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December 25, 2008

Teams Return to Playoffs After Failing Previous Season


For the 13th consecutive season, five or more teams will qualify for the playoffs that were not in the postseason the year before. Arizona, Atlanta and Carolina did not make the playoffs last year but have done so this season.

This Sunday, that number will jump to four teams with either Minnesota or Chicago winning the NFC North. The fifth (and potentially sixth) team will come from the pool of Baltimore, Miami and the New York Jets, who are competing with New England (2007 AFC East champion) for two AFC playoff berths. The number can jump to as high as eight if Denver emerges as the AFC West champion and Philadelphia or Chicago takes the final NFC wild card spot.


The teams since 1996 to make the playoffs a season after failing to qualify:


SEASON

PLAYOFF TEAMS NOT IN PREVIOUS SEASON’S PLAYOFFS

1996

5 (Carolina, Denver, Jacksonville, Minnesota, New England)

1997

5 (Detroit, Kansas City, Miami, New York Giants, Tampa Bay)

1998

5 (Arizona, Atlanta, Buffalo, Dallas, New York Jets)

1999

7 (Detroit, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Seattle, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington)

2000

6 (Baltimore, Denver, New Orleans, New York Giants, Oakland, Philadelphia)

2001

6 (Chicago, Green Bay, New England, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, San Francisco)

2002

5 (Atlanta, Cleveland, Indianapolis, New York Giants, Tennessee)

2003

8 (Baltimore, Carolina, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, New England, St. Louis, Seattle)

2004

5 (Atlanta, Minnesota, New York Jets, Pittsburgh, San Diego)

2005

7 (Carolina, Chicago, Cincinnati, Jacksonville, New York Giants, Tampa Bay, Washington)

2006

7 (Baltimore, Dallas, Kansas City, New Orleans, New York Jets, Philadelphia, San Diego)

2007

6 (Green Bay, Jacksonville, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington)



2008

??? (Arizona, Atlanta, Carolina) *


* Minnesota or Chicago will represent the NFC North and at least one of Baltimore, Miami and the New York Jets will qualify in the AFC.

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