For most of the past two decades, the Cleveland Browns were the laughingstock of the NFL, but that all changed in 2020. Under first-year coach Kevin Stefanski, the Browns finished with an 11-5 record, which helped them earn their first playoff berth in 18 years.
Based on their current roster, the Browns seem like a team that should be a playoff contender in 2021, but not everyone's convinced that Cleveland is actually going to be good. As a matter of fact, there's at least one person out there who thinks the Browns are on the verge of a historic collapse. A gambler at Fan Duel is betting on the Browns to finish the 2021 season with the WORST RECORD IN THE NFL.
The bettor dropped $700 on this prop at 250-to-1 odds, which means if the Browns do finish the season with the NFL's worst record, then our betting friend will take home $175,000 in profit.
On the surface, this bet definitely seems kind of crazy: A team following up a playoff season by finishing the following year with the worst record in the NFL is almost unheard of. However, it has happened before.
Since the NFL playoffs expanded to 12 teams in 1990 (It's now at 14 teams), there have been a total of five teams that have gone to the playoffs and then finished the following season with the worst record in the NFL.
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Here's a quick look at those five teams:
1993 Houston Oilers: The Oilers Run 'n' Shoot offense was nearly unstoppable in 1993.
They won their final 11 regular-season games to finish the season 12-4 before losing in the divisional round of the playoffs to Joe Montana and the Chiefs.
1994 Houston Oilers: For some reason, owner Bud Adams decided to trade away quarterback Warren Moon following the 1993 season (Adams would later say that trading Moon away was the 'biggest mistake' of his career). The team also lost defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan, who was hired away to be the head coach of the Cardinals. With those two gone, the Oilers limped to a 2-14 record. The upside is that Houston was able to draft Steve McNair in 1995 thanks to its horrible showing in 1994.
1996 Colts: With Jim Harbaugh leading the way, the Colts ended up making the playoffs with a 9-7 record, but they didn't get far: They lost 42-14 to the Steelers in the wild card round.
1997 Colts: The Colts might not have technically tanked in 1997, but we can call it that anyway, because they ended up with the worst record in the NFL (3-13), which allowed them to draft Peyton Manning in 1998.
2002 Giants: Two years after making it to the Super Bowl, the Giants returned to the playoffs after finishing the season with a 10-6 record. Unfortunately for the Giants, though, things got ugly in the playoffs: They ended up losing to the 49ers 39-38 in a wild card game where they blew a 38-14 lead.
2003 Giants: The Giants never quite seemed to recover from their heart-breaking loss to end the 2002 season. In 2003, the team would go 4-12, which was tied with the Raiders, Chargers and Cardinals for the worst record in the NFL. Thanks to their draft position, they were able to select Philip Rivers in 2004, who they traded to the Chargers for Eli Manning.
2010 Colts: In Manning's final season as the Colts starting quarterback, Indy went 10-6 before getting upset by the Jets in the wild card round.
2011 Colts: With Manning out for the year due to a neck injury, no one was surprised when the Colts finished with the worst record in the NFL (2-14).
2012 Texans: In J.J. Watt's second year, the Texans were nearly unbeatable early in the season as they started 11-1 before limping to the end of the season with a 1-3 record in their final four games to finish 12-4. Their season ended with a divisional round playoff loss to the Patriots.
2013 Texans: The Texans actually started the 2013 season with a 2-0 record, but then they were hit by a shocking collapse that saw the team lose 14 games in a row to finish 2-14.
That's five teams over the past 30 years that have been hit with one of these epic collapses and if the Browns become the sixth team to match this futile mark, there's a gambler out there who's going to make some serious money off their collapse.