St. Louis's terrible, horrible no good, very bad Rams

Cold, Hard Football Facts for Feb 21, 2012



By Kerry J. Byrne
Cold, Hard Football Facts Lonesome Loser


Long-time Cold, Hard Football Facts reader Jim K. Georges sent us a bunch of cool stats, spreadsheets and data last month. We finally have time to churn it in our bucket of analysis and produce for you some tasty homemade statistical butter.

Yum. Butter. Tastes good everywhere ... except maybe St. Louis, which has more deep-seated issues that maybe any of us realized. Probably more problems than new head coach Jeff Fisher realized, too, when he took the gig. He better bring an extra stop watch to the NFL Combine this week.

In fact, in the past four years the Rams have fielded three of the worst teams in NFL history based upon average point differential. Not a good sign here in this so-called "age of parity."

One of the lists Georges sent looks at the worst teams in NFL history based upon one of the most basic, but also one of the most important, of all measures: point differential. Newsflash here: it's hard to win games when the other teams are consistently scoring more points.

It turns out that 33 teams in NFL history have been outscored by an average of two touchdowns per game. The three worst teams in history were outscored by nearly three touchdowns per game. Ouch.

In each of those three cases, there were extenuating circumstances. The 1950 Colts were the worst team in history based upon average point differential (-20.8 PPG). But they were an NFL newcomer brought over from the old AAFC. With the exception of the dynastic Browns, the AAFC was a pro football JV league that Cleveland dominated each each year and by unbelievable margins (the Browns went 47-4-3, and 5-0 in the postseason, on their way to winning all four AAFC championships from 1946 to 1949).

Why the Colts even made the move to the NFL is something of a curiosity. They were 1-11 in the AAFC in 1949, outscored by 169 points in those 12 games. They were then outscored by 249 points in their 1-11 NFL debut. The team was so bad they folded at the end of the year. The Baltimore Colts organization, under new ownership, re-emerged for the 1953 season and by the end of the decade fielded back-to-back NFL champions.

The 1976 Buccaneers were an expansion team that was outscored by 20.5 PPG on its way to a famously winless 0-14 season.

The 1952 Dallas Texans, no relation to the AFL team of the same name that later became the Kansas City Chiefs, existed for only that one season. The team could barely compete (outscored by 20.4 PPG), nobody came to watch them, and they were gone by the end of the year.

Not every un-competitive team is culled from the dark, tattered pages of the pro football history books. In fact, one contemporary team makes two appearances on the list and nearly made a third in 2011.

That team is the St. Louis Rams.

We know the Rams have sucked in recent years. We didn't realize they sucked in such grandiose historic fashion until perusing this list.

The 2008 Rams chime in at No. 29 on the list of worst teams in history, outscored by an average of 14.6 PPG. Then the Rams did something remarkable. They got even WORSE the following year. The 2009 Rams chime in as the 16th worst team in history, outscored by an average of 16.3 PPG.

After a brief recovery in 2010 (7-9, outscored by just 2.4 PPG), the Rams organization took a huge step back in 2011. They were not among the 33 teams outscored by two touchdowns per game, but they were pretty close: outscored by 13.4 PPG, the worst in the NFL last season.

The fact that the Rams have managed to historically suck under two different promising quarterbacks (Marc Bulger, Sam Bradford), several other part-time starters (A.J. Feeley, Kyle Boller) and three different coaches (Jim Haslett, Scott Linehan, Steve Spagnuolo) says a lot about the deep-seated issues within the organization.

Here's a look at the 33 teams in NFL history who were outscored by two touchdown or more per game. As you might imagine, most of the notable losers in history are on this list, including the 0-16 Lions of 2008 and even the 2-14 Lions of 2009.

Those 2009 Lions, No. 31 on your list of worst teams in history, have something else for which to be ashamed: they're the only team that managed to lose to the 1-15 Rams that year, No. 16 on your list of worst teams in history.

Worst Teams in NFL History (Point Per Game Differential)
  Year Team Record Point Diff. PPG Diff. PF-PA
1 1950 Baltimore Colts 1-11 -249 -20.75 213-462
2 1976 Tampa Bay  0-14 -287 -20.50 125-412
3 1952 Dallas Texans 1-11 -245 -20.42 182-427
4 1954 Washington 3-9 -225 -18.75 207-432
5 1972 New England 3-11 -254 -18.14 192-446
6t 1949 N.Y. Bulldogs 1-10-1 -215 -17.92 153-368
6t 1949 Green Bay 2-10 -215 -17.92 114-329
8 1973 Houston Oilers 1-13 -248 -17.71 199-447
9 1967 Atlanta 1-12-1 -247 -17.64 175-422
10 1948 Detroit 2-10 -207 -17.25 200-407
11 1981 Baltimore 2-14 -274 -17.13 259-533
12 1966 N.Y. Giants 1-12-1 -238 -17.00 263-501
13 1966 Atlanta 3-11 -233 -16.64 204-437
14 1990 New England 1-15 -265 -16.56 181-446
15 1948 Boston Yanks 3-9 -198 -16.50 174-372
16 2009 St. Louis 1-15 -261 -16.31 175-436
17 2000 Cleveland 3-13 -258 -16.13 161-419
18 1960 Dallas Cowboys 0-11-1 -192 -16.00 177-369
19 1961 Oakland 2-12 -221 -15.79 237-458
20 1958 Green Bay 1-10-1 -189 -15.75 193-382
21 1968 Atlanta 2-12 -219 -15.64 170-389
22 1961 Washington 1-12-1 -218 -15.57 174-392
23 2008 Detroit 0-16 -249 -15.56 268-517
24 1972 Houston Oilers 1-13 -216 -15.43 164-380
25 1987 Atlanta 3-12 -231 -15.40 205-436
26 1991 Indianapolis 1-15 -238 -14.88 143-381
27t 1986 Tampa Bay  2-14 -234 -14.63 239-473
27t 1990 Cleveland 3-13 -234 -14.63 228-462
29t 2000 Arizona 3-13 -233 -14.56 210-443
29t 2008 St. Louis 2-14 -233 -14.56 232-465
31 2009 Detroit 2-14 -232 -14.50 262-494
32 2003 Arizona 4-12 -227 -14.19 225-452
33 1953 Baltimore 3-9 -168 -14.00 182-350

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