The NFL’s Longest Playoff Droughts Entering 2022

by Mike Ferguson
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Photo courtesy of New York Jets

The NFL preseason gets underway on Thursday night as franchises begin their quest for the Super Bowl.

The preseason begins with the NFL Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. Fresh off another difficult season, the Jacksonville Jaguars will take on the Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders made the playoffs last season for the first time since 2016.

A number of NFL teams, however, weren’t so lucky. Entering 2022, here’s a look at the teams with the five longest playoff droughts:

T-3. Detroit Lions (2016)

Regarded as one of the NFL’s worst franchises, the Detroit Lions made the playoffs three times in six years from 2011 to 2016. Since then however, Detroit has averaged less than six wins per season. There does seem to be hope in second-year head coach Dan Campbell, but Detroit finished just 3-13-1 in his first season. That was the worst record in the NFC.

T-3. Miami Dolphins (2016)

The Miami Dolphins have enjoyed back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2002 and 2003, but neither resulted in a playoff berth. Miami entered the last two Januarys in control of its own playoff destiny. With additions of Tyreek Hill, Terron Armstead and Raheem Mostert, the Dolphins hope to take the next step in 2022. The Dolphins have just two playoff appearances over the last 20 years. They have not won a playoff game since 2000.

T-3. New York Giants (2016)

The New York Giants have just 22 total wins over the last five seasons. That’s the fewest in any 5-season stretch for the franchise since winning just 15 games from 1974-78. A proud historic franchise, the Giants have put their hope in former Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll to get the team headed back in the right direction. Over the last 10 years, the Giants have just one playoff appearance. New York hasn’t won a postseason game since defeating the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI.

2. Denver Broncos (2015)

In Super Bowl L, the Denver Broncos’ historically great defense, led by Von Miller, shut down Cam Newton and the 15-1 Carolina Panthers to capture the franchise’s third world championship. Unfortunately for Denver, it hasn’t been back to the postseason since. After a 9-7 season in 2016, the Broncos have not won more than seven games in any season. Denver did upgrade the quarterback position this offseason with the acquisition of Russell Wilson

1. New York Jets (2010)

The New York Jets hold the longest active playoff drought in the NFL and have a drought five years longer than the next closest team. Since making back-to-back AFC Championship appearances in 2009 and 2010, the Jets have just one winning season. Optimism, however, does seem unusually high this offseason. The current 11-year postseason drought ties the longest stretch in franchise history.

Mike Ferguson is the managing editor for Fifth Quarter. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.

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