Everyone involved with the NFL is accustomed to comparisons. Players are compared to one another. Current teams are measured against teams of yesteryear, and coaching records are constantly analyzed. Yes, teams are also compared to one another, especially in the days leading up to a game. There are three teams — the Patriots, Browns, and Buccaneers — that are rarely compared to one another, mostly because you’d be hard-pressed to find three teams that have less in common.
In a recent hilarious, but honest, tweet, ESPN revealed one commonality the three teams share that few people would have ever thought of.
Only three teams haven’t played in a wildcard game this decade
Many NFL fans considered the sport’s wild card weekend one of the football’s biggest weekends. It involves teams who desperately need one more win to qualify for the playoffs. It’s also a chance for fans to get a preview of the type of bone-crushing, fast-paced, high octane football that only takes place during the playoffs. Fans of teams that have already secured a place in the playoffs and those who love a team that missed the playoffs use the weekend to cheer on a team they seldom root for.
Until ESPN’s tweet, no one realized that there are three teams who haven’t strutted their stuff on an NFL Wild Card Weekend:
- New England Patriots
- Cleveland Browns
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It’s one of the only things these three teams have in common.
The last time the Patriots played on Wild Card Weekend
The Patriots have spent the past decade sitting out the Wild Card Weekend. The reason is simple. They’re really good. The team has had a winning record since 2009 and has enjoyed having home-field advantage throughout the playoffs because of it. The last time there was any concern about whether the Patriots would qualify for the playoffs was in the 2009 season. The team ended the year with a winning record, 10-6, but it wasn’t quite good enough to earn them a place on the playoff roster. They hosted the Ravens, who easily beat them 33-14. The Patriots have appeared in the playoffs every year since.
The Buccaneers last Wild Card contest
The Buccaneers are another team that consistently puts out on lackluster season after another. During their forty-three seasons as an NFL team, they’ve only made it to the playoffs ten times. The last time they were slated to play on the Wild Card Weekend was in 2007, a game they lost. Unlike the Browns, who haven’t been great since the turn of the century, the Buccaneers started the 2000s off on a high note. They won the Super Bowl in 2002.
The Browns last wild ward game
When the NFL playoff season kicks off, Browns fans are accustomed to looking for another team to cheer on. They never expect the Browns to make a playoff run. The last time the Browns even had a shot at the playoffs was in 2002. The team was faced off against the Steelers and lost.
While current fans are accustomed to only seeing their team play during the regular season, there was a time when the Browns did have championship-level skills. They have been in the playoffs sixteen times and even won the Super Bowl in 1964. The last time the Browns made an appearance in the playoffs, they met up with the New England Patriots and won the round. That game was played on January 1, 1995.