the Rams had not made the playoffs since 1989 and had not won their division since 1985. After going just 4-12 in 1998, the Rams went on a magical run to the Super Bowl. The Rams' offseason brought in some great talent such as running back Marshall Faulk and wide receiver Tory Holt, their first pick in the draft. Trent Green, the team’s offseason quarterback acquisition, wet down in the pre-season with a season-ending injury. This gave way to Kurt Warner who became the leader of what was to become known as "The Greatest Show on Turf." He would lead the team to a 13-3 record and a win over the Tennessee Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV. After spending many years bagging groceries to provide for his family, Warner was named the 1999 NFL MVP and the MVP of the Super Bowl. Marshall Faulk was named the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year and Dick Vermeil was named the NFL’s Coach of the Year.

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Worst to First: The NFL’s Greatest Single Season Turnarounds