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July 27, 2010

NFL Teams That Have Gone from Worst to First


 Competitive balance in the NFL is so strong that a team going from “worst-to-first” in its division is becoming an annual tradition.  For the seventh consecutive season – an NFL record – at least one team has finished in first place in its division the season after finishing in last place.  In fact, out of the 32 teams in NFL annals to go from “worst-to-first,” 15 of them have done so in the past 10 years (2000-09), including an NFL-record three such clubs in 2006.


One of the teams to make the remarkable turnaround in 2006 did so again in 2009…all the way to a Super Bowl victory.  The New Orleans Saints, whose 8-8 record saw them finish last in the NFC South in 2008, improved by five wins en route to a 13-3 record and a division title for the second time in four seasons.  The Saints also became just the third club to go from “worst-to-first” and cap the season with a win in the Super Bowl, following the 1999 St. Louis Rams and 2001 New England Patriots.

“One of your early goals is to win your division and generally that’s the first way to get in the playoffs,” says Saints head coach Sean Payton. “So we were pleased with that.”

The teams to go from “worst-to-first” in their division since 2000:

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