Another sure-to-be-exciting NFL postseason will get underway on Saturday as the Seattle Seahawks take on the San Francisco 49ers as part of “Super Wild Card Weekend.”
Related: NFL Playoffs Schedule (Updated)
While some fan bases are expecting this to be the year that their team hoists the Vince Lombardi Trophy, others are just happy to be in the playoffs. For fans in other cities, there is the hope that the wait to make the postseason won’t be much longer.
As the NFL playoffs get underway, here’s a look at the five longest postseason droughts entering 2023:
T-4. Atlanta Falcons (2017)
Despite a 5-6 record, the Atlanta Falcons found themselves in a first-place tie in the NFC South in late November. A late-season playoff run, however, was not in the cards. Atlanta suffered through its fifth straight losing season in 2022. The Falcons, however, have registered seven wins in four of those campaigns. The last Falcons playoff team was led by Dan Quinn, who is now a hot name in the coaching market after spending the last two years as the Cowboys’ defensive coordinator.
T-4. Carolina Panthers (2017)
Like their NFC South counterparts, the Carolina Panthers controlled their own playoff destiny late in the 2022 season. A 2-7 start to the season, however, was too much to overcome. Following the firing of head coach Matt Rhule, the Panthers went 6-6 under interim Steve Wilks over their final 12 games. After four playoff appearances in five years, Carolina has now gone five years without making the postseason. The Panthers haven’t won a playoff game since beating the Arizona Cardinals in the 2015 NFC Championship to reach Super Bowl 50.
3. Detroit Lions (2016)
With Week 18’s road win over the Green Bay Packers, the Detroit Lions finished with a winning record for the first time since 2017. Detroit, however, will come up just shy of making the playoffs for the first time since 2016. Over the six-year span from 2011 to 2016, the Lions made the playoffs three times. Prior to that, Detroit had gone 11 years without a playoff appearance. The franchise hasn’t won a playoff game since the 1991 season when it blew out the Dallas Cowboys to reach the NFC Championship. For perspective’s sake, star running back Barry Sanders was in his third year in the league.
2. Denver Broncos (2015)
In Super Bowl 50, the Denver Broncos shut down league MVP Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers to win their third Super Bowl and send legendary quarterback Peyton Manning out a winner. Since then, however, Denver hasn’t made the playoffs. With a 5-12 finish to 2022, the Broncos wrapped up a sixth straight losing season and finished in last place in the AFC West for a third straight year. Head coach Nathaniel Hackett was fired just 15 games into his tenure.
1. New York Jets (2010)
The New York Jets reached the AFC Championship Game in consecutive seasons in 2009 and ’10. Since then, the franchise has not returned to the playoffs. Things seemed to be changing this season under second-year head coach Robert Saleh as the Jets raced to a 7-4 start. In quintessential Jets fashion, the team closed the year on a six-game losing straight to finish in last place in the AFC East for a third straight season. A 10-6 finish in 2015 is the lone winning season for New York since 2010. The 12-year playoff drought is now the longest in franchise history and among the 10 longest in NFL history.
— Written by Mike Ferguson, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson.
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Publish Date:2023-01-13 22:00:00