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Winless Woes: Exploring the Struggles of the Buccaneers Lions and Browns

Two Different Seasons: Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Inaugural Season in 1976 and Detroit Lions 2008 Regular Season

New teams always face high expectations when entering the professional league. This was the case for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when they joined the NFL in 1976, as they were expected to make some noise as an expansion franchise.

However, history would show that their first year would be rough and that they would fail to win a game. Nearly three decades later, the Detroit Lions would have their own struggles, finishing the 2008 season with an unprecedented winless record.

This article will examine the inaugural season of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1976 and the Detroit Lions’ infamous 2008 campaign, exploring the key storylines that emerged as each team tried to find success.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1976 Regular Season

Expectations for Inaugural Season

After introducing the Seattle Seahawks, the NFL added the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the 1976 season. This brought the league to twenty-eight teams, and the league’s owners hoped that the addition of two growth markets in Seattle and Tampa Bay would increase the league’s popularity.

The Buccaneers were going to be entering the league at a challenging time, however, as the NFL was going through a period of growth and expansion. Despite being an expansion franchise, there were still expectations for the Buccaneers to do well in their first season in the league.

After all, the Miami Dolphins were also an expansion team in 1966, but they managed to win three games in their first season in the AFL. Tangible success was not expected, but it was assumed that the Buccaneers would be competitive.

Fans hoped their new team would win at least a couple of games and show progress during the year.

Winless Record and Development of Lee Roy Selmon

Sadly, the Buccaneers didn’t win any games in 1976, which remains one of the worst records in NFL history. They were outscored by their opponents 412-125, thus finishing the season with a negative point differential of 287.

They were the first team since the merger in 1970 to have a winless record in a 14-game season. Their struggles were not unexpected, but it was still difficult for fans to watch the team lose in 26 out of 28 games over two seasons.

One of the few bright spots of the Buccaneers’ inaugural season was the arrival of Lee Roy Selmon. John McKay, the Buccaneers’ first head coach, selected Selmon with the first overall pick of the 1976 draft.

Selmon would go on to finish his rookie season with a team-high of five sacks and six fumble recoveries. Despite the team’s struggles, Selmon’s play gave fans hope for better seasons to come.

In a league where the cornerstone of every successful franchise is a superstar player, Selmon was a sign of optimism.

Detroit Lions 2008 Regular Season

Rebuild and Quarterback Struggles

Like the Buccaneers, the Lions had seen hard times before the 2008 regular season. In the fifteen seasons before the start of the ’08 campaign, Detroit had only posted one winning season and had missed the playoffs for eight straight years.

That said, there was hope heading into the season. The Lions had signed free-agent quarterback Dan Orlovsky and had traded for wide receiver Roy Williams, giving the team some much-needed talent.

However, things did not go according to plan. Detroit lost its first four games and never recovered.

The offence struggled to move the ball consistently and the defence continued to give up big plays in late-game situations. Even the coaching staff became an issue, as the team fired head coach Rod Marinelli at the end of the season.

Detroit was much like the Buccaneers in their inaugural season: far from competitive and without any clear direction.

Unprecedented 16-Game Regular Season Winless Record

The Lions would march on to become the first team in NFL history to go winless in a 16-game regular season. It was undoubtedly one of the low points of the historic franchise that is the Detroit Lions.

Amidst all the negative noise, however, there were a couple of positives to be drawn. Rookie wide receiver Calvin Johnson had a respectable season, catching 78 passes for 1,331 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Additionally, the Lions kept things interesting in their games against the Houston Texans and the Minnesota Vikings, so fans still had something to cheer about. Green Bay Packers, their longtime divisional rival, completed a season sweep of the Lions, outscoring them 76-28 in the two starts.

Detroit’s offensive struggles were perhaps the starkest in those two games, as they managed to score a total of two touchdowns in those games. Still, it was a season that Lions fans would like to forget, and one that the organization would be looking back at only to learn from.


Each season offers its highs and lows, with the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers and 2008 Detroit Lions seasons providing two excellent examples of this fact. The ascent from expansion franchise to Super Bowl champions is long, uncertain, and requires patience and a considerable amount of luck.

