Going back to 2010 the Carolina Panthers - believe it or not - have the NFL's worst record.
Carolina's 9-27 (.250) record is match in futility by only the Cleveland Browns with both teams sporting the same number of regular season wins (er, losses?).
As a Panthers fan I had a hard time coming to grips with the fact that I have been pulling for the NFL's worst team for the last three years.
But it's true.
Here are the five worst records in the NFL from 2010 through Week 4 of the 2012 season:
T-32. Carolina Panthers, 9-27 (.250)
T-32. Cleveland Browns, 9-27 (.250)
30. St. Louis Rams, 11-25 (.306)
T-29. Buffalo Bills, 12-24 (.333)
T-29. Minnesota Vikings, 12-24 (.333)
The 2010 Debacle
The main reason for the Panthers NFL-worst record is their disastrous 2-14 2010 season.
In 2010 John Fox and his coaching staff knew they were on their way out, and coached accordingly - boring, predictable, even a little resentful. The quarterback position rotated between rookies Jimmy Clausen and Tony Pike, an injured Matt Moore, and fresh from stay-at-home dad status Brian St. Pierre.
But even factoring out the terrible 2010 campaign, the Carolina Panthers are still a mere 7-13 (.350) over the last two seasons.
You can call me a biased Panthers fan if you wish, but despite the record I still think the Panthers are a good team.
While the Panthers are just 7-13 over the last two seasons, there have been at least a half dozen games Carolina should have won. Could have won. Would have won.
I know rationalizing like this is "loser talk", but I think the Panthers are better than their record.
For example, the Panthers would have won their most recent game against the Atlanta Falcons if Cam Newton simply avoids a late fumble and Carolina's secondary does not allow a Hail Mary 60-yard completion.
The Panthers could have won their 2011 game against the Chicago Bears without special teams blunders like a blocked field goal, a missed 52-yard field goal, and inexplicably allowing Devin Hester to return a punt for a touchdown.
Carolina should have won last year's game against the Minnesota Vikings if Olindo Mare would not have shanked a game-tying 31-yard field goal with 26 seconds left.
There are several more games I could point to which the Panthers could have realistically won over the last three years, but what's the point?
The fact is, the Panthers lost those games. All 27 of them.
Despite Carolina's 1-3 record to start 2012, I still think there is a good team in there somewhere. A team that can win.
But until the Panthers can figure out how to win, they will continue as the NFL's least successful team.
Sad, but true.
Andrew Sweat is a die-hard Panthers fan. For more from this author, visit Andrew's archive or check these out articles:
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Cleveland Browns