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Consecutive Playoff Losses For a Franchise

From 1993 to 2015, the New York Islanders lost eight consecutive playoff series, beginning with a loss in the conference finals to Montreal in 1993, and culminating in a heartbreaking, 7-game series loss last year to Washington. Last night, the Isles came from behind and defeated Florida, to win the series, four games to two.

So the streak stopped at eight for the Islanders; as it turns out, the longest streaks for consecutive playoff losses in NFL history is also at eight, with two of those streaks being active.

The Detroit Lions became the last time to beat the ’90s Cowboys before Dallas became a dynasty; that remains the last playoff win in franchise history for Detroit, as the Lions have dropped eight consecutive playoff games since, to seven different teams:

Rk Tm Year Date Time LTime Opp Week G# Day Result OT
1 DET 2014 2015-01-04 4:41 3:41 @ DAL 18 17 Sun L 20-24
2 DET 2011 2012-01-07 8:09 7:09 @ NOR 18 17 Sat L 28-45
3 DET 1999 2000-01-08 4:05 4:05 @ WAS 18 17 Sat L 13-27
4 DET 1997 1997-12-28 4:00 4:00 @ TAM 18 17 Sun L 10-20
5 DET 1995 1995-12-30 4:00 4:00 @ PHI 18 17 Sat L 37-58
6 DET 1994 1994-12-31 12:30 11:30 @ GNB 18 17 Sat L 12-16
7 DET 1993 1994-01-08 4:00 4:00 GNB 19 17 Sat L 24-28
8 DET 1991 1992-01-12 4:00 4:00 @ WAS 20 18 Sun L 10-41
9 DET 1991 1992-01-05 4:00 4:00 DAL 19 17 Sun W 38-6
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/25/2016.

Perhaps more famously, the Bengals have had a similar streak of playoff frustration. Cincinnati beat Oakland in the game that ultimately ended Bo Jackson’s career; Cincinnati didn’t even make the playoffs for another 15 years after that game. The Bengals made the playoffs and lost at home in ’05 and ’09, before turning into one of the better teams in the NFL during the last five seasons… until January:

Tm Year Date Time LTime Opp Week G# Day Result OT
1 CIN 2015 2016-01-09 8:15 8:15 PIT 18 17 Sat L 16-18
2 CIN 2014 2015-01-04 1:05 1:05 @ IND 18 17 Sun L 10-26
3 CIN 2013 2014-01-05 1:06 1:06 SDG 18 17 Sun L 10-27
4 CIN 2012 2013-01-05 4:35 3:35 @ HOU 18 17 Sat L 13-19
5 CIN 2011 2012-01-07 4:35 3:35 @ HOU 18 17 Sat L 10-31
6 CIN 2009 2010-01-09 4:36 4:36 NYJ 17 17 Sat L 14-24
7 CIN 2005 2006-01-08 4:36 4:36 PIT 18 17 Sun L 17-31
8 CIN 1990 1991-01-13 4:00 1:00 @ RAI 19 18 Sun L 10-20
9 CIN 1990 1991-01-06 12:30 12:30 HOU 18 17 Sun W 41-14
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/25/2016.

The Bengals and Lions enter 2016 on 8-game playoff losing streaks; that’s where the Chiefs were a few months ago, too. In Kansas City’s case, the antidote was Brian Hoyer:

Tm Year Date Time LTime Opp Week G# Day Result OT
1 KAN 2015 2016-01-16 4:35 4:35 @ NWE 19 18 Sat L 20-27
2 KAN 2015 2016-01-09 4:35 3:35 @ HOU 18 17 Sat W 30-0
3 KAN 2013 2014-01-04 4:35 4:35 @ IND 18 17 Sat L 44-45
4 KAN 2010 2011-01-09 1:06 12:06 BAL 18 17 Sun L 7-30
5 KAN 2006 2007-01-06 4:35 4:35 @ IND 18 17 Sat L 8-23
6 KAN 2003 2004-01-11 1:00 12:00 IND 19 17 Sun L 31-38
7 KAN 1997 1998-01-04 4:00 3:00 DEN 19 17 Sun L 10-14
8 KAN 1995 1996-01-07 4:00 3:00 IND 19 17 Sun L 7-10
9 KAN 1994 1994-12-31 4:00 4:00 @ MIA 18 17 Sat L 17-27
10 KAN 1993 1994-01-23 12:30 12:30 @ BUF 21 19 Sun L 13-30
11 KAN 1993 1994-01-16 4:00 3:00 @ HOU 20 18 Sun W 28-20
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/25/2016.

Kansas City, Cincinnati, and Detroit all failed to win a single playoff game between 1994 and 2014, while every other NFL team won at least one playoff game. No other NFL franchise has lost even seven straight playoff games, although five other franchises lost six straight: Cleveland (thru 1985), Dallas (through 2007), Minnesota (through 1996), the Giants (through 1950), and the Seahawks (through 2004).

  • Richie

    On a related note, here is a chart I like updating each season:

    http://i.imgur.com/4ByJueT.png

    • Yazan Gable

      I love both Tampa and Oakland peaked and then died as franchises at the same time.

      • Richie

        To be fair, Tampa Bay has at least mixed in a few playoff appearances and winning seasons since then. Oakland has not.

        • Josh Sanford

          It looks like only about 63% of all Americans were alive the last time that the Bengals won a playoff game.

    • JeremyDeShetler

      2 things. One, I noticed half the league has a win since 2012. I imagine that has to be one of the smallest amounts of time for that to have happened in NFL history, if not the smallest. Two, I feel really bad for the Rust Belt.

  • Deacon Drake

    Man… It seems like yesterday the Bills had a dynasty. 20 years later…