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Which NFL teams have the worst post-season record over the last 25 years?

The Dallas Cowboys have pulled themselves up by the bootstraps this season, leaving the Commanders and the Lions holding an unwanted playoffs record.

Dallas and Detroit endure playoffs drought

The Dallas Cowboys may be the most valuable sports franchise in the world, but coming into this post season, they shared an unwanted NFL record. One on the most successful teams in the Super Bowl era, with five wins to their name, the Cowboys playoffs success has been left wanting of recent years.

Prior to last week’s win, the Cowboys were batting only .250 in the playoffs, with a 3-10 record. The only team worse was the Detroit Lions.

The Lions are one of the oldest franchises in league history, joining the NFL in 1930 before moving to Detroit and rebranding as the Lions in 1934. Both the Cowboys and the Lions, despite all of their storied history, have fallen on lean times in terms of playoff success over the last 25 years.

Over the course of the past quarter century, Detroit has the worst post-season record in the NFL, with a playoff victory of .000. That’s right. Zero.

Jerry Jones and drought in Dallas

When Jerry Jones assumed control of the Cowboys in 1989 and brought in Troy Aikman with the first draft pick it heralded an era of success that reaped Super Bowl championships in 1992, 1993 and 1995 and a run of six consecutive playoffs appearances from 1991 to 1996.

However, since 1997, the Cowboys have only made the post-season on 11 occasions, playing 14 games with a record of 4-10, a win percentage of .286. Dallas’ four wins all came in the wild card round, against the Eagles (2009), Lions (2014), Seahawks (2018) and the Buccaneers this year. Their most regular tormenters have been the Packers and the Vikings, who have both beaten the Cowboys twice in post-season over that period.

The Commanders slip into second

With this win, the Cowboys have climbed out of the second-bottom spot, leapfrogging the Washington Commanders. Over this period the Commanders are 2-6, with a win percentage of .250, with their last appearance in the post season in 2015, where they lost to the Packers in the Wild Card round.

The last post season win for Washington was back in 2005, when they got past the Buccaneers, only to get sent home by the Seahawks in the Divisional round.

Lions tamed in wild card round

The case of the Lions is even more paradigmatic. In the last 25 years they have made only five post-season appearances and have not made it beyond the regular season since 2016.

The Lions have been beaten in the wild card round each time they have progressed to the playoffs over the timeframe, losing to the Buccaneers, the Commanders, the Saints, the Cowboys and the Seahawks) for win percentage of .000.

Overall, the Lions’ winless streak in the playoffs stretches back to 1993: their last post-season victory came against the Cowboys in 1991.


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