At the beginning of every NFL season, pretty much every team in the league has the same goal, and that goal is to win the Super Bowl.
To even have a chance at winning a Super Bowl, you actually have to get there, which is something that the Browns have never done, and it's not looking like they're going to do it anytime soon. As a matter of fact, we're now at the point where fans in Cleveland are just hoping they won't be dead when the Browns finally do play in a Super Bowl.
I just hope I'm alive when the Browns go to the Super Bowl— Lexie Savage (@lexiesavage00) February 6, 2017
The Super Bowl drought in Cleveland is heading into its 52nd year, which probably sounds really depressing to Browns fans. However, it might not even be the most depressing drought in the NFL.
Going into the 2017 season, there are 12 teams that have a Super Bowl drought of 20 or more years.
Here's a quick look at those teams.
Super Bowl droughts of at least 20 seasons
(Team, length of drought, last Super Bowl appearance)
- Lions (51 seasons, have never played in the Super Bowl)
- Browns (51 seasons, have never played in the Super Bowl)
- Jets (48 seasons, Super Bowl III)
- Chiefs (47 seasons, Super Bowl IV)
- Vikings (40 seasons, Super Bowl XI)
- Dolphins (32 seasons, Super Bowl XIX)
- Bengals (28 seasons, Super Bowl XXIII)
- Redskins (25 seasons, Super Bowl XXVI)
- Bills (22 seasons, Super Bowl XXVIII)
- Jaguars (22 seasons, have never played in the Super Bowl)
- Chargers (22 seasons, Super Bowl XXIX)
- Cowboys (21 seasons, Super Bowl XXX)
Browns fans, we know you won an NFL title in 1964. That doesn't count here.
Lions fans, we know you won an NFL title in 1957. That doesn't count here, either. We're only sticking with the Super Bowl era.
Anyway, earlier this month, Sean Wagner-McGough took a lookin 2017. This time around, we're upping the ante by ranking each team's chances of ending their Super Bowl drought. We start with the three teams that have no chance of ending their Super Bowl drought.
To the rankings:
12. New York Jets
11. Cleveland Browns
10. Jacksonville Jaguars
While most teams use the offseason to improve their roster, the Jets decided to go the opposite route by doing everything they could to deplete it. Instead of thinking outside the box, the Jets blew up the box and then used the remains of the box to patch together a roster that will likely go 3-13 or worse in 2017. They have no chance at the Super Bowl.
However, in an ironic twist of fate, many of the players they dumped this offseason will have a chance to make it to the Super Bowl. Eric Decker (Titans), Brandon Marshall (Giants) and David Harris (Patriots) are three players who are probably pretty happy that they won't be wearing green in 2017.
As for the Browns, their search for a quarterback has basically turned into a sequel to the NeverEnding Story because it has been going on forever. We are now in Year 19 of the search, and as you can see on the jersey below, things aren't going very well.
The starting quarterback in 2017 is either going to be Brock Osweiler, DeShone Kizer or Cody Kessler, which I would say is the worst QB depth chart in the league except it's not because the Jets exist.
In Jacksonville, the Jaguars actually seem to have a lot of talent on paper, but if there's one thing we've learned about the Jags, it's that their paper talent never seems to translate to success on the field.
The Jaguars are one of three teams on the drought list that has never played in a Super Bowl.
9. Buffalo Bills
8. Miami Dolphins
When Tom Brady took , the Bills and Dolphins were probably hoping that he was going to stay there, because, basically, that's the only way they could possibly end their Super Bowl drought this season.
If the Bills and Dolphins have proven one thing during Brady's career, it's that they can't beat him when it matters. Since Brady became the Patriots starting quarterback in 2001, the Bills and Dolphins have combined to win exactly zero division titles in seasons where he's healthy.
If the Dolphins want to blame someone for the fact that they're not going to win the AFC East this year, they should blame the Bills, who seem to be doing everything they can to add firepower to the Patriots' offense.
It's almost as if the Bills want to keep the Patriots on top. That seems like the only way to explain why Buffalo seems to botch the NFL's tendering system every year and somehow help the Patriots. In 2016, the Bills lost Chris Hogan to the Patriots in a move that you would think would've taught the Bills a lesson, but no. One year later, they lost Mike Gillislee to New England in a similar situation. In both instances, Buffalo hit each player with a tender that was too low, and then the Patriots swooped in. (In a non-tender move, the Patriots also signed Stephon Gilmore away from Buffalo).
Brady suffering an injury during hisBuffalo or Miami will be ending a Super Bowl drought this year.
7. Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals would probably be ranked higher on this list if they had an offensive line that could protect Andy Dalton. After watching Dalton get beat up to the tune of 41 sacks in 2016, the Bengals responded by letting their two best offensive lineman walk in free agency.
Dalton is going have about 0.7 seconds to throw the ball on every play next season, which I'm starting to think might be exactly what Marvin Lewis wants. The Bengals have spent the past five months beefing up their offense with players like Joe Mixon and John Ross, which almost makes you think the team is trying to keep the ball out of Dalton's hands. (Quick passes and run plays would do that).
Even if that strategy somehow works, there is one gigantic thing standing between the Bengals and the third Super Bowl appearance in franchise history: Getting past the wild-card round. To end their 28-season Super Bowl drought, the Bengals would actually have to win a playoff game, and we all know that's not going to happen because they're cursed by Bo Jackson.
6. Detroit Lions
5. Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings might have ended their Super Bowl drought last season, but instead, they got punched in the face by the injury bug. The Vikings went 8-8 in 2016 despite the fact that they lost their star running back (Adrian Peterson), their starting quarterback (Teddy Bridgewater) and two of their starting offensive lineman (Matt Kalil and Andre Smith) to injury. Their offensive coordinator also quit midway through the season. It was rough.
