Every NFL Team’s Biggest Regret In Their History
“Regrets, I’ve had a few.” The old song takes on a new meaning when it comes to football teams. Every team has regrets at the end of the season, moves they should have made, games they should have won and some bad draft picks. But some mistakes are even bigger. They are regrets that hang over a team for years, even decades. In some cases, it’s missing a future star; many a team today wishes they had grabbed Tom Brady in the 2000 draft. Sometimes, a team does have a major star but lets them slip through their fingers. They make the wrong choices on who to hire, who to take and other events that rock them hard and bring major pain to their fans.
Yes, sometimes, the big regret is what happens on the field, a devastating loss that still hurts. However, more often, it’s a bad move in personnel that ends up hurting the team big time down the road. From horrible trades and draft picks to coaching blunders, so many teams and their fans have moments they regret deeply. Here is every NFL team’s biggest regret that show how such shames can linger on a team and their fandom for a very long time.
32. ARIZONA CARDINALS: 2006 MNF LOSS
However, the Bears managed a stunning comeback, scoring two touchdowns on fumbles and another on a punt return. As time wore down, the Bears had the 24-23 lead but the Cardinals were in field goal range. With less than a minute left, they kicked it…and it went wide. The Bears ran out the clock, allowing Cardinals fans to just stare as Arizona blew a 20 point lead to a team that had eight turnovers and no offensive touchdowns. The aftermath was famous as Arizona coach Dennis Green had a meltdown in front of reporters (“The Bears are who we thought they were!”) that became one of the first viral sensations. A decade later and it’s a national showcase for how bad a team can blow it.
31. ATLANTA FALCONS: TRADING FAVRE
30. BALTIMORE RAVENS: KYLE BOLLER
The Ravens finished 2007 5-11 and that led to some overhaul with the drafting of Joe Flacco. Cut after another injury, Boller played for the Rams and Raiders but did nothing too notable. Thus the Ravens wasted several years of an elite defense by not finding a capable quarterback.
29. BUFFALO BILLS: WIDE RIGHT
The Giants won and the agony for Buffalo would begin. For the next three seasons, the Bills would go to the Super Bowl and lose every time. Yet the first remains the worst, one of the closest Super Bowl contests ever and had that ball just gone a bit to the left, Buffalo would have avoided so much pain for so many years.
28. CAROLINA PANTHERS: NO TO NORMAN
True, it’s still fresh but many in Carolina will agree this was a terrible move. After time as an All-American in college, Josh Norman was drafted by the Carolina Panthers in 2012 and showed promise. By 2014, Norman was turning into one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL, holding opponents back in touchdowns and passes and recording some great tackles. In 2015, he was a key component in the Panthers dominating the NFC with a 15-1 record, named to the Pro Bowl and also known for his tough demeanor such as threatening Odell Beckham Jr. over the latter’s use of homophobic slurs.
In the Super Bowl, Norman looked to be the one guy on the Panthers really giving his all but that wasn’t enough to prevent a loss. Norman expected to be able to get a good contract extension but the Panthers refused to meet his demands so he left. Signing with the Redskins, Norman had a great 2016 with 67 tackles, two forced fumbles and three interceptions. Without him, meanwhile, the Panthers had a major collapse, finishing 2016 6-10. Norman’s presence was missed.
27. CHICAGO BEARS: NO PAYTON SUPER BOWL TD
Instead, media star William Perry ended up scoring one for the roars of the crowd. The Bears had a dominating victory but Payton was hurt by the fact he never got to score in the Super Bowl as he dreamed. Ditka now says he wishes he could do it over, especially after Payton’s death in 1999. It may not be as damaging as other moves the Bears have made but it remains a deep regret their most iconic player never got his glory.
26. CINCINNATI BENGALS: SUPER BOWL XXIII
The Bengals have had their ups and their downs. But no down can possibly be worse than their Super Bowl XXIII loss. Unlike so many other Super Bowls that were blowouts, the Bengals had a chance to win their first ever championship but fate seemed to combine with bad moves to hold them back. Tim Krumrie suffered one of the most gruesome injuries imaginable, tearing his leg nearly 180 degrees and shattering two bones. Lewis Billups dropped an interception that would have changed the entire course of the game. It was actually until the third quarter before either team scored a touchdown, showing their skills and how badly they both wanted it.
It looked like the Bengals were pulling ahead until Joe Montana recorded one of the most amazing drives of his entire career, hitting John Taylor in the end zone with just 34 seconds left. The 49ers celebrated yet another Super Bowl victory while the Bengals had to put up with so close and yet so far.