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Countdown To Kickoff (8 Days)

August 27, 2014
INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



FROM WORST TO FIRST

 

Competitive balance, one of the hallmarks of the NFL, gives fans hope entering each season. Four 2013 playoff teams – the Carolina Panthers (12-4 in 2013, 7-9 in 2012), Kansas City Chiefs (11-5 in 2013, 2-14 in 2012), New Orleans Saints (11-5 in 2013, 7-9 in 2012) and Philadelphia Eagles (10-6 in 2013, 4-12 in 2012) – finished in last place or tied for last place in 2012 and combined for a 24-win improvement last year. Two of those clubs – Carolina (NFC South) and Philadelphia (NFC East) – won their division.

 

For an NFL-record 11th consecutive season, at least one team finished in first place in its division the season after finishing in last or tied for last place. In fact, of the 42 teams in league history to go from “worst-to-first,” 19 of them have done so in the past 11 years (2003-13), including an NFL-record three such teams in 2005 and 2006.

 

After finishing tied for last in the division the prior year, the Panthers won 11 of their last 12 games to close the 2013 campaign and claim the NFC South crown. After starting the season 1-3, the Panthers and Eagles both qualified for postseason play, becoming only the sixth and seventh teams since 2004 to make the playoffs after opening the season 1-3 or worse.

 

“There is something about big games that brings out the best in our team,” says Panthers head coach RON RIVERA (left). “Our team is just that in big games – a team. Even after starting 1-3, we didn’t panic.”

 

The teams to go from “worst-to-first” in their division since 2003:

 

SEASON

TEAM

RECORD

PRIOR SEASON RECORD

2003

Carolina

11-5

7-9

2003

Kansas City

13-3

8-8*

2004

Atlanta

11-5

5-11

2004

San Diego

12-4

4-12*

2005

Chicago

11-5

5-11

2005

New York Giants

11-5

6-10*

2005

Tampa Bay

11-5

5-11

2006

Baltimore

13-3

6-10*

2006

New Orleans

10-6

3-13

2006

Philadelphia

10-6

6-10

2007

Tampa Bay

9-7

4-12

2008

Miami

11-5

1-15

2009

New Orleans**

13-3

8-8

2010

Kansas City

10-6

4-12

2011

Denver

8-8

4-12

2011

Houston

10-6

6-10*

2012

Washington

10-6

5-11

2013

Carolina

12-4

7-9*

2013

Philadelphia

10-6

4-12

* Tied for last place 

** Won Super Bowl

 

KICKOFF WEEKEND RECORDS OF NFL HEAD COACHES

 

COACH

TEAM

W-L

PCT

 

COACH

TEAM

W-L

PCT

Jim Harbaugh

San Francisco

3-0

1.000

 

John Fox

Denver

6-6

.500

Chip Kelly

Philadelphia

1-0

1.000

 

Chuck Pagano

Indianapolis

1-1

.500

Marc Trestman

Chicago

1-0

1.000

 

Joe Philbin

Miami

1-1

.500

John Harbaugh

Baltimore

5-1

.833

 

Mike Smith

Atlanta

3-3

.500

Rex Ryan

N.Y. Jets

4-1

.800

 

Marvin Lewis

Cincinnati

4-7

.364

Sean Payton

New Orleans

5-2

.714

 

Jim Caldwell

Detroit

1-2

.333

Bill Belichick

New England

13-6

.684

 

Bruce Arians

Arizona

0-1

.000

Jason Garrett

Dallas

2-1

.667

 

Gus Bradley

Jacksonville

0-1

.000

Ken Whisenhunt

Tennessee

4-2

.667

 

Doug Marrone

Buffalo

0-1

.000

Pete Carroll

Seattle

5-3

.625

 

Mike McCoy

San Diego

0-1

.000

Mike McCarthy

Green Bay

5-3

.625

 

Dennis Allen

Oakland

0-2

.000

Jeff Fisher

St. Louis

11-7

.611

 

Ron Rivera

Carolina

0-3

.000

Mike Tomlin

Pittsburgh

4-3

.571

 

Jay Gruden

Washington

0-0

--

Tom Coughlin

N.Y. Giants

10-8

.556

 

Bill O’Brien

Houston

0-0

--

Lovie Smith

Tampa Bay

5-4

.556

 

Mike Pettine

Cleveland

0-0

--

Andy Reid

Kansas City

8-7

.533

 

Mike Zimmer

Minnesota

0-0

--


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