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Winless in San Diego

Chargers moving up NFL's list of worst starts

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Posted: Tuesday November 21, 2000 3:31 AM
Updated: Tuesday November 21, 2000 3:58 AM

  Ryan Leaf Ryan Leaf notched career highs in touchdowns and passing yardage Sunday but couldn't chalk up a win for the Chargers. Christopher Ruppel/Allsport

By Jacob Luft,

The San Diego Chargers are celebrating their 40-year anniversary by turning the clock back 25 years.

The Bolts set a club record in 1975 by losing their first 11 games. At 0-11, the 2000 edition of the Chargers have already tied that mark and are threatening to make their way up the list of the NFL's all-time worst teams (see chart, below).

Only four teams in the history of the league have lost all of their games: The 1943 Cardinals (0-10); '44 Steelers (0-10); '42 Lions (0-11); and '76 Buccaneers (0-14).

Perhaps the Chargers can glean inspiration from the 1986 Colts, who began 0-13 before winning their final three games.

Here are some other notes regarding poor starts to a season:

  • The 1983 and '84 Houston Oilers stumbled out of the gates 0-10. That deserves some type of special award for futility.

  • The 1982 Colts finished winless at 0-8-1. Only a strike-shortened season could save them from further infamy.

  • The 1961 Redskins began 0-9, managed a tie, then lost three more before winning the last game of the season and finishing 1-12-1.

  • The 1953 Cardinals made a similar escape, starting 0-7, tying a game, then losing three more before winning a game and finishing with a 1-10-1 mark. The 1939 Steelers did pretty much the same, starting 0-6 before ending up at 1-9-1.

    Low Voltage
    At 0-11, the Chargers are rapidly making their way up the list of the worst starts in NFL history.
    Year  Team  Start  Finish 
    1976  Buccaneers  0-14  0-14 
    1980  Saints  0-14  1-15 
    1986  Colts  0-13  3-13 
    1962  Oakland*  0-13  1-13 
    1977  Buccaneers  0-12  2-12 
    2000   Chargers   0-11   ?? 
    1984  Bills  0-11  2-14 
    1975  Chargers  0-11  2-12 
    1968  Eagles  0-11  2-12 
    1942  Lions  0-11  0-11 
    1997  Colts  0-10  3-13 
    1993  Bengals  0-10  3-13 
    1971  Bills  0-10  1-13 
    1960  Cowboys  0-10  0-11-1 
    1984  Oilers  0-10  3-13 
    1983  Oilers  0-10  2-14 
    1944  Steelers  0-10  0-10 
    1943  Cardinals  0-10  0-10 
    * Oakland was in the AFL at the time

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