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2011 Buffalo Bills: Playoff Drought Drags On

Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

The 2011 Buffalo Bills toyed with fan emotions after a 5-2 start eroded into a mid-season collapse, ensuring another season without a playoff appearance. A final record of 6-10 meant that instead of thinking post-season thoughts in December, Bills fans were thinking draft order.

Buffalo currently holds the longest active streak of playoff misses with 12 miserable finishes. The team hasn't qualified since 1999, when their season ended against the Titans in Tennessee during the wild card round. Since then, Buffalo has had a winning record only once.

The Detroit Lions also last made the playoffs in 1999, but they broke their long streak this season, finishing 10-6 for their first post-season appearance in 11 years. The next longest playoff droughts are the Oakland Raiders and the Cleveland Browns, who haven't made the playoffs since 2002. St. Louis follows, with their last playoff game occurring during the 2004 season.

Looking past the wild card round, Buffalo hasn't won the AFC East since 1995, when Jim Kelly led the team to a 10-6 record to finish one game better than the Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins. Only Cleveland (1989) and Detroit (1991) have gone longer without winning a division title.

The streak of 12 straight years without making the playoffs is the longest in team history by far. From 1967 through 1979, the Bills made the post-season once. Their longest divisional championship drought was from 1967 to 1980 - a span of 14 seasons.

In 2004, the Bills were 9-6 heading into their final week of the season, needing only a win against the Pittsburgh Steelers back-ups to secure a playoff spot. After Willie Parker's coming out party, Buffalo fell to 9-7. That's the closest the Bills have come since the Music City Mirage.