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January 1, 2010

UNPREDICTABLE PLAYOFF PARTICIPANTS


For the 14th consecutive season, five or more teams will qualify for the playoffs that were not in the postseason the year before. Cincinnati, Dallas, Green Bay, New England and New Orleans did not make the playoffs in 2008 but have done so this season.

This Sunday, that number may grow to as many as seven. Of the seven teams in contention for the final two AFC Wild Card playoff spots, four did not qualify for the postseason in 2008: Denver, Houston, Jacksonville and the New York Jets. Those clubs are in competition with Pittsburgh (Super Bowl XLIII champion), Miami (2008 AFC East champion) and Baltimore (2008 Wild Card team) for the remaining AFC playoff berths.

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

7 (Arizona, Atlanta, Baltimore, Carolina, Miami, Minnesota, Philadelphia)

2009

??? (Cincinnati, Dallas, Green Bay, New England, New Orleans)

* Of the seven teams in contention for the remaining two playoff spots in the AFC, four did not qualify for the postseason in 2008: Denver, Houston, Jacksonville and the N.Y. Jets.

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