Not only that, but they were stuck starting a quarterback (Sam Bradford) who wasn't even on the team nine days before the season kicked off. Despite all that, the Vikings still started 5-0 before fading down the stretch. The ugly part is that Minnesota became just the sixth team in NFL history to start 5-0 and miss the playoffs. The upside to that, though, is that the last team to start 5-0 and miss the playoffs was the Falcons in 2015. The following season, Atlanta rebounded by making it to the Super Bowl.
The downside for the Vikings is that no team has ever played a Super Bowl in its home stadium, and, well, Super Bowl LII is in Minnesota. You do the math.
As for the Lions, watching Calvin Johnson retire that ever happened to them. With Megatron out of football, Matthew Stafford had one of the most efficient seasons of his career in 2017. He also managed to .
If the Lions don't make the Super Bowl, fans would probably be OK with that as long as the season contains at least one playoff win. Like the Bengals, the Lions have been in a playoff drought that has gone on longer than some of their players have been alive. The last Lions playoff win came during the 1991 season.
4. Washington Redskins
The Redskins might seem a tad high on this list, but the reason they're ranked No. 4 is because the NFC East is wide open. Although the Cowboys seem like the obvious favorite in the division, it's almost like fool's gold because the favorite in the division almost never wins the NFC East.
Also, no one ever seems to repeat as division champion: The NFC East has produced a new winner in every season since 2005.
I bet Kirk Cousins likes that fact, which wouldn't be that shocking because he apparently likes everything.
Cousins probably also likes the fact that he's making $23.94 million this season under the franchise tag.
If Cousins and the Redskins don't work out a long-term deal, then it's almost a lock Cousins will lead Washington to the Super Bowl because that's basically how things work for the Redskins: Cousins plays on franchise tag, Cousins leads the Redskins to the Super Bowl, Cousins cashes in with five-year, $200 million deal, Redskins go salary cap broke and don't make the playoffs again until 2031.
3. Los Angeles Chargers
2. Kansas City Chiefs
A 5-11 team that finished last in the AFC West in 2016 might seem like an odd team to have listed this high, but if the Chargers offensive line can figure out how to protect Philip Rivers, it wouldn't be shocking to see them rip off nine or 10 wins in 2017 and sneak into the playoffs.
Of course, Rivers actually getting some protection is the huge IF here because the line has basically let him get beat up for the past 10 years.
You could argue that Rivers is the best quarterback in the AFC West and if the Chargers line is just somewhat serviceable in 2017, he should be able to show the rest of the division why he's one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL.
As for the Chiefs, if Andy Reid ever figures out how to manage the clock in a late-game situation, then this is a team that could absolutely be Super Bowl-bound for the first time since the 1969 season. Reid's late-game gaffes are a big reason the Chiefs haven't advanced in the playoffs in the past two seasons in two games they easily could've won.
In 2015, the Chiefs lost to the Patriots 27-20, and let's just say a lot fans in Kansas City had an issue with Reid's clock management.
This past season, Kansas City was knocked out of the postseason after an 18-16 loss to the Steelers, and let's just say that Chiefs fans knew it was over before it was actually over.
Steelers won this game because now Andy Reid is playing against the clock. Hes 0-1000 lifetime against the clock.— Brian Dunn (@bdunny17) January 16, 2017
So this football game depends on controlling the clock now? Andy Reid is the Chiefs’ coach?— Augie De Blieck Jr. (@augiedb) January 16, 2017
It’s already over. Congrats, Steelers.
Basically, if Reid has spent his entire offseason figuring out how to manage late-game situations, then the Chiefs might just have a chance at ending their Super Bowl drought.
If you've ever hung out with a Cowboys fan before, you're probably well aware of the fact that their favorite thing to do is talk about the Cowboys, their second-favorite thing to talk about is how the Cowboys are going to win the Super Bowl, and their third-favorite thing to talk about is how the Cowboys should've won the Super Bowl in any season where they don't actually win it.
Well, this year, they might be right about that whole winning the Super Bowl thing because we're giving the Cowboys the best chance of any team on this list to end their Super Bowl drought.
If you've lost track or just weren't alive the last time the Cowboys made it to the Super Bowl, the team's last trip to the big game came during the 1995 season when they beat the Steelers 27-17 in Super Bowl XXX.
The Cowboys absolutely have the offensive firepower to get back after a 21-year hiatus, but the big question is, do they have a Super Bowl-caliber defense?
The Cowboys lost four starters from their secondary this offseason, which isn't good news for a team that will be playing six games against teams that finished in the top 10 in total offense in 2016.
The team's defense is such an Achilles heel right now that Cowboys COO Stephen Jones was even willing to admit that the Cowboys' defense actually got worse during free agency.
"I would agree with that," Jones told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram when asked if the team took a step back. "What we hope to do is increase our talent on defense through the draft."
The Cowboys tried to do exactly that: They spent seven of their nine total picks on defensive players, a haul that included four defensive backs.
Usually, I would say throwing rookies out onto the field is a horrible idea if you want to be a Super Bowl contender, but things obviously worked out when the Cowboys did that last season on offense, so I won't question them this year.
The Cowboys have the best chance of ending any Super Bowl drought that's over 20 seasons long.
Anyway, if none of these droughts end this year, I do have good news for two teams on the list: It looks like the droughts in Dallas and Cleveland will definitely be ending by 2024.
In 2024 the Cleveland Browns will win the Super Bowl 34-21 over the Dallas Cowboys— Ty (@nxchols) June 10, 2017