Historic Mid-season collapses and the following year

I've been wallowing in bills-misery the last few weeks. Lately I've been wondering: do fans of other teams have to go through this torture?

I tried to make myself feel better by researching historic NFL mid-season collapses. It did work - check out the 1994 Eagles season. Ouch...

But I ended up wondering how teams did the following year: did they bounce back the next season and improve? Or did they do worse? Did it matter if they made a coaching change after their season collapse?

I was able to identify 14 mid-season collapses since 1987, listed in the chart below. I'm sure there are more that would qualify, but these awful seasons are certainly fine examples of how to choke. None of these teams made the playoffs.

Year Team Starting Record Finishing Record Coaching change? Following year's record
2010 Titans 5-2 6-10 yes 7-6
2009 Broncos 6-0 8-8 no 4-12
2009 Giants 5-0 8-8 no 10-6
2008 Jets 8-3 9-7 yes 9-7
2008 Bucs 9-3 9-7 yes 3-13
2008 Bills 4-0 7-9 no 6-10
2007 Lions 6-2 7-9 no 0-16
2003 Vikings 6-0 9-7 no 8-8
1998 Steelers 7-4 7-9 no 6-10
1996 Chiefs 8-3 9-7 no 13-3
1995 Raiders 8-2 8-8 no 7-9
1994 Eagles 7-2 7-9 yes 10-6
1993 Dolphins 9-2 9-7 no 10-6
1987 Chargers 8-1 8-7 no 6-10

  • Of the 14 teams, only 5 were able to bounce back and improve on their record the following season. Not good news for Bills fans.

  • I was surprised to find that only 4 of the 14 teams replaced their coach. But of those four teams, 2 had a better record, 1 had an identical record and 1 team went backwards.

  • Of the 10 teams that kept their coach, only 3 improved their records. 1 was Don Shula, who benefitted from a healthy Dan Marino returning (he had torn his ACL week 5 of the previous year)

  • Finally, only 4 teams had a winning record the next season: 2 had new coaches, 2 had returning coaches.

After having looked at this, I think I'd like to change my vote from this morning: yes, Chan Gailey should be on the hot seat. It seems to be a pretty difficult task for a team to suffer a collapse like the Bills have this season and keep faith in their coach enough to rebound the next year.

Just another great fan opinion shared on the pages of

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