Behind the Mic: Who’s #32?

This time of the year football fans’ cries and debates always center around “Who’s #1”?  Very rarely does anyone ask or care which team is the worst.  It is hard to determine in college football because there are just so many teams, so we are content to argue the merits of the Top 25.  But the NFL is much easier.  There are only 32 teams and by week 13, I think one could certainly stir things up by looking at which teams are the absolutely worst ones in the NFL.

The Cleveland Browns are the obvious choice as the worst team in professional football.  With this week’s loss to Cincinnati, they have now lost 16 straight games (includes the final three from last year).  The Browns have been playing in the NFL since 1950 and they have never lost this many games without a win.  They are 1-23 in the past 24 games.  Just to pile on a bit, counting last year and this season, they are 3-26.  They have games at Buffalo, home against San Diego, and at Pittsburgh.  To be realistic, none of those games seem winnable.

Going back to 1960, there have only been four other teams to go winless and two of those teams played to a tie.  Only the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers went 0-14 in their debut season and the 2008 Detroit Lions were the only team in history to go 0-16 and the first non-expansion team to lose every game.  So, as you can see, the Browns are among some pretty elite company.

But is there an argument to be made that there are teams just as bad?  Well, the 49ers are 1-12.  The Jacksonville Jaguars are 2-11.  It’s hard to believe I am leaving the New York Jets out of the discussion, but they did just beat the 49ers this past Sunday in overtime so I will give them a pass.

Just to emphasize how bad these teams are: the 49ers two weeks ago had a TOTAL of six net passing yards and, this past week, they threw for 17 yards in the second half against the Jets.  As far as the Jaguars, let me throw this stat at you – QB Blake Bortles has thrown more interceptions for touchdowns than he has wins as a Jacksonville starter.

It does make one ponder whether these teams could beat Alabama, considered by most to be the best team in college football.  It would be men against boys for sure, but a terrific well-coached team against, well, the Browns.

San Francisco has the Giants and you could make the case they also have the Raiders, Athletics, Warriors and Sharks.  In Cleveland, thank goodness for the Indians and the Cavaliers.  Jacksonville only has the Jaguars.  Right now, none of them have a competitive NFL team.

So what’s your answer to “Who’s #32?”  Could it possibly be, “Who cares?”

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS) 

  1. Lamar Jackson won the Heisman Trophy, signifying the best player in college football. It was the first Heisman ever for Louisville.  He is only 19 years old and a sophomore, the youngest ever to win the award.  For those of you who go way back, the great Johnny Unitas played at Louisville in the 1950s and went on to a Hall of Fame career in the NFL.  Lamar has some big high-topped black shoes to fill (an analogy for just those who remember Unitas).
  2. This past weekend, Army defeated Navy for the first time in 14 years. It wasn’t easy.  After leading 14-0, Army lost the lead and trailed 17-14.  They fought back to win the game 21-17.  Emmaus’ Andy Davidson scored the first two Army touchdowns.  Both teams will play in a bowl game.
  3. CBS sports announcer Verne Lundquist did his final college football game as the play-by-play man for the Army-Navy game. He announced college football for 42 years.  Watch his goodbye:

http://www.sbnation.com/college-football/2016/12/10/13909272/verne-lundquist-army-navy-goodbye

  1. Villanova, the defending national champion of college basketball, is off to a 10-0 start. They are #1 in the nation for the second straight week and may have the player of the year in Josh Hart.  Years ago, head coach Jay Wright sat in my office for about an hour and we talked basketball and coaching young men.  He was here to appear on an RCN interview show.  I have rooted for him ever since.
  2. More high school basketball next week with Emmaus-Parkland and Nazareth-Whitehall on Tuesday, December 20. We will have Whitehall-Parkland on December 22.

Gary's Picks

Gary’s Guesses: NFL Picks – (Last week – 9-7; Overall – 128-79-2 – 62%)
Week Fifteen

SEATTLE
MIAMI
DALLAS
GIANTS
GREEN BAY
BALTIMORE
MINNESOTA
BUFFALO
KANSAS CITY
HOUSTON
ARIZONA
ATLANTA
NEW ENGLAND
OAKLAND
PITTSBURGH
WASHINGTON