Nonetheless, the fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Detroit Lions remain loyal to their respective teams, with the hope that success could come soon. Cleveland Browns 2017 Regular Season: A Historical Season of Struggles

For years, the Cleveland Browns had been a woeful NFL franchise, scuffling through the NFL with little to no relevance.

However, the 2017 regular season was arguably the Browns’ most dismal and difficult in their franchise history. The season would see Cleveland struggle mightily on both offense and defense, especially with the Browns unable to win a game in their 16-game regular season.

This article will examine the Browns’ 2017 regular season and the struggles that the franchise encountered during that campaign.

Historical Losing Record and Super Bowl Absence

Hailing from the rust belt, the Cleveland Browns have been a prominent NFL franchise since their inception in 1946. The franchise’s early days saw them play in the All-American Football Conference before it folded following the 1949 season.

The Browns would transition into the National Football League in 1950 and have experienced periods of success, including during the 1980s and the late 1940s. However, this success has been few and far between for Browns fans, as the franchise has never appeared in a Super Bowl and has a long history of losing seasons.

In particular, the Browns’ 2017 season was the epitome of this down-trodden history as the franchise failed to win a single game throughout the regular season. A 16-game campaign resulted in 16 losses that left the Browns with little to cheer and a lot to ponder.

Winless 16-Game Regular Season and Offensive Struggles

The Browns’ 2017 campaign was doomed from the get-go as the franchise had struggled with quarterback stability for a few seasons. Rookie DeShone Kizer was given the chance to start, but he struggled throughout the year, throwing only 11 touchdowns versus 22 interceptions while also being the league leader in batted balls by defensive linemen.

The lack of touchdowns paired with such a high count of interceptions from a young player were alarming for the Browns, and they would eventually release Kizer the following year. The Browns’ offensive line was also a source of continuing difficulties as they gave up 50 sacks throughout the season, good for fourth-most in the league.

Moreover, the running game struggled to make an impact, amassing only 1377 yards the second-lowest total in the league. The Browns’, undoubtedly, had the worst offense in the league in 2017, with a lack of production from virtually every position group.

Defensive Leader and Talent in Myles Garrett

In contrast to the offensive struggles, the Browns’ defense was reasonably strong and highlighted by the selection of defensive end Myles Garrett with the first overall pick in the 2017 draft. Garrett, arguably the best player in that draft, had a solid rookie season and was often the main source of hope for Browns fans in an otherwise dismal season.

Garrett would eventually finish the year with seven sacks, a pair of forced fumbles, and 19 tackles for loss. Garrett’s talent level was on full display throughout the season, and he gave the Browns a glimpse of what could be possible in the franchise’s future with his play.

The team’s defense, which had to contend with poor offensive production and extended time on the field, was still solid and ranked, surprisingly, as number one in takeaways and seventh in overall team defense.


The Browns’ 2017 regular season was undoubtedly a challenging one, and one that Browns fans will not look back on with fondness. The team failed to win a single game while posting a historically bad 0-16 record.

Despite these struggles, however, the season provided some hope with the emergence of Myles Garrett and the solid play of the defense. The Browns would eventually show progress in the years to follow and gave fans a reason to believe that success could be possible again in Cleveland.

In this article, we examined the struggles of three NFL franchises during their respective regular seasons, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1976, the Detroit Lions in 2008, and the Cleveland Browns in 2017. These teams suffered through various challenges and obstacles, such as winless records, struggling offenses, and lackluster histories, which highlighted the difficult nature of the NFL.

Despite these struggles, these teams and their fans showed resilience, hope, and optimism for better days ahead. The article’s takeaways are that every team goes through difficult seasons, and it takes patience, perseverance, and a commitment to rebuilding to come back stronger in the future.


Q: How many games did the Tampa Bay Buccaneers win during their inaugural season? A: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers did not win a single game during their inaugural season in 1976.

Q: Which Detroit Lions player had a respectable season during the team’s winless 2008 campaign? A: Rookie wide receiver Calvin Johnson had a respectable season with 78 catches for 1,331 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Q: What first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns had a solid rookie season during their winless 2017 campaign? A: Defensive end Myles Garrett was the first overall pick in the 2017 draft and had a solid rookie season for the Browns.

Q: What can be learned from these teams’ struggles? A: Every team goes through difficult seasons, and it takes patience, perseverance, and a commitment to rebuilding to come back stronger in the future.

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