1990 New England Patriots Were Horrifically Bad

Published on December 2nd, 2020 7:20 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

And the worst team in modern era NFL is... When you think of the worst NFL team of the modern era, a few teams will likely jump out at you.

The 2017 Cleveland Browns (0-16).

The 2008 Detroit Lions (0-16).

The 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-14).

While these teams were certainly terrible, you could argue that they were not the worst of the modern era, despite their winless records.

Take the 2017 Cleveland Browns, for instance. A bad team, but the worst ever? Five of their 16 losses were by 4 points or less. With a bit more luck, the team could have been 3-2 after the first five games of the year.

They were bad, but they weren't getting embarrassed.

The 2008 Detroit Lions were worse. The team suffered some embarrassing losses, though there was a 5-6 game stretch in the middle of the season when they were quite competitive, and they were unlucky not to have a couple of wins that season.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were an expansion team in 1976, so let's give them a pass.


In terms of being flat out AWFUL in the modern era, two teams jump out to me - the 1981 Baltimore Colts and the 1990 New England Patriots.

Of the two, I'd argue that the 1-5 Patriots were worse, and I'd argue that they were the worst team of the modern NFL era.

To start, the 1990 Patriots finished 1-15. After winning their second game of the year and nearly winning their first, they lost 14 games in a row.

The team scored a pathetic 181 points over the course of a 16-game schedule, which placed them in last place in the league.

The 1990 Patriots allowed 446 points over 16 games, which was the second worst total in the league.

The Patriots had virtually no offensive talent, as they went through three starting Quarterbacks that season. Marc Wilson, who played in 16 games, had a completion rate of just 52.5%, and threw 6 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

The team's leading rusher, John Stephens, had just 808 yards on the season, while the team's leading receiver, Irving Fryar, had just 856 receiving yards.

The worst part about the 1990 New England Patriots is the way that they just threw in the towel in the second half of the season.

Of their last seven games of the season, only one was close. The rest were lopsided losses, including 37-7, 42-7 and 24-3 losses.

Over the last eight games of the season, the Patriots' highest one-game point total was 14 points. They scored 0, 14, 7, 3, 10, 7 and 10 points to close out the season.

The 1990 New England Patriots had a point differential of -265, which is one of the worst in the history of the modern NFL.


There have been some bad teams over the years.

I'd argue that the 1990 New England Patriots were the worst.

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