So as far as I could remember, the worst teams in the NFL were as follows: Cincinnati Bangles, New Orleans Saints, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Detroit Lions, and Atlanta Falcons. Sure they had their .500 seasons, but for the most part they were pretty easy wins for the opponent. Many blame the organization’s leadership, some blame the players but I believe it is a combination of both.
Many times, employees are a reflection of the leadership. Good leaders know how to motivate and appreciate their employees, which in turn will make the employees work harder and stay loyal to the leaders. I don’t believe the NFL is immune to this. Sure, there will always be the standout athletes who work the hardest and do their best to motivate their teammates, but how difficult must that be when you have losing season after losing season. I have even heard some of these teams referred to as “career killers” because when you play for a bad team, it is difficult to appreciate how good the top players on the team really are.
But of course, everything in life is cyclical. Although there were pretty bad when I was growing up, they each had their time in the spotlight. New Orleans and Tampa Bay eventually won Super Bowls, and Cincinnati played in one. Atlanta exploded when Michael Vick became their quarterback and led them to the playoffs. Detroit was probably the most consistently bad team in the league, but they had Barry Sanders – who is still to this day one of my all-time favorites.
I think that the guys who work hard regardless of the team’s records deserve the most respect. They are professionals who know the business, and have to always be ready in case of a trade to another team. Some never get that lucky, but I imagine all understand how much of a privilege it is to be an athlete who plays in the NFL.